Friday, September 16, 2005


NHL: Jes Gõlbez answers your letters!

USA TODAY recently published some open letters to the NHL.

Since the NHL is currently busy with preparing for the season, ensuring cap compliance, and has a grand total of 0 employees working in public relations (or it just seems that way), I'd thought I'd do everyone a favour and answer some of these open letters. Call it my Boy Scouts good deed of the day.

(I did snip some irrelevant parts from some of these letters...nothing important, anyway)

Dear NHL,

With the 2005-06 NHL season approaching quickly, I am reminded of how lucky I am to be a hockey fan. I'm a transplanted New Yorker living in rural North Carolina. I am witnessing my 4-year-old daughter on my driveway taking slap shots on my 7-year-old son, who is decked out in goalie gear from head to toe. They don't even flinch at the 90-degree temperatures. They are doing their own color commentary as they play, shouting "Save by Richter!" and "Messier SCOOOOOOORES!" We are rabid hockey fans who want nothing more than the return of the sport we love so much. I've endured their relentless inquiries regarding the demise of the NHL, the start of the season, and endless explanations as to why our sport isn't being played.

Several weeks ago, I was afforded the opportunity to be a hero. I walked into my home and announced the return of hockey! It was like hitting the lottery. You would have thought that Wayne Gretzky himself waltzed into my living room and invited us to opening night in the NHL. Am I lucky? You bet ... my family is elated, my sport is back, and things from Harrisburg, N.C., to Siberia are right as rain. Thanks.

John Greene, Harrisburg, N.C.

Dear John,

What kind of cruel and inept parent are you? What kind of man allows their kids to grow up as Rangers fans and then don full goalie equipment in 90 degree heat? Are you happy that you have brainwashed your kids into adoring a bald-headed phony and subjected them to possible death by heat exhaustion?

And I see you told your kids that YOU are solely responsible for the return of NHL hockey. I bet you also tell your kids that you are Santa Claus and have the Easter Bunny on speed dial.

I'm contact the Harrisburg Sheriff's department in the hopes that they can find a good home for your kids. I hope there is still time to undo the damage you have done to them.


Dear NHL,

Greedy. Selfish. Shameful. These are a few words that come to mind regarding the NHL lockout. In fact, these same words could be used for all major league sports. How much is enough? How many millions do you guys need? Perhaps we are better off without the enormous payrolls and egos. I, for one, will not watch any more professional sports.

Dave Burkhart, Lititz, Pa.

Dear Dave,

1. We've heard the same yarn before, yet we know you'll turn on the TV, pop open a Coors, and watch your daily diet of professional sports. Try to be a little more creative, eh?
2. We need about 100...BILLION...DOLLARS!!! MUHAHAHAHAHA!
3. If it makes you feel better, I, for one, won't read any more of your letters.


You have to wake up! You have made the sport for the most part irrelevant to the vast majority of the American sports market. Even in hotbeds like Boston and Detroit, you have a niche fan base, but for the most part, you don't have any mass following. The first steps you made were good, especially doing away with the two-line offside. This will open up the game. Additional things you should do are as follows:

1. Reduce the game to two 25-minute halves; Having two intermissions breaks up the game and makes it hard to follow on TV.

2. Contract the league by about six clubs. Redistribute the players around the league. With all due respect, nobody cares about a hockey team in North Carolina, Columbus, Ohio, Atlanta, Tampa or Anaheim. Do we really need two teams in the L.A. area?

3. Outlaw the trap! If a team is caught doing it, it should be a penalty shot plus a two-minute minor penalty after the shot. That would make coaches think twice about it.

As a former fledgling hockey player, I thought I wouldn't be able to fill up my time in the winter without the NHL. Guess what? I did. I started to enjoy other things in life and found out there is a lot out there beside hockey and it doesn't cost $200 a night to do it. Nobody wants to see the Bruins play the Nashville Predators...

Dennis Monahan, Cambridge, Mass

Dear Dennis,

Ah yes, another former bitter hockey player that is jealous because he didn't make the big show. Is it really Bobby Holik's fault that you didn't have the talent, and maybe the work ethic, to make the big show?

Maybe you should stop wasting your nights getting yourself drunk on misery and Budweiser and get a frickin' clue!

1. 25-minute halves is the dumbest idea we've heard in months, and that's saying something given that the league is run by the guy who plays the Count on Sesame Street.
If you have trouble following a game with two intermissions, maybe you need to get something to diagnose your problems with attention span. Why should we reduce the amount of on-ice action to 50 minutes? Do people want less hockey for their money? Dumbass.

2. Nobody cares about hockey in those 5 markets? Really? Ask the fans in those cities if they care. Columbus has been getting super attendance for quite some time and there are obviously enough fans to support the teams that they there. Maybe YOU don't care about the teams, but nobody cares what YOU think. Oh, and Anaheim isn't Los Angeles, no matter how the Angels baseball team might try to have you think that.

3. Outlaw the trap? You speak as if the 'trap' is a set and defined system that can be instantly identified at first sight. Just how do you define a trap? How can you possibly call illegal defence? Hmm? Do you punish players because they actually make the effort to play defence? That would be like punishing people for walking 'improperly'. How does one walk 'properly', eh?


Dear NHL,

In order to bring back fans we need to allow the talented stars the ability to show their skill. Allowing the clutching and grabbing that has brought the game to a standstill over the years has frustrated many a fan who just shelled out $100 (or more) for a seat to watch the game move at a crawl. The referees need to be diligent in this and not just enforce the rules for the first few months only to revert back to the old ways by December.

A better job of marketing the stars in the US is vital as well. In Canada, we know most players by name but in various major markets in the U.S. you would be hard pressed to find someone who knows who Joe Sakic or Jeremy Roenick are.

Doug Smith, Toronto

Dear Doug,

Your ideas are bland and make too much sense. Please suggest something frivolous and revolutionary as the NHL just cannot digest common sense. Like Sucralose, common sense goes right through the NHL's digestive tract without being absorbed by the stomach lining.


As a fan who grumbled at the NHL's time off, I wholly welcome the league and the game back. I feel the league wants to move forward, and put fans first. However, the "old regime" still resides. While some new changes are a nice start, the league missed hitting a home run.


We are already reading reports of goalies saying the new, smaller pads aren't changing anything. These guys are still 6-2 and larger and can stop most pucks that come their way.

Jose Theodore made an offseason comment that he would have to change everything if the nets were changed in size. Well Jose, those of us in the "real world" have to deal with change every day at work. You should be able to do so as well in a game!

MAKE THE NETS LARGER, and watch the game become exciting.

Chris deFaria, Seattle


The NHL did consider larger nets, and even tested them in simulations with real goalies and real shooters using real pucks...

...but then they realized what a frickin' stupid idea it was...

Oh, and the players can simply deal with change, eh? How about we put lasers in the ice that fire at random times? These lasers could puncture skin and cause muscle damage! Oh, the players may whine, but I'm sure they'll adapt.

And if that logic sounds stupid to you, I'm just throwing your crap right back at ya.

BTW, nobody cares about what someone from Seattle thinks. Go back to sipping your overpriced latte, you hippie!


Dear NHL,

Please make my owner lower ticket prices: My owner had the highest payroll in the entire NHL, in the area of $70 million. My owner will now be paying only $39 million or less for salaries, yet he refuses to lower ticket prices accordingly. I didn't mind paying a premium when we had premium talent, but now it appears I am being gouged at the ticket window for mediocre talent. I shouldn't have to take out a home-equity loan to take my family of five to a hockey game.

Please enforce your rules the same way in the playoffs as in the regular season: Consistency. Please encourage — no, demand — that officials officiate the same way in the regular season as they do in the playoffs. I have never understood how the game could change so drastically from the regular season to the playoffs. It would at times seem like I was watching a different sport. A clutch or grab that happens in November is the same as one that happens in May.

Larry White, Detroit

Dear Larry,

If you have to take out a home-equity loan to buy tickets to a hockey game, then, obviously, you have absolutely no grasp at how to handle your personal finances.

Since you probably can't afford to take a course in basic economics, may I introduce you to a basic model of Supply and Demand, courtesy of Wikipedia.

The market "clears" at the point where all the supply and demand at a given price balance. That is, the amount of a commodity available at a given price equals the amount that buyers are willing to purchase at that price

Owners charge the ticket prices they do because lemmings like you continue to buy tickets at their current high prices. People in Detroit love their hockey right now, so they are willing to pay $70-100 for a ticket, even when the salaries are reduced. If the Wings weren't maximizing revenues, then they would change ticket prices.

Did you really buy the crap that the NHL teams would suddenly lower ticket prices if 'cost certainly' was achieved? Given your personal financial situation, you probably bought a lot of prime development land in the swamps of Florida, and believe you can make millions as a day trader or playing the lottery.

If you are so interested in saving money, then feel free to watch the 1000s of games available for FREE on television.

As for your point on officiating, the NHL officials maintain their same level of incompetence and inconsistency from the regular season to the playoffs. The lack of obstruction calls and the practice of not calling penalties in the last 5 minutes of a game remains the same from October to June. The NHL is proud to maintain such a high level of 'consistency' in this regard. Thank you.


I'm sorry, I just can't deal with any more of this stupidity.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to watch Beavis and Butthead Do America.

Damn that was funny.

To the guy who said make the nets bigger = problem solved.

Its kinda like saying.. Baseball would be better if you moved the walls in 200 feet, and put the ball on a tee when batting.

Is this pro sports? or the special olympics?
This post is hilarious! Great job.
Huh huh huh huh. You said "Do America".


I'd like to introduce that jackass in Mass to my good friend Louis V. Slugger and his cousin Koho. We'll see how he feels about those five markets that "nobody" cares about then.
When the previous poster referenced Louis V. Slugger, I could've sworn he meant Louis Sleigher.

I think I'm ready for hockey.
Oh, I'm sure Jes will leap in here eventually with something about Jiri Slegr 'n 'at.

But yes, I'm ready for hockey too.
Jiri Slegr, eh?

It looks like you got something on your mind, girl ;)
And it ain't him, so there.
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