Ice, Ice Maybe
1. Introduce Sidney to the World- You may not like everything about the NFL or NBA, but if there's one practice the two leagues do extremely well it's getting the masses on board with its stars. Everybody knows Peyton Manning and LeBron James. Hardly anyone outside of western Pennsylvania knows that sensational Penguin center, Sidney Crosby, became the first teenager in any of the big four sports to win MVP. He's electric. He's charming. He's completely indistinguishable at Applebee's. I'd change all of that right now.
2. Â Cool the Warm Front- Growing up, most remember watching passionate hockeyÂ in Hartford, Quebec and Minnesota. Then came the mid 90s and with it came a southward migration into Dallas, Phoenix and Atlanta. Yeah, we know that a lot of hockey transplants from the north live in Dixie now, but c'mon! The last three Stanley Cup champion cities â€“Tampa Bay in â€˜04, Carolina in â€˜06 and Anaheim this past year- should NOT be the same three from AAA's top summer destination list.
3. More Fights- Thank the heavens this one is already coming to light. If early preseason action is a respectable gauge, the fists will be flying like old times at a rink near you this winter. And to think, NHL officials actually thought more folks would follow the sport if they cut out 75% of the foolishness with fists. Hehehehehe. This is America, jack. We like our one-timers with jabs and smacks!
4. Minority Report- Though baseball still has a ways to go, you've got to commend how it's extending a hand to the Hispanic and African-American communities through various outreach programs. Some of hockey's best young talents are black (Jarome Iginla at Calgary and Edmonton's Anson Carter), but kids in the hood have no clue. There's an untapped market, albeit a small one, in minority sectors. Hell, at least let the youth know the slapshot was created in the Coloured Hockey League in the early 1900s.
5. Don't Rule It Out- After the '04-05 lockout season, the NHL amended a few rules with the hope that scoring would go up. It worked. In '05-06. For some reason, a year ago scoring went down slightly and the overall pace of the game kinda tailed off. Tweak a lil here (bigger nets) and there (more shoot-outs) and make the game more exciting. This isn't soccer here, peopleâ€¦ Wait, nobody's watching the games or reading my suggestions. Dang, maybe it is.
Semi-Fearless Stanley Cup Finals Preview: Detroit over Atlanta, 4-2