What the NHL should be worried about

3rdMay. × ’11

In the last week or so the NHL front offices have been busy with minutia that either didn’t need to be addressed at all or could have been handled with a quiet call.  On the quiet front, Zdeno Chara’s memo reminding him of the leagues contract with Gatorade (a Pepsi company) and that drinking a competitors product on the bench was in violation of that agreement was a touch over done. One phone call to the Bruins offices, or the equipment management team to remind them to put things in an unlabeled container would probably have led to far less mocking from the fans.

Having dealt with an issue that surely threatened the financial sovereignty they moved on to exposing some of the most villainous men in creation. No, not Al Queda, or the Taliban, not a child pornography ring or human traffickers, it wasn’t even a gang of high school bullies. They let us in on the scourge that is The Green Men. These vile, contemptible and utterly irredeemable scalawags are  known for truly lurid crimes against the National Hockey League, the Vancouver Canucks and civilization itself. Their crimes include: Frequent attendance at Canucks games, traveling to away games for the Canucks, dressing in lycra, and taunting opposing players who land in the penalty box.

While undoubtedly lycra probably belongs on a list of controlled substances as few can put it to good use, its hard to find fault with a group of fans who heighten the enjoyment of a fan base that has had zero Cups, and several ignominious defeats in the post season. They have even spawned their own imitators in other cities. Little traditions like this, and highly recognizable fans are something fans enjoy even when the product on the ice is putrid. Boston has its dancing conductor, the Red Wings have the octopus thrower(s) and keep fan bases engaged.

So here’s a short list of things the NHL can find to do with itself for the next time it has the urge to attack fans or Norris trophy winners.

8: Assist the Islanders in arm wrestling the Town of Hampstead into a viable arena deal. Or are you hoping for them to end up in the arena going up in Brooklyn?

7: Find competent officials. In the past season I’ve seen boarding calls when neither player was within 10 feet of the boards, zero unaccompanied driving calls, and a general level of officiating that looks up at the NFL and NBA.

6: Push hockey in non traditional and prospective markets by hosting major-televised tournaments and events in them.

5: Put serious thought into expansion, which means getting affiliate leagues like the AHL and ECHL to expand as well. There are several Canadian and American cities that could do well with the right ownership and a reasonable arena.

4: Push the expansion of junior and school run hockey programs.

3: Kick the NHLPA until they agree to start censures of their own against players like Matt Cooke.

2: Find someone to run the NHL’s marketing so that even a pinkhat can name at least ten players in the NHL not on their cities team and not just two guys who entered the league in back to back drafts.

1: Review the footage of the end of the lockout when the number 1 was retired league wide in honor of the fans.

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