The Mighty Ducks are already looking ahead to their looming goalie showdown (login info.).
I’m more curious about their name. Aren’t they supposed to be changing it? I noticed the uniforms seem to de-emphasize their mighy duckiness, but is this a permanent thing?
Also, everyone seems to be noticing small market teams in the Stanley Cup finals (here [login info.] and here, for example). Reporters seem to think there’s some sort of connection between the NHL’s low ratings and the small market teams. I’m not so sure, though. I think the bigger issue might just be the difficulties of following a team you’ve never really seen play before. I certainly noticed that this season. I watched a lot of the Rangers, since they played well this season, and as a result, I missed a lot of other games. It’s made following the playoffs a little tougher than usual. And I’m a big fan. It’s got to be even tougher for the casual hockey fan.
So what does the NHL do?
I’ve suggested it before, and I’ll suggest it again: the NHL should think about less forwards. Nine forwards would make it easier to know players and to follow a game’s subtle coaching shifts. It would also let teams pay players more, since the pot could be the same, just divided between less people.
How many teams need to roll four lines? How much more exciting would the game be if coaches knew they needed each line to be good for 15-20 minutes? And for fans, it’s that much easier to get to know the players and the lines. Besides, the defensemen have to rotate in three pairs. Why should the forwards have it so easy?
Less forwards mean more quality face time. It’s something for the NHL to consider.