by Deb Beckers

I decided that for my new year’s resolution I would try and treat you buggers to a kinder, gentler Deb; at peace with myself and happy and respectful of my fellow human beings.

Goal Judge 01.bmpThen, last Friday, I open my Yahoo home page and see this headline…


How’d you like that!?!? Not even January yet and my resolution is already shot all to hell.

Bettman’s changes (that he’s told us about)

Realigning the conferences

The changes could go into effect next season if the governors and GMs agree at next month’s meeting.

Here’s the skinny…

* They will go from six conferences to four. Two in the East and Two in the West (see breakdown below)

* There will be one 8 team league and one 7 team league in each division.

* The top two teams in each division would be guaranteed the top four playoff seeds within the conference; four wild card playoff berths going to the teams with the next-highest point totals. (FINALLY – this is WAY more fair)


WEST 8: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Colorado and Phoenix.

WEST 7: Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, Dallas, Minnesota and Atlanta.

EAST 8: New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida and Carolina.

EAST 7: Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Buffalo, Boston, Pittsburgh and Columbus.

I actually agree with this change. It’s been a long time coming and it will be a good thing for the league.

I still say that the people putting this together need to invest in an atlas – I can DRIVE to Detroit in about 3 hours… I suppose it’s nice to know that the West is so close… It’s supposedly set up along time zones. Uh Huh.

My Theory, however, is that he’s done this to soften us up for what’s to come in the future…

Big Net 01.bmpThings the sneaky bugger is working on…

1. The elimination of Goal Judges.

Surprise! They are testing this out in Dallas as we speak (which makes no sense to me, shouldn’t it be done somewhere where goals are actually scored?). The only real problem I have with this is that if there is no one eyeballing the goals we are going to be having to “go to the tape” a hell of a lot more, slowing down the pace. The most important part of this is the fact that the teams will be able to squeeze in 6-8 more overpriced platinum seats. It’s all about the money, shocking really.

2. BIGGER fekking NETS.

Scoring is slightly down this season (heh), so what do the morons on the “change” committee do? Suggest bigger nets. Hey if there are bigger nets, there will be more goals! That will make the game more exciting to the portion of the Hockey watching public who like their games spoon-fed to them.

I hope that they’re just throwing this out there to distract us from the realignment and goal judges’ thing, but seriously there are other options that REALLY need to be considered first…

a) Reducing the size of the goalie’s equipment; not enough to cause injury, but really Big Net 02.bmplosing a few inches on the pads won’t kill a guy (seriously it won’t – it’s the motion of the goalie, not the pads!). Hell you could even take away the stick, or better yet give him the same one that the players use. That’d be interesting to me to watch.

b) Change the size of the rink surface. Go Olympic. More ice surface, faster game, more chances to score.

The league needs to get it through their thick heads that it’s not the number of goals that makes the game interesting; it’s the chances to score. Hell – look at the size of the net in football (soccer), they sure as hell don’t score more because of the size of the nets.

Deb is currently looking for a new resolutions, she thinks they will probably involve chocolate and a gun (or possibly not overusing the word “HELL” in future columns). Drink responsibly!


i think they should dump some of the pads on the goalie, too. Seems theyt get bigger every year.

go ducks!


Changing the size of the net is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. In hockey, the old adage, size doesen't matter, definitely applies. It's all about the skill, baby.

I like the conference realignment, for the most part. But Columbus in the East 7 seems a little odd. Actually, now that I look at it again, it's totally whacked. I have to drive through 3 hockey towns not in my division to see a Boston-Pittsburgh division game? Nuts. Seems a pretty weak alignment in that East 7; couldn't NJ and Pittsburgh trade places? Though, the 2 division route is definitely the way to go.


Bigger ice surface would be cool. Also reducing the size of the goalies pads. I'm not sure about that whole realignment thing either...


i'll do my best not to ramble on too much here.

1) Some realignment is good. is this scheme the best, I dunno. frankly i liked it when our divisions had character and names like adams and norris. being on the left coast, i appreciate any travel reductions.

2) Playoff berths. Eh, there are so many spots as it is. With a more balanced schedule I'm more in favor of taking the top 4 from each division and playing across divisions for the first round. And for g*d sake stop giving division winners a top-4 seed if they didn't even finish in the top 4.

3) goal judges. lets face it, they have not been of any real use for years. when was the last time a goal judge's opinion mattered in a game. maybe the early 80's. free up the space for seats. today they simply "light the lamp" and that can be done from the rafters.

4) bigger nets? oh g*d, please no! the idea is silly at best.

5) smaller goalie pads.... better idea;however, i don't see a problem with how things are now. except let the goalie handle the puck where ever he wants... just make him "fair game" when he isn't in the crease or the trapezoid behind the net.

6) bigger surface. that was the right answer, but they'd have had to have pushed for that 15 years ago when all the new rinks started being built. the cost to do it now is much too high. it would reduce seating (meaning lost $$) which in turn will make ticket prices go up even further. i think it should be encouraged now and be required for all new rinks. the impact won't be felt for 20+ years though. :(


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