Don’t lament hockey. It has things more right than other sports:
1.) Defense first. This is what hockey is all about. Other sports used to share this mentality, but they found that SCORING is what people wanted, so they made rules designed to create points. I recently watched a Rangers game where the first goal was scored with about 5 minutes left. They lost, but it was a wildly exciting game.
2.) Penalties: Hah!!! IN EVERY OTHER SPORT, penalties suck, both for the team who gets them, AND for the fans watching. How many minutes of a football game are we watching the striped-shirt fellas walk and announce the penalty (they have chosen to enforce) for that play?
I don’t think watching the striped shirts ‘walk and announce’, has made football more exciting. In football, ‘certain contact’ is penalized. In hockey, contact usually penalizes the one who gets hit harder, but I digress…
When there is a penalty in hockey, the game gets MORE EXCITING! Hockey is the ONLY professional sport that can make this claim.
I still like basketball, but it is really hard to watch: If you can toss the ball in from mid court, you are awarded with an additional point. (3 point play.) You can ALSO get a 3-point play if you are slapped, hacked, mauled, and tackled on your way to the basket – and the shot goes in – PROVIDED you make an ADDITIONAL shot from the free-throw line. There is a disconnect here. These don’t seem ‘equal’. That is why basketball has become a ‘huck-fest’. Free throws aren’t exciting, but THE GAME was more exciting when the goal was to get to the basket.
3.) The Penalty Box: What if basketball penalized like hockey? Hmmmm… imagine the 5 on 4 in basketball. Now THAT would be exciting. The same goes for football. 11 on 10 with a penalty.
But I could be wrong. Now let’s imagine striped shirts pacing off 10 or 15 yards on the rink to drop the puck… would that make Hockey better?
I’ll take hockey rules, any day of the week.