Bye, bye, Skills Competitions?


At this Research Camp the NHL is running this week, there’s talk about how to reduce the number of games decided by that silly skills competition that knocked your boys out of the playoffs last spring.

Here’s a story from


Fifty-two days left until Opening Night.

52: Dustin Byfuglien his first three years in the NHL. Yup. Big Buff.

Most players who wore 52 were guys who wore 25 and got traded to a team where 25 was already taken … like Alexander Karpovtsev.

Any others?


Still got some openings left for guest bloggers starting next week. Interested? E-mail me at Please include your screen name. Thanks.

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  1. (repost)
    1. Capitals
    2. Flyers
    3. Penguins
    4. Senators
    5. Devils
    6. Bruins
    7. Sabres
    8. Rangers
    9. Leafs

    Discussion – It’s all or nothing with the Caps this year. If they even start to sputter, expect to see wholesale changes in their lineup…I think the Sens have a much improved team with Gonchar and will actually battle it out with the Pens, maybe even over take them for the third seed. The Bruins ‘system’ will hamstring their scoring ability, requiring Raask to really save them in games. They’ll be lucky to hold onto sixth with Julien in the mix as coach.

    The seventh through eleventh positions will be a game of musical chairs. All those teams have solid lineups and I think the final standings will have more to do with whose in net. Carolina’s lame defense will make Cam Ward work for his paycheck. The Lighting, while an up and coming team, still has a traffic cone as a goalie(Smith). And I have trouble thinking any team with Adam Hall in the lineup will go far. The Sabres have one of the best goalies in the NHL right now, and their defense is improved with Morisson and Leopold in the lineup. The shocker, I think, will be the Leafs. Gustavsson showed promise last year and Giguere will be splitting time with him. Phaneuf and Komisarek on defense is scary. Now Kessel has Versteeg to take off some pressure. And of course, expect Kadri in the lineup. But in the end, I think the Rangers will squeak into the eight seed for a repeat of the 2009 playoffs.

    As for the bottom feeders, they speak for themselves. The most drastic drop will be the hapless Canadiens, who simply don’t have the lineup to do much of anything.

  2. That stupid 2 on 2 crap is nonsense. The fastest way to kill the shootout is to get rid of the OTL point. 2 points or nothing. You’ll see the weaker shootout teams busting their butt to score in OT.

    Why isn’t this even being considered?
    BC Bettman likes these extra points to be handed out to say how “competitive” the league is when they are 10 games left int the season.

  3. Ahh, Karpotsev. The ‘forgotten’ Russian on the 94 team. I always cracked up at his nickname of “Potsy”.

  4. And This One Will Last A Lifetime on

    52 retired by the Nets…Buck Williams

    I once coached a youth hockey game when his son was playing for the other team

  5. No love for #52 cc sabathia?

    I’d like to place some bets on most popular choice for this blogs #51 from NHL and MLB for tomorrow.

  6. onecupin70yearsand counting on

    ’52 Fender telecaster, now that’s an axe!

    The NHL is clueless. They copy the olympics with the crappy shoot out.
    Now they want men’s league the nhl with 3 on 3 , or whatever.

    How about the tried and true, if the game ends in tie both teams get a point?

    Do they think the fans are morons and have to be gimmicked to be entertained?

  7. one cup, Yes, the league does think it needs the gimmicks to draw in the casual fan. They do everything in the name of these casual fans and do nothing for the die-hards who actually know and love the game. It’s pathetic and insulting to those people.

  8. 4 generations 4 cups on

    I hate the shootout. I used to love it, think it was entertaining until i saw one in real life and had no idea that the game was over whilst i was watching. Such an anti-climax. I hope that they put in this 4v4 long change then 3v3. Im sick of seeing shootouts. Let a team player score a team goal in a team game to win.

  9. Unfortunately the league can never hold anyone’s attention with said gimmicks. So you end up with an inferior product and general lack of interest in the sport longterm.

  10. Unfortunately the league can never hold anyone’s attention with said gimmicks. So you end up with an inferior product and general lack of interest in the sport longterm.


    I wonder if that has anything to do with broadcasting most of their “nationally televised” games on VS or waiting until 2/3 of the season is done to broadcast them on NBC at a time when most major networks are still broadcasting their talk shows or info-mercials.

  11. Phil, you should have Sens in 3rd place, since you have the Flyers winning their division, so Pens would have to be 4th.

    And I am well aware that Boogaard can throw a big hit, and be an all around tough guy. But, Noonan for some reason thinks the NHL this season will be a throw back to the old days, where you can slash and stab someone for looking at your goalie and/or star player crosseyed. Fat chance! Oprah fat. They’ll all do it, and they’ll turtle and hide behind the instigator rule.

  12. Versus is just ridiculous and the NBC thing is because of football. The league went begging to networks to show their games and pretty much were at their mercy, that’s why they are on VS and get the crappy time slots and days from NBC.

  13. Nasty,
    Very Happy Birthday to you! If everyone would be as nasty as you are, world be a much better place. Enjoy your life today and another 364 days till next B.D. and next, and next…

  14. Hockeyman Rangers on

    One way that might help with the NOT giving the extra point. Would be to, only after the over time do you give the over time loss. And then if needed who ever wins the shootout gets the 2.

  15. Sadly, I don’t think the NHL can afford to focus on the die-hards because those fans can’t support the league financially. And if the league can’t afford big salaries, hello KHL.

    Not that I support these ridiculous gimmicks, but I understand why the league needs casual fans. Or 10 less teams.

  16. That Silly Skills Competition is also the main reason why the Rangers did make the playoffs 3 of 4 times since the lock out.
    You can look at it both ways.

  17. Even 6 less teams would improve the on ice product. 12 teams in each conference, then 2 divisions of 6 teams.

    Teams to cull:

    One of Florida/Tampa or just merge them (I’m thinking Tampa Bay Thundercats?)

    Sad to see the Rangers-Isles rivalry go. And it’s really due to the fact that Nassau County has dragged it’s feet on letting them get a new arena. While they’ve gotten some good talent that if developed properly will turn them into a competitive team, they didn’t get Crosby or Ovechkin level talent and unless the team gets some sort of combination of a new arena and becomes a top flight squad, it’s hard to see the financial health of the franchise significantly improving.

  18. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    morning ILB, the birthday guy nasty, and all!!!

    I hate the skills competition, but 2 on 2??? really??? The game is played with 5 players and a goalie….that is how overtime should be as well. Just play one 20 frakking minute overtime period! And give 0 points for overtime loss or tie and 1 point for overtime win!

    Here is a link from puck daddy that is kind of funny:

  19. The loser in OT should not get a point, since they *lost*. That’s like Silver Medalists getting a tiny piece of gold to take home for all their hard work. Makes no sense.

    And I do agree, without the “skills competition”, NYR might not have made the playoffs, but the same can be said for other teams as well. So, maybe the standings wouldn’t have changed.

    I think it’s exciting, and it makes my heart pound, but nothing beats an OT winner.

  20. Craig Ree-vay
    Jonathan Ericsson

    Greg keeps including #4 in his top-10/top-5 lists now. I’m disappointed – I thought it was like a retired number for him.

  21. I’d love for them to do what they do in the playoffs- play until someone wins- but I understand why they can’t do that.

  22. Orr,

    i downloaded the demo. For faceoffs, you choose if you wanna take it with your forehand, or backhand. the checking is more realistic. I would say that the players seem to move slower than nhl 10. The deke moves really slow the player down as well. And it says you can choose your own goal celebrations but i havent figured out how to do that yet

  23. How about they play five minutes, or 10 minutes, or 12 minutes of OT, and if nobody scores, it’s a tie? One point each?

  24. Joekuh - still playing NHL '94... on

    The problem is, the casual NHL fan doesn’t like a tie. So how do you create chances for that tie to be broken in OT?

  25. A tie? But that’s un-American and unconstitutional or something. Or at least it sounds like something only us crazy Euros would tolerate.

  26. A tie? That’s crazy talk. Ties don’t exist in hockey. That must have been during the dark ages, long before the Sidney Crosby minotaur (ok so he’s really only got the horse’s teeth) brought the game to the masses.

  27. I think that’s a theory that’s unproven. Do you think a casual or serious fan would rather walk out of MSG after a tie and a well-earned point, or after losing a shootout?

    I know that I’ve been in lockerrooms, and the players sure take a shootout loss as a loss, whereas they could differentiate between good ties and bad ties in the past. Even though the result of a tie or a shootout loss is exactly the same.

  28. Sorry, that should be Sidney the Centaur. Got my half man-half beasts characters confused.

  29. Joekuh - still playing NHL '94... on

    Personally, I’d rather the tie if either team can’t score in OT. What I’m saying though is, the long change during 4 on 4 should create more chances for both sides to score in OT. I like that idea.

  30. I think most of the EA NHL games tend to make the improvements every other year. It’s probably takes too long from getting the feedback to beta testing to developing a new game for improvements to be made every year.

  31. 4 generations 4 cups on

    I dont understand how people dont like the new cadence of NHL11. It’s simply realistic, if you’re playing with Duncan Keith he flies up the ice, along with guys like Patrick Kane and Danny Briere. But if youre trying to lug the puck up the ice with John Scott, he’s not going to anywhere.

  32. I don’t like the faceoff variation they’re talking about. I swear, the rules of this game get changed more often than ORR’s underwear :)

  33. They can’t change to a single faceoff circle. Players have played all their lives with 2. So faceoffs would be different and a goalie would have shots straight on goal. The hardest to defend against. To big of a change, total nonsense.

  34. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    I heard you can break sticks in NHL11, that true?

    I don’t like the giving of points out at all, that is why I think if you win in OT, you should get a point and if you lose, you get nothing…NO POINT FOR YOU!!! It should open up the OT quite a bit for a win or get nothing approach!

  35. If you have not listened to Ron Greshner on Blueshirt Banter as Judge Joe says you should. Great interview of an outstanding person and player.

  36. wicky,

    yeah you can break sticks. If you hit someone, sometimes they lose their stick as well.

  37. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    didn’t they add teams from several minor leagues or something as well.

  38. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    kind of cool…still wish they had too many men on ice penalty, I swear that happens with computer teams 4 or 5 times a game along the benches when I’m playing a game.

    thanks 909

  39. What system is it for? We just got a Wii and I was thinking of getting a hockey game for that.

  40. Mama, I don’t wear underwear. Ha, you shouldn’t have mentioned that! Bwaha!

    I don’t understand why EA has never had goalie interference penalties in their games. 2K had it, but it was only if you threw a hit at the goalie, which was funny.

    I’m getting my NHL11 for free. I’m not paying for this. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me. It’s basically the same game, with some dumb new additions, and minor decent additions.

  41. I was reading aboot the CHL being added. I’ve been saying all along that they should add all the leagues, so you can play as the prospects from upcoming drafts.

    That is pretty cool, but I hope they don’t make up fake names instead of adding the actual players from those teams.

  42. I think getting rid of the Red line was the best move the NHL has made in my 30 years of watching. No points should be awarded for OT loss and yes I liked the ties.

  43. >>…pick your opponent on faceoffs

    One of the more inane ideas I’ve heard in sports. What’s next, pick the penalty killers when you’re on the power play?

  44. I didn’t buy and we got it mainly for my nephews and niece anyway, so I think we’ll keep it. They like it a lot.

  45. Ties are lame – there should be a winner to every game.

    Reminds me of when i played little league and every game ended in a “tie” to not upset the kids.

    No points for an OT loss
    1 point for a Shootout Loss (since I consider that kind of a post-game event)

    I like the idea of having the longer shift change in OT

  46. The long change in OT, though, will create even more too-many-men penalties … and we all know how exciting those are.

  47. And the 1 face-off dot in the middle is lame looking too.

    I like my Hockey Zones to look like boobies … not a cyclops !!

  48. Jlone2Bubblehead on

    I never did buy into the “get rid of ties because the new fans want a winner.” I was a new fan at one point in my life and I know for a fact that a tie was part of the game and something to be proud of.
    If you want new fans to get interested in the game of hockey, how about better promotion of the game. Try having your analyst explain what the heck just happened, maybe use oh I don’t know… instant replay to illustrate where a penalty happened instead of talking about who has the best pizza in the city of Phoenix. Maybe use that ill timed commercial break to gather information on the previous play.
    I stay frustrated with the way the “national networks” cover this beautifully complex game…

  49. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Devils Suck!! " … says Greg L. on

    Game eighty frickin two man , in a bloody SHOOT OUT of all things , something has to be done. I can’t take anutha year like this one!!

  50. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Devils Suck!! " … says Greg L. on

    NO SHOOT OUTs after game 70 , then it’s all continous ot lke the playoffs.

  51. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Devils Suck!! " … says Greg L. on

    NHL11 have a new “build “yer own fantasy team. You are shuffled a deck of players cards and you have to use the cards to make up your roster to play games offline or online. The cards keep track of games played ( certain number and ya retire) you collect new card decks to aquire new players. Paying for pack with pucks you win or using micrsoft point you can out cheat yer friends!!!

  52. In other words, useless garbage that they expect you to pay $60 for.

    The only reason NHL11 is worth buying is online play, and updating rosters every month.

    It’s a shame they end all that for the previous game when the new game comes out. By doing that, they’re pretty much admitting that the new game sucks, and everyone would rather keep the old game than pay $60. Bastards!

    They need to make *ONE* game. One game to rule them all. The game of power, and never ending fun.

  53. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Devils Suck!! " … says Greg L. on

    Amen to that ORR. One game and just sell the update every year … I have my legend card online and have a jacked up player ,now Im back to square one.Microsoft finds ways to get people to spend microsoft points all the time to make themselves rich. Orr it does suck.

    Could be worse …a friend of mine that I never see anymore just shelled out $250 bucks for some Castle fanatasy online game . He only gets to see pictures!!?? Thats a crock and a sham. My buddy is an idiot.

    PS3 is free online but ya have way too many pre schoolers playing stuiped and pulling the goalies and acting lie a forward on defense. When ya pay ( aprox $4 per month) for the gold mebership for xbox ,ya have more descent games. Usually a group of 12 go in a private forum and pick captains who then picks teams.

    Anything thats free usually sucks and if ya want something good ,ya have to pay for it ( hence Boogaards contract).
    Probally the only free thing good is this blog. Other then that ..yer screwed.

  54. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Azzlanders Suck!! " … says Greg L. on

    BOOOOOOOOO SHOOT-OUT SUCKS!!!!!!!! …hey Linda!!

    Shoot out is cursed man ,cursed I tell you!!!

    Linda … Swears at the truckers .
    Mickey … Swears like a trucker.
    ( just a joke ,no harm intended for both parties)

  55. I don’t play video games as much as I used to, so there’s no point in paying $200 for a 360, and paying for online play.

    If there were a hockey game for the iPhone, it probably wouldn’t be that good. The Madden NFL game was pretty fun though.

    The best iPhone game is the Call Of Duty Zombies game, and that game where you have to kill all those teddy bears.

  56. >>JB.. this is for you my friend

    Ah oui, merci beaucoup, my friend! I think I’m beginning to see the red light at the end of the tunnel.

    In the meantime, let me go kill the rest of the day with some B-level South American fùtbol.

  57. Here’s one of the things that I actually despise about TV hockey games, or I should say the television of.

    And that is the mindless practice of the cameras panning the crowd after every bloody disturbance that occurs on ice…….. Once you have seen a crowd reaction YOU’VE SEEN THEM ALL!
    There’s nothing unique about a crowd jumping up and down during a game.

    It’s amazing how much action they lose by this simple minded policy. And closely related to that is the camera focusing on a single player who is meandering to his bench while the action is still going on on ice. That’s part of the game people came to see…not the artistry of the
    camera man.

    I’m amazed that Versus hasn’t caught on to this fact yet…oh yea, Versus and their fantastic camera work in general……..has Bettman ever stopped and watched a game aired by Versus? I’ll bet he’d puke, if he has. Although the possibility exists that Bettman has never even watched an entire game in his life..which is another story.

  58. The way I see it is this: the game simply doesn’t translate well to TV. With the advent of HD and widescreen tv’s, the game translates much better, but still, many people cannot follow it if they don’t have an intrinsic understanding of it and frankly, seeing it live is what sells it (unlike football which I think is better on TV). So Bettman’s way of growing the league was to enable as many people to see it live as possible and so the NHL expanded. Unfortunately Bettman really does not understand how to make hockey appeal to the masses. The Olympics sold so well because there was a national vested rooting interest but also because the quality of play was sky high. Protecting the game’s integrity by keeping a lower number of teams, respecting the original six (the constant dumping on the big market teams by the small markets that shouldn’t even exist is ludicrous), and avoiding gimmicks would all go a long way towards giving the NHL measure of respect. Not to mention, all the teams would be reasonably good and competitive. But whatever. Bettman was recommended by Stern when the NHL was ahead of the NBA in the ratings, so we realize the NBA won that battle.

  59. skills competition on

    skills competition did not put the rangers out of the playoffs. if the game ended in a tie the flyers would have made it the rangers not. all the skills competition gave the rangers was another chance at the playoffs, a chance they hardly deserved

  60. >>3 points for a win…2 points for an OT win…1 point for a tie..10 minutes 5 0n 5.

    You have my vote for NHL Commissioner. I think the 4 on 4 OT is more of a black mark on the game than the shootout.

  61. skills, whatever. it still stinks.

    Nasty, Happy Birthday!!

    fran, I have noticed … and commented on it often. it drives me byfuglien nuts. sure you don’t want to do a guest post? The Boneheads are clamoring for you.

    Good evening, Sally!

  62. Americans don’t care aboot Crosbaby and Ovechcant. The NHL needs a dominant American. They have great American players, but none that get the coverage that those two get.


    Everybody loved USA in the Olympics, but after that, hockey just died. That’s the way the NHL will always be over here.

    Personally, I don’t care.

  63. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Flyers Suck !!! ...says Greg L. on

    Actually the Olympics suck. It takes our players away , Makes them tired ( Hank ,Gaborik) . Who cares what country is the best. Who cares . Olympics are lame. Boring. Only Hockey is fun to watch. Id rather watch normal NHL then interuptions from lame Olympics. Gold medal..who cares . Everyone and thier dog has one. Every year they play for some stuiped medal. Its all a farce. Olypics suck.

  64. Olympic hockey is great, because you see the best players in the world going against each other. Unlie in the meaningless All Star games, there’s no laughing, smiling, ass slapping, and all that other garbage they do. It’s hockey!

    I love it! It’s something to look forward to when your favorite team is playing like a bunch of lady parts, like this past season.

  65. I don’t know- I watched hockey on tv for a good 6 or 7 years before I ever got to a live game and I loved it. I had no problem following the action on tv. The only difference may have been that I played street hockey with my friends before I ever even watched it on tv. As a matter of fact, I felt a little lost the first time I went to MSG and didn’t have Jim Gordon and Bill Chadwick telling me what was going on. I had to pay attention myself!

  66. I’m not buying that excuse, Greg.

    Apparently Hank is the worst conditioned goalie in the NHL, because at his age he is “tired” after playing 75 games, more or less. Yet, Mr. Fatty McIncest over in Jersey can play the same amount, and remain healthy.

    I really hope that’s not the case!

  67. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    5 on 5 for crying out loud….5 on 5 in OT.

    Is the traverse city tourney on nhl network or anything???

    Wii is pretty fun, I’d keep it. The gretzky hockey game is coming out for it soon (hockey stick controllers as well). It looks kind of fun.

    I need to renew my xbox gold membership, just haven’t had the money since my house burned down (kidding, that was for orr).

  68. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    I like olympic hockey, it should just be amateurs though!!

  69. I think it sucks that we miss the playoffs by 1 point albeit in the “Leasteran Conference” and make nothing but improvements to the team and we are finish 13th ???

    Behind the Leafs !!!

    Frolov is the 2nd purest goal scorer on the market after Kovy … and we finish 13th??

    Biron a more than capable back-up … and we finish 13th??

    having a relatively unchanged defense (if not better with redden gone and rookies stepping up) from our 10th best ranked Defense last year (2.61 ga/g) … and we finish 13th??

    Thats some B.S. !!!

  70. Carp

    You are more than kind in your assessment of my abilities.

    I am not averse to guesting, but as you can no doubt tell from the questions that I ask, that when it comes to moving about in the computerized world, I’m at the ” See Spot Run” level of prowess.

  71. And as an afterthought ( and many of mine are “after”),I always used to wonder about that old saying that ” You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”….but being now in the category of Old Dog, I can fully appreciate the wisdom behind that
    old aphorism.

  72. Olga Folkyerself on

    “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”

    FIRE SATHER then…. a perfect reason.

  73. Nick kypreos tweet…

    “RealKyper: With up to 4 teams VAN/LA//SJ/Wsh expected to make offers on Mitchell early as today, don’t be surprised if a team gives him long term deal
    1 day ago”

    so close I can taste it. The Stanley cup literally hangs in the balance. This is HUGE!!! I’m sure if I had an inside source, I would have known which team was going to sign him days ago. But I don’t, and therefor I must wait with everybody else for Nick to tell us the fate of the NHL upcoming NHL season.


    where were you on this big scoop? Tell me you weren’t golfing. Everybody knows that 8/19 is the one day of the year that you want to have your ear to the ground, listening to the vibrations coming out of Toronto. Well, back to the jibberishness.

  74. I think the NHL should do a serious fan poll and ask all of us what we think about their possible rule changes when and if it gets to them seriously considering implementing them.

    I think since the fans are the one’s responsible for keeping this league above water for buying pricey tickets and merchandise since the lockout. As well as continuing to watch countless games on tv even when most people didn’t know what the hell “Vs” was… the League needs to take the fan’s opinions into account.

    I respect Shanny and all, but I think some pretty weird propositions could pop up somewhere down the road and I’m not too thrilled with some of them. Like the choosing which player to take the faceoff when your opposing center gets booted from the faceoff. Not good.


  75. Oh, and since it is now 51 days…


    Bernie Williams

    i am now going to attempt to come down from my Mitchell high and go to sleep.

  76. Joke – I rate a Mitchell signing right along with…say…a Dave Karpa signing. Interesting if you happen to be in a coma…

    Somerset – I like the fact that all the pundits are writing the Rangers off. In fact, I hope more do. That kind of thing puts fire in players…the ‘nothing to lose so f@#k’em’ sort of attitude. I still have my questions, but I think the changes they made in the off-season scores them the 8th seed.

    On the skills competition: hate’em, but I won’t go as far as to say the Rangers lost their season on a shootout. Another poster said “skills competition did not put the rangers out of the playoffs. if the game ended in a tie the flyers would have made it the rangers not…” very true…which is all the more reason why a tie should suffice, whether its 4-on-4, 5-on-5, hell…3-on-3…I do like the idea about the OT loser not getting a point. I never really understood why the losing team in OT got a point to begin with…Hello…YOU LOST!!

    The NHL needs to stop tinkering with the rules and simply stick with what works, which is OLD TIME HOCKEY. There’s a great and exciting product on the ice without shootouts. Fans that need that garbage aren’t real fans to begin with and should probably watch tennis or golf or something less exciting and on solid ground. Shootouts turn a sport that is a consummate team sport into one based more on the individual…it turns hockey into a baseball-like sport, which ain’t a complement at all.

    Ditch’em. It’s time.

  77. Good Friday morning all!

    wicky, thanks for the heads-up on the Gretzky game. That should be pretty cool.

    Joke, you stole my 51’s!

    51- the number of states the US would have if Puerto Rico was admitted as a state.
    Area 51- a secret military base in Nevada where people claim that the US has alien technology
    51- Ichiro Suzuki
    51– Randy Johnson as a Seattle Mariner
    And from that hockey reference page- the immortal Andrei Kovalenko

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