Friday, April, 6, 2007
Over the past month it has seemed as if the individuals from the NHL office who form the yearly schedule must contain psychic abilities. With one of the greatest play off races the game has ever seen, the league has shown an eyrie ability to place all the teams involved in the race against one another coming down the stretch. Still, throughout most of the season the NHL has continually been criticized for the schedules modern form. Earlier in the season, the argument that the schedule now places to great of an emphasis on division and inner conference games now seems to have been a little pre-mature. With the play off push coming to an end on Sunday, looking back, I think it is safe to say that the last month has shown us that the modern schedule is not nearly as flawed as we all once thought.
How could something that was deemed to have contained so many problems end up providing us with one of the most exciting months the sport has ever seen?
I won’t lie; I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to the schedule issue I was wrong. If we had had a discussion about the issue in December I would have been the first to take the opposing side and demand a change. But where I once boringly questioned the amount of times I had watched the same two teams play each other, I now find myself wanting more. Over the last month I have renewed my faith in those mysterious individuals who work away in a dark room somewhere within the NHL office in late July trying to predict the future. In fact over the past two weeks I have gone as far as to refer to these people as geniuses. It is now clear that there was in deed a method to the NHL’s madness when they changed the format of the schedule last year. Now that the season is over and fans have been able to see the big picture, I think it is clear that the scheduling issue is not nearly as a large of a concern as it was made out to be a few months ago. So now maybe it’s time for us all to stop complaining about what the league needs to change and just give thanks for the enjoyment they have brought.
What sports fan didn’t have some level of interest in the Islaners/Rangers game last Monday? Did it really matter to anyone that they had played seven times already this year? In fact, the seven previous meetings did just as the NHL had planned by adding to the drama of that final meeting on the last week of the season. Here in Canada the tension has been building for weeks leading up to the eighth and final meeting between the Canadians and Leafs on Saturday night. Oh and did I mention the winner should be able to secure the final play off spot in the East? Well, that’s as long as the Islanders don’t win both of their week end games. Crazy and exciting stuff isn’t it? Still following? Well basically it doesn’t matter how many times teams have met already; the focus is on that final meeting.
How did the NHL know that so much would be riding on these final meetings way back in the summer of ‘06? All of these coincidences almost seem too good to be true. But let’s stop asking how and begin saying thanks. This year has been one of the most interesting and exciting play off pushes I have ever seen in any sport. The credit for a lot of this excitement should be given to the NHL and their schedule. They have taken a lot of flack over the past two seasons for trying something new and although it could still be tweaked to greater perfection, the last month has proven that it may not be as imperfect as some have suggested. Like the old saying goes, “if it aint broke, don’t fix it.”