Someone raised the point earlier in the season about what if teams played at five on five like they do three on three? If a chance isn't there, skate the puck out of the zone, change lines and come back in. No dumping of the puck. Obviously, with the extra bodies on the ice, that would be hard to do and if you skated the puck back into your own end, you'd quickly have two players on top of you trying to force a turnover. If the whole game was 3 on 3? Would it look like one big overtime period? There's usually a lot of skating around in 3 on 3, so I don't know that it would be tiring, though teams would have to adjust. The Blues go with four three-man combinations in overtime. Obviously, a whole game like that, you'd need to find a way to play Carl Gunnarsson or Robert Bortuzzo. Either that or you'd have to choose players for the roster differently. I think ultimately it would get pretty dull because it's hockey without the things that make hockey great. It's good in a five-minute chunk, but for 20 minutes, you'd want more action.
"I'll take anything" is the early leader in fan voting on what they'd like to see from hockey when it returns
But it's a limited sample size
Gary's never given me his cell number, so I can't help you there. I think a four on four format would be one of those ideas of last resort. If we do see hockey again, I think we'll be seeing shorter playoff rounds, at least in the first two rounds. There will be a race on to get it done and to get the number of players involved reduced too. The more players you have, the more chances of a positive test, and once you get a positive test, you have to shut everything down.
In the case of a franchise like the Bruins, who have won the Cup before, they'd probably say, OK, if you want, and it wouldn't matter and they'd go on with their life. If it was a team that hadn't won before, say if this was the Blues team last year, you wouldn't want that to be your first Cup. Give the Bruins the President's Trophy and leave it at that. You can make a case they've earned that.
Ultimately it's going to be the governors of the relevant state and the mayors of the relevant cities who make the call. And they're going to be more inclined to listen to the CDC than the Board of Governors. Ultimately, I don't see anything until we get a vaccine. Otherwise, it's too easy for the whole thing to start all over again.
When Mike Yeo was coach, I asked him about this once, because the Blues at that time were really, really good when the final game in a three-in-four situation was the back half of a back-to-back. I think they may have been undefeated that season in that scenario. (So the schedule went: game, off day, game, game.) Yeo, and the assembled media, couldn't figure out what I was talking about. It was pretty much the weirdest look I ever got from any coach, and it's still fairly legendary among Blues writers. The fact they were much better in that scenario rather than if the back-to-backs started the three-in-four tells me that they knew how they were going to have to play that game and be careful and methodical and do all the things they had to do. This year, it's different. They're 4-0 when the last game of a three-in-four is a single game.
I don't think it will be done that way.
I've long since given up on getting in my editor's good graces.
Niko Mikkola is 14th in the NHL in net minors per 60 minutes (meaning minors on the other team vs. minors on the Blues) at 1.78. So if you keep Niko Mikkola on the ice, you'll have almost an extra power play per game
I don't think there would be a leadership void. As coaches often say, there are a lot of leaders in that room. The Blues could give it to Steen as a one-year thanks for your service honor. Or, they could move immediately to start someone on a long-term path. As another assistant captain, Tarasenko would get consideration as would O'Reilly and Schenn. Both of those guys are going to be here so long that they have to figure in the leadership plans somehow.
The playing of that song is one of the stranger things to hear at a game, but it did start organically, so I'll give them credit for that. But it doesn't seem like the kind of thing to rev fans up. I suppose the Blues music is better, but I've got to confess, when I'm doing Cardinals in the offseason, we usually have the press box windows shut (to keep the air conditioning in) so I have only a vague idea what's going on musically outdoors.
More than most, though I don't think you could see many Kings games on television back then. But you had the legendary Jiggs McDonald doing the games on radio, which was good. Back then, the Kings ranked behind the Dodgers, Lakers, Rams, USC and UCLA in fan interest, and along the way they would be passed up by the Angels and Raiders. That's the tough thing for hockey in Southern California. Not only is it not many fans first choice, but it's eighth or ninth because there are so many options. I used to have a poster of the NHL logos on my bedroom wall that I think I got from a cereal offer. I think the Flames may have been the newest team on there.
I think the NHL teams will survive. Could it accelerate moves for Phoenix or Carolina? Maybe. Most of these owners have deep enough pockets; the Blues have some of the least deep pockets in the league. And all these teams are going to get the bounty of Seattle's expansion fee (if they haven't gotten it already). That's a good piece of change for a rainy day. And for the owners, they don't have money coming in now, but there's not all that much going out, relatively. After today, I think, they'll be done with player salaries for the season.
There may not be many raises anywhere in the NHL next season. The Blues have depth in the farm system, but not that much at forward, and you can't play too many kids. If the cap comes down, with the money players are guaranteed, there may not be much wiggle room for the Blues. The Blues already have about $65 million committed for next season.
As I sit here now I can't help you on that, but when I'm done, I can take a look in our archives. Send me an email.
(Usually when I say that one or two more questions pop up. But not this time.)