At long last, the NHL is back! After a marathon negotiating session, the NHL finally agreed to a collective bargaining agreement with the players union. While we know hockey isn't the most popular sport, LAist is thrilled. We still remember the feeling in this city when the Kings reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993. The whole city was buzzing with hockey. The Kings were sold out for the whole season.
Times have changed dramatically now, and the NHL has a ton of work to do. First off, the league doesn't have a TV deal that pays any guaranteed money. The sport has expanded into markets where there is little or no interest in the sport. And finally, the product has become less watchable each year.
Long gone are the days of Wayne Gretzky and the high-flying 1980s Edmonton Oilers. Defense and the neutral zone trap are in vogue. There are no real stars in today's NHL either.
Obviously the NHL needs to find ways to reach to out its alienated fans before becoming completely irrelevant. But they also have to work on improving the product. LAist would like to see some dramatic rules changes, doing everything from allowing the two-line pass to shrinking goaltender equipment. Anything to speed up and energize the game. And maybe we'll even write up a few Kings and Ducks posts.