New Year’s Resolutions for 2018

First off, I like many others am bummed Canada didn’t feature in a World Junior game on NYE…

 

…Having said that, I don’t believe Canadian hockey fans to be automatically entitled to perennial NYE showcases. Accept it, or don’t, but we ain’t the big bad bully on the ‘ice block’ anymore. Far from it actually – remember, I’m talking @ the Junior level. Though the same could easily be said at the Olympic level –– The world has caught up.

Since winning five gold medals in a row – from 2005 to 2009 – the Canadian World Juniors have taken home the most coveted colour only once. Not exactly a reign of dominance deserving of an annual swan song showcase. Before making a fuss about deserving such a right we should hope Hockey Canada figures out ways to improve and evolve the current version of its program to fuel another era of dominance…

…which brings me to one of my least favourite traditions – New Year’s Resolutions (NYR).

I myself don’t subscribe to the need to make fake promises to myself. The number of times I’ve fallen off the wagon is embarrassingly large and what does one do when they continuously fail to meet the stipulations of a verbal contract?

Just opt the **** out.

In the spirit of the New Year, and new beginnings – but actually, for the collective betterment of sports leagues. Also, the fan bases and everyone who watches or cares to follow them with any degree of regularity.

Here are a few changes I’d recommend leagues consider making sooner rather than later.

Now don’t forget to put those gym memberships to good use folks…

!!!NO BETTER TIME TO START THAN TODAY!!!

–Happy New Year–


NHL

– Let Them Cheat – 

Enough with the face-off shenanigans in the NHL. Everybody cheats, some are simply better than others. Are Linesmen being compensated for kicking guys out? Is there some needless quota I’m unaware of? Stop over-policing hockey’s equivalent to a second free-throw attempt. If everybody’s doing it, treat it as a skill and not a violation. PS – Same goes for cycling. Give these poor f*ckers a break, most of us can’t cycle 10 miles much less 2,200.

– Delay of Game Amendment(s) –

Why can’t this rule be at the referee’s discretion like every other one? It’s played a major factor in countless playoff series’ and it’s only a matter of time before it decides a Stanley Cup Final. The NHL has a chance to be proactive with this one. It could even be reviewable! – more on that below. Also, penalize the would-be benefitting team if a player on the ice raises their hand to influence a call.

– Speed up Reviews (and easing up on Goalie Interference) –

If it were up to me, reviews wouldn’t be a thing (and I know I’m in the minority on that). Having said that, we have the means to essentially eradicate all incorrect calls from our games so I suppose we ought to use it, especially when you consider how a bad call could impact gamblers and betting outcomes. All that said, the need to eliminate lengthy reviews is a must. Implementing a generous (yet reasonable) time limit in which officials and linesmen would have a chance to review the play in question – GIVE THEM A BIGGER SCREEN! – If at the expiration of the timer, they have yet to find indisputable evidence, the play will stand as called. Life goes on everybody – Let’s also stop taking away goals when players breathe on goalies

Also, Tennis has the greatest review system in sports today.

– Quit Playin’ Games (With My Heart) –

The NHL’s continued allowance of needless and childish injury reporting games is annoying. Just tell us what the injury is…be transparent. Allowing coaches and teams to get away with vague reporting should be a thing of the past. ‘Upper/Lower body injury’ is all you get most times. Insist that teams fully disclose injuries and ailments, similar to how the NFL does. Concerns of players targetting injuries are overstated.

***CRAZY IDEA – Penalty Kill Icings

Something has always seemed off about giving a short-handed team the right to fire the puck down the ice, no? In a way, it’s rewarding a team for getting penalized. I know it’s an obscure change to prescribe, nonetheless, I’ve always wondered how different the game would be if it were the reality. Goals goals goalsThis will never happen, but a man is allowed to dream.

 

NFL-Referee-Reviewing-Play-On-Tablet
You’ve got be kidding…

NFL

– A Flawed Process –    

Does anybody really know what a catch is anymore? I thought this was one…

This too…

In both cases…incomplete.

The mass confusion surrounding the NFL’s ‘Process of the Catch’ rule isn’t going anywhere. I’m sick of rulebook jargon being quoted every week following gross misinterpretations of the NFL’s most polarizing rule. Call me crazy, but what if officials reviewed ‘questionable catches’ at full speed. Maybe give them the option to slow it down slightly, but stop with the Super Slo-Mo BS – those cameras pick up every micromovement, none of which should determine if a ball was caught or not.

Stop Paying Attention to ‘Donald’

This goes for all of us really.

 ***POSITIVE SIDEBAR***

– Celebrations are Back! –

Who else is loving the league’s new relaxed stance regarding endzone celebrations!?

If you’re disgusted by it, change the channel when someone breaks the plain. Get over yourself.

– Blame the Quarterback –

Rather than crucify safeties, corners, and linebackers when they instinctively *smash* pass-catchers in the open field, can we also start putting some blame on quarterbacks? They are the ones throwing these death-trap seam routes. The game has changed and is as fast as it’s ever been. Concussions are scary and every reasonable effort should be made to mitigate their frequency in sports. However, the number of passes thrown today that, in past eras, would not have been attempted is staggering. Quarterbacks need to start taking more heat in this discussion. Safety has quickly become the hardest position to play in the new NFL.

– A Woman’s Voice –

I believe more woman should be given play-by-play opportunities. This applies to ALL sports, not just the NFL. This football season saw Beth Mowins call a couple of games early in the year. Mowins herself has called college games for more than a decade. Her carrying of Rex Ryan through Week One’s Chargers-Broncos game did not unnoticed by me. She’s quick, knowledgeable, and provides a fresh outlook on the game. In no way does she sound or appear out of place. Time to open up the airwaves for more females like her. Unless you simply cannot live without hot takes like this one, steeped in first-hand scholarly experience…

(Oh Trent, not even your coaches liked you)


MLB

– Pitch Clock –

I miss Mark Buehrle…dude literally wasted no time on the mound.

Some have reported pitch clocks will be used in the upcoming 2018 season. It’s fairly obvious the game needs to be sped up and a pitch clock would certainly help the cause. Maybe force relief pitchers to show a little more urgency when coming out of the pen as well? A little jog perhaps, none of this slow meandering stroll to the mound. Although, John Gibbons can take as much time as he wants. Legend.

– Pitch Trax –

Another prayer I fully expect to go unanswered, but tracking every pitch has turned everybody into an umpire. We now put every single call under a microscope. Mix it in, but it doesn’t need to feature in every home plate delivery.

– Entice Angel Hernandez into Early Retirement –

Every time this clown calls a game, it turns into a nightmare and does so for both teams. He’s not alone, but he’s the Godfather of Gongshows. If you won’t take my word for it, how about Ian Kinsler’s? Send Herandez on his merry way ––– and more of a general observation, hold umpires more accountable for their actions during the course of a game. They should be forced to answer for certain decisions ––– such as this one, courtesy of Will Little…

We all respect the job they have to do…but please understand not a single person came to see them perform.

– What’s so bad about Dingers? –

Stop bickering about the balls. I know, easy for me to say not being a pitcher. Perhaps they are slightly different, increasing the likelihood of blisters but how many pitchers really suffered from them last season? I think pitcher’s frustrations should be channeled more towards shrinking strike zones. Some of these umps are forcing pitchers to come right into hitters’ wheelhouses to get strike calls.


NBA

– Time to ‘Review the Reviews’ –

The last two minutes of NBA games have always taken a painstakingly long time. Somehow the NBA thought it was a good idea to make them even longer. Now, along with both teams seemingly having a Costco-sized box of time-outs accessible to them, every play is subject to review in the final 120 seconds. In addition, they deem it necessary to review countless other fouls over the course of a contest. Assessing the perceived flagrantness of a common foul is a popular reason to HALT EVERYTHING! Oh and clear-path fouls! Can’t neglect those either. As is the case with other leagues’ review process’, minimizing the turnaround time for a correct call is a must. Right now, the NBA (et al.) are wasting a lot of people’s time – and how you don’t automatically deem a game-deciding play to be reviewable is astounding!

 

– Canadians Celebrate Christmas Too –

Would it kill the NBA to give the Raptors a Christmas Day? It’s debatable whether these games should take place at all, but let’s assume they are here to stay for the foreseeable future. The Raptors have been amongst the league’s elite for several years and deserve to register on the NBA’s Holiday Entertainment Radar. The US ratings will suffer, but Canadians would watch (in droves). Aren’t we ‘beloved fans’ too?

– FIBA Goaltending Adoption –

Have long thought the NBA should consider mirroring FIBA’s approach to goaltending. On both ends, players should be able to slap/grab/ or touch the ball the moment after it contacts the rim. Enough of this ‘imaginary cylinder’ charade. I know I know, I’m ruining the game with all these suggestions, all of which would undoubtedly wreck our cherished television pass-times.


Soccer

A salary cap perhaps, but that is, plain and simply, impossible to implement. Too many leagues, currencies, and other forces at work. It would help with parity across the board – is it obvious I’m a starving Arsenal fan?

…’Tis The Beautiful Game…nothing could possibly be done to improve perfection. Seems like a fitting way to conclude all of this.

 

Enjoy 2018 everybody!

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