Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Brendan Shanahan and the State of the Game

Brendan Shanahan has a two-day state-of-the-game summit planned this week with some of the big names among the players, coaches, general managers and referees of the NHL. Rather than discussing the all-pervasive lockout, they will talk about ways to open the game up and improve its entertainment value. Shanahan said
''I just thought it would be interesting to sit in a room together and discuss the game of hockey - just the game of hockey. I felt that when we do come back (from the lockout), we really need to get our focus back on the game of hockey. "Regardless of what side you're on (in the labour talks), nobody is bigger than the game of hockey and I just wanted to put the focus back on the game."
Shanahan is not known as being the most outspoken and publically proactive guy so this comes as a surprise to many. Apparently, though, it's not completely a pipe dream since he's gone through all the right channels, speaking with Gary Bettman, Colin Campbell, Bob Goodenow and Trevor Linden. The League and the Union have no problem with it since it's not interfering with negotiations so he got the go-ahead. Shanahan is realistic about the summit's chances of making an impact though. He knows the NHL is making its own efforts to improve the game and only wants to add to the process, not "step on anybody's toes." It will be interesting to see what comes out of this. Because of the large amount of research required to think up viable changes, I don't know if it's all that likely to produce anything immensely groundbreaking. You never know though. With all the hockey minds that will be present, something should get done. Of course it will be up to the league office to decide whether any suggestions are implemented. The NHL already has some rule changes set to go into effect when the league starts up again and I doubt they'll want to make too many more all at once. (via. TSN)


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