2014 Year in Review: Hockey’s Biggest Problems

What follows is a list of hockey’s biggest problems in 2014 that need to change in order to improve the league in 2015. Yes, that is what we do here at The Royal Half, we fix the NHL. And yes, this may be a “listicle” or whatever fun Internet term you want to call it. That is a small price to pay to improve the great sport of hockey. You’re welcome, in advance.

Expanding Trapezoid

The trapezoid behind the net was put in place so that goaltenders could not slow opposing team dump-in opportunities, and other than that it is based in no real logical or purpose. And now, the trapezoid has expanded by two feet on either side. At this rate, it will grow too big and destroy us all!

Also, as a Kings fan, the trapezoid has given Jonathan Quick more opportunities to play pucks farther away from the goal while still in a confined area which is never a good idea under any circumstances.


Quick Blues goal GIF

Ban the trapezoid

When will the trapezoid stop expanding? Why did it expand in the first place? Will this rule continue to evolve until there is a small one-foot section in the corner of every arena where the goalie absolutely cannot play the puck? That’s ridiculous. Not to mention a terrible waste of paint. I bet the NHL has their hands in BIG PAINT. This is what this trapezoid nonsense is all about, isn’t it NHL?

International play does not have a trapezoid, why does the NHL? And that’s another thing: why doesn’t the NHL use an international-length ice surface? Come on, NHL, get it together.


Ugh, has the NHL looked at the Edmonton Oilers once in the past five years? Adding another 23 roster spots in a league that still employs John Scott on a regular basis does not sound like keen marketing strategy. The only possible benefit would be keeping Ilya Bryzgalov and his crazy antics in the league. But even that’s not true when he will always have a home with chronic goalie black holes like the Minnesota Wild or Anaheim Ducks.

Expansion is good, in theory. In theory, it adds another fan base to the NHL, allowing another city to grow the sport of hockey. In theory. Except when you remember that the Florida Panthers are averaging less than 9,000 fans per game.

Oh, and putting a team in Las Vegas – four-and-half hours away from the ownership confused Arizona Coyotes – does not inspire a lot of confidence in Gary Bettman and the gang. The NHL should probably solve the “Sun Belt” issue – i.e. Florida’s attendance and financial issues, Arizona’s ownership and financial issues, the Carolina Hurricanes’ attendance issues, Atlanta R.I.P., etc. – before placing another team there. Yes, Las Vegas is a city with a large population and even more tourists, but who is getting up in the middle of the afternoon after an all-night gambling binge, some post-poker drinking and clubbing, and a Penn and Teller show wanting to go to an NHL game?

The “Black Knights” does sound like a cool name.
But wouldn’t that go better with the Kansas City “royalty” motif, though…? (The answer is “yes”)

Plus, why go watch hockey when you can visit the Hoover Dam for free?


Mumps is running wild in the NHL, with at least 14 confirmed cases of the viral disease since the beginning of the season. And it’s not just limited to fourth liners and backups. Notable players like Sidney Crosby and Corey Perry have felt the brunt of the outbreak. They should all knit a quilt or something.

It’s not a great look for the NHL, especially with the face of the league looking like, well this:

Ugh, it’s sick that someone would try to capitalize on a disease like this

Hybrid icing, the trapezoid, untucked jerseys, and now mumps. Introducing mumps into the league is classic Gary Bettman. Mumps need to go the way of the dry scrape. Admit you made a mistake, Gary, and get it out of the league. Either mumps go, or you do, Gary.

Winter Classic & Stadium Series Jerseys

The Winter Classic jerseys have not been terrible, but if you are going to go throwback, go all out with leather pads and old style sweaters. Not half-ass it and go the semi-historic new style route of the Capitals:

What the hell is this? An homage to the Washington Senators and 2008 Team USA jerseys?

Oh, and the Stadium Series jerseys? No historical significance, just different for the sake of different. These suffer from a “Turn Ahead the Clock” vibe, a craze during the 1990s in which MLB teams would look thirty years into the future to what their jerseys might look like.

There is no specific design choice. Just a new jersey, that the team will wear once (maybe twice), and then it’s gone. Why should we care about the jersey so much to have crazy reveals? Oh, to be a fly on the wall for the Reebok NHL design department when these babies were thought up:

Design guy #1: Hey, I think I got it. Wouldn’t it be cool to see the LA Kings in, like, a silver jersey?

Design guy #2: Wait … yes!

Design guy #1: And, the New York Islanders should have, like, just a big bold type of “NY” on their jersey. Nothing else. No hint that it is even an Islanders jersey. Just some letters, in a blue jersey, that can be easily confused with a crappy Rangers jersey. That would be cool, right?

Design guy #2: Hell yeah!

Design guy #1: And, like, all of the jerseys should be shiny, because outside equals shiny, or something like that. We could call it Shiny Stadium Series or something? Or not…

Design guy #2: Yes! Yes! Shiny! Yes! Give this man ALL of the money for these great ideas!

Design intern #1: Hey, shouldn’t we think about this for a minute…?

(intern drowned out by the loud sounds of triumphant pats on the back)

And now we have this effort from the Sharks:

Other than looking like a wannabe 1930’s era Blackhawk sweater, it really adds no staying power. It’s not one color, and the predominant color is black – which flies in the face of the Sharks semi-rebranding back to teal efforts.

Well, if there is any redeeming value, at least players love the new look.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 1.16.51 AM

Ohhh…this is awkward…

Ohhh…this is really awkward…

Ohhh…this is really, really awkward…



Oh, Hockey Twitter, oh no, no, no, no. What happened to you? It was not supposed to be like this, not at all. We built you to be a trusting resource of hockey news, stats, information and historical trivia. Not this, this … MONSTER.

It’s really quite sad, the downfall of something that used to be a useful database of charmless hockey chatter, devoid of any charisma, personality, humor or opinion. There were rules, Hockey Twitter, and you went and humaned it up, didn’t you? Now look at the jibberish they’ve got you saying:

Ugh, that’s awful, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. It goes much, much deeper than that.

Where did it all go so wrong?

If only there was someone or a group of people out there that could tell Hockey Twitter how to act while on social media.

Man, that would be great, because people are generally receptive to the criticism of someone random on the Internet whom they have never met.

If only this fictional person or people existed, then Twitter – a social media platform where you have the choice of who or what to listen to – could just get back to normal.

If everyone only thought the same way about everything related to hockey – nay, the WORLD – then Hockey Twitter would be a glorious font of wisdom again.

I think an action we all can take is to just hate people we disagree with, because that’s an effective way to enact change … on Twitter, that is.

Anyway, light a candle for Hockey Twitter, folks. Maybe Bettman can fix that, as well.

Flubber McGee is TRH's resident Kansas City correspondent, and has survived as a Kings fan long before the dawn of Internet streaming sites. He has seen the Kings win exactly zero non-exhibition games in person. Have you ever achieved enlightenment? Flubber has, because he once witnessed Kevin and Brett Westgarth fight in, and get kicked out of, the same game (they didn't fight each other, unfortunately). In addition to being a part of TRH, Flubber runs a Kansas City hockey blog. It's exactly what you think it is. You can follow Flubber McGee on Twitter @FlubberMcGee.