In the past it was easy to look beyond the overall state of the NHL. Win or lose, the Penguins put on some fun and exciting sport. However the nebulous state of the Penguins has opened the eyes of many to what goes on beyond that of CONSOL and Sidney Crosby.
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Before the lock out that cost fans the 2004-05 season, the game was as slow and boring as ever. There was no room, scoring was low, and it looked as if teams were skating in mud from all of the hooking, holding, and interference going on.
The lock out came and went and scoring rose once again. There was room, there was speed, there was fun. There was an excitement to attending, to watching, to tuning in and watching as skill retook the game it had previously owned.
Through the years we saw brand new stars grab a hold of the league and not let go. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Phil Kessel all ushered in a new era of enjoyable hockey with which we'd all hoped as fans to bask in for years.
Instead, over time, we've lost all of that spark.
This is not the first to be written about the boring state of the game.
This will not be the last to be written about it.
It is, however, another blow to the body of the NHL. The one with owners who see no issue with how the game is played. The one with a commissioner, once again inept and burying his head in the sand at the decaying life of what was once fun.
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Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, Tavares, Stamkos, Kessel are all seeing their numbers nose dive off of a cliff. With near 10 games left in the regular season, the leading scorer has 74 points. The league will be lucky to see a player average a point per game (NOTE: the author is aware of Sidney Crosby's ~1.2 points per game pace). That is not only bad, that is pathetic. That is depressing. That is preventable.
The fans deserve better. They deserve entertainment. They deserve their money's worth. It's a delicate balance of providing for the fan and providing entertainment. At the end of the day the coach's job is gone if he doesn't win and some coaches win by playing defense first hockey. It's more of an argument for too many teams, not enough talent, for an over saturation of a good thing.
When there are two generational talents said to be entering this coming draft it's time for change. It's time to bring back the power play, it's time to return to calling what's seen, it's time to return to enforcing the rules on the books.
We're seeing the skills of some of the best wasted in their primes because of some random desire to ignore what makes the game great. Let's not waste Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel's best as well.