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The new USA hockey sweaters for the 2014 Sochi Olympics were unveiled last week to generally unfavorable reviews. The shield on the chest has drawn comparisons to both the K-Swiss and Union Pacific Railroad logos. There are screen-printed stars on the shoulders and fake laces under the collar.

 
 
From 1993 to 2001, Dominik Hasek won six Vezina Trophies. In 1998 he won his second consecutive Hart Memorial Trophy, becoming the first goaltender to win the award multiple times. During the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, he led the Czech national ice hockey team to its first and only Olympic gold medal. 'The Dominator' was the best ever.
 
You can nominate your choice for the NHL's best goalie ever on the Rink Ring Forum.
 
 
Hockey analyst Mike Milbury has been suspended by NBC Sports and Hockey Night in Canada. He has been accused of grabbing, shaking and threatening a 12-year-old player while coaching his son's hockey team in Brookline MA.

Millbury wouldn't be the first parent to act like a fool at his kid's game. However, hockey analysts are a dime a dozen, so Millbury can easily be replaced and I don't imagine you'll see him on network TV again.
 
 
Soccer has never been more popular in North America. Soccer-specific stadiums, low salary caps (2.1 million), merchandising, tv rights deals with ESPN, ABC and overseas broadcasters, and advertising rights for stadiums and jerseys have finally enabled several teams in the league to break even or become profitable.
 
With an aggressive expansion campaign similar to the NHL in the late 60s/early 70s and late 90s, Major League Soccer will have 19 teams by 2012...with no plans on stopping. Once MLS establishes a larger footprint in the United States with expansion into key cities like Detroit, Atlanta, St. Louis, Phoenix, 2nd New York team, and Minneapolis with the possibility of a few others, the likelihood of a large national TV contract increases substantially. 
 
Expansion fees have reached in excess of $40 million so the owners in MLS obviously believe in the future and profitability of the league.
 
Given the NHL's inability to increase revenues substantially in the many of the leagues newer markets do you see a day where the MLS as a collective will surpass the NHL in terms of overall revenue and become the fourth most popular sport in the U.S.
 
 
The European ice surface is 15 feet wider than the 200-by-85 foot rink the NHL uses. Over the last 30 years the average NHL hockey player is 2 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier so it only makes sense to give these bigger players a bigger ice surface.  A bigger ice surface would also mean more scoring with forwards having more room to navigate and defencemen having more ice to defend.
 
 
There is a lot of interest in hockey in Russia, Finland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland and Slovakia.  However, there would be domestic resistance to establishing NHL teams in those countries because they already have strong leagues.  There might also be resistance from within the NHL itself because those existing leagues provide plenty of players to the NHL.

A European division might be set up in Germany and the U.K where there is interest for hockey but their domestic leagues are weak. Having the NHL come in could be seen as positive step to grow interest in the game.  London, Berlin and other cities in those countries are large enough and wealthy enough to support NHL teams.

The main problem I see with a European division is the time differences. An evening game in Europe would be seen on TV in the afternoon in eastern North America and in the morning in the west. This might be OK on the weekends but few North American fans could watch during the week. The way is solve that problem is to have the European league that operate separately but at the end of the season compete for the Stanley Cup.

 
 
The Sun newspapers are reporting that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has proposed a major realignment for the 2012-13 season.  The current six divisions would be replaced by four divisions: Pacific, Midwest, East and South. 2 divisions would have 8 teams and 2 divisions would have 7 teams. There would still be an 82-game schedule with teams playing every team outside their division twice and playing teams within their division to make up the 82 games.

The realignment would fix the odd arrangement currently in place where Winnipeg are in the Eastern Conference while Columbus and Detroit are in the Western Conference.

 
 
I would award 3 points for a goal, 2 points for a first assist, 1 point for a second assist. When you look up scoring stats under the current system, you find Mario Lemieux behind defencemen Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey on the scoring list.  Its pretty obvious Mario is a far superior scorer with 200 more goals than either Bourque or Coffey and a graduated scoring system would reflect that.
 
 
While there is a long history of fighting in hockey, it is now strictly prohibited in Olympic and international hockey, in U.S. college hockey and in European professional hockey leagues. Is it time for the NHL to implement rules that curb fighting in its league?

Those who defend fighting in hockey say that (1) it helps deter other types of rough play (2) it allows teams to protect their star players (3) some fans attend games primarily to see fights.

The problem with these arguments is (1) NFL football is as rough as any sport but they don't condone fighting (2) the hockey goons don't play with star players so how do they protect them if they are sitting on the bench (3) there are now only 1 fight every 2 games, if there are fans who come to see fights they are disappointed half the time.

 

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