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Anything That Involves Goalies Wearing Toques Is A Good Thing

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The Winter Classic was, in fact, pretty much the coolest thing ever (albeit in both senses), providing welcome New Year’s Day relief from the exhibition games between also-ran amateur football teams. The game not only drew more than 70,000 fans but despite the competition with said amateur football games allowed the NHL to score a rare American ratings victory over Policy Academy V reruns. As King Kaufman says, this can only mean one thing: that the business masterminds in the NHL will never do it again. If someone rational accidentally obtains decision-making authority, I’d strongly endorse the argument that the Classic act as a permanent replacement for the always unwatchable All-Star game.

To add a more general point, I remember when many fans were optimistic about Gary Bettman’s NBA-certified marketing skillz but worried that he’d be bad for the game. But while from a business standpoint his tenure has been a disaster, it must also be said that the game on the ice is in much better condition than when he took over. I would especially recommend that MLB take a good look at the post-Olympic things Bettman did eliminate unnecessary lags in the action: getting jagoff linsemen to drop the puck in a timely manner, restoring touch-up offsides, waving off icings where the defending team could clearly touch the puck, etc. Bettman gets a lot of abuse and lot of it is deserved, but in the most important aspect of his job from a fan’s standpoint he’s done pretty well. If only he would get rid of the damn shootouts…

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