Should NHL Consider a Shorter Season? – The Hockey Writers

Since the 1967-68 season, the NHL has played at least 74 regular-season games, apart from lockout years. But should the NHL think about shortening the schedule? Here is a radical proposal that has the interests of fans, players and the game of hockey at its heart.

What’s Wrong With the Current Schedule?

The NHL currently operates on an 82-game schedule, which many people love. But is 82 games too many?

For viewers and fans, it can be. Casual viewers of the NHL can find themselves overwhelmed with the amount of games and questioning the importance of them. If you are not a dedicated hockey fan, but instead someone who enjoys watching the odd game, it can be hard to decide that a game is important to watch when there are so many played.

Steven Stamkos is a player who has suffered injuries that could possibly be linked to a heavy workload. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Why should a casual fan get excited about the Carolina Hurricanes’ home game against the Buffalo Sabres when they both play again next week? This is exactly the point that the NHL and the owners do not understand when they are trying to sell the game to a mainstream audience.

The NHL Needs to Reconsider Its Approach

An owner will sit here and say, “We need more games to fill arenas and sell merchandise,” but the more games you play, the more diluted the product becomes. The NFL operates a 16-game schedule that keeps fan interest at a maximum level because they have fewer games. Suddenly, the Minnesota Vikings against the Denver Broncos is important—fans know that the game holds gravitas. Compare this to the NHL, where if a team loses tonight they can win again tomorrow and all will be fine. Instead,

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