NHL season should be shortened

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 2:07 PM ET

Not that I'm becoming predictable but at this time of year I'm always compelled to revive a long-standing rant.

Here it goes.

The NHL season should end no later than May 31.

Here we are, almost three full weeks into June, and nobody has hoisted the Stanley Cup yet.

It could happen tonight -- as long as Cory Stillman doesn't keep setting up Fernando Pisani for goals -- but most of the world has long ago stopped caring because hockey is a winter sport and even in the Canadian Prairies, it ain't winter.

Only our complete devotion to hockey keeps Canadian fans tuned in, but even the most diehard followers can't resist the lure of the golf course, the beach, the softball diamond or the kids' soccer pitch.

Winnipeg's warm weather season is far too short to spend half the nights indoors with eyes glued on the TV. Honestly, would anybody in Canada even be watching if the Cinderella Edmonton Oilers weren't involved?

If the Stanley Cup final goes seven games, it will end on June 19 -- just five days before the NHL entry draft.

Training camps will start again in September, meaning the only months where NHL hockey is not played are July and August. Not even baseball, with its 162-game schedule, can boast a 10-month season.

Hell, the PGA Tour takes a longer break than that. Ten months? That's longer than most celebrity marriages.

Now the NHL is talking about adding four teams to the playoffs and introducing a play-in round before the first best-of-seven. They can't seriously be considering something that will make the season longer.

Whether it adds playoff teams or not, the NHL needs to find a way to present the Cup before the calendar turns to June.

Knocking 10 useless games off the 82-game schedule would be a great place to start.

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SO LONG ONTERRIO: So just a thought: shouldn't Bombers GM Brendan Taman have found out that Onterrio Smith was an out-of-shape porker before he caused a huge stir by signing him? The Smith signing put Charlie Roberts' nose out of joint and created the most ink for an over-hyped football player since Ryan Leaf ... When asked to comment on the Roethlisberger accident recently, Montreal Alouettes motorcycle-enthusiast coach Don Matthews said: "It feels better to ride without a helmet." That is, unless you are crashing through a windshield, of course ... Kudos to Sportsnet and TSN for using the British announcers for the World Cup instead of the American feed. Listening to games with American announcers on ABC is like listening to a Brit call the Super Bowl ... Did you hear about the big wreck involving a star athlete this week? It was in all the papers. No, not the one involving Pittsburgh's quarterback -- we're talking about Shaquille O'Neal shooting free throws. You don't want to watch, but you can't help it.


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