NHL should think about Euro teams in playoffs

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins could be playing against the likes of Tomi Maki of Jokerit...

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins could be playing against the likes of Tomi Maki of Jokerit in the NHL playoffs under a scheme touted by The Beezer. (Reuters)

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:22 AM ET

The NHL hasn’t hit many home runs in recent years, but their outdoor classic certainly is one, proving that when you think outside the box, sometimes good things happen.

In the spirit of thinking outside the box, and given the fact that the NHL movers and shakers have a considerable amount of time on their hands, why not continue to think outside the box and come up with new ways of improving the brand?

One idea, which isn’t really new, is to add the top teams from the best European leagues to the NHL playoffs — sort of an FA Cup format. Adding European teams to the regular NHL schedule, which has also been kicked around, might be too much in terms of logistics, length of trips, number of games travel, etc.

But a playoff format could work. Many fans and media types believe the excitement and intensity level of the NHL playoffs drops off after the first round.

Imagine the intrigue and excitement if, say, the top team from the four or five best European leagues were added to the playoffs? It would be fantastic and elevate interest in the league and the game in a huge way.

Speaking of the NHL, the league has cancelled the remainder of pre-season games. So, yes, there is a huge upside to the lockout.

REGULARLY ABUSED

Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief and welcoming the regular NFL officials back with open arms. But weren’t these same players and coaches bitching last season about the officiating being lousy and inconsistent? Is this season’s outrage that much different than from previous seasons? Sure the replacement officiating left a lot to be desired, but the NFL game has become so fast, even the so-called regular officials have had a tough time calling a clean game in recent years.

FITZ IS FAB

How about Fitz Vanderpool? Last Saturday at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph, Fitz defeated Phil Rose by unanimous decision in a six round professional boxing match to improve his record to 25-7-4 (13KOs). The thing is, Fitz turns 45 this year. The former Canadian welterweight champion turned pro back in 1993 and prior to his bout on Saturday, last fought seven years ago.

HOPE SHE HAS A GOOD LAWYER

According to USA soccer goalie Hope Solo, Dancing With The Stars is rigged. ABC is reportedly considering legal action against Solo. The allegations are front page news across America. In a related matter, millions of Americans continue to wonder why the rest of the world hates them.

WEENIE OF THE WEEK

The Green Bay eye doctor who is offering free Lasik eye surgery to the replacement officials who worked the Packers-Seahawks game on Monday night. Where the hell was the dude before the game?

WHILE I'M AT IT

--A statue of French soccer star Zinedine Zidane head butting French opponent Marco Materazzi in the final of the 2006 World Cup was unveiled in front of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. They were originally going to place the statue beside statues of French war heros but, well, you know ... Apparently the statue is drawing millions of soccer fans anxious to see what an Italian soccer player still on his feet looks like.

--Canadian pitcher Eric Gagne says in his new book that 80% of his teammates with the Los Angeles Dodgers used PEDs. Apparently the Dodgers were one of the cleanest teams in Major League Baseball.

--As a guy who remembers both the 1972 Summit Series and 1987 Canada Cup, in terms of drama, importance and intrigue, there’s no comparison: Both were great, but the Summit Series has it in spades.


Videos

Photos