Morning Skate: What are your New Year's resolutions for the NHL?
Greg Wyshynski, senior writer: Two resolutions for the NHL, one on the ice and one off the ice.
On the ice, the NHL should resolve to solve the ongoing nonsense that is the coach's challenge for offside. The league has tweaked the rule once already, adding a delay-of-game wrinkle to discourage coaches from abusing the privilege. But it's not the frequency with which the challenges happen that's the issue, but rather the situations to which they're applied.
Simply put, the NHL needs to put a time limit -- 10 seconds, 15 seconds -- on the amount of time between an illegal zone entry and a goal being scored, where anything beyond that time period can't be reviewed. Again, it's the spirit of the thing: The offside coach's challenge was created to correct egregious missed calls that lead to goals. Without re-litigating its existence, perhaps we can agree that it's appropriate to use on goals scored on the rush after an illegal entry, but maybe less so when a defending team has several chances to defend the play and potentially end the threat.
There's nothing wrong with a little honest logic.
Speaking of honesty, my other NHL resolution is for the league to be honest with itself, in acknowledging that fans are going to watch Olympic hockey whether the NHL is there or not, so it's a better look to not completely ignore the tournament.
We all understand that the NHL doesn't want to promote the Olympics when the Olympics' failure to promote the NHL is something that helped get us into this pickle. But to summarily ignore hockey on one of its most significant stages would come off as obtuse at best and painfully petty at worst. Especially when there are a number of Olympians -- Jordan Greenway, potentially Casey Mittelstadt, heck, even Brian Gionta -- who are going to be impact players in the NHL.
Emily Kaplan, national NHL reporter: Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk irked a lot of people when he used the league's centennial celebration as a platform to threaten relocation. The Arizona Coyotes are reportedly staying at Gila River Arena for at least one more season, but their future after that is murky. And where to start with the mess in Calgary? "As I think everybody knows," commissioner Gary Bettman said last month at the NHL's board of governors meetings, "the [Flames have] stopped the pursuit of a new arena because they think it's futile."
Yeah, that doesn't sound promising.
My resolution for the NHL in 2018? Solve these situations before they become dire. These teams deserve better. These fan bases deserve clarity. It's only right to settle the current problems before the league expands yet again.
All signs point to the NHL adding Seattle as its 32nd franchise. But as that potential ownership group begins its process -- a ticket drive could begin as soon as later this month -- the NHL needs to take care of its existing franchises. Of the three mentioned above, the league seems most committed to helping out the Coyotes; after all, the team is Bettman's Sun Belt baby and he wants to see it work out. Melnyk doesn't want to cede ownership control, but he also doesn't see a potential arena situation (downtown or otherwise) he likes. In Calgary, it's a standoff over funding.
The league believes that, financially, it is in a great place right now. Hockey-related revenue is projected to be around $4.54 billion this season. The price tag for Seattle's entry is $650 million, a significant jump from the $500 million fee Vegas paid in 2016. But the league is only as healthy as all of its parts. The onus isn't only on the NHL; each club probably needs to make some concessions as well. I'd just love for a promise of less drama in 2018.
Chris Peters, NHL Insider: Happy New Year, NHL. Just a few simple New Year's resolutions for you. I like where Greg is headed on the offside review, but I'd just get rid of it entirely. I've long been a proponent of using the technology when you have it, but I think the referees get that call right or close to right enough to just let it be. The league should avoid things that take goals off the board and slow things down.
In 2018, the NHL should also resolve to better promote its young rising stars in the United States. The two most exciting players to enter the league are in Canadian markets, but Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews are freaks of nature and they'll find an audience in the U.S. While there has been a little more effort to market them, but we're still not seeing them on national TV enough.
Meanwhile, a really intriguing next wave -- featuring players like Mathew Barzal, Charlie McAvoy, Brock Boeser and, soon, Rasmus Dahlin -- is coming. We don't have to fully move on from Sidney Crosby as the face of the NHL, but shining a brighter light on the players who are going to carry the league for the next 10 to 15 years should start now. It was instantaneous with Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, and the game was better for it.
Some of these players would have had a big stage at the Olympics (and Dahlin still might) to fully announce their arrival to the sporting world. Without that, it's up to the NHL to figure out how to showcase them better on its own.
Lastly, the NHL should resolve to scale back the outdoor games to the single Winter Classic again. The Stadium Series games work from a local standpoint, as a way to reward NHL markets with a big event when getting tickets to others, like the All-Star Game, may be hard to come by. The league has done a good job with them and they sure sell a lot of tickets, but now that the centennial celebration is over, I think there's more value in preserving the Winter Classic's marquee status by not diluting it with other games that don't generate a ton of buzz outside of where they're being held.