Conspiracy theories and rumors are always fun to think about and to argue with your friends about. We are all guilty of thinking something happened for a particular reason to result in a fixed outcome. Our world is loaded with conspiracy theories and if you don’t think so, you can wonder off on YouTube for hours watching videos of different conspiracy theories ranging from the assassination of JFK to the Flint water crisis.
The NHL has had their fair share of odd happenings. With 3 lockouts under commissioner Bettman, there is only an 87% chance of even having a whole season. I find that abnormal. Its also weird why star players like Crosby and Malkin get treated like princesses on their 16th birthday (there are others too). At the end of the day, the NHL wants to be a profitable business, it’s a show and it didn’t start that way, but it is now. The NHL is a show, for yours and mine entertainment, so along with the great entertainment we see there are going to be some questions along the way.
15 The “Ass Man”
Ah, one of my favorite NHL stories here. As the story goes back when the Montreal Canadians were a powerhouse back in the '40s, they went on to win the Stanley Cup in 1945 and the famous Frank Selke was the assistant manager to the legendary Conn Smythe. Well, when they went on to engrave the name for the champions they abbreviated the assistant manager part to read “Frank Selke Ass Man.” Why did they do this? The Hockey Hall of Fame will tell you that it was because the engraver ran out of room and had to shorten it, but it makes me wonder if this was a prank by another bench boss or one of the players or an owner. This might be far stretched, but I wouldn’t put it past some old time hockey players, especially if they have a couple malted beverages in them.
14 The Gordie Howe Hat Trick
Gordie Howe is known for being an all around player. He had unbelievable skill, but he was also was able to stand up for himself and fight his own fights. Guys were afraid to play against Mr. Hockey, who would go end-to-end and burry one or crosscheck you in the teeth if you took the puck away from him. So, it was termed a Gordie Howe Hat Trick when a player has a minimum of one goal, one assist, and one fight in the same game.
So, you would think that the Great Gordie Howe would have an abundance of these right? Well not quite, Gordie only recorded two Gordie Howe Hat Tricks in his very lengthy 20-year career. And he wasn’t the first to do it either. Harry Cameron of the Toronto St. Pats recorded the first, of the now, known Gordie Howe Hat Trick. So, why isn’t it the Harry Cameron Hat Trick? Or named after the all time leader in them, Rick Tocchet, with 18 career Gordie Howe hat tricks? My guess, Gordie was a legend and plus it sounds better, but I’ll leave that for you to draw conclusions to.
13 The Delay Of Game Penalty
There are several ways to earn a delay of game penalty, but the one that is most common way now is a player directly flipping the puck over the glass when you have the puck in your defensive zone. The rule was implemented because Chris Chelios would do this to stop play and get a line change if his team was caught under pressure in their own zone. To prevent this from happening the NHL decided to penalize players for delay of game if this occurs.
The result is that games have been won or lost because of this penalty and often times in major games. My question is why should you receive a penalty for this? It is the same concept of the icing rule. You ice the puck down the ice because you are trapped in your own zone and the rule for icing is the team that committed the icing cannot change and the faceoff will stay in the zone from the team who iced the puck.
So, with the concept of the plays being the same, but the consequences are different what is the motive behind this? The simple answer is goal scoring. The league wants more offense and giving more powerplays out, in the long run, will result in more goals and that’s what the fans want to see, right?
12 Mike Richards' Off-Ice Antics
Mike Richards, at one time, was one of the more respected two-way forwards of the NHL. He has had his recent share of off-ice problems over the summer where the LA Kings terminated his contract because of possession of oxycodone, without a prescription. Earlier in his career, he served as a captain of the Philadelphia Flyers. Richards put together some solid seasons in Philadelphia, but why was the captain traded to the other side of the country to the LA Kings?
Richards has been known to enjoy his fair share of parties. So, maybe he requested a trade to LA to where the lifestyle would fit him more? Not so much actually, the conspiracy behind the trade was that Richards was involved with one of his teammates wives. It appears that management didn’t want this issue to get to the locker room so they decided to move Richards to LA. It actually turned out well for Philly because of acquiring Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and a second round pick in the trade.
11 Patrick Sharp’s Off-Ice Antics
Ironically, Patrick Sharp was one of the people to come forward and speak to how good of a teammate Mike Richards was. They both played junior hockey together and spent time in Philadelphia together. However, Sharp is in the same boat as Richards. Maybe not so much with the party scene, but when Sharp was traded to the Dallas Stars the conspiracy’s started to roll in.
Unfortunately, for Sharp the talk of the town was that he was sleeping with his Duncan Keith’s wife. Keith was eventually asked about the rumors and said that the rumor was false and his divorce was a decision between him and his wife.
10 Sean Avery Accused Of Being Gay
Sean Avery is one of the most controversial players to play the game. He was always one to give you a show and most of the time he didn’t do it by his scoring abilities, although he could do that from time to time too. He was even controversial in locker room interviews where he commented on how players around the league date his “sloppy seconds.” When Avery wasn’t playing hockey you could find him hanging around in fashion stores and shows. He has even had some off ice interviews where he walks around a store looking at the latest hand bags and was accused of being engaged to Andy Cohen who he has been friends with for some good time .So, yeah naturally and unfortunately peoples eyebrows raise because of some few out of the ordinary hobbies he has and who he hangs out with. That’s unfortunate for Avery, but he took full advantage of an unfortunate situation. Avery used his “interest” in fashion to date and hang out with some very good looking super models and ended up marrying one. All I got to say is well done Mr. Avery, well done.
9 Are The NHL Playoffs Rigged?
The NHL playoffs are always extremely exciting and it always seems like there is rarely a sweep. With TV ratings and revenue generating being obviously important to the league, it’s easy to make an argument against the NHL that they are trying to fix games.
In the 2013 NHL Playoffs, Alex Ovechkin was skeptical of the NHL of taking away the integrity of the game. In Game 6, where all his team needed was one win to move on to the semi-finals, the New York Rangers where not given a single penalty during the extent of the contest. The Rangers went on to win Game 6 and ended up stealing Game 7 to knock of Ovechkin and the Capitals. Ovechkin had comments about Game 6 and how it was possible that a team was not assessed a single penalty throughout the game, in the playoffs. Ovechkin suggested that the intent was by favoring New York in Game 6 would hopefully result in a Game 7 to generate higher ratings and more importantly more money.
8 Are Big Name Players Favored?
Yeah, obviously Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are usually the starting point to this conversation, but other stars around the league get special treatment as well including some NHL legends. Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux have both been criticized, much like Crosby and Malkin, for getting protected by league officials. There are a couple reasons why people suspect the league has something to do with the “special treatment” that these stars get. One is because of the theory that people want to see these players on the ice, or on the powerplay and not in the penalty box. The equation is pretty simple: get these players more ice time, the more goals they will score, the more jerseys they will sell, the more fans they put in the seats, the better ratings they achieve, and ultimately the more money they make.
7 The Gretzky Rule
Oh, the famous Gretzky Rule. Before the rule was implemented teams that would have coincidental penalties would go on to play four-on-four. The Oilers were loaded with talent in the early '80s and Gretzky was the center of it. The theory behind it was with less players on the ice the more room Gretzky and his talented army had to work with and often times they would score while playing four-on-four. So, the league decided to change this rule in 1985 so when there was coincidental penalties teams would still play five-on-five.
Gretzky came was frustrated with the decision to this rule change and from there on it was known as “The Gretzky Rule.” The NHL later changed it back during the 1992-1993 season only a couple years after Gretzky retired.
6 The Marty Brodeur Rule
Martin Brodeur was one of the best all time of playing the puck and helping his team transition up the ice and limiting the amount of time the opposing team spent in his zone. Brodeur got a lot of credit for his outstanding abilities and even so much that the league may have made this rule to contain him.
The Marty Brodeur Rule or the trapezoid was created to prevent the good puck-handling goaltenders from playing the puck and being able to build a smooth breakout of their defensive zone. Also, by having the goalies stay in their nets it allows the offensive team to create more pressure on the opposing team and make the defensive team more prone to creating turnovers, which results in more goals.
5 The Bobby Hull Rule
Everybody likes to see a wicked wrister buzz by the goalies ear, then catch the bottom of the cross-bar and watch the red light turn on, unless you’re a goalie. This scenario was even scarier and threatening if you were a goalie in the 1960s, where you had nothing protecting your face.
Bobby Hull was one of the first to really push the limits on curving the blade of your stick and where the term “banana blade” originated. The players loved the performance of a curved blade because the goalies had difficulty predicting where the puck was going to go and it was happening with greater velocity. The NHL implemented a rule went on to limit the amount of the curve a player could have on their stick. Bobby Hull was one of the greatest goal scores to ever play the game and was getting limited on his lethal shot. Fortunately for Hull it didn’t limit his goal scoring ability but the league may have tried.
4 Edmonton And The NHL Draft Lottery Fixed?
The NHL implemented the Draft Lottery in 1995 and is still in effect today. Edmonton was one of the worst teams in the league from 2006-07 to the 2015-16 seasons. With earning four first picks in six years, Edmonton had a lot of promise to be a great team again. However, the controversy is that when they drafted Connor McDavid in the 2015 NHL Draft, they were scheduled to pick number three before the draft. What do you know? The Edmonton Oilers had the number one pick in the draft and all they had to do was draft the most promising prospect we have seen since Sidney Crosby in the 2005 draft.
With having the superstar, Connor McDavid, in Edmonton would give the city flashes of the great Wayne Gretzky. Everyone knew that McDavid was going to make and immediate impact in the NHL and perhaps the NHL wanted to see Edmonton excel as they once did with Wayne Gretzky.
3 Brett Hull 1999 Overtime Goal
One of the most controversial goals ever to be scored in NHL history was by Brett Hull in the 1999 Stanley Cup in triple overtime in game six to win the Stanley Cup. Brett Hull’s foot was clearly in the crease while he scored the Stanley Cup clinching goal. The explanation of the league was that Hull had two shots that were directed toward the goal, which he was considered to still be in possession of Hull, which then exempts him from having a skate in the crease while scoring a goal.
The 1999 Stanley Cup series between the Dallas Stars and the Buffalo Sabers were also criticized for the whole series of biased officiating favoring the Dallas Stars who ended up the victors of the series and the Stanley Cup.
2 Gretzky Trade To L.A.
Wayne Gretzky was traded to the LA Kings in the summer of 1988, but why? Why would you trade the best player to ever play the game and that has won so many championships with your organization? Greed, that’s why. Gretzky was “traded” to the LA Kings for $15 million in cash and three first round draft picks.
Was it greed or was it because the NHL needed a west coast market and bringing the superstar to Hollywood would hopefully spark the interest of the NHL? If that is the case, I think that it may have worked, since the state of California has three NHL teams with a steady following.
1 John Scott Sent Down to AHL After Being Named An NHL All-Star
The great John Scott story from last years All-Star game was exactly what the All-Star game needed, but it could have gone really bad. During the All-Star voting, as a joke, the Arizona Coyote’s enforcer John Scott was receiving a lot of votes to go to the All-Star game because of the fact it would be funny to see him play the three-on-three format against the most skilled players in the world.
Well turns out John Scott lead all of the All-Star voting and was voted to the NHL All-Star Game. The NHL didn’t want to see a non-skill player in the All-Star game to disappoint fans, so the NHL decided to step in. John Scott was traded to the Montreal Canadians, who didn’t need a player like John Scott, so he was automatically sent to the AHL. Now that he is in the AHL, the NHL could disqualify him as a NHL All-Star because of his new standings and getting exactly what the league wanted, no John Scott in the All-Star Game.
Scott ended up writing a great article about his whole journey to the All-Star Game, that he ended up being the MVP of, on The Players Tribune. He noted that he was contacted by someone from the NHL and was asked “Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?” Obviously, Scott was upset about the insulting comment and felt as the league clearly didn’t want him to play in the All-Star Game, but their efforts didn’t work.