Across the SB Nation blogging network today, you're going to see most hockey sites come up with different ways to 'enhance the experience' of hockey. Some are talking NHL hockey, some hockey in general, some... are probably going pretty far out. It's all part of a campaign SBN is doing in partnership with Samsung.
Blades of Steel is, by far, the greatest hockey game ever made. NHL '94 may get hype because of the film Swingers, but the truth is that Blades of Steel will always be superior because it distills hockey down to its empirical level by capturing the three purest fundamentals: Shooting, passing, and fighting.
The designers of Blades of Steel understood that these three things were the essence of what made hockey fun, and everything else about the sport was simply some kind of extension of one of those three areas. And if you doubt the awesomeness of Blades of Steel, consider this: The NHL has already implemented shootouts to decide tie games, a rule pioneered by the video game. It's time to implement the rest.
Currently, after a fight, both players go to the box for five minutes. This can sometimes create an imbalance between the teams, as a low-minute pest might instigate a more skilled opponent into a scrap. But that's no fun, and it only encourages the role of pest in today's game.
Instead, consider the rules of Blades of Steel: You lose the fight, you sit in the box. Winner stays on the ice. This is how it should be. Losing a fight is now the penalty. Since real life players don't have hit points, the loser will be declared as the player who hits the ice first. This means fewer pests and fewer meaningless fights. The league is already trying to legislate out premeditated scraps -- this change will make fights more meaningful, and that should mean players only dropping the gloves when they're serious.
In the game today, faceoffs are handled by the linesmen, who occasionally kick out players when they don't like how they're messing around before the puck drops. This is boring.
Instead, the linesman should be required to yell "FACEOFF!" as loud as he can before dropping the puck. This will be a signal to the players to start
pounding the A button battling for the puck like there's no tomorrow. Each faceoff will be the most exciting one you've ever seen, I guarantee it.
As it stands now, penalty shots are only awarded to players interfered with on a clean breakaway.
But we can do more. In Blades of Steel, any penalty in the goal crease is an automatic penalty shot. The benefits of this seem obvious to me.
These have gotten a little silly. It's time to reconsider.
The only allowed celebration should be to skate to the middle of the nearest circle and lift your stick in the air. Your teammates should surround you on the edges of the circle and together you should celebrate like a monolith just taught you how to use tools.
These are all simple changes that require little effort on the part of the NHL. It's time to leave the era of clutching and grabbing behind for good. It's time to embrace the thrilling parts of hockey. It's time to play Blades of Steel.