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Old 05-13-2008, 10:10 AM   #1
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Default Its time for the NHL Renaissance

Great Read ITs time!!

"Travel back with us to the year in sports that was 1994, when hockey was at its zenith of popularity.

Mark Messier led the New York Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in 54 years. Wayne Gretzky made pucks fashionable in Hollywood. NHL '94 was one of the coolest sports video games available. Michael Jordan was out of basketball, and Sports Illustrated even hinted that the NHL could be poised to eclipse the NBA.

We all know what happened. The first lockout. The neutral-zone trap. Overexpansion. Some fans started paying less attention. Then the second lockout wiped out an entire season, and more fans tuned out entirely.

But with a potential sexy Stanley Cup finals matchup pitting the Penguins and Red Wings, hockey has a unique opportunity to squeeze its foot back into the sporting forefront … and Page 2 is here with a list of things the NHL should do to reclaim its fair share of the spotlight.

• The "glow puck" returns and is joined with "glow sticks," "glow skates," "glow beards" and "glow blood!"

• Encourage players to start showing more raw emotion.

• Foster the return of real rivalries.

• Have players get into the public eye more often by hanging out with Hollywood types.

• For the same reason, have Elisha Cuthbert date every North American-born player … and have Anna Kournikova date every Russian-born player.

• Dudes without helmets.
• Goalies without helmets.

Remember when it rained plastic rats in South Florida in 1996?
• Mandatory dress code, enforced by Don Cherry.

• Relocate the teams with the three lowest attendance figures in 2008-09 -- to Winnipeg, Quebec City and Hartford in 2009-10.

• Bring back colorful nicknames like "Rocket," "Boom Boom," "Grim Reaper" and the "Golden Jet."

• Four words: Bring back Peter Puck.

• Reprise an ultra-successful marketing vehicle in conjunction with the NBA and NFL by having Sidney Crosby star in a cartoon with LeBron James and LaDainian Tomlinson.

• Keith Tkachuk and Paul Kariya should wear this jersey at all Sunday home games.

• Generate more fan interactivity, like what we saw at Panthers games in 1996.

• More flaming mascots.

• Every cold-weather team should play host to one outdoor game each season.

• Make Rick Tocchet CFO.

• Ask Mr. Hockey to return to play in his seventh decade.

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