Author Q & A:
Note: To email your question to the author, please go to the Contact page. Answers to selected questions below:
Q.> What is the book about? - ARI S.; MONTREAL, QC.
A.> Saving the Game is kind of like a detective story investigating the issues in hockey. Each chapter is like a separate case for a different issue in hockey. It starts by examining the facts of the case, looks at some of the common false leads, and then tries to uncover what is truly behind the issue. Once it solves the case, it becomes clear what to do about the issue, and so each chapter ends by seeing exactly what that is and how it would work. Some of the issues investigated include violence & injuries, the excitement level of the game, financial troubles, and rights for the fans & public in sports. -MARK
Q.> Is there anything you would change about the book, given this year's NHL season? - DAVID C.; PETERBOROUGH, ONT.
A.> No, not a thing. The book was written with full awareness of the changes made by the NHL this season, as well as an early opportunity to see them "in action." Included in the book is a full explanation of them, as well as their significance and likely results as time goes on. So far, they have played out pretty much exactly as expected, and there is nothing I can think of in the book that I would change. It's important to realize that most of the major issues in the game, and efforts to address them, are longer-term things: they didn't happen in one day or one season, and they won't be fixed in one day or one season either. This is the perspective of the book. -MARK
Q.> What are your thoughts on three-point wins? - GORDON MCINTYRE; VANCOUVER PROVINCE
A.> As I see it, three-point-wins is not promising as a strategy for boosting the excitement level of the game, because teams are not playing boring defensive hockey in order "not to lose," but as a means to win. Defensive hockey is what wins. However, I'm not against three-point-wins as part of a new points-system to improve the "fairness" of the standings-- where a win in regulation would get 3 pts, a win in overtime or shootout 2 pts, a loss in overtime or shootout 1 pt, and a loss in regulation 0 pts. I don't see a compelling reason to need to make every game produce the same number of points (3), but I'm not against it, either. -MARK
Q.> What do you think hockey should do about bodychecks to the head? - MARIANNE; NEWMARKET, ONT.
A.> Eliminating needless blows to the head is one of the most important things we can do to reduce injuries and especially concussions in hockey. But how do we do it? We can't make the comparison to hits from behind and ban all hits that strike a head, because what if a player drops his head in the way of a proper check, which are needed as part of defense in hockey? However, what we can do is make the comparison to high-sticks, and ban all hits that follow-through up high above a certain fixed line-- where heads and necks are, and sticks and bodychecks need not go. -MARK
Q.> Do you think the NHLPA would be against 4-on-4 because it would mean less player jobs? -STAN Y.; CALGARY, AB.
A.> I don't think so. Playing four-on-four wouldn't necessarily mean less players on a team. You could keep the same number of players, and that way, you simultaneously diffuse any suggestion players might get more tired. The twelve forwards would simply be rearranged into six pairs, and the defence stays the same as now. Or potentially, another team might go with five forward pairs and four defence pairs, but the same total number of players. In fact, it would be my personal recommendation, if the move was made today to 4-on-4, to keep the same number of players on a team. -MARK