SUPER MONKEY BALL!
5 ways the NHL could improve by becoming more like Super Monkey Ball
#5. Enforce a strict time-limit and never stop the clock.
Nothing increases excitement like a ticking clock. The NHL would be smart to keep the clock running through commercial breaks and timeouts and goal celebrations and everything else, because downtime is death. As soon as you're born on the miserable planet you start dying, so let's hurry the hell up and see as much actual hockey as possible during that time, okay? Go go go!
#4. Provide incentives and bonuses to encourage players to make riskier, more exciting choices.
In the grand tradition of Pro Beach Hockey's two-point goals, the NHL would benefit from something in the vein of the bananas in Super Monkey Ball that reward you for covering more of the map and going along more dangerous routes.
I'm not sure how the NHL should structure this alternative-incentive system, but they probably shouldn't use bananas.
#3. Balance the entire rink on an axis to allow for the surface to physically tilt.
Whenever a player takes a penalty, instead of being short-handed, that team's end of the ice is lowered by a few degrees for the remainder of the game. Under this system, trying to win games by gooning it up will LITERALLY be an uphill battle.
#2. Encase all players in giant indestructible clear balls.
Worried about head injuries? You can ban fighting and suspend players all you want, but it's still not going to do much good. If you're SERIOUS about dealing with the NHL's concussion epidemic, then the only real rational solution is to put everyone inside giant hamster balls.
#1. Instead of human players it's monkeys.
This one is self-explanatory.
Thus far in this young NHL season, no two teams have been better than the Sharks and the Blues.
The Sharks are 5-0. They lead the league in goals per game with 4.80, they're second in the league in goals against per game at 1.40, and they're averaging an insane 42.4 shots per game.
The Blues are 4-0. They're behind only the Sharks in goals per game (4.75) and are fourth in GAA (1.75). And while they haven't been taking quite as many shots as the Sharks, their powerplay has been the league's best (37.5%).
Of course, five (or four) games doesn't really mean anything, right? Every team goes on hot streaks, and streaks will mean even less this year than they did last year in the shortened season. There are plenty of things you can point to in order to explain the hot starts for these two alphabetical order rivals.
For one thing, neither one has had a very hard schedule. The Blues edged the Blackhawks 3-2 on October 9th, but aside from that they've beaten the Predators (just okay), the Panthers (awful), and the Rangers (awful too, apparently).
The Sharks have had an even easier schedule, trouncing those same Rangers, beating the Senators (who I am going to assume aren't good because the Ducks also beat them), and posting 4-1 victories over the Coyotes (decent) and twice over the Canucks (crappy losers).
Even though it's too early to really judge, more-than-likely both the Sharks and the Blues are actually very good teams. The Sharks have been picked by many brilliant experts to win the Pacific Division as well as the Stanley Cup. The Blues would probably be getting similar attention if they didn't play in the Blackhawks Victory division, but they're also expected to be one of the best teams in the West when the season is done.
In the end, it's important not to try to draw too many conclusions from a hot start, but there's one thing of which we can be sure: whoever wins this battle between unbeaten teams will definitely win the Stanley Cup this year.
Prediction: The Blues die like eighty times on a pretty easy level of Super Monkey Ball and give up. Patrick Marleau beats the entire game with his eyes closed.