I remembering seeing Mission: Impossible in the theater some 12 years ago. (What else was I going to go see? The Pallbearer?) Looking back, I remember two main things about the flick. First – it pushed the envelope action-wise, and left us with at least one iconic spy scene (you know, when Tom Cruise casts his Scientology magic to hover above a shiny kitchen floor.)
Second – I have no idea what the fuck went on in this movie.
If you asked me to explain the plot of the movie now, in 2008, I could probably describe some visuals for you, name drop a few of the actors, and provide you with the most basic of information. I would feel as if I did my job selling the movie to you, but both you and I know, I have no idea what the hell I’m talking about. I’m still not sure if Jon Voight was a good guy or a bad guy. (Based on my Varsity Blues bias, however, I’m going to assume bad guy.)
In essence, this is my opinion when it comes to the once and current NHL.com. It seems like most of the basic things you’d want out of a league’s website are there, and you can get enough information to sound like you know what you’re talking about. Other than that, it’s a backwards-logic, confusing implosion of hockey.
Good news, sports fans. The NHL feels your pain, and has come out with a sequel.
MI:2 kept things simple. They gave us a plot that we all could follow (Dougray Scott looks evil – so he must be evil!), the budget got bigger (which means more sweeping crane shots of forlorn characters), and Thandie Newton inevitably got abducted, forcing Tom Cruise to write a sports agent manifesto and go into business on his own.
So what of NHL.com:2?
From my expert analysis, they’ve tried to take the confusing out of getting your hockey news. While its predecessor featured a mind-boggling 20 separate boxes of information on the front page, the sequel has trimmed it to 14. The departed include:
- NHL.com Network: I guess they’ve realized that the only people who want colorful features on the Phoenix Coyotes are probably fine with going to Coyotes.nhl.com.
- NHL Auctions: I’ve never been looking at the homepage with $130 strewn about my desk, hoping a signed Ryan Malone glove might randomly appear before me.
- NHL Radio: You know, because those game streams are so dependable.
Nice work, Sequel. You just eliminated character development on a bunch of supporting characters that were just introduced only to be killed by Ethan Hunt anyway.
Is it just me, or is the main menu bar slightly shorter as well? (plays the match game). Ok, yeah, we’re down 3 menus. Best wishes and happy trails to “Mobile,” “Community, “and “Rules.” Oh Christ, no Rules? Who’s ready for anarachy? (Put your hand down, Mr. Downie.)
Curious about the omission of Community menu? That’s ok- it was only a gateway for the league’s 3. charitable efforts. The NHL would like to apologize to cancer patients, children, and the environment. You’re on your own.
But wait! Good news! The Statistical Leaders headshots and leaderboards have been replaced by a simple 3 Star Leaderboard. Why is this good? Because it guarantees a maximum one iteration of the worst headshot in hockey.
Another plus: the gratuitous pretty pictures are there, as the Frozen Snapshot has been reduced in size and moved to the right sidebar. Ladies and gents, it’s good to know that the NHL kept their equivalent of Tom Cruise dangling off the side of a cliff whilst free-climbing.
Finally, the main window on the page, the featured stories, has increased in size. This, while adding an aesthetic improvement, will no doubt backfire in ways Deadspin Widescreen has in the past. After all, this story on Sundin:
is fine on the old page. But in the sequel:
The guy over Sundin’s shoulder gets that much creepier. Not unlike Cruise’s long hair in MI:2.
At the end of the day, the NHL is betting on John Woo-physics. If two motorcycles at top speed collide in 20 feet in the air with both riders firing guns, gravity will supercede all other potential combustible reactions and everyone will come out of this just fine. Or at least shinier.