And now for something completely different…

Think of a crappy garage band playing the seediest bars in the city. At this point in time, the NHL doesn’t have much more prestige than a crappy garage band playing in a seedy bar. Hell, poker outdraws it on television, and crappy American cars driving around in circles for hours on end is more popular.

I think an agreement common in the garage band scene is that when a band plays a venue (seedy bar), the band gets to keep the cover charge, the bar keeps the income from alcohol sales. Could this work for hockey?

The PA now wants all of the benefits of the league, but will accept none of the responsibility. They want huge salary increases for one good season and will not accept a decrease in salary when in a two year slump. When a franchise is failing, they summon their collective wisdom and economics degrees and suggest that the team should just move.

The owners have already demonstrated their incompetence in managing their own affairs.

I’m going to propose a true partnership between the NHL and the PA.

The league would hand over control of a certain number of seats in each building. The PA sets the price for these seats, sells them, and distributes the revenue however the hell they want. If 10,000 seats per rink (average) were given to the players, averaging $100 per seat and 41 home games per team, that equals about 1.2 billion – about what the owners are offering, and any sane person with an IQ greater than a that of a turnip would jump at it. These are just estimates, don’t jump on me for the details.

In this scenario, the PA would decide how to pay the players, and the team and the public don’t need to know anything about salaries. The only thing the team needs to know is that they have the players’ rights until the age of 30 or 31 and that’s it. UFAs can then switch to any other team for whatever reason (although there should probably be a limit of 2 or so, so that Toronto doesn’t end up with every twit who grew up dreaming of playing for the leafs). There would be no holdouts – the players themselves have agreed (good luck) to the salary system. There would be no salary based contracts – a base salary plus performance bonuses (or something like that) would replace the salary contract.

The teams would keep all the revenue from the remaining seats, TV contracts, concessions, jerseys, souvenirs, parking, etc. And do not have to worry about player salaries or US – Canadian currency exchange.

This would add some responsibility to the PA, remove the resource disparity in the league, end arbitration and holdouts (unless of course they try to demand a trade), end all those incredibly boring articles in the paper about salaries and payroll and, yawn, I’m dozing off just thinking about it. It might even lead to an end in player agents (do they take about 10% of players salaries?).

Is this complete crap? Are these the ramblings of a man already pushed over the edge due to a lack of hockey?