Contraction: Yes or No?

Should there be contraction?

Gary Bettman says no because it isnt fair to the fans to take teams away. and in keeping with solidarity with all owners, he will never say yes to contraction because he would be turning his back on those he works for.

Bob Goodenow says no because he certainly doesnt want to have his union lose over 100 jobs that expansion has given to his membership.

so we could say that this is one thing the union and the league agree on.

But what do us fans think?

For me i would welcome contraction. there are just too many poor players in the league that dont deserve to be there. i think contraction would help increase the quality of play as we would see less of guys like Belak, Berg and Perrott and more guys who are third liners now, be on 4th lines. teams would be much deeper and better able to withstand injuries.

The league would work best if they contracted at least 6 teams. there are several candidates. most obvious would be:

Carolina – Really poor fan support

Nashville – Not at all a place where hockey should be

Pittsburgh – Way too many financial problems

Atlanta – Lacking in interest, fans even though have 2 top young stars

Florida – Too hot for hockey. Only need one team in that state. Lack fan interest.

Anaheim – Poor fan support, too many teams in California already

Columbus – Just doesn’t seem like a place where hockey should be since Québec, Winnipeg don’t have a team.

Buffalo – Have struggled of late with fan support and ownership. It may be time to move on.

San Jose – Another place where hockey doesn’t seem to belong despite decent fan support.

Pheonix – Hockey doesn’t belong in the desert

For me a 24 team league would be just right. I would move the pens to winnipeg because we in canada deserve to have more than just 6 teams in the league. we love the game more, we are very supportive of our teams and in a new financial system, teams here would definitely survive and thrive. and I would get rid of: Carolina, Florida, Atlanta, Nashville and Anaheim for sure. as for the last team it would be a toss up between Columbus or Phoenix. Both have new building but for columbus, i am not sure 5-10 years from now they would have the same type of support as they do now. the franchise is still in it’s early stages to really determine if it can be a long term success.

as for Phoenix, I am not big on a team in the desert. and the fact they took the Jets away from Canada makes them undeserving of hockey.

With contraction there would result in a dispersal draft that would involve the remaining 24 teams taking players from the 6 contracted organizations. imagine the 24 remaining teams being able to add front line forwards like Heatley, Kovalchuk, Nash, Zherdev, Jokinen, O’neill, Fedorov. decent offensive forwards like Sykora, Huselius, Chistov, Vasicek, Staal, Horton, Vyborny, Stefan, Savard, Legwand, Sullivan and good role players like Brind’Amour, Rucchin, Cole, Niedermayer and Scott Walker would help any team. defencemen such as Carney, Bouwmeester, Hill, Modry, Spacek, Van Ryn, Ozolinsh would also be good additions. as would goalies Lehtonen, Giguere, Vokoun and of course Luongo.

The depth in talent would be so much greater that it would raise the level of play in the league. lets look at the Rangers for example. I think Left Wingers on any of those teams would be better options than the rangers current top left winger Jed Ortmeyer. this is how diluted the league has become and how thin lineups can get. I think with less teams, a shorter schedule, rule changes that add more flow to the game and would help increase scoring and more enforcement of the rules, the game would be a much better product.

The NHL needs to be a smaller more compact product. they could do more with less to sell teh game and make it more marketable. i think financially they would be better off as there would probably be less problem organizations as they would have been weeded out and gotten rid of. i think the players would be paid well as they are now but fairly as there would be less of those poorer players making good money. seeing players like Berg and Belak be millionaires is wrong. and it leads to a ripple effect on the more skilled and talented group of players who definitely deserve to get much more than these less talented players. with contraction, these players would no longer exist and that would make the league much healthier both on and off the ice.

But I know people will not agree with me. in fact there may be an argument to get bigger and expand more perhaps outside of North America. So tell me what you think?


14 Responses to Contraction: Yes or No?

  1. hockeyhead says:

    YES

    nothing against you nords but can we post something else. i think we talked about this in every possible dimension….

    i mean i just wrote something that was not great but at least it is not about this ongoing pain that is the lockout. (could it be posted please to save us from the ongoing depression)

    really tho…we have discussed this so much already.

    again, nords, nothing towards you and i agree with you 100%. can someone think of something else to write.

  2. aafiv says:

    I happen to agree with you about the league needing to contract. I even agree with your reasoning.

    However, these are pie-in-the-sky views about contraction. The reality is that there are few situations where this would even be possible. Contraction would have to be the symptom of a severe problem with the game and the league. Despite all of the posturing in the last year, no one *really* wants to see this happen except hockey nerds like us who waste time on forum sites like this.

    The bottom line is that contraction will only happen when franchises fail. No one who has paid millions of dollars to own a sports franchise is going to simply give it up for the “good of the game ” or because “the talent level has been diluted”.

    The situation would have to be something like: Mario’s Penguins go under without getting bought or moved or anything like that AND the rest of the owners decide to not sell a new franchise to replace the old one. How possible do you think that really is?

    The simple fact is that this is not likely to happen. Furthermore, discussion of franchises that should go away makes no sense unless you are talking about a franchise that really is on its deathbed. None of these are (except possibly the Penguins).

    A perfect example is Peter Karmanos and the Carolina Hurricanes. He took his struggling small market team from Hartford, Conn. and moved to an even worse market in the American South. Now, there is little or no fan support but one can only guess from this guy’s actions that the Canes are just a big tax write-off for him. He likes losing money and no one is going to take his team away from him just because some of us think that it’s a bad market.

    See what I mean?

    Don’t hold your breath for contraction. It would better for the league but these people are not going to just give up their teams.

    My two-cents.

  3. simplyhabby says:

    Contraction is one of the many soloutions to help fix the current state of hockey but you just can’t just pick some teams to contract based on their perfromance.

    You have to let these teams dies and quit subsidizing teams that continue to lose money with no hope. If you can’t stop the bleeding, let it die. I hear this rhetoric from the NHL stating they worked so hard to have 30 teams yet, coincidentally, the league has gone to the crapper since the mass expansion of the 90’s. Scoring is down, clutching and grabbing is up, and TV contracts are down.

    I am sick of tired watching some of these 4th liners on non contending teams use their “skill” to clutch, hook, rake, trip, slash talented players.

  4. 19Yzerman says:

    thats how the Flames made it to the finals.

  5. werdo says:

    I agree that expansion has been the downfall of the league, but not for the same reasons. Most hockey analysts say that the talent level in the NHL has never been higher, and I agree. TSN has been airing some older games, and they’re pretty funny to watch, it’s not as good as everyone seems to remember.

    The money for the players has increased so much over the last decade or so that the players are training like demons to try to get to the show and keep their spot once they get there. In the 70s and 80s, the players used to show up at camp in September after a summer of beer and cigarettes and use those two weeks to get in shape. Now they train all year long.

    It seems to me that the problem stems from the significance each game now has. In a 30 team league, you now need a 90+ point season to get into the playoffs. In the 21 team league, almost everyone made the playoffs. The losses didn’t really matter all that much, as long as you could squeak in ahead of the lowly Jets or Kings or whoever was the cellar dweller that year. Now, even for the good teams, every loss is significant. Tampa won between 15-20 one goal games, if they would have lost ten of those, they wouldn’t have made the playoffs. The increased competition has really piled on the pressure to win games, no matter how ugly. It has led to over coaching and the defense first style of play. Notice how the trap came in during the early 90s?

    So go ahead with contraction I say! And the players can get back to boozing all summer long and showing up to camp 30 pounds over weight.

  6. Minky says:

    some teams should move back to canada. because, lets face it, a canadian city with 50 000 people in it would fill a stadium, unlike some of the poor US markets where there ar hundreds or thousands, or millions of people.

    bring back the Jets, it would do sooooo much better. people there are dying for hockey to be back.

    A team on the east coast would probably do well too.

  7. Beckfan5 says:

    I think if you contract teams then play would open up. Not too much clutching and grabbing. Thats going to happen no matter what, its just instinct. There wont need to make any rule changes because youll have the best players out there showcasing their skill. Not a bunch of 6th liners tackling you and tieing you down like cattle to get the puck away.

    And having a hockey team in Atlanta is like having a basketball team in Vancouver…….and we saw what happened in both cities. Notice how the Charrlote Hornets didnt relocate to say Ottowa but insteadto New Orleans?

  8. rojoke says:

    I wish someone would first try and fix the problems that exist on the ice, all the clutching and grabbing, and forget all this contraction bs. And not these October pronouncements either. A real, bona fide, season long attempt to let the skill players play and make the slugs prove they belong with skill, not just the ability to hug the opposition.

    MLB couldn’t contract two teams, the NHL is going to have a major obstacle contracting six. First there’s the money involved. This isn’t a McDonald’s franchise that you’re dealing with here, where they have a built-in contractual right to revoke a franchise. These teams are granted to their owners in perpetuity. They have the right to refuse potential ownership changes, but that’s about as far as it goes. If the NHL is going to start taking back franchises, there’s going to be a helluva lot of coin involved in it. If you look at the last expansion fee of $80 million for Minnesota and Atlanta, I would guess it could cost the NHL as much as $100 million per team. With the way the league is crying poor, do you reasonably think that they’re going to come up with $500 or $600 million to tell six of their “partners” to go home?

    You brought up the prospect of letting teams fail on their own. But as we’ve seen in Buffalo and Pittsburgh, the league will not let that happen either, not while they’re trying to get a solid foothold into the US sports market. They’ll scrounge every last corner of the US business landscape in an effort to salvage any team in the US market. I’d even venture to guess that they’d do what MLB did with the Expos and run a team that couldn’t find an immediate buyer. How long have they been running the Expos? Four seasons?

  9. aafiv says:

    Right on, brother!

    All of this $31-million cap talk is meant to save those teams that aren’t financially viable.

    Let him die.

  10. 19Yzerman says:

    Take a team like pittsburgh and send them to play a couple of seasons in winnipeg. Those pens fans would suddenly have a large appetite for hockey and conversely the winnipeg fans knowing that this team could leave would offer support in attempt to keep the team there causing in a sence a fans support auction.

    NAAAA!!! LIVE AND LET DIE

  11. kingmo15 says:

    Anyone suggesting that contraction should occur just because it’s “not at all a place hockey should be” OR “too hot for hockey” or “hockey doesn’t belong in the desert”…GIMME A BREAK. YOU’RE AN IDIOT!

    Hockey is a great game that can be marketed all around the world. To deprive a potential fan base from that game just because it’s played on a cold surface in a warm climate is ridiculous. NHL Hockey sucks now because of the hooking, grabbing, tackling, etc. There’s tons of talent. I drew this comparison about 3-4 weeks ago to another similar post…here goes:

    Alexander Mogilny had 76 goals in 92-93. Ilya Kovalchuk had 41 in 03-04. Both were among the league leaders during their respctive years. So, everyone assuming that the talent pool is watered down in today’s pro game is assuming that the 92-93 season resembled a bunch of all-stars compared to today’s athletes. Yet, Alexander Mogilny managed to score 76 goals – YES 76 GOALS – among higher talented players. But in today’s watered-down NHL Kovalchuk, a league leader mind you, could only manage 41. So, one could make the assumption that the Alexander Mogilny of 92-93 had to be AT LEAST TWICE as good as Kovalchuk is today…? Correct? I mean, Kovalchuk only scored 41 goals in a watered down league, yet Mogilny had 76 amonst a higher level of competition, so, in theory he could have been maybe 3, or even 4 times, better than Kovalchuk… Well, sorry, he’s not. It’s arguable whether he EVER had better skills than Kovalchuk in terms of goal scoring. But that’s for another conversation.

    Come on people. Don’t be stupid. Please, it concerns me that people are this ignorant. It is not the talent pool. If anything, the talent has gotten better due to a larger group of humans participating in the sport on a global level.

    The REAL reason scoring (AKA Entertainment) is down is because of two things: 1 is that the defensive strategies in the game are more prevalent than ever, and 2 the officials do not know how to call the game by the rules. In 92-93, if Glen Wesley put his stick up to Mario Lemieux’s Penguin crest on his jersey, and pulled Mario off the puck, that was hooking. Now that maneuver is commonplace and it is killing the game. That is the primary fault I have with the Bettman administration. Definitely not contraction. Anyone who has any sense and logic what-so-ever should/would agree with me.

    By the way, there’s a lot of money to be made in the souther United States for a talented group of athletes playing a phenominally entertaining game.

  12. nordiques100 says:

    well hockey in the desert is retarded. it belongs in canada not nashville or pheonix. that was the point i was trying to make. those teams have no business existing especially since there were two teams where they didnt even attempt to try and save in winnipeg and quebec that were quickly moved to the US. however now, it will be over bettman’s dead body before we ever see carolina or nashville lose their teams. do you honestly believe these franchises ever deserved to be awarded an nhl hockey team while winnipeg and quebec were quickly jettisoned and a city like hamilton denied repeatedly????

    there is NOT tons of talent. sure there is more players but more in this case does not mean better. yes i would say the players are bigger, faster, stronger, than ever before but is that better? i dont think so. the islanders had teams where guys like bourne or goring or the sutter brothers were 3rd liners. now a guy like ponikarovsky or antropov are solid 2nd line players. i would say the league is watered down. there are too many players who do not handle the puck, do not do anything creative or skillful when they have the puck, who really dont have the brain function to think the game and make a skillful play. this is why there is way too much clutching and grabbing because that is all many of the players know what to do. there are way too many guys who do nothing but dump it in, try at all means to prevent a goal from being scored, make the game as boring as possible and get under the skin of the star players.

    cutting down the league, would cut the number of players and thus leave us with a league filled with the better players around and less of the belaks, kilgers or bergs.

    my point was that there are way too many useless players around that take away from the likes of kovalchuk. no where did i say that kovalchuk is a much lesser player than mogilny based on the stats. there is talent around these days, plenty of it, but we never see much of it cause the less talented player is crowding the ice and acts more as a barrier than a true hockey player who would play with smarts, skill, agility, grace and precision. you weed out the teams, let kovalchuk and other current stars play with a better group of talent and then perhaps you would see the monster point totals from the past.

    sure the rules need to be inforced. but it isnt the naslunds or the kovalchuks who clutch and grab, it is those fringe guys who have regular nhl jobs because there are 30 teams in the league and not 20. that is the only way they know how to play for them to stay as regulars. that is what got them to the show and that is what will keep them there. you get rid of teams, you get rid of alot if not all of these types of players.

    and money to be made in the southern US? that is a joke. nashville is empty, florida is empty, carolina is empty anaheim is empty. money is being lost down there.

  13. Bishop7979 says:

    is the talent thinned because of expansion? yes. will it stay like this forever? no. during every period of expansion the skilled players in the league get spread out and filler players are brought in. but like every period of expansion the talent level will go back up with time.

    It doesnt help that there is a gap between the old guard super star who is on their way out (mario, Stevie Y, Hasek, Shanny, Chelios, Messier) and the young soon to be superstars (nash, fluery, Heatley Kovalchuk, ect). There just isnt a whole lot of players to really get excited about in their early 30’s right now. Its not like it was ten years ago when some of these guys who are on tehir way out were in their primes, we dont have a group like that. But there has been an explosion of young talent that will be coming into their own in the next 2-5 years, they will fill in the ranks for these teams that you seen to constantly be trying to kick out of the league. The talent level will go up.

    Phoneix has build a playoff contender in the course of one off season, when Nashville gets its young guys into a line up on a regular basis they will be joining san jose as a heirs to the detroit/colorado/dallas/st louis playoff spots.

    Fix the game on ice product, create a better cba and create a sense of winning in these less than conventional hockey cities and people will come. its a fast and physical sport that can draw fans in.

    Alot of teams are losing money, you can say that pittsburghs on shaky ground, but why? the rangers are doing the exact same thing pittsburgh did, so are the caps, and pretty soon alot of teams that saw success in the past, who have tried tohold onto it for too long will have to do their own version of it. the diffrenence is that unlike some of these other teams the pens decided to run their team like a business for two seasons until the cba is sorted out.

    they lost less money than over two thirds of the leauge last season, finished last, and yet they still had better attendence than the devils.

    if you want to contract based on teams that lose money ditch st.louis, La, detroit, the rangers and dallas. because if you look at it by money lost these are the teams that spent the most money beyond that which was brought in by the team. Nashville is pretty stable money wise and is on the rise. Florida too. Carolina and anaheim I cant speak for, but pittsburgh isnt any worse off than calgary or edmonton.

    and as far as your argument about seeing a better product with less teams because of the better group of talent line. I look to the world cup and the olympics. teams still clutched, still grabbed, still raped each other like it was an eposode of oz. scoring wasnt that much higher than an typical nhl game.

  14. Bishop7979 says:

    is the talent thinned because of expansion? yes. will it stay like this forever? no. during every period of expansion the skilled players in the league get spread out and filler players are brought in. but like every period of expansion the talent level will go back up with time.

    It doesnt help that there is a gap between the old guard super star who is on their way out (mario, Stevie Y, Hasek, Shanny, Chelios, Messier) and the young soon to be superstars (nash, fluery, Heatley Kovalchuk, ect). There just isnt a whole lot of players to really get excited about in their early 30’s right now. Its not like it was ten years ago when some of these guys who are on tehir way out were in their primes, we dont have a group like that. But there has been an explosion of young talent that will be coming into their own in the next 2-5 years, they will fill in the ranks for these teams that you seen to constantly be trying to kick out of the league. The talent level will go up.

    Phoneix has build a playoff contender in the course of one off season, when Nashville gets its young guys into a line up on a regular basis they will be joining san jose as a heirs to the detroit/colorado/dallas/st louis playoff spots.

    Fix the game on ice product, create a better cba and create a sense of winning in these less than conventional hockey cities and people will come. its a fast and physical sport that can draw fans in.

    Alot of teams are losing money, you can say that pittsburghs on shaky ground, but why? the rangers are doing the exact same thing pittsburgh did, so are the caps, and pretty soon alot of teams that saw success in the past, who have tried tohold onto it for too long will have to do their own version of it. the diffrenence is that unlike some of these other teams the pens decided to run their team like a business for two seasons until the cba is sorted out.

    they lost less money than over two thirds of the leauge last season, finished last, and yet they still had better attendence than the devils.

    if you want to contract based on teams that lose money ditch st.louis, La, detroit, the rangers and dallas. because if you look at it by money lost these are the teams that spent the most money beyond that which was brought in by the team. Nashville is pretty stable money wise and is on the rise. Florida too. Carolina and anaheim I cant speak for, but pittsburgh isnt any worse off than calgary or edmonton.

    and as far as your argument about seeing a better product with less teams because of the better group of talent line. I look to the world cup and the olympics. teams still clutched, still grabbed, still raped each other like it was an eposode of oz. scoring wasnt that much higher than an typical nhl game.

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