SAVE THE NHL

For a coupla years now I have had an idea rolling around in my head about saving the NHL.

Now that the CBA negotiations are almost upon the NHL and NHLPA I thought it would be a good time to unveil my own “Roadmap to Peace”If anyone on the board knows about English Football, you should be familiar with the promotion/demotion system used to keep the teams competitive within the league and it’s divisions.

My idea to save the NHL is similar to that tier system. This is how it works:

Each team which advances to their conference semi final (8 teams in the NHL) would begin the next season as a Premier Division team. Premier Division teams would receive the biggest cut of NHL revenues, from sponsorships and television, and be free to spend it however they wish (free agents, rookie signings, new jerseys, whatever).

The NHL would play the same as now, but each team would face each Premier Division team at least twice in a season, once at home and once on the road. Thus, the fans get to see all of the best players vs their team live or on TV.

If a premier division team missed the playoffs, or was eliminated in the first round, they would be ‘demoted’ to a second tier team, and to the victor would go the spoils.

No salary cap needed. The demand for high end players (your $10M+ players) would be limited to eight teams. Other teams would just have to develop talent. I know that some will groan and say ‘I don’t want to watch some old guys and raw rookies play college hockey’ but rest assured, my friends, after a few years teams would all begin to see the benefit of signing guys to reasonable, long-term contracts, rather than risk having free-agents leave each year you don’t make the second-round.

Some players will become ‘gun for hire’ type players, but those guys (cough, cough Cujo) would soon find that if they can’t win, no one will want them.

Thus, this system would encourage teams to develop and retain players, it would encourage players to perform better, and the winner in the end? The fans, because we get to keep hockey playing forever, see the best players each year, and at the worst (Buffalo, Calgary, etc…) nothing would change, except that the regular teams (non-Premier Divison) would now have a little less talent available and we would have more parity in the league, excepting the Premier teams.

This idea also gives the ESPN’s and ABC’s what they want, run and gun, shoot-em-up games to broadcast each week and all the fancy graphics, promos, glowing pucks, celebrity goal judges, sound effects, fireworks, and laser lights you can put in a hockey broadcast.

Is this idea reasonable or ridiculous?


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