As of this moment, there has been no progress between the NHL and NHLPA. The league still hasn’t recovered from the last lockout and here we are again. Without the NHL, North America will have no premier league, I think that situation would correct itself in under a years time.
The NHL is asking for a 24% give back on all contracts, imagine walking into work tomorrow and the boss tells everyone “Hey give me a quarter of your earnings, or leave.” What do you do? Leave. These guys are capable of signing on to play in Russia, or even like the last lockout, a start up league in North America. Players like Sidney Crosby, Zach Parise, and Jonathan Quick could garner enough interest in new teams alone.
Here’s how I see a new league working out in North America.
1. Major markets will start teams and play in arenas that already have a hockey set up. This will rid the league of about 10 markets easily. While I don’t believe that the NHL is in dire need to get money back because “half the league is going bankrupt.” I do believe that new teams may simply just not hold interest for old fans.
2. Have a salary cap agreement that leaves teams able to compete with each other, but doesn’t hurt the money makers. If the league had a salary cap of $100 million as opposed to $70 million, there would be more room for great players to play together. This would create underdogs, and highly paid teams who can afford the costs. Before you say this would lead to one team winning all of the time remember, baseball and soccer do not have caps. It may actually help create parody.
3. Get a TV deal that people can actually use. NHL network isn’t even offered on the highest packages of some American packages. NBC Sports is around, but honestly if you didn’t know it already you’d have no idea where to find it.
4. Remember the two-line pass? Yeah, bring that back.
5. The idea that would create an immediate positive response from fans. Have a two week free agency period where each team can sign 7 players. Then have a draft. Create a sliding wage scale like used in the NFL Rookie draft and left the fun unfold. How great would fans feel to have a team draft their favorite player. You create new bonds right away.
I don’t want to see a lockout. I do believe that North American hockey will survive without the NHL, and it could be a lot of fun to watch unfold.