NHL Commiting Suicide Or On the Right Track?
2/15/2005 1:19 AM
Byline: Mike Cunningham
The National Hockey League plans to make a bold step by cancelling a season. This is the best thing they could ever do!
It's hard to believe anyone would want to end an entire season. I know if you are Savannah State who finished their season with out a win in College Basketball, you might think that was a better option. But here the NHL and Gary Bettman are going to do what NO other MAJOR Sports League has done. Cancel the entire season.
Folks, this is a GOOD thing.
I have read so many articles that tell me the same thing. The Fans don't care. Well, I'm sure the hardcore fan DOES care. In Philadelphia, we have the Phantoms, where current and future Flyers are on the ice. That can fill the gap some. But what fans in Philadelphia want and across the hockey world is a better product. And cancelling the season will help the cause.Cancelling the season will allow the NHL and the Players Association to re-think the whole thing. They will have to discuss the following things that should help FIX the league:
- Salary Cap: The NHL has a huge base among the media centers in the Northeast who have a ton of cash and of course their Canadian Base who don't. The only way to make it equitable for the Canadian squads is to institute the Revenue Sharing/Salary Cap plan. Everyone will make the money they should. The Owners in good faith have to ACCURATELY report their finances, or else this won't work.
- Contraction: This is even an EVEN more sensitive issue than the Cap. This will put hockey players OUT of work. And very often these will be the North American players, who can be better marketed in North America. But hockey has to return to its base. They have to pick up from Phoneix and Atlanta and Florida and California. Yes the home of the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightening have to pack it up.
- Shorter Season (Concentrated Playoffs): It is a said over and over, there is nothing like the Race to the Stanley Cup. No other sport's quality of play changes as much as the style of hockey in the Playoffs. Not the NBA, not the NFL, not even baseball. A shorter season will be possible with less teams, and a concentrated playoffs will keep players fresher. You have to sell what you do best, and the NHL does do playoffs best.
- Bring Back Fighting: I know, I know. Hockey has already been criticized for on-ice incidents. But that is because the players aren't allowed to POLICE themselves. Bring back the hockey and watch the crowds SURGE. Look why is NASCAR successful? The Crashes. It's pretty simple. Regular Season... All the fights you want. Playoffs... they go away.
This list is obviously illustrative and not exhaustive. And there is so much more that can and should be done. But Mr. Bettman, don't be afraid to think out of the Penalty Box on this one. You have an opportunity to right this ship and bring back a more sleeker sturdier model. You can't go back to business as usual. If you try? There will be no business to do.
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