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The Business of Hockey Discuss the financial and business aspects of the NHL. Topics may include the CBA, work stoppages, broadcast contracts, franchise sales, NHL revenues, relocation and expansion.

What do YOU want?

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Old
11-12-2004, 08:32 PM
  #1
Captain Lou
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What do YOU want?

I have been reading these posts in this forum almost everyday, since it is the only hockey I get. I haven't posted much because all this situation has come down to is a bunch of avid, wild hockey fans who are being stripped of enjoying their favorite sport and team. Instead of arguing about what teams are better, we are arguing about payrolls, Forbes, Arthur Levitt, greedy players, felonious owners, etc. etc. etc. This is something that is lost on me often, as I read through all of these posts. We are not talking hockey, nor are we talking about what WE want. So, with that in mind, I am curious as to what does each of us want in the new NHL that will restart at a time to be determined later. I want to stress that what anyone may want may or may not be probable, possible, or even legal. Let's start talking about the things that would the NHL the best it can be for US, the fans.

I will start with my two cents:

1. Reasonably priced tickets (How about a 5% rollback there? ).
2. A system that allows a team to keep its players if it so chooses.
3. A system that does not guarantee profits for teams, but does allow well-managed teams to do well financially.
4. A system that allows all teams to be able sign free-agent talent.

I must say that fundamentally, I am against a cap, but at the same time, a salary cap does not affect my life in any way, shape, or form. If a cap will allow these things to happen, then so be it. If a luxury tax will do it, fine too.

I guess what I am really asking is: Does it matter to you if the players or owners get stomped in this, and what type of CBA will allow my wishes to become realities?

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11-12-2004, 09:43 PM
  #2
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1) A rollback in ticket prices. In Phoenix you can get a couple of tickets in the rafters for a decent price a couple of times a year. I have disposal income I would gladly pay to go to the games if it was a little more affordable. It's fun to sneak down into the lower bowl after all the suits go home for dinner and watch the game from there, but I wouldn't mind buying tickets at a reasonable price at that level for a good game.
2) It would be nice to see teams be able to retain their players, and to have the advantage in the marketplace to retain their players if they chose. Sure, it's maybe not the most fair to the players, but I'm talking about what I am willing to pay money to see. I am more interested in a team that can be built from the ground up and built into a contender than the constant turnover that there is potential for under a cap system.
3) A level playing field among all teams in terms of competition and in competition of services. The Coyotes had their biggest free agent summer this year, but their fans sat by many seasons while the team was unable to add much of any names at all. The new ownership has helped in that cause, but has made some very questionable decisions on who they signed and backfired. I don't want to see the standings flip flop from season to season, but it'd be nice to see teams win based on more than their payroll totals dwarfing other teams.
4) The biggest request or demand I have is an increase in the quality of play. Sure you can see a good game here and there, many teams play an exciting style, and sometimes you can just enjoy a game as a hockey fan. The league has become too defensive oriented for my tastes, and I am not talking about the trapping, but rather the holding and obstruction of the skilled players. Either make the rinks bigger, put less skaters on the ice, or call the rules by the book.

If the above four suggestions met listening ears, I'd pay to go to many more games, and I'd stay a fan a bit longer perhaps.

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11-12-2004, 11:32 PM
  #3
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Hard cap of 32 million

Completely unrestricted free agency. No contracts longer than 4 years is my only restriction

Complete dissolution of the NHLPA

64-72 game season

10% rollback of ticket prices

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11-13-2004, 02:29 AM
  #4
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Totally off topic, but a good Quote:
Quote:
Believing a merger between the NHL and WHA would lead to better hockey, Hull stated "We could eliminate the weak franchises in both leagues and get rid of 100 or so jerks who just play for the money and don't put anything back into the game. We'd have something good again."
http://www.hhof.com/html/t7gp06.shtml

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Old
11-13-2004, 09:38 AM
  #5
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What do I want? Hmm. Seems like a strange question. What do we fans want? What an intersting new question. As far as I can tell so far, fans want a lckout and replacement players until the players cave.

This is a time of change. Bettman wants to make big changes to the game. I dont really care about the cap itself or how much financially it hurts players in getting the best deal. I think we should care a lot about the potentially huge ramifications it could have on the way the game is played and teams are built and pursuit of excellence is allowed.

There have been many links posted recently about what effects the NFL cap has on its sport. There are many pitfalls in their system worthy of choosing to avoid in my opinion. The salary cap does far more than simply lower salaries. It changes the very nature of team building, excellence, and growing with a team. Perhaps its a good thing and change scares me. Perhaps not. But I dont think the NFL cap should be held up as an ideal to strive towards at all. Its revenue sharing sure, but not the cap.

I want to recognize that like it or not, there is a labour market with free agency here and markets with wide revenue disparities and differeing circumstances. And you are going to have to design a system that acknowledges and accepts it instead of always fighting and complaining and trying to ensure everyone is equal instead of accomodating their differences.

The one thing the NFL does well is marketing. You never hear them complain about the game. The owners would be too embarassed to. They make a killing off it. By having the most revenues while maintaining the lowest paid athletes of the majors. There are many problems with the NFL game, but Americans dont beat themselves up like Canadians do.

What I want is an end to the constant complaining. The reffing sucks, the game sucks, the fact they play defense sucks, the payroll disparities suck, our team has no chance to win it all so the whole season sucks, how can we go on without cory stillman or craig conroy it sucks, goodenow sucks, the agents suck, the owners suck, pamela anderson sucks, gravity sucks.

You are driving me nuts! What a bunch of whiny complainers! The NFL at least uses propoganda for goodness instead of complaining. Get with the program NHL. Stop marketing doom just so you can have ammo to win a labour war.

I want fans to stop thinking fairness means no matter the circumstances, they should always be able to afford any of their players, and sign anyone else. I want fans to stop thinking the best solution is 30 financially equal teams, when we can show that has nothing to do with 30 competitively equal teams. I want fans to get over their woe is me we didnt get a free agent routine. At least when Toronto does it its not over money.

I want a final CBA written. All other issues then are put to binding arbitration forever and fans never have to sit through a power struggle between billionaires and millionaires again.

I want hockey back.
Do you really want to hurt me,
Do you really want to make me cry

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11-13-2004, 10:53 AM
  #6
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I think there are 3 fundemental things hurting our sport and I'd like to see all three rectified and here's how it can happen IMO...
1. The league has grown to 30 teams and they play one another too much-there's too many "meaningless games" and not nearly enough heated rivalries. That's what use to make the game so great. Simple to fix-Every team plays the teams in its own division 8 times. there's 40 games...play the other 10 teams in the conference 4 times each-there's another 40 games. 80 game schedule all in the same conference. You wont see anymore of this half-hearted effort games where teams dont have a feeling or hatred for one another and both play like it's a AHL game (Montreal vs. Anaheim example).
2. SALARY CAP-I'd like to see all teams even out to some degree to make the competition that much better.
3. GOALIE EQUIPMENT-Reduce the pads, glove, and blocker size and lets see somemore goals out there...

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11-13-2004, 10:59 AM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary
I think there are 3 fundemental things hurting our sport and I'd like to see all three rectified and here's how it can happen IMO...
1. The league has grown to 30 teams and they play one another too much-there's too many "meaningless games" and not nearly enough heated rivalries. That's what use to make the game so great. Simple to fix-Every team plays the teams in its own division 8 times. there's 40 games...play the other 10 teams in the conference 4 times each-there's another 40 games. 80 game schedule all in the same conference. You wont see anymore of this half-hearted effort games where teams dont have a feeling or hatred for one another and both play like it's a AHL game (Montreal vs. Anaheim example).
2. SALARY CAP-I'd like to see all teams even out to some degree to make the competition that much better.
3. GOALIE EQUIPMENT-Reduce the pads, glove, and blocker size and lets see somemore goals out there...

2 & 3 i CAN agree with, but as for number one, you can explain to western fans that they are never going to see Lemieux, Heatley or Kovalchuck, and to the easterners that Yzerman, Sakic & Naslund aren't coming back, but will be replaced by more visits by Jim Dowd, Turner Stevenson and Andy MacDonald

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11-13-2004, 11:33 AM
  #8
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Originally Posted by Toonces "borrowed"
1. Reasonably priced tickets
2. I want hockey back

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Old
11-13-2004, 11:52 AM
  #9
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A meaningful luxury tax with some teeth coupled with tweaking things like rookie cap,arbitration,buy out options,free agency .

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11-13-2004, 01:08 PM
  #10
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2 & 3 i CAN agree with, but as for number one, you can explain to western fans that they are never going to see Lemieux, Heatley or Kovalchuck, and to the easterners that Yzerman, Sakic & Naslund aren't coming back, but will be replaced by more visits by Jim Dowd, Turner Stevenson and Andy MacDonald

I think the games would become so much more intense and better that it'd generate a much wider fan base and people could still watch their favorite players in the other conference on T.V. with the lucrative contracts they'd get by selling rivalries/goals as part of a new face NHL IMHO. As a added bonus I think a West vs. East Allstar game would generate 2 or 3 times the interest that the current allstar game does. Fans would be chomping at the bit to see how their conference fares against one it don't normally see...How about this too? to generate conference vs. conference interest set the playoff structure so that #1 plays 16, #2 plays 15 etc...no matter which conference they're in??


Last edited by Gary: 11-13-2004 at 01:23 PM.
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11-13-2004, 01:18 PM
  #11
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1. I want to see organizations able to build and maintain their team. I don't want to see half the team turned over every other season.

2. more intense games in the regular season. As a wings fan, I look forward to games against Chicago, St. Louis and Toronto. Why? Because when I was growing up, these three teams played the wings a lot and they played eachother hard. We need more hard fought games.

3. Shorter regular season. Do we really need 82 games? It beats the living hell out of the players, been suggested that it could be leading to more injuries (players have less time to maintain their health) and it simply gets dull. Shorted it to 72 games, with more games within the division and within the conference.

4. playoff scheduling that makes sense. I'm tired of a day off between home games, and then no days off to travel, followed by two days off..etc. the playoffs would take half as long if they just scheduled the games like they used to.

5. Cheaper to attend games. Will never happen. Games will be chopped off the regular season before this happens. But I, like everyone else, would like to see it.

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11-13-2004, 01:29 PM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCoyotes
1) A rollback in ticket prices. In Phoenix you can get a couple of tickets in the rafters for a decent price a couple of times a year. I have disposal income I would gladly pay to go to the games if it was a little more affordable. It's fun to sneak down into the lower bowl after all the suits go home for dinner and watch the game from there, but I wouldn't mind buying tickets at a reasonable price at that level for a good game.
2) It would be nice to see teams be able to retain their players, and to have the advantage in the marketplace to retain their players if they chose. Sure, it's maybe not the most fair to the players, but I'm talking about what I am willing to pay money to see. I am more interested in a team that can be built from the ground up and built into a contender than the constant turnover that there is potential for under a cap system.
3) A level playing field among all teams in terms of competition and in competition of services. The Coyotes had their biggest free agent summer this year, but their fans sat by many seasons while the team was unable to add much of any names at all. The new ownership has helped in that cause, but has made some very questionable decisions on who they signed and backfired. I don't want to see the standings flip flop from season to season, but it'd be nice to see teams win based on more than their payroll totals dwarfing other teams.
4) The biggest request or demand I have is an increase in the quality of play. Sure you can see a good game here and there, many teams play an exciting style, and sometimes you can just enjoy a game as a hockey fan. The league has become too defensive oriented for my tastes, and I am not talking about the trapping, but rather the holding and obstruction of the skilled players. Either make the rinks bigger, put less skaters on the ice, or call the rules by the book.

If the above four suggestions met listening ears, I'd pay to go to many more games, and I'd stay a fan a bit longer perhaps.
Have to agree with you 110%. To improve the quality of play would require forward thinking and an end to fans, coaches, refs, commentators, managers that have coined the phrase "let them play" which actually translates to let them commit all the fouls they want without calling them. The NCAA are doing something about it this year and it's really improving the quality of hockey. The phrase "let them play" has been taken out of their proverbial hockey dictionary and refs are actually trying their best to call the rulebook. hence, eliminating or limiting obstruction to the point that star players are actually starting to shine again. So to add to your suggestions mine would be to challenge and change the mindset of any player/commentator that is so narrow minded that they think the prhase "let them play" is actually good for the game.

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Old
11-13-2004, 02:57 PM
  #13
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I think the games would become so much more intense and better that it'd generate a much wider fan base and people could still watch their favorite players in the other conference on T.V. with the lucrative contracts they'd get by selling rivalries/goals as part of a new face NHL IMHO. As a added bonus I think a West vs. East Allstar game would generate 2 or 3 times the interest that the current allstar game does. Fans would be chomping at the bit to see how their conference fares against one it don't normally see...How about this too? to generate conference vs. conference interest set the playoff structure so that #1 plays 16, #2 plays 15 etc...no matter which conference they're in??

I think that is great idea, on both thoughts. I am a Devils fan, and I could care less about seeing the Ducks, Preds, etc. They only come here a year (tops), anyway. I want to see the Rangers, Isles, and Flyers!!!! Plus, I like the old playoff format of #1 vs. #16. You will put an end to these boring Finals we've been having, plus a greater chance that the two best teams will be there. This is an even better idea when one of the conferences is better than the other.

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Old
11-13-2004, 03:15 PM
  #14
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I want every team to follow the 'franchise life cycle'... I want every team to be built on a solid foundation, so that the team is greater than the sum of it's parts... The goal is to have a team that has a great chance to win - year-after-year... To reap the rewards of playoff appearances over many years...

Three types of teams:
(1) bad, young core teams (bottom of standings)
(2) mediocre, 25-30 year old core teams (middle of standings)
(3) elite, old age core teams (top of standings)

If the bad team's young core doesn't bring slow and steady improvement (and thus, have signs to move the team to a mediocre team), the bad team changes elements of the core with other young, inexpensive assets (young players with potential who are acquired through trades and drafting)...

If the mediocre team's middle age core doesn't bring slow and steady improvement (and thus, have signs to move the team to an elite team), the mediocre team changes elements of the core with other young/middle age, reasonably-priced assets (young and middle age players who are acquired through trades, drafting, and free agency)...

If the elite team is showing signs of declining success (or needs to replace players who are retiring, etc.), the elite team changes elements of the core with other middle age/old age, any price assets (middle age and old age players who are acquired through trades and free agency)... While trying to extend success as long as reasonably possible, still have an eye to doing a complete re-build before the current assets (players) are completely worthless (i.e. they retire and the team can't get anything in return)...

The key benefits of doing this are: (1) teams are properly built... Teams are stronger than any one player, thus, there is a much greater chance for reaching the playoffs year-after-year - and thus, a much greater chance for huge revenue windfalls AND to win the Stanley Cup... (2) bad teams are inexpensive; mediocre teams are reasonably priced; elite teams are expensive... every team is profitable (or at least has a great chance to be profitable)...

Just like the world naturally keeps itself in check through the 'human/animal life cycle' - the NHL should naturally keep itself in check through the 'franchise life cycle'... Imagine a world in which a drug was created that allowed people and animals to live forever... The economic and social implications would be catestrophic for the world and the human race... two quick example - overpopulation and Hitler would never die... The world is able to keep going through birth and death - to keep things in equilibrum... and IMO, the NHL should do the same through the cycle of birth and death of franchises... It's a fact of life that things have to die, and in terms of the NHL, so do teams...

I also want the drafting age to be 20 years old - to make it much less of a gamble, and much more of a benefit to bad teams... Those with the worst records should get the best players in the draft... Kudos for Ottawa and NJ for picking up the gems, but other teams need (and should have them) more - given where Ottawa and NJ are in the 'franchise life cycle'...


Last edited by I in the Eye: 11-14-2004 at 01:06 PM.
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Old
11-13-2004, 10:25 PM
  #15
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What I want for the NHL:

1) A shorter scheduele with more emphasis on interconference/division games while still allowing every team to play each other once a year. (For example Detroit plays Toronto in Detroit one year than in Toronto the next)

2)A revenue sharing system that spreads money around more fairly than it does now. I am sorry Toronto but you have to share your gate because there is no Toronto Maple Leafs team to draw attendance for if their is no Carolina Hurricanes team to play.

3) Teams being able to hold on to their players as long as they see fit as long as their is a healthy relationship between the player and the club.

4) Hockey being played where it is wanted and allowing those cities to compete through revenue sharing and a system that helps out teams who cant spend as much as thier richer cousins through some form of a luxery tax.

5) A healthy trust cycle between the owners, players and fans.

Well there is a start anyways, there are of course many specific details that would need to be changed within each issue but that is an overview of what i want anyways.

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11-14-2004, 10:59 AM
  #16
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1. Soft cap at 50% of revenues.
Assuming the $2.1B number that Bettman reported is accurate, the cap would be $35M. If he's lowballing that number, that means the players get even a higher cap.

2. Maximum Player salary at .003 of revenues.
Still assuming $2.1B is accurate, that works out to $6.3M. At any time a player is set to make more than the max because of a contract previously signed, his salary drops according to the maximum player salary.

3. Cap Exemptions
a) Tenure cap savings. A player's cap hit is deteremined by the length of time he has been with that franchise. Unlike the Larry Bird Rule in the NBA, tenure is not transferred along with a player in a trade. Years in the organization as a prospect DO count, meaning that the 1st year by a drafted player is the year after he ges drafted. This will further benefit those teams that develop players well. The cap hits would be as follows:
1st - 3rd Years: 100%
4th - 5th Years: 85%
6th - 7th Years: 70%
8th - 9th Years: 60%
10 years and Beyond: 50%
b) Francise Player: Each team would be allowed one franchise player whose cap hit would be reduced by 25%. The Franchise tag would be determined at the time a contract is signed and that player is the franchise player for the duration of that contract.

4. Contract Buyouts
All contracts could be bought out for 25% of the remaining value. One catch to this is the first year of any contract is gauranteed so if a player is still in his 1st year, his buyout is 100% of the first year plus 25% of everything beyond the 1st year. Those buyout costs do not count towards the cap (meaning more money for the players).

5. Arbitration
The MLB system where the arbitrator must choose either the player's amount or the team's amount.

6. Unrestricted Free Agency
After 5 season in which a skater played 25 or more NHL games or a goaltender played 15 or more NHL games OR when a player is 28 years old, whichever happens first.

7. Restricted Free Agency
a) No mandatory 10% raise. Qualifying offer must be equal to the previous year's salary.
b) Reduction of penalties for signing an RFA. Example... 3 1sts instead of 5.

8. Revenue Sharing
25% of all gate revenue and 50% of local TV revenue shared equally among all NHL teams.

9. Minimum Revenue Guarantee
I'm not quite sure what the specs here should be, but if a team cannot generate a certain amount of revenue (i.e. 150% of the cap amount) for X straight seasons or Y number of seasons in 10 years then the team must relocate.

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11-14-2004, 10:54 PM
  #17
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None of the Anti-Cap Crusade has anything negative to say about the cap I want? Hmmm...

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11-15-2004, 09:44 PM
  #18
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Stich,

I think you have some good ideas. However, I don't see what your penalties are for going over the "soft cap", and I am not quite sure how you would define that term. Does it mean that it is similar to a luxury tax, or like the NBA-style cap?

I like the idea about tenure cap reduction. It rewards teams for developing talent, which might be the single most important thing to me (I'm a Devils fan, can't you tell?).

One thing I would like to see is your buyout a little higher. I think teams should be on the hook for more of a player's salary, but a buyout is not a terrible idea as it stands. Also, raise that revenue sharing % on gate receipts a little.

Arbitration, RFA, UFA---all good.

Don't like #9. But there is nothing else to be done to a team that does not produce revenue (other than to fold them).

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11-16-2004, 10:08 AM
  #19
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A tenure cap reduction is the best overall proposal relating to a cap, and that has been what I've supported the most the past couple of months. Of course, when you get a bunch of people together at a prospects site, you'd almost assume that they would support a team building mentality as a whole.

I don't think you have to make it that complicated, working with percentages and all of that. There are infinite ways to do most things, so a tenured cap reduction covers all of those areas without defining the determinants.

I somewhat like the idea of #9 by Stich, but I think it takes on a natural course itself. If a team fails to be profitable for a given time, it will relocate or find a way to improve it's status. If nothing else, they sell the team when they take on too many losses, which can even be a positive if the new management is better equipped. I don't think it's a problem, so why fix it if it isn't broke?

One thing I recently posted was the top 5 salaries per team to start last season. Click here for the link. Even this as a possible cap solution could work, because you see a distinct trend in the salaries in the league and who spends for their top players the most. Imagine if they capped the top 5 salaries per team to add up to $30 million, let alone $20 million. That would slow down salaries in some ways, but there would still be plenty of room for growth. It's a different take on the situation.

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11-16-2004, 10:15 AM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogie Oglethorpe
I think you have some good ideas. However, I don't see what your penalties are for going over the "soft cap", and I am not quite sure how you would define that term. Does it mean that it is similar to a luxury tax, or like the NBA-style cap?
What I mean by the soft cap is that there are exemptions that allow you to go over the cap, but for only specific reasons. What I would want is something similar to what the NFL has in that teams pretty much have no choice but to be below the cap on specific days in the offseason and throughout the regular season. It would be similar to the way that the NHL currently requires teams to be at 23 players when the season starts and they have no choice but to be there.

Quote:
I like the idea about tenure cap reduction. It rewards teams for developing talent, which might be the single most important thing to me (I'm a Devils fan, can't you tell?).
I've been a proponent about this for some time, but there is a chance that this in the cap could prevent competitive balance from improving. But, that would be because of good management and player development, not because of money.

Quote:
One thing I would like to see is your buyout a little higher. I think teams should be on the hook for more of a player's salary, but a buyout is not a terrible idea as it stands.
One of the reasons that I wanted to keep it around that range is because the higher you go the more monetary advantage the larger market teams have.

Quote:
Also, raise that revenue sharing % on gate receipts a little.
I'm okay with that.

Quote:
Don't like #9. But there is nothing else to be done to a team that does not produce revenue (other than to fold them).
That's understandable. My idea here is to protect the players from teams that aren't producing their fair share of revenues.

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11-16-2004, 10:20 AM
  #21
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Hopefully this doesn't derail the thread but what I would like to see most, right now is the NHL and the PA sit down in a room and not come out until they have an agreed upon understanding of what constitutes NHL revenue.

I think all this other CBA crap would fall into place rather quickly once they got this first step out of the way (a step that in the end would be necessary anyways). This whole things seems backwards to me, they seem to be stuck at what method will solve the problems without agreeing to how big the problem is.

As far as how the game is played - reducing the size of goalie equipment would be a good first step.

Eliminating the instigator would be a good second step.

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Old
11-16-2004, 10:22 AM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by copperandblue
Hopefully this doesn't derail the thread but what I would like to see most, right now is the NHL and the PA sit down in a room and not come out until they have an agreed upon understanding of what constitutes NHL revenue.

I think all this other CBA crap would fall into place rather quickly once they got this first step out of the way (a step that in the end would be necessary anyways). This whole things seems backwards to me, they seem to be stuck at what method will solve the problems without agreeing to how big the problem is.
I agree that that really needs to be done, but the problem is that the NHLPA doesn't want anything tied to revenues... even their luxury tax.

(Or at least that's the way I understand it)

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Old
11-16-2004, 11:14 AM
  #23
copperandblue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stich
I agree that that really needs to be done, but the problem is that the NHLPA doesn't want anything tied to revenues... even their luxury tax.

(Or at least that's the way I understand it)
See and I think it is even more basic from a PA standpoint.

I don't think they want to know what the revenues really are because that would force them to aknowledge what the problem is ... no matter how big or small it is.

Right now they have a pretty sweet deal because they can capitalize on the stupidity of few owners that don't have an issue with running their team in the red.

It's the best of both worlds. 650 players get paid according to sustainability and 50 get paid according to ego. Those 50 are cashing BIG time so why tie the can to the gravy train?

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Old
11-16-2004, 11:17 AM
  #24
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That's what I think also... that they don't want to know because then they'll have to face the facts. If they were so confident that the NHL was low-balling their revenue figures then why not actually call them out for it at the bargaining table by agreeing to a cap based on revenues and then maybe they'll walk away with a cap much higher than what Bettman is saying.

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Old
11-16-2004, 11:44 AM
  #25
rekrul
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I really can't do better than most of the posters here, everyone wants teams to have the ability to keep homegrown talent and also give players the right to move at say 28, so if players see a dead end in market Y, they can have the option of moving to market Z or C even if Market Y can pony up more $$. Keep a cap in place to free the Rangers and Leafs for hoarding themselves with expensive talent and driving the marginal salies sky high ( Holik's contract per se ).

I guess most of all I want someone new at the commisher job, Bettman may be bright but he has sucked the life out of hockey, in 1994 the NHL was about to be the flavor of the month, now its everyone's punchline. Incredible because its such as awsome game, played by for the most part very likeable players ( who now look so damn greedy drinking what Knob G have been giving them). I have watched now NASCAR become popular and its as foriegn to the non-south USA as Hockey is to the rest of the country. NASCAR is also hated by the east coast sports media, yet it is there pulling viewers in more each week. The NHL is just as established in tradition as any major sport, $2 Bill in revenue means its way above soccer WNBA and bowling combined, yet Bettman has allowed the PERCEPTION that it is. Get a new commish to bring in every marketing/ entertainment wiz. Instead of saving $300 mil to withstand the lockout, imangine a commish solving this mess and INVESTING that $$ back into the sport.

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