Play good quality hockey and avoid labor disputes for the next decade.
That's pretty much it.
That said, this is going to take both parties admitting that not playing hockey is the worst of all possible things for both the management and the players for their own reasons. Right now there's one faction that I'm not convinced really "gets" that. And it's not the owners.
If the NHLPA hadn't been bucking for a fight at least as much as the owners this time, we wouldn't even be locked out. 100% sure of that. They had plenty of time to address the owner's concerns in an ordinary give-and-take negotiation before the 2012 season ended, and again over the summer.
There's no reason the PA should escape censure for what's happening when they're 50% of the problem (and possibly more -- I'm sure the owners had no desire to "go nuclear" until given no other means to actually force a negotiation to even happen).
NHL wouldn't survive in Helsinki, likely. If the team had lot of talented Finns (like Wild) people could come over more often but I think it wouldn't be enough. You can get tickets for FEL games at 14 euros.
Letís bring in Ken Hollandís idea regarding three-on-three overtime as a way to freshen up the overtime/shootout format. You still play four-on-four for five minutes, but if thereís still no goal scored, you also play a three-on-three, five-minute period. If thereís still no goal, then you get your shootout. Three-on-three, wide open would be exciting to watch. Plus by lowering the number of shootouts, given that the three-on-three would end more games, you preserve the novelty of the shootout so it doesn't become a tired exercise. Right now there are too many shootouts deciding games.
Pretty good article but given the way the NHL treats its fans likely not very doable-
1. NHL would never provide "Center Ice" free of charge; they'll have enough issues making any money once they return without giving up this service
4. World Cup and Olympics- love it but the owners don't like breaking up the season and don't like a better quality product being show-cased once every two years.
6. Shorten the pre-season- see 1. above. Players don't get paid for pre-season games and owners won't want to give up this cash cow.
9. Move 6 weakest franchises to a European division- not going to happen with Bettman and his cronies in charge, ie. see Phoenix and others. They'd wither on the vine rather than admit to errors and fixes.
10. 20 year CBA- not going to happen with this NHLPA (and likely with the owners)
The way I see it.
If they manage to come back this year, Center Ice(etc) should be free, and next year it should be half price. Cancel this season, and if they manage to come back to start next year on time(hahaha, yeah, wishful thinking), then owners and players should all actually pay us to watch games on Center Ice, instead of the other way around. It's all about the money baby.
This European division idea. The league has enough problems with 4 time zones.
LeBrun is right, I think, about going to Europe. Teams in Sweden, Czech Republic, Russia and Germany would have national markets, including TV contracts. This gives them a pretty advantagous postion for branding and merchandising.
I think the NHL should shorten the season to seventy as well as go to a single series playoff format. Division winners play seven games for the cup.
With a shorter season they could go to a ten minute overtime, with no point awarded if no result is achieved.
Last edited by JuniorNelson: 12-26-2012 at 12:28 PM.
Reason: Added O.T. comment.
#1 could be an effective loss leader for the NHL to get people to watch games - leading to more paying customers down the road, or more advertising dollars for NBC because their programming is getting more eyeballs (this translates into a more valuable NHL product and more money in the next TV deal). Not sure I see the league taking that risk, though.
#2 would be great, but they typically start building the schedule not long after the turn of the year, which would make it really difficult to implement a new alignment immediately. I might wait a year anyway, just to give a chance to give everyone their bearings again.
#3 is frivolous and just aping a dumb idea recently implemented in another sport. It accomplishes nothing except extending the season by an extra week.
#4 would be great if there were guarantees that the players wouldn't get hurt and ultimately have a negative effect on the NHL clubs that hold their rights. I could see the NHL being really resistant to expanding international play because of the insurance situation.
#5 sounds interesting. I'd like to see it somewhere on a trial basis first.
#6 is fine with me, but this whole "nobody wants hockey in June" stuff is a load of hooey. I want hockey all twelve months of the year.
#7 would be complete and utter chaos and would create a really high attrition rate among GMs from the stress alone. Let the guys do one job at a time.
#8 is ridiculous. The trade deadline is not a spectacle by design like everyone wants to think it is. It's not for the fans, it's for the teams. Let them conduct their business.
#9 has been beaten to death. European expansion is completely logistically unfeasible with an 82-game schedule. You would be competing with strong, established brands on the continent, and don't even get me started on the travel burden of going halfway around the world to Moscow. Hell, the Moscow teams in the KHL can't draw flies: the combined attendance of Vityaz, Spartak, CSKA, and Dinamo last season was roughly 12,400, an average of about 3,100 fans per team which is less than any of the 30 AHL teams as of this posting. The only teams that draw anything resembling NHL-caliber attendance are SC Bern and Eisbaren Berlin, and I seriously doubt the people who attend those games would pay €40 or more apiece. On top of that, we've already seen how disastrous Europe's attempt at international club competition was - hockey fans in Stockholm are far, far more interested in watching teams from Karlstad than Prague. The players would hate the travel, the owners would hate the financial strain, and TV providers would hate the game times. How can you market a 7 AM hockey game between San Jose and Moscow? If it were in San Jose, there would be no viewers in Moscow, and if it were in Moscow, there would be no viewers in NorCal.
#10 might even be more absurd than the Mayan Apocalypse and is about as likely to happen. It would be a bad business move for both the owners and players. A lot can change over 20 years, and one side would undoubtedly opt out at the first opportunity.
This forum probably comes up with similar ideas to LeBrun's - or better ones - on a fairly regular basis.
I can see them making Center ice free for the shortened regular season and then charging for the playoffs.
realignment? I'm not sure the buzz that followed that announcement seemed to me to be about a 50/50 split of positive and negative.
Don't mind the play-in round for the playoffs. Also want them to turf division winners as getting the top seeds no matter what.
World Cup...Nah. stick with the Olympics IMO. Having something every second year makes it become more meaningless IMO. It's not like soccer where you can get some different teams in the various Cups and Olympics. They'd be the same countries and same teams.
3-on-3 OT...maybe but honestly I really do hate the shootout and would much rather eliminate that. I like ties. I know that will never happen though.
shorter pre-season...perhaps, but I don't think the reason people don't watch hockey is because camp and pre-season are too long. I personally like a longer pre-season as it gives me a chance to get a lock at more prospects.
free agency...an earlier start would be nice. I'd even start it BEFORE the draft because I think you could get some terrific draft day deals if teams were able to land a solution to there problems in free agency. Or to build up an excess of resources at a position going into the draft.
deadline day....I'm not sure how it helps to put teams in one location other than it allows netowrks to cut down on the number of reporters. Deadline day will still be covered for way too many hours on TSN and Sportsnet and in the US the only network that will care will still be the NHL Network.
NHL teams in Europe...they are likely already considering the merits of such and given there are no rumblings they likely feel it isn't going to fly. Rather concentrate on stabilizing the other teams and moving/expanding into stronger North American markets. Certainly do that before looking at Europe seriously.
On the last point...let's just have the PA and NHL agree to a deal and then next time hope for a more lenghty one....
#9 has been beaten to death. European expansion is completely logistically unfeasible with an 82-game schedule. You would be competing with strong, established brands on the continent, and don't even get me started on the travel burden of going halfway around the world to Moscow. Hell, the Moscow teams in the KHL can't draw flies: the combined attendance of Vityaz, Spartak, CSKA, and Dinamo last season was roughly 12,400, an average of about 3,100 fans per team which is less than any of the 30 AHL teams as of this posting. The only teams that draw anything resembling NHL-caliber attendance are SC Bern and Eisbaren Berlin, and I seriously doubt the people who attend those games would pay Ä40 or more apiece. On top of that, we've already seen how disastrous Europe's attempt at international club competition was - hockey fans in Stockholm are far, far more interested in watching teams from Karlstad than Prague. The players would hate the travel, the owners would hate the financial strain, and TV providers would hate the game times. How can you market a 7 AM hockey game between San Jose and Moscow? If it were in San Jose, there would be no viewers in Moscow, and if it were in Moscow, there would be no viewers in NorCal.
LeBrun offers up ten different things (from free NHL Center Ice to realignment for 13-14) to get the fans interested/engaged after lockout.
What might you want to see the league/teams do to get your business/$$ after lockout?
For the purposes of recovering from the lockout or simply just the betterment or more attractiveness of the sport, I like ideas # 1, 6, and 8.
As for the other ideas:
#2, if they really want to make it interesting, then create an all new alignment, not a piecemeal one put together in the only form that the stubborn owners could agree on.
#3, seems to be at odds with part of the objective of #6 which I agree with (so therefore I disagree with #3).
#4, don't see how the World Cup of Hockey is necessarily beneficial for the NHL. I agree though that it might be nice to have every 4 years, but I don't really it's a sellable thing. Besides, the NHL Season is too compact and long as it is,... again relating back to idea #6.
#5, Fine, this might be an Ok idea, but even better is simply to extend the 4on4 to 10 minutes, and forget the 3on3 part of the idea.
#7, we're talking what, a week's difference. Don't really see the point. However, IF the Playoffs could be ended earlier, again back to that idea #6, then both the Draft and the Free Agency could be moved up earlier.
#9, definitely Not for adding that complexity in travel and all its other aspects into the NHL.
#10, Absolutely Not a good idea. Circumstances change, and having to wait so long to respond to those changes is simply not a good idea. 8 years is fine, but the League definitely does need to create a mechanism that can avoid these lockout situations.
Just to add a couple of things. With the thought of moving when UFA starts, a lot of deals get done at the last minute and wouldn't really be fair to either the team or the players since they wouldn't have much time since they're focusing on the draft.
With regards to the trade deadline again it's not fair. A lot of these teams have war rooms that include not just the GM but coaches, owners, cap people, scouts, etc... However, one way to make it work is to change the deadline to like 9 pm eastern on a night where they schedule no games That would allow teams to set up their war room and have all the necessary people there. And it would be in primetime and attract a lot of tv viewers and we wouldn't need to take a day off work .
Maybe the schedule their gm meetings at the same time so that there are the x number of days for the meetings and then the following day you do what I mention above.
With arenas that have a capacity of 12k-13k, there is no way teams in European cities can generate the $90M in revenue it will take to have a NHL team, even with maximum revenue sharing. Nor do we have any tradition of season tickets costing even close to what they do in North America or corporations using season tickets as perks/representation.