Yep....the game was awesome in the 80's and 90's IMO. Coming on the end of the 90's when it was ok to wrap your arms around another player and haul him down, that kinda sucked and was a little much, but everything else was good.
Goalie equipment is ridiculous these days. Pads should only come about 2 inches above the knee, not 10 inches and the body gear shouldn't make you a good foot or 2 feet wider than you really are....it should give you padding and protection, not help stop the puck.
If the NHL went back to old gear and old sticks and left everything else the same as it was in the 80's....the game would be awesome. Making new rules or changing old rules hardly ever improves anything, it just uncovers other problems.
at the risk of being metaphorically pelted with vegetables...
4 on 4
Watch 4 on 4 overtime - it's a better game.
Because there is nothing to lose. Both teams already have their one point in the bag and are just going for the "bonus". The defense can jump up into the play, the forwards can go all-out, etc.
I forget which year it was, circa 2006, the WHC gold medal game between Canada and Sweden went to overtime, which was 4-on-4. It was awful hockey. The defense couldn't pinch in since there was so much at stake, meaning every rush was only 2-on-2, and typically one forward didn't get too deep in the play either. The only scoring chances created, which were few, were the result of individual plays, not teamwork. The winning goal scored by Anson Carter was all individual effort.
That cemented my view that 4-on-4 is not the way to go.
The rule change I'd like to make is to remove the automatic "delay of game" penalty for shooting the puck over the glass. Make it like icing instead: face-off in the offending team's zone, no player changes allowed. Allow the referee to call the penalty at his discretion if he feels it was blatant.
A ref outside of the ice, in the video section where the NHL officials are. This ref would have power over everything. He would call penalties by pressing a button that would light a buzzer on the glass(sort of like the goal light but at another place). And he would also use this buzzer to cancel a decision made by a ref on the ice. Because he would be the ruler of everything. I just think having a vision on how things happen high in the arena with a better overall view would be a good difference maker. Since hockey is quick and is probably the most difficult sport to arbitrate and these guys probably don't see clearly most of the time. Also the outside ref would be in the video room so he would have the chance to view every possible angles of a play.
Individual salary cap maxed out at 2 mil. They will be able to pay rent with 2 mil.
Then reward fans with a 50% ticket reduction. Will cost 5 bucks to see Habs play the Panthers in Sunrise!
Do that and the NHL disappears after one season.
People just don't understand that most players in fact deserve their salaries.
People WILL end up paying a lot of money to see games even if ticket prices are cut by two (scalpers will simply make more money!). Demand would increase dramatically as prices are lowered and offer stays the same unless you build gigantic arenas. This would last as long as the on ice product is interesting...
...which it won't be for long since players would understandably bolt for Europe while the NHL's quality is reduced to that of the AHL. Players get a good share of the revenue they generate. I'd rather give money to the players (incredible athletes that represent an infinitesimal percentage of the population) than the owners.
In short, watch the AHL if you want players earning average joe salaries and cheap tickets. I'd rather pay more and watch exceptional individuals play at the highest level of their sports.