If I was Commissioner for a day, over Gary Bettman, or better known as Buttman, the league would look a lot different. First, lets see what teams would change. And I know, the Commissioner can't do most of this stuff, but lets pretend.
I will first move the Phoenix Coyotes back to were the belong in the Peg. They will become the Winnipeg Jets again. This is simple, the Coyotes have been in the bottom of the league in attendance, ever since they moved to Phoenix. Yotes out, Jets in.
Next, I will move the Atlanta Thrashers to Quebec City. Again, the Thrashers have always been in the bottom of the league in attendance. They have already failed once with the Atlanta Flames, and they are failing again, move this team out of Atlanta, and Quebec City is building a new $400 million arena.
The next team gone is Florida. They again have always been in the basement in attendance, and just aren't in a hockey market. The only time the Panthers have a good attendance is when Toronto or Montreal are in town and all the retired Snowbirds go. Florida has major ownership issues, and are on the brick of filing for bankruptcy. I will move them to Hamilton, where they have an arena and will have a ton of fan support. Buffalo may hurt from this move, but they have enough fans to survive.
Next gone is the historic Islanders. This team has the history, and had one of the greatest dynasties ever. But Wang can't get a new arena from the city, and they have been last in attendance in the past 2 seasons, 3 of the past 4, and the only year in recent history when they weren't, they were 28th. Where I have them moving is interesting, and no one has ever mentioned this, but I will move them to the Maritimes, and keep the name Islanders. I will have them split home games between Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John's, Newfoundland. Halifax will host between 21-30 games, while St. John's will host around 20-11 home games. This market wont be among the league leaders in profit or attendance, but they will probably be in the top half of the league, and they can get a good TV deal with CBC, TSN, and Sportsnet.
Also, move Tampa Bay to Las Vegas. I know most people wont agree with this, but Vegas is the fastest growing city in North America, and is the 28th largest city in the United States, and largest without a pro franchise. They also get a ton of tourrist, which should help in ticket sales, and can get a ton of sponsers from Casinos. I think a team in Vegas is a great idea. For Tampa, we all know they struggle in ticket sales, and isn't much of a hockey market.
Next up, Nashville, they were 27th in attendance the last two seasons, and have never not been in the 20's in attendance. This isn't a traditional hockey market, and is another failing franchise. Seattle is the perfect fit for this franchise. Seattle is a large city, that has a perfectly good arena, that isn't being used. Seattle will be a successful market, they may even be able to draw some Canadians down from BC to go to some games, kinda like what happens in Buffalo.
Next up on the agenda is retracting franchises. The League is lacking talent, and by retracting franchises, you will have less spots for players and therefore get more skill players and less non-skill players. It will also lower fighting, as goons will be in tough to make teams, and as we know, fighting is a raising problem in the league. Also, players and owners will be better off. The struggling franchises will be removed, meaning there will be less revenue sharing, and owners can keep more of their money. Therefore, owners make more money, and as a result the cap goes up and players make more money, so this is good for EVERYONE!
So, the first team retracted will be Columbus. They made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season. Yet, even with the success of the franchise, and all the talent they had with players like Nash and Mason, they finished 25th in attendance, and have been bad ever since arriving in the NHL.
Next team gone, is going to be Anaheim. Even with the success of this franchise in recent years, they have really struggled in attendance. They have some of the cheapest tickets in the league, so the attendance isn't terrible, but still not great, and with the cheap seats their revenue has been terrible. Also, when they made it to the Cup final, they had to give away tickets, and even then they didn't get a packed house. Finally, with the rising success of the Kings, fans in that region will shift more to the Kings, and become more King fans, as they are the big hockey team there, but have struggled with the team failures, and as the Kings succeed, the Ducks will hurt.
With those teams retracting, the players will be drafted off by the rest of the 28 teams, with the team that finished last in the previous year getting the first pick and so on, and the playoffs decide the order for the playoff teams, just like the normal NHL draft. The Draft will also be a snake draft, meaning that if you get first in the first round, you get last in the second round, and if you get last in the first round, you get 1st in the second round.
with that, I move 6 teams to new markets and retract 2 teams, so the
NHL is only 28 teams. So here will be the new divisions, but we will
only have 2 divisons in each conference of 7 teams each. Same playoff format, so with 2 less teams, more teams make the playoffs, which means more money. Also, the divisions seem pretty good on travel, the only teams that may have some problems are the Maritime Islanders, Colorado and Dallas. Also, I named the divions after NHL greats, but there wasn't enough for Super Mario. But here they are:
Maurice Richard Division:
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Buffalo Sabres
- Montreal Canadiens
- Maritime Islanders
- Ottawa Senators
- Quebec Nordiques
- Hamilton Bulldogs
Bobby Orr Division:
- New York Rangers
- New Jersey Devils
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Washigton Capitals
- Boston Bruins
Gordie Howe Division:
- Detroit Red Wings
- Chicago Blackhawks
- St.Louis Blues
- Winnipeg Jets
- Minnesota Wild
- Dallas Stars
- Colorado Avalanche
Wayne Gretzky Division:
- Seattle Spitfire
- Edmonton Oilers
- Calgary Flames
- Vancouver Canucks
- Los Angeles Kings
- San Jose Sharks
- Las Vegas Gamblers (couldn't think of any names)
As for the schedule, each team will play the other teams in their division 6 times, with 3 home games and 3 road games. Then they will play each team in their conference, but in the other division 4 times, twice on the road, twice at home. Then they will play every team in the opposite conference at least once, alternating each year from home and away games with every team. That is 78 games, but the last 4 games will be Wild Card games, where they will play teams from the other conference, in no set order. So Toronto may play Edmonton every year, once at home and once on the road, with one of those being the wild card game.
The Rule Changes
1) My first rule change is to bring a little bit of the old NHL back to the new. I'm not saying that I will bring back clutching and grabbing, but I am saying just in front of the net. I loved the old battles in front of the net, the defenseman pushing the fowards away from screening the goalie. So, I will allow the old rules in front of the net, the cross checks etc. Now a days, the goalie gets screened all the time, and no one can do anything, but back in the day, if you wanted to stand in front of the net, you had to pay a price, and I think that is the way it should be. So the refs need to let some stuff go in front of the net.
2) My next rule change is getting rid of the instigator rule. Right now, you can do a cheap shot and not drop the gloves. If you are going to do a cheap shot, drop the mittens. This rule also protects the stars, as they get protection from teammates. Also, you get rid of the players like Avery, and all the people that talk the talk, but don't walk the walk.
3) Next rule change is to put a more strict rule on fighting, and will be kinda like the instigator rule, but a little different. You will get a game misconduct if you fight or jump someone who did a clean hit. After clean hits, that are big, you almost always see a player come and jump a guy and fight. That needs to stop. If their is a big hit that is clean, let it go, try to do a big hit to them, but no need to fight.
4) Another fighting rule change, it is you must leave your helmet on in a fight. Even if you have a visor on. This is for saftey, we all remember the man that died in a fight after banging his head on the ice. Most players that get injured in fights, get injured from loosing their helmet and banging their head on the ice. So if you have a visor, get some one to invent a clip away visor that can be taken off. If you lose your helmet in a fight, the players should stop or face a league fine, and the linesmen should jump in to break it up. If you don't want to lose your helmet in a fight, tighten the chin strap.
5) This rule change is simple, an OT loss, or shotout loss don't get you a point. That simple, a loss is a loss. No more three point games, which makes it easier for teams to make up ground, and makes playoff races closer. Also, if teams are tied at the end of the season, the tie breaker will be most regulation wins.
6) No touch icing. Another simple rule, this is for saftey, many players get injured and break bones from touch icing, and it isn't that exciting.
7) Get rid of the Trapezoid. Let goalies play the puck from any where. This speeds up the game because the goalie can pass the puck up on a power play, and get the offense going faster. Also, it protects defenseman from coming back and picking up the puck and getting creamed from behind into the boards by a forward. This will speed up the game, and protect players.
This is simple, in the United States, I will strick a TV deal with ESPN. A deal that money wouldn't matter early, just get a deal done that gets 2-3 games on a week, and get more people watching the game. It doesn't really matter how much the deal is worth, but the point is, if you get people watching the NHL, they may start to like it, then they get hooked and they start going to games, and the more people will watch games on ESPN, and the next deal you can strick a big money deal with ESPN, and maybe even some local TV deals that air games.
Just two changes here. Add a defensive defenseman of the year. Also add an assist award, for the player with the most assists, call it the Wayne Gretzky Award.
That is all I have, so I hope you enjoyed this blog. Please comment.