- 12/29/2012, 01:53PM ET
Argos. said 12/29, 01:54 PM
I've normally been on the side of the NHL retracting to 4-10 teams. But, I am now of the opinion expansion to Europe would be a better option.
First, let me just play out my scenario.
Have four divisions, each of eight teams. That means the product wont be watered down badly, as only 2 new teams would be added. Several struggling teams, that are losing the money would be retracted. Here is how I propose the divisions would look:
There would also be a new playoff format, with the top 4 teams of each division making the playoffs, and the first two rounds being played inter-division (like the old days).
The schedule would have to be division loaded. This is good for rivalries. You would play the other 7 teams in your division 6 times each, then every non-divisional team once or twice, so North American teams would only need 1 European road-trip per season.
Bigalke said 12/30, 12:46 AM
Look, Argos, I like the idea of the NHL usurping the other North American leagues and becoming the first to go overseas with an actual team (or eight, in your plan). But there are three reasons why the NHL should contract rather than reallocate and expand their rosters:
1. Two successive lockouts in eight years has proven that the league cannot carry franchises that can't carry weight. The Sun Belt experiment has largely failed; two failed Atlanta franchises, both relocated to Canadian cities, are the most glaring example.
2. Going to Europe requires competing against healthy leagues that have long been feeder leagues. Invade Sweden and Russia and those nations' leagues will soon get into a bidding war BECAUSE they know your league's finances are fragile as a Faberge egg.
3. The NHL's healthiest period came when it had 21-26 teams... essentially the 1980s and 1990s. Once teams relocated and owners got greedy for expansion franchise entry fees, all hell broke loose. Overreach is dangerous...
That sums it up right there. Overreach is why owners want to roll back players' salaries AGAIN. is overreaching to Europe the answer?!
Argos. said 12/30, 11:57 AM
1. It is not that the NHL cannot carry the weight of the franchises, it is the fact the NHL cannot carry the weight of deadbeat franchises. The NHL cannot carry the weight of franchises were fans don't watch the games, and cannot carry the weight of franchises that are losing money. I agree that these franchises should be gone, but instead of contraction they should be moved to markets where they can prosper. Hockey is a beloved sport in Central, Eastern and Northern Europe, and these are massive markets, this is not like expansion to the Southern States. These teams could and should thrive.
2. Sweden should not be a problem, but I can see the KHL and Russia being a problem. No bidding wars would be had though, as they don't have the resources are cash backings of the NHL, but securing arenas may be a problem. However the NHL, IIHF, and Russian Hockey Federation have had a long relationship of being able to work together and negotiate treaties. This should be no different, and I'm sure something could be worked out.
3. The league was best in the 80's and 90's because of the divisional playoff set-up, and I believe they should go back to that anyways.
Bigalke said 12/30, 12:43 PM
1. Already increased travel costs to Sun Belt cities overextends the league. Now you want to add even longer hours & travel distance with an entire European division. You've also created a division with a 2000-mile footprint; essentially, you've put Winnipeg in the Southeast by matching widely-separated cities like Zurich and Moscow (1600+ miles apart). This only increases the strain on revenue that is the root of the current problem.
2. It took over 2 years (July 2008-Oct. 2010) for the KHL and NHL to come to an agreement to honor contracts from the other league. This isn't a mere contract dispute; this gets to the heart of territorial claims. Think the Rangers were upset when the Islanders and Devils were put in their metropolitan sphere? Agreements are worth nothing between leagues, especially if the NHL fires the first shot. If they do it to 7 countries and leagues simultaneously, they're writing their own death certificate.
3. A divisional playoff setup can be reintroduced WITHOUT overextending the league to another continent. It can be implemented under contraction as easily as expansion.
Why overextend the league... AGAIN?!
Argos. said 12/30, 04:35 PM
1. Travel costs are not an issue. This is a billion dollar league, they can afford the gas money for a longer road trip. Travel time is not a big deal either, with the heavy divisional schedule I propose (like what the league use to have), North American teams would only be playing 8 games there a year, max. That is just a two week road trip, plus you can give a half a week off before and after to give time to adjust. The European teams would just need two road trips. These are professional athletes, their bodies should adjust fine.
2. The KHL can't kill the league, and none of the other leagues would even really matter, as they are too small to do anything. What will the KHL do to stop them? I can't think of anything they could do to prevent teams going to and thriving in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
3. With contraction, you are going to have something like 2/3rds of the league making the playoffs. What is even the point of the regular season then? And no way the league drops the playoffs to only letting 8 teams in, because people love the 4 rounds and 16 wins needed, and this is where the league makes their money.
Bigalke said 12/31, 01:46 AM
Let's just jump down the points:
1. Travel. Costs aren't an issue? The owners can't even manage to hold the money they get BEFORE you factor in these added costs. This is NOT a moot point. You're also talking about imbalance... North American-based players taking one overseas trip, while a quarter of the league has to take two. Even with adjustment periods, this inequality leads to competitive imbalance.
2. You underestimate the money involved. The NHL does NOT have a ton... or else they wouldn't be locked out right now. If you challenge a city's franchise, there will be backlash from the league already in place. Also, have you cleared this with the IIHF yet? Territorial infringement isn't something to be laughed away.
3. The easiest answer is reducing the playoff field... or, as YOU mentioned in your 2nd argument, going to a divisional playoff format.
In conclusion, the costs of going to Europe outweigh contracting the weakest franchises. You have to split revenue between 33% more teams under Argos' plan. You don't even have a GUARANTEE that there's enough money to split. Get the NHL in its traditional markets and allow it to become HEALTHY AGAIN...
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