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Sean Leahy

How Gary Bettman should spend a $100 million relocation fee

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

So Jim Balsillie wants to move the Phoenix Coyotes and commissioner Gary Bettman is trying his damnedest to stop that from happening. Solution? Make the Research in Motion head pay a $100 million relocation fee! Brilliant!

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As Wysh wrote about on Tuesday, the NHL could ask Balsillie to pay that fee if he wants to uproot the Coyotes on top of his $212.5 million offer already on the table. (On top of another $100 million in indemnity fees that could be coming to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres if the Coyotes move to Hamilton, according to today's Toronto Star.)

That got me thinking. One hundred million is a lot of scratch and could really be put to good use to improve the NHL. Sadly, it doesn't involve adding Ice Girl squads to every team. (Commence "Leahy is a sexist pig" blogs...now!).

After the jump, we throw out some ideas for what Gary Bettman should put that money toward if Balsillie decides to pony up and stuff the NHL's coffers.

Put camera technology inside the nets that will allow the referees and "situation room" in Toronto to clearly be able to identify whether a puck crossed the goal line.

Haven't we seen enough calls unable to be made or overturned because of the lack of "indisputable evidence" that the puck crossed or didn't cross the goal line? If the technology is there to put Subway advertisements on the glass behind each net and make a puck glow on your television set, there's got to be a way to put cameras, heat sensors or a GPS chip inside pucks to help the video replay officials out in these situations.

The problem with the NHL is that, for the most part, it's a reactionary bunch. Changes come once a problem occurs. How soon was the foot-in-the-crease rule vehemently enforced after Brett Hull scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in 1999? Did the Rangers-Devils game come to an end before the "Sean Avery Rule" was put into effect? The day will come when Brian Burke and whatever team he's general managing at the time is screwed by a goal-line call and he'll scream loud enough that the NHL will buckle and institute change.

Make television executives happy and allow fans to view their team's road games from big screens outside or inside their arenas

OK, not every single game, but as we've seen this postseason with the Pittsburgh Penguins' outdoor lawn party and Joe Vision in Detroit, the community feeling that is created by these types of promotional events only helps grow the game. If close to a thousand fans outside an arena really affect TV ratings that much, then why does a smaller network like Versus, which could use the extra ratings points, allow it as opposed to the mega-power of NBC, which can grab huge ratings just by throwing up another crap reality show? The fans are hurt more in these situations than the television networks and league. Just for once, do something for the fans.

Spruce up the NHL Network

Did NHL on the Fly borrow the original NHL on OLN studio? Do those laptops even work? Does Dan Pollard need to be wound up before the show starts? This is the NHL Network we're talking about. There's no reason why it shouldn't be the only place to go for hockey fans to get breaking news and the latest commentary on what's happening in the puck world. Can we get every press conference for a coach hiring/firing, player signing/trade, no matter the time of day? Can we get a better fantasy hockey show that doesn't feature Rob Simpson reading off a sheet of paper? Can the network borrow talent from TSN, CBC, and Sportsnet for insider knowledge and the latest speculation?

Other suggestions:

- Buy the logo rights to the Hartford Whalers so I don't have to pay double for merchandise through the NHL store.

- (Insert your own "get NHL to ESPN" suggestion)

- Invest in the numerous stick companies to create a composite that lasts longer than one slap shot.

Have a suggestion for the commissioner? Let your voice be heard!

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