August 06, 2008
Every weekday in August, Puck Daddy presents "5 Ways I'd Change the NHL," in which a cross-section of sports media and hockey personalities offer solutions, suggestions and absurdities to remake the League to their liking. We're thrilled to have Craig Custance, National Hockey Writer for The Sporting News contribute his list today. And please do check out his publication's wicked cool new Sporting News Today digital daily edition. Away we go ...
By Craig Custance
1. Eliminate the Canadian teams. They're screwing up the economics of the league and forcing good, honest American franchises to spend money they don't have. Sure, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens sell out every game; but it's the strong Canadian dollar that is responsible for all the revenues. Everybody knows that. They can have their own league, and let the rest of us enjoy an NHL with an $11 million salary cap.
2. Bring hockey back to ESPN. I know I'm the first to think of this, and you'll thank me later, but hockey games need to be on ESPN. It's that simple. By the way, did you know Erin Andrews got her start in television doing hockey in Tampa? She doesn't mention it a lot now, because it's probably in her contract not to, but she really enjoyed her time in hockey. Should we really be preventing her from working in a sport she loves?
3. European expansion. Hockey truly is a global sport, it's time to capitalize on the untapped market overseas. It's also time to capitalize on the untapped Delta Skymiles and Marriott Rewards Points that sportswriters deserve. Also, Vegas can have a team too. That'd be fine.
4. Tweak revenue sharing. The salary cap has helped parity, but it is getting so high that any gains made by the salary cap are going to disappear. I'd follow the NBA's lead and allow teams to exceed the cap, but pay a luxury tax to the franchises losing money. Look, I know people don't want to hear it, but the league needs healthy franchises all over the U.S. if it wants to be a viable national television package. Hockey can't be a regional sport that is only strong in traditional hockey cities. More revenue sharing would help the cause.
5. Put a wing in the Hockey Hall of Fame with giant reproductions of the photos from the Gary Bettman Art Contest Gallery. Those were wildly entertaining, if not a bit disturbing.