I love Henrik Lundqvist to death and I applaud his idea to get some players to meet with owners (other than the hard line Gang of Four, Jacobs, Burke, Leonsis, Edwards), resolve this lockout and get back to playing hockey. I think it’s too late for that.
At this point they might find that many fans don’t want or even care if the National Hockey League comes back. Gary Bettman, Bill Daly and the majority of the owners have proven by their behavior that they don’t deserve to be the custodians of the game.
For almost 20 years Bettman and his supporters have been dishing up clutch and grab, homogenized, boring hockey where outcomes appear predetermined and entertainment value has gone out the window.
Over expansion has diluted the talent pool in the present NHL. If the league contracted by least four teams, about 100 jobs would be lost. Those 100 are the AHL caliber grabbers and goons that the league could do without.
Now is the perfect time to de-certify. Let the cream rise to the top and the chips fall where they may. No player union means no contracts, no cap ceiling and best of all more talented players vying for fewer jobs. Better hockey.
Owners and teams can negotiate with whom they want, for how much and how long they want. Rich teams can buy up all the talent and the poor teams would go out of business. Survival of the fittest franchises with the most supportive fan bases.
Sure, some players might have to give up their guaranteed contracts and the plush conditions under which they currently play. You have to give something to get something. But they would be able to negotiate freely and not be jerked around every five to seven years.
De-certification is capitalism at its best. Laissez-faire. What the market will bear. The wheat will be separated form the chaff. If that includes the unsuccessful franchises and the less talented players, so be it.
I am for a downsized “Premiere” hockey league, kind of like Premiere League soccer. Teams will move up and down within divisions based upon their records. A PHL will benefit teams that have fan bases large enough to support the franchise.
Teams like the Coyotes, the Blue Jackets, the Islanders, the Devils, the Panthers and any other teams that would be a millstone around the neck of profitable teams don’t belong in a premiere league.
Stop settling for the clutch and grab, diluted crap we’ve been watching for the last twenty years.
We wouldn’t miss you as much as you think.