A Plan To Save The NHL

The NHLPA and the Owners have apparently come to a "tentative" agreement to save the NHL season. While this is great news, there is still a lot of work to do to save the NHL which is losing fans and sponsors.

Here's how I would save the NHL:

It's pretty silly that teams play one game in Toronto, and then have two days off until they play their next game in Buffalo. I completely understand that these players need to rest, but college hockey teams play two consecutive games.

Let's start by cutting costs with travel.

I would adopt a new hybrid schedule based and the Major League Baseball and National Football League scheduling.

Teams will play three or two game series against teams within their conference at the same venue. This would also involve re-aligning the divisions and conferences, but would cut travel cost significantly.

January 21st, New York Islanders @ Toronto Maple Leafs
January 22nd, New York Islanders @ Toronto Maple Leafs
January 23rd. OFF
January 24th, New York Islanders @ Toronto Maple Leafs

March 10th, Toronto Maple Leafs @ New York Islanders
March 11th, Toronto Maple Leafs @ New York Islanders

Last season the Islanders and Maple Leafs played three times. Two games were consecutive days, one in Toronto and one in New York. The same two teams play the next day, but hundreds of miles away? How does that make sense?

Teams would play limited games of teams outside of their conference. Each season a division would be scheduled against a non-conference division just for that season, and it would rotate season to season similar to the NFL.

Atlantic Division
2014 - Central
2015 - Pacific
2016 - Northwest

This would eliminate the high costs of travel, while building stronger geographic rivals.

Overtime and Shootouts
It's extremely silly to have a hard fought 60 minute game come down to a shoot out. I think teams should play 4-on-4 overtime periods until the game is decided. It doesn't matter if the game goes into multiple over times. This would also eliminate the overtime loss, and I think make the game ultimately more exciting.

Relocating Teams
How does Quebec City not have a hockey team, but Phoenix does? The NHL needs to look at relocating teams where they can garner more popularity and revenue. Quebec City is a hot bed for juniors hockey, and supports an entire league. There is no reason they can't support another NHL hockey team there.

Also, it's crazy to think that the Jets left Winnipeg years ago and are now back after the NHL's failed attempt in Atlanta. The NHL seems to be stepping over a dollar to pick up a nickel.

Suggestive spots for team relocations or expansion: Quebec City, Seattle, and Kansas City.

All-Star Weekend/Winter Classic
The NHL has a found a gold mine with the Winter Classic but still hasn't been able to market their star players and bring in more fans. The NHL needs to eliminate the Winter Classic, and have it become the All-Star Winter Classic. This would have your league a chance to showcase your the best players and the best stage possible.

I'm not sure if any of these things would be instituted, what are your thoughts? 

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