The Ice has Melted
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman announced today that the NHL season is over. While LAist won't claim to be huge ice hockey fans, we admit it was always fun to go to Kings or Ducks games every now and then.Bettman and the NHL owners should be ashamed that they let this happen. After finally getting the players to agree to a salary cap, how could they not let it go up to $49 million? How could they cancel a whole season on being $6.5 million apart? The idea of a salary cap is 100 times more important than the actual cap number. Getting the union to agree to a cap is one of the greatest accomplishments in NHL labor history. But the owners blew a chance to save their season and their sport.
Many NHL teams already have payrolls well below $49 million with no cap. And it's not like teams will follow the Ducks' lead and sign Sergei Federov types for $8 million a year. Unless they're stupid, like all of these NHL owners.
The problem with the NHL is that it has acted like a major sport for the past decade, when it's not. It pays its players baseball salaries when its ratings are lower than women's college softball on ESPN. Salaries were already starting to come down with a market correction, and a $49 million cap would have been more than enough to protect ownership.
In the meantime, LAist proposes the NHL come back with mass contraction if and when it ever comes back. That's right. Eliminate 8 teams. We don't care about the Nashville Predators or Carolina Hurricanes. Heck, eliminate the Ducks. No one wants to buy them anyways. (but keep the Kings. We'd like at least one team.) This would improve a product that has been ruined by the neutral zone trap over the past decade.
But while LA deals without NHL hockey, we can at least take heart in knowing the Long Beach Ice Dogs are just a game out of first place.