Which would you average fans rather have? 1. Have to wait several years for the owners to bust the Players Union--a long and messy process--and create a new league from scratch 2. Have the owners show some responsibility and restraint in their spending practices so we don't have to have a lockout and the union won't have to be busted I don't know about you guys, but I vote for the latter. Just look at our team [the Capitals] . Look at the transformation we have been undergoing for the last year or so. We dumped the high-payroll players who play for money alone and are cancers in the lockerroom, and we stocked up on young talent, including Alexander Ovechkin. As a result we should have a low-payroll team for several years until our players mature and have success and want money for it. When that happens, we can say: "What do you care about more? The money or the team? If you care more about the team, then accept a pay increase but not a huge one, and have success with our franchise. If you care more about the money, you are useless to our team and we don't want you anyway. Go to the Rangers, because they and similar teams stocked full of useless individuals like you are the only ones who will sign you." The players then have a choice to make. If they choose to stay with the team earning a sensible amount of money, then great--we get to continue with our close-knit team. If they choose the money, then it proves that they do not have the kind of character we must demand from our players. We must demand a team-first attitude and the highest character and work ethic. We don't want a bunch of lazy druggies on our team--that is not the way to success. Players who make too much money--case in point Jaromir Jagr--feel somehow that they are above work--since they have basically reached the peak of the amount of money they will earn, and since that money is garaunteed no matter how much success or lack of it they have, it reduces or eliminates the incentive to work. As a result, they produce less and in many cases are actually a detriment to the team because they take bench space and ice time from players who ARE willing to work. They create tension in the lockerroom because other lower-paid, harder-working players are disgusted at the injustice of the elite player/s getting paid more for producing less. Therefore it is not in the interests of the team to overpay players, aside from the fact that it is not fiscally responsible. In contrast, if you have a lower-payroll team filled with young, high-character, hard-working players who play as a team, it is best for the success of the team both statistically and financially, as well as pleasing to the fans who will know that every night, win or lose, their team will give it their best shot and they will be able to watch some great hockey. Then--since you gained money by lowering your payroll--you can afford to lower your ticket prices enough to allow ordinary people to take their families to games, and the fans will line up in droves. Remember in school we learned that lower prices increase demand? It seems that the owners and GM's have lost sight of this fact. If teams would just lower salaries and then lower ticket prices, they would allow normal people to come see their games. Fans have to be able to take their families or their friends--or both --to watch a great young team play some great hockey without busting their own budgets. They shouldn't have to worry about their team lazing off like I had to when I was an Avalanche fan. They shouldn't have to scream at the television or the radio like I did, ordering my team of fat cats to get off their rear ends and play some hockey. They shouldn't have to be a rich businessman to be able to go see their team play. They can be ordinary people making ordinary salaries and still see their favorite team play hockey the way the game was meant to be played. I see no reason why an NHL team cannot succeed following these guidelines. If they would exercise some business sense, they would realize that a salary cap, while useful in curbing the spending of irresponsible teams, is unecissary because each team can impose their own salary cap by being disciplined in their own spending. They shouldn't need a regulation to order them to spend only a certain amount--they should be able to do that themselves. Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they blame the players, and thus we normal fans are sitting here talking about the lockout instead of our team's games in the 2004-2005 NHL season!!! Now don't get me wrong--I don't mean to say that the players are not at fault. Many of them are because of their low character and low work ethic, but the owners and GM's are responsible because they are the leaders. They are in charge of the team--who stays and who goes, who plays and who warms the bench. It is up the GM's to exercise discipline in spending and hold a tough line on players who ask for too much money. That's my opinion anyway. I don't think a salary cap is necessary if the owners and GM's use common sense.