I am not optimistic at all about the present lockout in the NHL. I don't think the players will ever accept a hard salary cap, not even a soft one. They don't trust the Levitt Report and were probably very pleased by the Forbes' article. Owners spent money to buy and run the franchises. They are entitled to make some profits. Don't they ? There is no respect for US, the fans, the ones that are paying their huge salaries, by attending games, buying all kinds of promotional products, watching games (cable $, etc...). Players are just simply living in another world. That being said, I think, like Guy Lafleur, that the NHL should just declare bankruptcy and start over under a new name: the Intercontinental Hockey Association. Why "Intercontinental" ? Because I would create a European conference where a majority of its players would be born in a European country. While teams based in North Ameraica would hire a majority of North American born players. The Association would have 4 Conferences: Canadian Conference with Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver + two new teams (or relocated US teams) in Quebec and Winnipeg. Western American Conference with Detroit, Minnesota, Colorado, Chicago, Dallas, St-Louis, San Jose, Phoenix OR Los Angeles Eastern American Conference with Boston, New-York Rangers, Philadelphia, Tampa, Washington, Colombus, Buffalo OR Atlanta, New-York Islanders OR New Jersey. 8 US based teams would disappears... Nashville, Anaheim, Florida, Carolina, Pittsburg, Islanders OR Devils, Phoenix OR Los Angeles, Atlanta OR Buffalo. I apologize to hockey fans in these cities, but It seems to me that these organisations are the weakest or more in debt. Those 8 teams could be sold to Europeans or at least 6 of them - the two others being sold to Winnipeg and Quebec. Two new teams would be created, in Europe or Canada. European Conference Two teams in Russia - one in Finland, one in Sweden, one in Tcheque Republic, one in Switzerland, and two in Germany. PLAYERS would be paid in the currency of the country where they are playing. A player on a canadian based team would be paid in CDN $. So, for exemple, Jose Theodore would not be paid 6 million US but 6 million in CDN dollars. Teams would have 21 players on their active roster - 19 dressed for a game. European teams would not be allowed to have more than 5 North American born players on their roster - North American teams could not have more than 5 Europeans born player on their roster. Europeans who bought North American based teams would have three years to trim down to 5 "imports". So, there would be lots of trades between European and North American based teams to meet the quota. The Draft would allow the 8 Canadian teams to draft the 8 best Canadian born players; the US based team would be able to draft the best American born players; while the European teams would draft the best 8 European born players. After this special first round, it would be a universal draft as we know today. A team would play 8 times per year against the seven other teams in its own conference (TOTAL 56 per year) , and would play one game only agains each of the 24 other teams (TOTAL 24) (56+24= 80 games per season). This mean for example that, let's say the Toronto Maple Leafs would play 4 games on US territory against 4 teams in the West, 4 teams in the East, and play in 4 European cities. They would welcome at the AC Centre the twelve other teams from this three Conferences. It would be the opposite the following year. So Maple Leafs fans would see Boston, once every two years. But they would see the 7 other Canadian based teams 4 times each in Toronto. The season would be divided in blocks to enhance competition for playoff spots 1- First 14 games against teams of your own Conference 2- Next 8 games against teams of other conferences 3- Next 14 against your own 4- Next 8 against the others 5- Next 14 against your own 6- Next 8 against the others 7- Final 14 against your own The season would start Oct 1 and finish no later than March 31. Play-offs would be played in April and May 4 teams per Conference would make the playoffs. There would be a quarter final and a final per Conference. The four Champions would play against each other for the Stanley Cup. SALARIES There would be a minimum and a maximum salary and a total control on the bonuses and salary raises. No more 300-400% salary raise. No more arbitration. No more no-trade clause. And an automatic two-way contracts until you have played 400 games at IHA (NHL) level.(150 for goalies). Players would become unrestricted free agent at 30, or after 10 years with the same organisation. Minimum salary: $ 250 000 Maximum: 10 million Maximum rookie salary: $ 500 000 ( for first round draft picks) diminishing down to $250 000 for late round draft picks or undrafted players) Maximum bonus; no more than 50 % of your actual salary Maximum raise (even for a free agent) 50 % of your actual salary over the lenght of the new three year contract (less for a one year or two year deal) No raise if players stats and performance did not improve over previous years; Maximum contract length: 3 years NO MORE "no-trade clause" - NO MORE "salary arbitration". Two-way contract for every player who did not play 400 games yet (150 for goalies) at IHA (NHL) level. A player can be sent down at any time to the minors without going thru waivers before he played his 400th game at the IHA (NHL) level. Better bonuses ( revenue sharing) for teams and players participating in the playoffs. There is for me lots of advantages with this formula. More European players are playing in Europe. More Canadians and Americans are playing in North America. There is no salary cap per say, but a better control of raises and bonuses, slowing down the inflation. Free agents would not double or triple their salary overnite. Rookie salaries are lower and the "two-Way contracts" means that player who are not performing will be sent down to the minors more easily. There would be awesome rivalries between teams of each Conference which would play 8 times against each other per year + playoffs.