First off, Iâ€™m no expert when it comes to the finer details of all the squabbling that has shut down the league. All I know is, I want the damn league to start again ASAP. I know the players are refusing to accept a salary cap, and the owners want a hard cap. Both are unreasonable positions. If the NFL and NBA can have a form of a cap, thereâ€™s no reason the NHL players shouldnâ€™t have to accept it. On the other hand, neither league has a truly hard cap. Itâ€™s my understanding that in the NFL signing bonuses and contract restructuring can be used to dance around the cap, though again Iâ€™m no expert. The NBA has nothing resembling a hard cap. What Iâ€™m wondering is, are the owners really insisting on a hard cap, or would they accept a soft cap with exemptions similar to the NBA? A hard cap is unreasonable. First of all, it will penalize teams that build themselves the right wayâ€¦ drafting and developing players. Take the Tampa Bay Lightening for example. They drafted Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier and developed them into elite players, a Conn Smythe winner and World Cup MVP. They signed Martin St. Louis as a cast off from Calgary and developed him into a Hart Trophy winner. Thereâ€™s no reason Tampa should be forced to break them up, which is clearly what a hard cap would do (unless they want to surround those three guys with scrubs). The other factor in a set cap is, no one should be approaching this assuming the financial situation in the NHL wonâ€™t change. If revenues increase, the ONLY benefactors would be the owners, and that isnâ€™t right. If salaries were reduced and fixed, you can bet ticket prices would keep going up. There would HAVE to a way be the limit, whether it is a cap or luxury tax threshold, could revolve. Similarly, would the players accept a soft cap similar to the NBA? There may be problems with the NBA system, but the exemptions are pretty reasonable. There are basically three exemptions: the â€œBirdâ€ exemption, which allows players to go over the cap to sign their own player if his previous contract was three years or longer; the â€œmid-levelâ€ exemption, which allows a team over the cap to sign one player a year at a mid level salary, usually a solid veteran role player; and the â€œveteranâ€™s minimumâ€ exception which allows teams over the cap to sign as many players as they need to at the minimum salary. The NHL could tweak these concepts to suit its needs. There could be a luxury tax penalty against teams that did use these exemptions to go over the cap. This would prevent big market teams from having a monopoly on signing big name free agents, because if they didnâ€™t have cap space they couldnâ€™t sign anyone but their own players and the players who qualify for the other exceptions, which would eliminate any chance to sign a big name from another team. A team over or at the cap couldnâ€™t trade for a big name, high salary player without matching salaries. Teams under the cap would be the only ones who could offer more money to free agents, or absorb salary in a trade. It would place a big emphasis on drafting well and developing talent. Meanwhile it would still allow certain teams to bid for the services of a player, ensuring that a quality player who wants to be paid well can get it from somewhere. Forgive me if Iâ€™m being naÃ¯ve here, but it seems to me the obvious compromise between a hard cap and no cap is a soft cap. So who is going to step to the table and be the first to propose it?