I know we are trying to forget the lockout which led to this shortened 48 game season. But here's an idea that may prevent this from happening again. No money, HRR, pensions, caps or anything else that is too complex for me to comment on.
It seems so simple to me. Why did the lockout end? Because they didn't want to lose the whole season and the unwritten rule is you need approximately 48 games in order to have a functioning schedule and playoffs.
So here's my solution. Invoke some sort of clause in the CBA that says that if you cannot schedule at least a 70 game season, than you must cancel the entire season. This will lead to more negotiations happening before the expiration of the old agreement. It puts their backs against the wall to get it done and hockey on the ice before November. It will hopefully eliminate all the smoke and mirrors act that we watched while the first 35 games or so were supposed to be played, or at the very least, move that show to the summer months when we're not losing games.
The bottom line is, they got the deal done because the had a drop dead date to salvage a season. So, make it mandatory to move that date to November 1st and force them to get a deal done.
There is no reason the NHLPA and the Owners could not have reached this deal in the summer or even before, if they had bothered to try to negotiate. But they used the cancellation of games and loss of money as tools to strong arm the other side. You know what? The players and owners are still rich and the ones who it hurt was the fans.
I am sick of NHL Lockouts. If they really want to say "Thank You Fans" when we come crawling back, they would take measures to ensure that this stuff doesn't happen after every CBA expires.
I say 70 games just as an example. You could suggest that if you can't start the schedule on time, then you must cancel the entire season. Works for me, I would rather lose the whole thing than go through another year like this.