In my How I Would Fix Series (beginning with the Red Wings, you'll see Cubs and Lions soon and you won't see a Tiger Woods edition, I'm not Oprah) I take a look at the NHL. First I will give the facts that we know. Commissioner Darth Bettman is totally committed to the death to keep a team in Phoenix. It looks like next week they will approve the team being sold to a group that will keep them in Arizona. So the cash black hole that are the Coyotes will continue. I doubt this team can be good enough and generate enough buzz to become profitable. But at least the NHL won't be owning a team anymore. The salary cap should go down in the loss of revenue due to the poor economy. I would also bet that no team will relocate because the NHL is a charity in that way. So that is what we know.
In my first preview I told the Wings to go sign Marion Gaborik. Go look up how he is playing and tell me I'm wrong. So this is the Corbitt Recovery Plan:
Get a team in Southern Ontario. Yeah the Maple Leafs will be upset, but the franchise is worth the most in the NHL, so I doubt they will be hurt too bad. The NHL can get support from at least one more Canadian team and the extra revenue can help the league. Take your pick of teams to relocate (please no more expansion), Nashville, Florida, Tampa Bay, etc.
Move a team back to Winnipeg. Don't think I am Canada supporter. I am an increased revenue supporter. Winnipeg has a beautiful new arena and a good fan base. They will be able to support a team and should be given another shot. Outside of these two moves, no more relocating. Kansas City doesn't need a team, Ohio doesn't need another team Quebec City doesn't need another team either. The NHL will probably have to bail out the Islanders in a few years but they should. The Islanders can be a solid franchise. They just need a new arena and better ownership. No need to leave that market.
Create an Original Six series. In December, have all the Original Six teams play each other. The team with the best record can get an award. Now, it would be awesome to have a tournament in the regular season but I doubt that will happen. So here is my plan. Have all teams play each other and get some of the tradition back in the NHL. I don't care that the Red Wings play Nashville 34 times a season. Most of these teams don't play each other often enough. Its no secret that these teams have a very strong fan bases and would be supportive of this idea. It would also get a lot of buzz. Look how much the Winter Classic has done for the game? I love the Classic and watch it every year. This series would only help the NHL.
Continue to market young players and new rivalries. Ovechkin vs Crosby is always a great game and has helped the game. You have to carry the momentum gained by all these young stars and last year's playoffs into the future.
Bring back the Hockey World Cup to center stage. Look how many new soccer fans the World Cup brings to the game. Some people only care about the World Cup. Do the same with Hockey. Let NHLers play and have it every two years alternating with the Olympics (for example Olympics in 2010, World Cup in 2012). True, you would only get two All-Star games every four years, but you have to make sacrifices. Opening in foreign countries is a cool idea and now it is time to take it a step further. Lets see how popular Olympic hockey is this year (should be huge) and then we can put this idea into serious contention.
Keep fighting in the game, and get no touch icing. It seems like polar opposites but fighting is the safe alternate in the NHL. First of all, fighting is fun and great. Nothing gets people out of their seats and pumped like fighting does. Don't discourage players from dropping the gloves. No touch icing is necessary to get rid of unnecessary injuries in the NHL. It works well in College Hockey and takes away a part of the game no one wants to see. Past rule changes have worked really well and I think these two will help the game grow.
That's how I would fix the NHL. I am sure after the economy recovers so will the NHL. There isn't too much broken in the league. Popularity has been increasing since the Lockout. The NHL just has to continue the momentum.