So what if several NHL teams are barely-watched from their actual arena seats, let alone on television? So what if the league itself is still the media's favorite whipping boy? So what if the talent pool is so diluted that some teams have to rely on just one really good player? It's time to expand, baby!
Word has it that Gary Bettman and his cartel of head-in-ass owners are interested in granting expansion teams to Las Vegas and Kansas City. Never mind the facts that Las Vegas is television market #51 and the majority of its workers spend their evenings staffing the casinos, or the truth that Kansas City has a great new arena but no proven demand for the sport. Forget the fact that there are already teams like Nashville, New Jersey, Phoenix, Florida and Atlanta struggling to keep their seats above three-quarters full. While you're at it, forget the already-failed US expansion scheme Bettman suckered everyone with the first time. There's quick money in it, so let's make the league bigger! Bigger than the NBA! Bigger than Major League Baseball! Even bigger than the NFL!
If the NHL needs anything, it's contraction. I'm in favor of dumping four teams and dropping the league to 26. Or, while we're at it, dropping to 24 would make for even-sized divisions. A subsequent rise in the salary cap (even if the rules have to be rewritten) and the concentration of teams in stronger markets with more talent to choose from seems financially sound to me, but then again, I'm no economist. Or, at the very least, move existing teams to the new markets---the Las Vegas Coyotes would still makes sense name-wise (it's a freakin' desert!) and it would really make Janet Gretzky a happy lady.
And that's what it's really all about---keeping the wives satisfied.