Everyone here loves hockey, i think that's kind of obvious, what's also obvious is that the game that the NHL plays is a flawed, some would say, broken game. Stuff like the dump and chase style of play that was derided in the past is still being implemented to today and still being lambasted and with the hockey world split almost literally 50-50 over the subject of fighting.
The NHL is suffering because of this lack of an ability to adapt to new styles of play and to make a definite ruling on fighting and hits to the head. When the NHL came back from the lock out they advertised a faster, more high paced game which, at the start, they got but over time the game began slowing down again, fewer goals were being scored so the NHL reduced the sizes of the goalies pads, not realizing that goalies are just better athletes than they used to be.
The NHL has continually tried to push Crosby and Ovechkin on us, their talent and their youth, they are both immensely talented players but they still haven't made the NHL the impact that it was hoping for.
Now, look at how successful the 2010 Winter Olympics were, look at how much coverage the Men's hockey tournament got here in the US of A. I look at all of this and think to myself if these are the same NHL players, playing on the same size NHL rink (it was the first time the tournament was being played on an NHL regulation rink) and I think to myself "what is the NHL doing wrong?"
Take a leap of faith with me to see my ideas
One thing I noticed during that tournament was that with the lack of fighting players took their aggression out by increasing their offensive play with aggressive fore checking and hard, clean body checks
Also for some reason the game was so much faster, teams were playing more open with guys flying around the ice, these same players would go back to playing dump and chase only two weeks later
Maybe because it just wasn't NHL, but people just took to the tournament and really enjoyed it, but after the tournament everyone just stopped watching the game as much as they watched the Olympics.
My ideas to fix the game would be to take a definite stand on fighting, either get it out of the game or keep it, don't keep it up in the air for the fans to continue arguing about. I believe that if you get fighting out of the game players would take their aggression out on the transition game, you will see players fore check harder, and more aggressively allowing more explosive players to fully use their talents.
Also, teams need to take a stand and get this dump and chase and all of the offensive systems that stem from it out of the game. There are faster and more creative ways to get the puck into the offensive zone, don't make hockey a zone game, make it a transition game have offense and defense blend smoothly fluidly.
I know that the NHL wouldn't think of expanding the ice because it would lose seats which would lead to a loss of money for most teams, but if you expand the ice the dump and chase would cease to exist, and enforcers would be forced out of the game because they would be too slow to cover the more skilled players who would have more room to create and zip around players like Boogaard, Carcillo, and others.
Well, those are my thoughts and I'd love to hear what you guys think, and please don't bring up relocation or expansion that is just a counter productive argument