I took a few years off from watching hockey. When I came back, there were teams all over the place... Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Nashville, etc. My first thought was "why are there teams in these cities?" They might be nice cities, but do they have the fans? My theory is you need to have an existing fan base to have a striving franchise. Anyway, with the expansion the schedule is got all messed up, where teams don't play everyone else. Here in MN, we only get to see Ovechkin play every so often. For cities where hockey is new, you want to see the stars. I also think the overall talent level has been diluted.
How do we fix this?
a) Contraction- Let's get rid of some of the teams and reorganize the Divisions
b) Move the teams from unsuccessful markets to Canadian cities where the fans are. Bring back the Jets or the Nordiques!
I grew up playing hockey in a small town in Western MA. I must admit that I took a 15 year hiatus from the game and the NHL. However, over the past three years, I have a rekindled love for the game. With that comes concern for the game and the need to change a lot of things about the NHL to capture the interest of fans old and new.