On my agenda:
» Begin the regular season on New Year's Day with the Winter Classic, and shorten the season by a month so that the Stanley Cup Finals are played at the end of July. In July, you don't compete against the NBA playoffs for viewers and media exposure. Your only competition is mid-season baseball. Moreover, people patronize cinemas in summertime to escape hot weather. The climate inside a hockey arena? Also cool.
» Contract six teams: Atlanta, Carolina, Florida, Nashville, Phoenix, and Tampa Bay. If the Northeast can live without college football, then the South can live without hockey. In the unlikely event of outrage, schedule a game or two every season in the South, like the NFL does in Toronto and London.
» Move the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Eastern Conference to create an even split.
» Expand the player rosters of the remaining 24 teams and play hockey games like soccer games two 30-minute halves with one 15-minute intermission and added stoppage time. More players equals more time to rest players at rinkside.
» Play regular-season overtime periods with two pucks. Shoot-outs are lame. Minimize them.
» Advance six teams from each conference to the playoffs. The top two seeds in each conference earn byes in the first round. Upsets are fun, but excellence in the regular season should be rewarded.