There is no secret that people are losing a lot of money in the US right now. Consider that alongside the state of several conceivably insolvent NHL franchises. Phoenix, Tampa and Atlanta are barely scraping by at the best of times -- there screwed now that people aren't spending their money.
What about franchises in regions that have been hit hard with foreclosures? There are two teams in California, notwithstanding the surrounding areas of Detroit or Florida where corporate dollars are scarce and the fan base is frugal. Its a tough way to run a franchise and they talked about the pressure of the economic on the Fan 590 today (credit to McCown, Brunt and Kypreos) when the trio threw out the figure of 8 or 9 franchises which could be for sale courtesy of cash-deprived owners looking down the barrel of a creditors gun.
Awesome. There is nothing better for hockey than leaving poor sunbelt cities. Full Stop. Contraction and subsequent re-location would be a legacy event: some suit in on the NHL board of governors would get a plaque in the Hockey Hall of Fame uprooting these failing teams and sending them over the pacific.
Hockey in Europe
Their economy is shaky as well but the NHL in Europe should be made to work. If the NHL was really smart, they would institute relegation in a fashion modeled after the European Premier Leagues. It's crazy and bold, but it will work if crafted appropriately.