Soccer fans are insane because, typically, the teams have been around for a long time (not really including U.S. soccer, I assume) and the fan base has had time to grow with the team. If the NHL stopped taking teams out of areas where they belonged and stopped putting them in regions where hockey doesn't belong -- and ice doesn't even occur naturally -- then you'd see more of the same with hockey. Until that is fixed, I think hockey needs something to draw new viewers in.
Those of us who have been hockey fans forever will probably stick by the game no matter what happens. My concern isn't with people who already like hockey. It's with people who aren't hockey fans yet.