Comrade Prager, with your focus on single game attendance, and attempts to draw conclusions from the first few weeks of the season, it will indeed be interesting to see how you develop your arguments supporting your contention that the salary cap WILL drop.
From the NHL, for your information, dated April 12 of this year:
The National Hockey League has set an overall attendance record for the fourth consecutive season. Total attendance of 21,475,223 and the per-game average of 17,460 were 1.1% higher than the corresponding record figures of 21,236,255 and 17,265 from 2007-08...including the full Winter Classic attendance of 40,818, the aggregate NHL attendance increases to 21,495,541, and the per-game increases to 17,476.
I believe I referred to those results in my post. It's been a 4-year steady climb. However the economy went into the dumper last year. Because of season ticket sales, and contracts with the likes of Versus and NBC, much of the NHL's income was "guaranteed". The full effects of the economic downturn won't be felt until this year.
At this point, this is just an opinion (an informed one, I think). I will monitor the attendance averages and report my findings.