Kukla's Korner Hockey
From William Houston at the Globe & Mail,
The NHL’s move to start its regular season in London, England is renewing debate about the viability of the league expanding to Europe.
Jim Kelley, a semi-regular host at the Fan590 in Toronto, correctly noted that “finding some schlep” in Europe to buy out owners of the sad-sack franchises in the American south – Florida, Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, to name a few – would save the NHL the enormous cost of contraction.
Problem is, there’s no evidence the league has plans to give up on the U.S. television market by contracting.
from The Maven at MSG Network,
There will be another NHL expansion and you can put your money on Las Vegas as being the 31st team. The reasons why Sin City has the lead are many. Start with the fact that it would be very difficult for ownership to reject a HUGE entrance fee which would top anything the league has known. Plus a new rink is going up in LV and the very influential Phil Anschutz is behind the move.
more bits from Stan…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
But let’s look at the bigger picture. This is the third post-lockout NHL season. Would it not be logical to expect the league itself to turn some kind of corner, to make some sort of statement about its future, its health?
Here are some story lines that might answer some of those questions.
The Outdoor Game
Fair or not, the dispute shows the NHL has a winner in terms of marketing. Buffalo was a terrific choice given its proximity to hockey markets in Southern Ontario, New York state and Pennsylvania.
From Pierre LeBrun, CP via Globe & Mail,
Bettman’s voice fills with emotion has he responds to criticism that the salary cap has risen too high at US$50.3 million and salaries are back to pre-lockout levels.
“I think the agreement has been misconstrued,” Bettman said. “People are saying there’s a $50-million cap and now we’re back to where we were and higher. That statement, when it’s made, indicates a fundamental lack of understanding of how the system works.”
To wit, Bettman points out that in the pre-lockout season of 2003-04, the top payroll was in the $80-million range with other teams in the 70s and 60s. More importantly, he adds, it’s the average payroll that really matters pertaining to dividing up the 55 per cent of the revenue pie to players.
more… (*wide-ranging interview on issues like television coverage, European markets, etc.)
from the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
The Kings’ annual “Frozen Fury” NHL preseason game at the MGM Grand Garden has given their fans the best of both worlds: a season preview and a Las Vegas weekend getaway.
Several thousand make the trip from Southern California every year, as is the case for tonight’s 10th anniversary game. The Kings will take on the Colorado Avalanche at 7.
But with the NHL starting to take a more serious look at Las Vegas as a site for a franchise, the Kings could find themselves pushed out of the market where they helped generate interest in hockey.
“On one hand, experiment well done,” said Tim Leiweke, the Kings’ chief executive officer and team governor. “On the other hand, because of the success we’ve had in Las Vegas, we’re likely not going to be here much longer. We could find ourselves being the visiting team instead of the home team.”
from Fox Sports,
His Capitals have lost tens of millions of dollars, he acknowledges, but the team is worth more than twice the $85 million he paid for it in 1999. The value will only increase if the team, which Leonsis has slowly rebuilt after initially overspending for players, returns to the playoffs this season for the first time since 2003.
“I have to laugh,” Leonsis said, “because we get slammed by newspapers or frankly even some new media properties, and I go, ‘Our salary cap has grown from $39 million to $50 million in two years.’ Whose shoes would you rather be in?”
more on Ted…
from The Universal Cynic, the blog of Erin Nicks,
“Quite frankly, I find it amusing that the media has continued to talk about what’s going to happen after this great year, because I think the fans want to see what’s going to happen (this year).,,, I think the fans are really excited. They really don’t want to hear what’s going to go on a year from now.”
read on... and Nicks responds…
From the AP via TSN,
The Pittsburgh Penguins signed a lease Thursday, committing the NHL team to its yet-to-be built US$290 million arena until 2040.
The lease terms were in accordance with a March memorandum between the team and government officials, Gov. Ed Rendell said Thursday.
Brian Biggane of Inside the Panthers at the Palm Beach Post responds to the latest story by David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail about expansion & the schedule…
David Shoalts, who covers the Toronto Maple Leafs for Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper and loves to bash the Panthers, was at it again Wednesday.
In a story about Wednesday’s Board of Governors meetings in Chicago, Shoalts noted that while expansion will be discussed, it isn’t likely to come about for a few more years. If and when it does happen, he said, Winnipeg is likely to be passed over in favor of American cities such as Las Vegas, Kansas City and Seattle.
Winnipeg’s best chance of getting a team, he continued, “remains relocating one of the league’s basket cases, such as the Atlanta Thrashers, Florida Panthers or Nashville Predators.”
added 9:30pm, Bob McKenzie at TSN also has some notes regarding the BOG meeting. A few people willing to pay up $200M-$300M for an NHL team!
From WBEN in Buffalo,
The Buffalo Sabres outdoor game at Ralph Wilson Stadium—officially called AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic New Year’s Day- sold out 74,000 tickets in under 1 hour Tuesday morning.
The game, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, began offering tickets at 10:00 am at the Bills Ticket Office outside the stadium and online at Ticketmaster.com. None were available by 10:40 am
It is not known how many tickets went to individual buyers and how many went to brokers, but there are indications that the secondary market is already skyrocketing. There were no limits on the number of tickets any individual could buy, and immediately after the sell out tickets were being offered on E-bay, at typical prices of $2,000 for six, or roughly $300 each.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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