Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette (before yesterday's game 6),
Who owns hockey? The NHL owns hockey.
Hockey at its highest level is now run by a couple of dozen American billionaires and a New York lawyer. Even if they vote as a bloc, the seven Canadian teams have virtually no power other than their contribution to the bottom line: without Canadian fans to fill the arenas and that foolish mega-deal with Rogers to prop it up, the salary cap might be due for a precipitous drop, but with less than a quarter of the teams based in Canada, this country’s economic clout is limited.
The trend is inescapable. The NHL in the spring of 2016 has never been more American, and the addition of an expansion team in the U.S. will erode our influence even more, carrying on a process that began with the move of the league’s head office from Montreal to New York in 1989.
Now, with a weakened Canadian dollar and zero playoff revenue for the 2015-2016 season, Canadian teams have to figure out how to get back in the hunt for the Stanley Cup — a task that may be all but impossible. In the short term, Montreal may be the Canadian team most likely to return to the playoffs, simply because of Carey Price.
In the longer term, these Canadiens do not look at all like a Stanley Cup team, a unit that can face the likes of the Penguins, Sharks, Lightning, Blues, Stars, Ducks, Kings or Blackhawks in a seven-game series and win. The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers have the brightest long-term futures, perhaps — but it’s a long step from having young stars to playing the Stanley Cup.
And now every Canadian franchise must compete for star players with locations that can offer the glamour and glitz of New York or lower taxes and a convenient beach or nearby golf course available in February, when shivering Canadians are hustling along snow-swept streets in parkas. All we can offer is the passion of our fans, which can be a negative or a positive, depending on a player’s perspective.
Unless those at the National Hockey League have a warped sense of humor — it’s true commissioner Gary Bettman rarely comes off as a bowl of cherries — the league’s Board of Governors will meet in Las Vegas on the morning of June 22 and officially award the city and owner Foley an expansion franchise.
Later that evening, the league will host its annual awards show at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Would the NHL really arrive here in such an official capacity, vote on expansion and deny Las Vegas a team?
If so, I imagine Bettman would desire a police escort to the airport for his Never Return Here Flight to anywhere.
-Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. More from Graney on youth hockey in Vegas.
Rest in peace my one and only sports idol.
The big guy meets The Big Guy.
added 9:32am, Legends of Hockey feature on Gordie Howe is below...
Don Cherry and Ron MacLean talk pucks and how they are prepared for game time.
You can read the legalese by clicking the link in the tweet.
IMO, not the best timing with a possible Stanley Cup clinching game tomorrow night.
Sports Illustrated Sports Media Analyst Richard Deitsch joined The Afternoon Drive on Tuesday to discuss several sports media topics...
On why NHL Final ratings consistently rank behind the other sports:
“I think (the NHL and its fans) have to change the framework of their thoughts. It’s just never going to be a ‘big four’ sports at least in terms of television. It doesn’t have enough of a base to compete with those guys. If I was the NHL, I would make the product has great as it can be…I would try to bring more younger people under the tent…and I would try to keep my seven million or eight million people that watch the Stanley Cup Final every year….keep that audience and make sure they’re happy with that product. You’ll still make money (and stay relevant in the American sports landscape). But, to me, the notion that you’re a big four sports just isn’t realistic…”
a bit more on the SCF and you can also listen to the full audio segment...
Looking back over a decade's worth of data, it's clear some teams have the right to wonder what could have been. The international points system ensures the best teams make the playoffs. The teams that win the most games should make the playoffs. Period.
It's time to give the international system, the true three-point system, a look on this side of the pond.
-David Alter of The Score where you can read more on this topic.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
There is one overriding question that drives the June 22 vote by the NHL’s 30 governors on the league’s expansion plans: Is it worth accepting a one-time payment of $500-million in exchange for a smaller slice of the league’s shared-revenue pie in perpetuity?
This scenario assumes the nine governors on the executive committee, who met Tuesday in New York to formally draw up recommendations for the rest of their colleagues, will take the position that only Las Vegas should be considered for expansion in the 2017-18 season. The Quebec City bid, backed by media giant Quebecor, will likely be kept on the sidelines, with relocation of an existing franchise being its best route into the league, according to multiple sources.
The executive committee’s recommendation will not be publicly announced by the NHL before the June 22 vote, although league commissioner Gary Bettman noted last week: “I have no doubt that recommendation will probably get leaked in advance of the board meeting.” A two-thirds majority of the 30 teams is needed to approve any expansion. The minimum fee to join the league has already been set at $500-million (all currency U.S.).
If the 30 governors follows old habits, they will simply rubber-stamp the executive committee’s recommendation at the meeting. But there are signs this expansion decision is more contentious than the ones that saw the league grow from 21 teams in 1991 to 30 by 2000. Some of the more prosperous NHL teams do not see the need to expand and cite several reasons, from the uncertain status of the Canadian dollar to competitive and geographic balance.
from Kerry Fraser at the Players' Tribune,
What I want people to take away this story, especially as they’re about to watch the puck drop in the Stanley Cup finals, is how much stress everyone is under out there. You’re watching human beings, most of whom are giving everything they have despite incredible physical pain.
Mistakes will be made. Calls will be missed. Players will do dumb things. But what’s so genuinely great about this game is that, no matter what happens, when it’s all said and done, the players line up and look one another in the eye. You shake the hand of the man who has been trying to kill you for seven games.
After my father passed away in 2001, I was going through some of his old memorabilia when I found this newspaper clipping.
The article said that my father had been suspended for punching a referee in the face.
What was that poor zebra’s name?
Frank Udvari. The man who had given me my big break.
Hockey. That’s all I gotta say about that.
more, some great stories....
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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