Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Anthony J. SanFilippo of the Delco Times,
The owners did this to themselves. They enjoyed a revenue spike from $2.14 billion to $2.6 billion in the three years after the lockout. That may seem plentiful, but it increased the salary cap and the salary floor. The floor is $40 million. That’s higher than the cap was in 2005-06. Some teams couldn’t operate financially with the floor at $25 million. Now it’s worse.
Rather than operate at more manageable numbers, 18 of the 30 NHL squads have payrolls within $2 million of the $56.4 million cap.
The NHL needs to find a financial solution, fast. Television would be the quickest way, but they need to convince major networks that their product is profitable — a daunting task. Otherwise future labor strife or a league restructuring with contraction may be in order.
Mike Steinberger of the Financial Times (UK) takes a look at the issues facing some of the major sports leagues.
He spoke with Andrew Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College in Massachusetts who specializes in sports and Zimbalist thinks the National Hockey League, in particular, is apt to see a few teams change hands and several clubs may end up relocating to other cities.
from Jeff Z. Klein & Stu Hackel of the New York Times,
A hockey cliché maintains that a two-goal lead is the worst lead a team can have. Still, the truth was that in the N.H.L., a team with a two-goal lead almost never lost. But not this season. Now it seems almost no lead is safe.
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Teams have regularly stormed back against big and small leads alike. Seesaw games are a regular feature and holding any lead is a risky matter. On the same night earlier this month, Pittsburgh and Calgary sprinted to 5-0 advantages, only to escape with one-goal wins that came down to the final buzzer.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Two seasons ago, in the aftermath of the fight in which Orr broke Todd Fedoruk’s face with a devastating punch, NHL VP Colin Campbell suggested the time had come for the league to at least investigate the possibility of eliminating fighting from the game.
Campbell was ahead of his time. For the time has come today for the NHL not only to investigate the possibility, the time has come for the NHL to abolish fighting. It’s simply too dangerous.
Watching heavyweight fights such as the one in Tampa on Wednesday between the Rangers’ Orr and Lightning’s David Koci has become the equivalent to viewing the aftermath of automobile accidents on the Interstate. They’re impossible to look at without becoming queasy.
The Inside Hockey Radio Show this week features host James Murphy with co-host Todd Carroll. They’ll be joined by guests Jim Nill (Detroit Red Wings), Jim Cummins (Fox Sports Arizona), Conor McKenna (TEAM 990), plus Bob Snow and Shawn Roarke of NHL.com.
Live from Wayne Gretzky’s
At 4pm ET you can tune into Live From Wayne Gretzky’s. This week, hosts Gord Stellick & Doug McLean talk to Bob Clarke in the studio, and are scheduled to hook up with Phil Esposito and Brian Burke over the course of the show.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The survival of the New York Islanders hinges on an arena deal that may be compromised by tightening U.S. credit markets.
The Coyotes’ future in Phoenix is threatened by the plight of owner Jerry Moyes’ trucking firm, Swift Transportation, during an economic slowdown.
The Atlanta Thrashers are in court daily, mired in an ownership tug of war that threatens to de-stabilize the franchise.
A 27 per cent share of the Nashville Predators is tied up in the William (Boots) Del Biaggio bankruptcy hearing….
Against this mounting evidence, amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, commissioner Gary Bettman recently reported a sunny forecast for the gate-driven National Hockey League, buffeted by increased attendance in October and brisk ticket sales in many markets.
Looking forward, the picture isn’t so cheery.
from Jim Boone at the Hockey News,
The NHLFA recently surveyed its members, but kept Canadian- and U.S.-based fan responses separate. Some of the findings were predictable. Half of the hockey citizens of both nations think the competition committee should continue, but agree it is far from a success. Seven out of 10 hockey fans in both countries agree the NHL and its broadcast partners should work on creating better camera angles for television coverage.
Slightly more Canadian fans think the NHL should strive to make improvements to the game to attract more fans (58 percent versus 47 percent by U.S. fans) and more U.S. fans are against the idea of NHL expansion to Europe (87 percent versus 78 percent by Canadian fans).
from Edward Fraser of the Hockey News,
Even with two referees, penalties are often witnessed by only one or go unnoticed altogether. Equally as often, a penalty is called by one referee, but not by the other, even if he had a better view of the play.
Why then, if the ultimate goal is to get the call right, does the NHL not allow a post-penalty discussion, with the two referees coming together to talk about marginal or questionable calls?
They should. And if after the consultation it’s decided the wrong call was made, refs should be allowed to “pick up the flag,” so to speak.
From Scott Morrison at CBC:
The league will still make sure that best players are represented in the game. Chances are at least a couple of those Canadiens would make it any way.
It’s curious that a game, the all-star game, that is annually mocked and criticized for what it is, can muster so much emotion from people.
There is, of course, a simple way to solve the problem, or at least attempt to solve the problem. Turn on the computer and vote. Often.
Otherwise take a valium.
From James Mirtle at From the Rink:
Make no mistake, with a decreasing number of Russians, Eastern Europeans and even Canadians in the league, the NHL is becoming more and more American. I remember running these numbers 10 years ago and Canada came in around the high 50s and the American representation would be about 11 or 12 per cent.
European players make up 27.3 per cent of the NHL this season, which I’ll bet is a bit lower than many expect.
read on for more analysis plus stats and charts
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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