Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/31/13 at 01:37 PM ET
By Dan Groob, TiqIQ
After finishing 2011 with the best record in the East, the Washington Capitals took a step back last season as they tied Ottawa for the fewest points among playoff teams before getting bounced in the first round by the New York Rangers. With Alexander Ovechkin finishing 2012 with a career-worst 65 points, his first time below a point-per-game pace during his impressive career, he was far and away the most disappointing individual player in the league. Teams tend to go as their star goes, and as a result of Ovechkin’s less than stellar play, the Capitals underachieved tremendously.
This season however, fans are clearly expecting a bounce-back in the nation’s capital. Despite a slow start out of the gates, the heightened expectations of Washington fans are reflected rather clearly in rising ticket prices, with this year’s home average price of Washington Capitals tickets sitting at $135, an increase of over 25% on last year’s home average ticket price of $108 dollars according to TiqIQ.
The top five most expensive games for the Capitals this year are all big time draws against premier Eastern Conference playoff teams who were both successful last year and figure to be among the favorites this season. Clearly, Capitals fans believe their team can compete with the cream of the crop.
The two most expensive Capitals home games this year are against perhaps the two heaviest Stanley Cup favorites, the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers. March 10th’s first round playoff rematch against the Rangers currently holds the top spot at an average ticket price of $225 bucks, and $87 to grab a cheap seat. February 3rd’s contest against the Penguins currently comes in at number 2, with an average ticket price of $222, and will cost fans $104 just to get in the door.
After those two games, there is a slight drop off to the third and fourth most expensive Washington home games, the March 5th and April 27th tilts against the Boston Bruins. Interestingly enough, it is less expensive to attend the earlier of the two games, as they each check in at average prices of $185 and $208, respectively. The disparity in get in the door prices for each of these games is even greater, at $48 dollars for the March 5th faceoff versus $72 bucks for the April game. In some respects, March 5th represents perfect timing for a marquee game, as it is not so early in the season that fans will overpay just to get action, and not so late in the year that the game will directly impact playoff scenarios. This is likely why it is the less expensive of the two Bruins matchups in D.C.
Rounding out the top five most expensive Capitals home games this year is the February 23rd faceoff against last year’s Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils. Although the Devils have proven that last year was no fluke as they are off to a 3-0-1 start, Washington fans still seem to be underrating Marty Brodeur and company. Checking in at an average ticket price of $173, this matchup against New Jersey may in fact be the best value of any Capitals game this season.
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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.
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