Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: las vegas
From John Branch of the New York Times:
In a city built on chance, it feels like a safe bet that the N.H.L. will become the first major professional sports league to plant a franchise in this gambling and entertainment oasis in the desert.
The outer walls of a new arena are going up behind the New York-New York casino, and the interior is perfectly configured for hockey, from the dressing rooms to the press box.
The wealthy businessman Bill Foley is leading the way for an expansion team, bolstering his bid group with the Maloofs, a family of market-savvy former N.B.A. team owners with long ties to Las Vegas.
A goal of securing deposits on 10,000 season tickets was met this spring faster than anyone had expected, with the number sitting at 11,500, according to Foley, plus another 1,000 unpaid commitments from casinos and other businesses.
Now, N.H.L. owners are headed here for meetings and the league’s annual awards gala Wednesday at the MGM Grand, part of the same resort company that owns New York-New York and is building the arena.
On Tuesday, something a little puzzling happened: the NHL's commissioner visited a season ticket drive for a franchise that does not exist--not yet, anyway--while insisting that he's not necessarily supporting Bill Foley and the Maloof family's Las Vegas expansion plans. ESPN's Scott Burnside noted the strangeness of the situation:
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who attended a news conference at the MGM Grand Casino to kick off the drive, insisted that the NHL hasn't made any commitment to anyone regarding becoming the first major professional sports league to venture into the gambling and tourist mecca.
"We're not in the expansion process and I need to keep making that clear,'' Bettman said.
Still, the optics of Bettman's presence for many observers were more powerful than words and seemed to indicate the NHL was in fact ready to make the expansion plunge provided the ticket drive is as successful, as a number of sources expect it to be.
Even before potential owners Bill Foley and the Las Vegas-based Maloof family started taking deposits on season tickets from interested fans on Tuesday afternoon, sources told ESPN.com that more than 9,000 individuals had reached out to organizers to express interest in paying to watch NHL hockey in Las Vegas.
Continued, and this is the important part:
Bettman told ESPN.com that Foley and his group have committed a lot of time and money (close to $2 million, a source told ESPN.com) and that Foley had invited him to attend the media event to see the level of enthusiasm and support for hockey in the city.
"I figured why not go out and see what he's got?" Bettman said shortly before boarding a flight back to New York.
"The event was well done," he added. "There was a big turnout and a high level of enthusiasm."
Edit: The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Alan Snel also provides the Nevadan perspective:
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's main Hockey World column is a good read, discussing the post-firing life of coaches who rebounded in their own ways in Tom Renney and Rick Bowness, but his "Short Shifts" are probably more pertinent:
- St. Louis Blues phenom Vladimir Tarasenko, who just turned 23, has 20 goals on the year, but he might have scored 30 if he had shot more. He’s got 113 shots but that only puts him seventh behind Ovechkin, Karlsson, Seguin, Giroux, Pavelski and Pacioretty. “He could be more selfish,” said an NHL pro scout, marvelling at the Russian youngster’s release. Tarasenko, who may get to the $5-million to $6-million per season range in a new contract this summer, has 16 even-strength goals, second only to Tyler Seguin’s 17. “Twenty goals before Christmas? That’s special,” said teammate Steve Ott.
- If Vincent Lecavalier is playing right wing with Zac Rinaldo and French rookie Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in Philly, this is the end of the line for him, no?
- It should be noted that Roberto Luongo has a much better (2.35) goals-against average and way higher (.925) save percentage than Ryan Miller (.267) and .900 in Vancouver right now, but Miller has 16 wins. His team gives him way more run support than Luongo’s (11 wins) in Florida. Miller’s numbers are five-alarm stuff, but he is in the first year of a three-year, $18-million deal and he’s 34, not, say, 28.
This is probably true of more general managers (and coaches) than not, too:
-New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello is almost always around his team, home and away, but he knows exactly what’s going on with his farm team and their prospects. “He gets tapes of the games and the practices,” said former Devils defenceman Mark Fayne.
Matheson continues, and while we're doing short quips and quotes, Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika penned a superb "Three Periods" column discussing the Blue Jackets' resurgence and Patrik Elias' pluck, but the "Third Period" sticks:
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Tags: bill+daly, bob+hartley, buffalo+sabres, calgary+flames, dallas+eakins, edmonton+oilers, florida+panthers, las+vegas, lou+lamoriello, new+jersey+devils, philadelphia+flyers, roberto+luongo, ryan+miller, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs, vincent+lecavalier, vladimir+tarasenko
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
“I think it’s a very viable location,” Buffalo-based Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs told the Boston Globe. “I think the league would be interested if the time came when it made itself available.”
Early estimates suggest expansion costs, which were $80 million a few years ago, could soar to $250 million or more. The money would be distributed among the 30 teams, minus the 54 percent for the players, not a bad take. Bettman doesn’t see the gambling issue as a major obstacle because hockey makes up such a small percentage of bets.
“We’re small potatoes on the sports book,” Bettman told reporters in Florida. “If we were going to Vegas, we would have to focus on that issue. But I don’t think it’s nearly the issue for us as it may be for [another league].”
read on plus much more NHL talk…
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…