by Joe Tasca on 02/15/13 at 12:00 AM ET
Don Brennan thinks nobody outside of Ottawa is going to want to watch the Senators now that Erik Karlsson is injured:
Yes, not only did Cooke hurt the Senators, he hurt the Islanders, Tampa, Florida. He kicked a dent in the entire NHL. How much revenue did his actions cost the Panthers for their game at the BB&T Center in Sunrise April 7, against a Karlsson-less Senators team? And don't answer only a couple of grand because tickets can be picked up at a gas station for five bucks. That's not the point.
Karlsson is the most exciting player in the league. He's one of the few (fans) will spend big bucks to go see (when) they could otherwise watch at home. Hell, even Maple Leafs fans are calling for Cooke's scalp on this one.
With all due respect to the reigning Norris Trophy winner, I don't know a single hockey fan who buys a ticket specifically to watch Erik Karlsson play hockey. He's an incredible talent and an absolute joy to watch, but it's a stretch to suggest he's a drawing card, especially in the States.
Very few players have the ability to singlehandedly bring fans to the rink. Virtually all of them are flashy forwards known for their highlight-reel goals. Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Steven Stamkos are some of the names that come to mind. Even the most passive fans are disappointed when these players aren't in the lineup. Erik Karlsson, for all his greatness, simply doesn't have that kind of juice.
Without a doubt, Karlsson has the potential to be one of the greatest defenseman ever to play the game. But he is, after all, a defenseman. To be sure, Karlsson is offensive-minded, but being on the back-end, the vast majority of his points are assists. The fact is people don't flock to NHL arenas to watch players bang home the rebounds of Erik Karlsson wrist shots. That's tantamount to saying football fans pay to watch Adam Vinatieri kick field goals.
Clearly, the NHL is a better league with a healthy Erik Karlsson. But to claim its member teams will suffer at the gate in his absence is ludicrous.
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About Tasca's Take
Tasca's Take is written by Joe Tasca. Born and raised in Westerly, Rhode Island, Joe works as a broadcaster for seven radio stations in southern New England. Whether that's a testament to his on-air ability or because he has a desparate need for money is debatable.
Joe spends his summers playing golf, enjoying the beauty of Misquamicut Beach, and wining and dining girls who are easily awed by the mere presence of a radio personality. During the winter months, he can usually be found taking in a hockey game somewhere in North America. In the spring, he spends much of his time in botanical gardens tiptoeing through the tulips, while autumn is a time to frolic with his golden retrievers through piles of his neighbors’ leaves.