The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/23/11 at 01:54 PM ET
Fox Sports Detroit’s Mike O’Hara solidly outlines the biggest reason why it’s incredibly hard to believe that the NHL will ever move the Red Wings to the Eastern Conference:
No matter what logic says, don’t count on the Wings moving. They’re gold at the box office. If owners of Western Conference franchises have any say, the Wings won’t be replaced on their schedule. The Wings were the NHL’s No. 1 road attraction in the 2010-11 regular season, playing to 99.8 percent of capacity. That was not a one-time occurrence. The Wings were No. 1 two seasons ago, at 104.9 percent of capacity, and second in 2009-10 at 98.4 percent.
If you own a Western Conference franchise, would you vote to give the Red Wings the geographic balance they deserve and let them move? Or would you rather have the guaranteed sellouts in your building when the Wings pay a visit? It’s an easy choice. Take the money.
The Phoenix Coyotes, another franchise in danger of losing its Zamboni to the repo man, are an example of a Western Conference team that needs the Wings. The Coyotes hosted the Red Wings in the first month of the season and drew 17,125. A week after the Wings left town, the Coyotes played back-to-back home games against Los Angeles and Carolina and drew less than 15,000 combined.
The Wings are hockey’s version of the Rolling Stones. They get old, but their act doesn’t.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.