Fan stay away in Droves |||| Sinking attendance: Who's to blame?

Some scary attendance figures are staring NHL accountants in the face. The Coyotes are averaging just over 12,000-and that’s announced attendance, not occupied seats. Also the Coyotes are building a new arena. The smallest crowd in Phoenix this season was the 9,639 announced for a visit by the Jackets.

Mantaray Power Rankings for the week of 12/21/02

The Holiday MantaRay report for games ending Saturday, December 21st.

Here they are your weekly power-rankings:

Cliffnotes:

Top Ten 10:

-Red hot Sens ascend over everyone to #1 spot.

-Killer B’s stung by poor play of recent

-St Louis singing the Blues this week dropping two spots.

Middle of the Pack:

-Av’s make scapegoat of Hartley and move up.

-Kolzig helps Caps regain

-Canes swept away four spots

-The Habs????

Bottom of the Barrel:

-Pens drop into bad team category

-Everyone else pretty much the same.

Did people seriously want to debate that the Rangers (#25) are as good as the Wings (#5) because they both have similiar payrolls???

Please tell I didn’t read that.

*DYK: Did you know.

Finally, I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy holiday and/or winter solstice! Enjoy!

Kovalev to New Jersey???

The most reliable, and the best, reporter in the hockey world Larry Brooks reports the following:

Who Will Be The Next Captain?

As we all know Detroit’s Steve Yzerman is one of the best captains in NHL history. Who is currently recovering from knee surgery and only has a 50/50 chance of coming back. When you look at what he did last year in the playoffs it only proves my point that he is a sensational captain. Who is loyal, brave, and, a marvelous hockey player and person. So the question I pose to everyone on the site is who do you think will be the next captain of the Detroit Red Wings?

Rumblings and Grumblings From Around The League – Dec. 21

It’s been a while since there has been enough minutiae out there in hockey cyberspace for me to put an article together. So, after culling all the newspapers and dotcoms this morning, here is what I have to bring to our HTR roundtable for discussion. Proceed at your own risk.

Samsonov to have wrist surgery

Bostonbruins.com is reporting that bruins forward Sergei Samsonov will have wrist surgery on Christmas Eve, and will be out for approximately 3 months

Sabres May Fold Without Gov't Bailout

Sabres May Fold Without Gov’t Bailout

http://espn.go.com/nhl/news/2002/1220/1480087.html

ESPN.com is reporting that the troubled Buffalo Sabres franchise may fold or have to move from Buffalo if local and stats gov’ts don’t agree to fork over millions.

I am sick and tired of millionaires crying poor-mouth. If you can’t afford to buy the damn team and pay for it out of your own pocket then shut up and go home.

I realize that we Americans are so stupid that we allow this kind of subsidizing the rich but it has to stop. If the candidates for buying the team want it so bad they should not be asking for handouts.

If they need the taxpayers to cough up dough, it means they can’t afford a sports franchise and should quit. This goes for new arenas too!

What do you think?

Bring back NHL2NITE on espn2

Granted its not a hockey article, but with ESPN’s silly acquistion of the NBA, the NHL is all but forgotten on the network.

As a Hockey fan, I think ESPN needs to know that people are passionate about the game and it requires a statement.

NHL2Nite is one of the only shows I actually look forward to on ESPN and now it has taken a huge back seat because ESPN has to promote the NBA.

If you have the time, please hit this link and sign the petition and let our voices to be heard!

–MANTA

Coyotes Acquire Ranheim

(TheFourthPeriod.com) — The Phoenix Coyotes have acquired forward Paul Ranheim from the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday for a conditional choice in next year’s draft.

“We’ve acquired a veteran NHL player whose versatility will help us in several areas,” Coyotes general manager Michael Barnett.

The 36-year-old left-winger has played in 28 games this season, registering 4 assists and 6 penalty minutes.

Avs Fire Harltey

According to ESPN, the Colorado Avalanche have fired head coach Bob Hartley. Assistant Tony Granato will take the reigns for now. Could Ted Nolan be knocking on Lacroix’s door if he doesn’t get the Flames job? Should be interesting.

Are one of the birds on its' way out of the nest?

The plight of the Pittsburgh Penguins has worsened in the last few weeks with their loosing streak reaching nine games last night against the Phoenix Coyotes.
With this streak showing no signs of ending soon, we all have to start wondering about the “Kovie watch”, where he may end up and what the penguins may get in return?

Who Does He Think He Is???

Jeremy Reonick gave Mike Modano probably the cheapest hit of the year…

Thrash Talk: 'Tis the Season

News: Injuries are beginning to take their toll on the Thrashers, although it isn’t as bad as previous years. A bit more depth and experience from their farm team has helped somewhat. That being said, they are still in the midst of yet another funk. Even the full 60 minute effort in a 1-0 win against the Leafs isn’t enough to convince many that the team has started to turn a corner (but any win is meet with enthusiasm by Thrasher fans). Reports from the game have both teams playing poorly, and the refs not helping out at all. At the least, it ended a six game losing streak. Andy Sutton and Mike Weaver continue to get better on the back line, and now other teams are really noticing it. Pasi Nurminen has given up only two goals in his last two starts, playing as if he really wants to be the number one keeper. For those that have seen him, you know his style is pretty much all over the place. As a fan, it’s kinda nerve-racking to watch but damn if it isn’t fun. He didn’t get the nickname “Spiderman” for nothing. Watch for him and Dafoe to have more of a balance in the number of games played, and hopefully they can push each other for the starting spot.

Rangers' Problems Over??

Yeah guys, finally I think the New York Rangers solved their problems today! I’m not talkin’ about the Bure’s comeback – No-No-No! I’m talkin’ about CORY CROSS!

Bure BACK in a month. Rangers Catch a break.

Newsday.com has updated reports that Pavel Bure’s surgery went fine this morning on 12/16/02

“Two arthroscopic procedures on each of Bure’s knees this morning found no damage to either anterior cruciate ligament, meaning the Rangers right wing will be back as early as the end of January.

Rangers team physician Andrew Feldman performed the procedures, in which a torn meniscus was repaired in Bure’s left knee, which was injured Dec. 6 and has had two MRIs done.”

DG's Quick Hits- December 15, 2002

What happened to Colorado?

The luckless Rangers

On the radar screen: Barry Trotz, Eddie and Stanley, Mike Knuble, foreshadower?, ESPN and their stats, the Flyers and a question about Ted Nolan

Lamerillo looking for big deal

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello may be working on a trade to help the team’s struggling offense. Lamoriello did not accompany the team on the two-game road trip to Columbus and Ottawa, and it is believed he has been scouting the Phoenix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche.

Although Lamoriello waits to deal suspended rookie Mike Danton, there have been talk that Joe Nieuwendyk may be on the block. Nieuwendyk, who hasn’t scored a goal in 19 straight games, may be difficult to trade because he can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

http://www.nj.com/devils/ledger/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/103993684837640.xml

MantaRay Power Rankings for December 15th

Here it is: This weeks MantaRay Power rankings including games up to 12/14.

Cliffnotes:

Top Ten:

-Boston still #1 even with current struggles.

-While everyone was watching Vancouver, Ottawa has quietly been red hot.

-New Jersey pressing forwards make Devils descend into offensive hell.

Middle of the Pack:

-Lightning striking-out. Drop 3 spots and out of the elite for the first time this season.

-Kings, Hawks, Habs and Ducks starting to fly.

-Pens and Caps grounded.

Bottom of the Barrell:

-After leaving the lower tier for a week the Ranger$ return with a splash dropping 6 spots and not winning in 5 straight.

-Thrashers continue to be the worst team in the NHL.

Top goalies so far this season>>>Roy should step aside>>Possible Trades.

Top goalies in the league so far this season.

Patrick is the best goalie of all time, but should soon step aside and let another superb and younger goalie step in…also from Quebec.

Trades that could happen…Capitals in first gear to make one

Coaching Change in Denver?

A report coming from sportsline says that Avs coach Bob Hartley may be the next coach to be fired. It is true that the team has struggled but why blame the coach?

It’s not his fault that Tangauy and Blake aren’t scoring. He wasn’t the one who got rid of Drury. This team doesn’t need a new coach. It needs it’s poeple other than Sackic and Forsberg to contribute offensively.

But if Hartley was to leave it’s speculated that former Canadiens head coach Alain Vigneault would replace him.

Although coaching changes can help in some instances, I just don’t think it’s the answer here.