Reasons to be Optimistic: What the Future Could Hold

The NHL has become a living model of ‘how not to run your business’, and has had more than it’s fair share of bad publicity with headlines like; goalies vs. goals, players vs. owners, the league vs. the fans, and most notably the recent headline, Bertuzzi vs. the people. It would appear that Gary Bettman is steering his ship off the edge of the earth. But with doom and gloom hanging over the league like a bad stench, there may be light at the end of a narrowing tunnel. There is no denying the league’s immense financial troubles, but as one of the few optimists left, I feel it’s just a matter of time before the owners and the NHLPA reach an agreement. One main point of concern is the quality of game must greatly improve to become more fan friendly and enjoyable to watch. A major suggestion that has been shot down without hesitation is a crackdown on violence and fighting in hockey. Being a die hard hockey fan, I believe there is a place for fighting in the sport and accept that it is a way of the player’s policing themselves. But the ultimate objective is to get more fans back to hockey and repairing the league’s tainted reputation of brutality. Bertuzzi, as “innocent” and accidental as he has pleaded to be, has done absolutely no favors to the sport with his incident. This may sound radical but try to look at this from the perspective of a hockey critic.

Game misconducts, if not suspensions, should be handed out for fighting. There are so many levels to this argument against-and for-fighting that I can barely even begin to defend my standing, but listen; the talent pool in the NHL is depleted when 2-3 spots on a roster are reserved for guys that are sent over the boards to enforce, protect, and fight. It is the job of the referees, as questionable as they may be at times, to police illegal activity on the ice. Officials should be given the opportunity to use their discretion when dealing with penalties. Stiffer and more frequent penalties should be assessed when dealing with stick infractions, i.e. slashing, hooking, spearing. Unruly use of the stick should be heavily penalized. Over time, if called by the book which often seems too much to ask, I believe the game will open up. As far as other aspects of violence, bodychecking has always been and should always be a part of the game, but fighting does not involve the same skill and technique that bodychecking does.

Step two of reviving the league’s reputation is to revive the scoring era. For God sakes, remove the red line! There is no doubt in my mind, removing the two-line pass will result in better and more effective transition, as well as add 5-10 more scoring chances per game. The age of the trap is seemingly dying off, with the emergence of a run and gun team like Tampa. Where were the Wild and Devils during the playoffs? The crackdown in goalie equipment was long overdue, and ‘handling the puck behind the goal line’ is still under scrutiny, but both new rule changes should help to increase offensive flow of the game. I fully understand that there are many complications to be worked out when dealing with drastic rule changes like cracking down on violence and increasing scoring, but there is no argument over the fact the league must deal with these issues, and deal with them immediately.

But outside of what could be and should be, what will be is the coming of hockey’s new crop of superstars. Waiting on the doorstep are what the league has needed for a long time, marketable players. Alexander Ovechkin is known as the best prospect to have ever come out of Russia and hockey’s Lebron, Sidney Crosby, represents a new horizon for the league. I don’t care what anybody says, Ilya Kovalchuk is the most exciting player in the game right now. He displays *****y confidence on the ice with skills to back it. Marc-Andre Fleury is the next in line of great French goaltenders. His acrobatic style and oversized grin should become the new face of goaltenders across the league. What the NFL, MLB, and NBA have that hockey doesn’t, other than a great TV deal and fan support, are marketable players and household names. Sure, Joe Hockey Fan knows who league MVP Martin St. Louis is, but does your average baseball fan? Better yet, do they care? Hockey needs to sell what they’ve got.

I am fully prepared for an onslaught of criticism for my comments, but before shooting me down like a hostile bogey on your radar screen, consider how you think the league could possibly begin the healing process? After all, what good is a site like hockeytraderumors if there isn’t a league at all? We might as well be discussing trade rumors for Mexican kick ball. Who knows, with good marketing by the WHA we may be discussing what commissioner Bobby Hull could do to improve the quality of the game in a of couple years.


25 Responses to Reasons to be Optimistic: What the Future Could Hold

  1. curtman96 says:

    Great Fu(king article, well put and thought out. I agree with taking out the redline. Ive been saying this for awhile, it would make the game faster and more exciting. I feel that fighting should never leave the game tho. The bullys that are put on every team also add excitement to the game. Whats hockey if u dont have guys like Domi and Brasheare. Refs should be more strict tho when it comes to stick infractions, that shit is getting out of hand.

  2. flyersfan10897 says:

    i agree with getting rid of the players that just go out to fight. however, i have no problem with players like domi, barnaby, and even brashear (some seasons anyway) that have the ability to drop the gloves, but are still going to pot 10-15 goals a season and finish with 30-35 points. guys like shelley shouldnt be there.

    as for the red line, i disagree. notice how whenever your team looks like its got a good chance to score that there is always at leastone defensemen already back there waiting for them? at least thats how it is in the eastern conference. removing the red line will do nothing but have coaches keep defensemen even further back to reduce the chance of the other team scoring. face it, in this league coaches are more likely to be sure defensively than to take risks by keeping defensemen up in the offensive zone.

    i like the idea of goalies not being able to play the puck. playing martin brodeur, ed belfour, khabibulin, and dipietro 20 times a year, you get tired of seeing your team shoot the puck in only to have the other goalie shoot it back out before your forwards even get to the circles.

  3. simplyhabby says:

    Whatever happened to the 80’s when the league was financially sound and was very popular in the NHL cities. Lets take a look at the downfall from the glory days.

    1. Bettman took over

    2. He took away the insitgator

    3. He expanded the league to fast

    (see a trend with Bettman)

    4. Player greed

    1-3 is very self explanatory but i will vent on it. When Bettman took over his initiative was to market the NHL product to a wider U.S audience so he initiates the instigator to “clean up the violence” and expands the league to low interest hockey markets. In principle, its a good idea but it is very fundementally flawed.

    When the insitigator rule was instituted, you took away the fear of ice justice. Do you really think Steve Moore as legal the hit was on Naslund would have happened if he knew he would have got his ass kicked at that instant? NO. Instead tensions built in a lopsided loss that resulted in the Bertuzzi incident weeks later. I am not justifying the horrible act but it would not have happened because Moore would have not hit Naslund like that in the first place. What would have happened if someone hit Gretzky like that despite the legality of the hit? Its a stupid rule that resulted in the exact opposite impact it was intended. It created more vicious violence and the stars are constantly being interfered with resulting in a agonizingly slow paced trap game.

    The league expanded way too fast. Its like any other business. You expand too quick, the whole thing collapses because you did not ensure a solid foundation on the expansion. Why should the econimically strong teams in the league participate in market sharing just to keep weak teams alive. Its a drain on everyone.

    The owners and GM’s are at fault for the escaliting contracts. Players scream, the owners and GM is right there with the bottle. They dug themselves into their own mess.

    Everyone is proposing changes like taking the red line out (which is not bad), changing goalie pads, goalies can’t touch the puck behind the net, you have to jump three times, rub your stomach and head at the same time before you can do a line change. The game was fine in the 80’s. Highscoring, Canadian teams were powerhouses, and the talent pool was deep. Why don’t people look at what was right in the past instead of throwing ideas that changes the game of hockey into figure skating.

  4. toto says:

    I’m not going to be PC. It was said the reason Bettman was brought into the league was that he was the former NBA commisioner and was a centrepiece in attracting an untapped market. Bettman was brought in to elevate the performance of athleticism in the NHL by recruiting more Niggers as they are far superior athletes as well as tapping into the huge Nigger community in inner city USA. The influx of Niggers in the NHL has increased by 400% and the objective of Bettman is to create an allstar version of the Harlem Globetrotters to showcase hockey to unexposed regions. The strategy would involve the Globetrotters playing a dummy team like the Generals, but in this case it would be the New York Rangers who travel with the team and lose on a consistant basis. The game results, however will not be fictionalized.

  5. tymart27 says:

    You are entitled to your opinion but remarks like that only make you look like a racist ass, which in turn makes me value you opinion about as much as i would value a warm cup of piss.

    I kinda figured guys like you were too busy down at the office (KKK headquarters) or with your wife (sister) to be caring about hockey anyways.

    LOSER

  6. flyersfan10897 says:

    what does canadian teams being powerhouses (well, not the leafs), have to do with anything? are you implying that with the way the league is now, canadian teams cant compete? i think you said it best yourself:

    “Why should the econimically strong teams in the league participate in market sharing just to keep weak teams alive.”

  7. Heinzee57 says:

    Dude,

    Nice post. I miss the 80’s.

    57

  8. curtman96 says:

    WOW, pretty *****in classy article bud…Maybe more black people are playing the game of hockey today and thats why were getting more as time goes on…………..ps your a *****in goof

  9. simplyhabby says:

    Small financial markets in the 80’s such as Calgary and Edmonton. The hype was there making them strong. My wish is for the NHL to succeed both economically and popularity. If a franchise has the fan base that supports a decent team then let it be there. It is great to seea young team in Tampa win the cup. Lets hope this will help hockey flourish in the city.

  10. gojiclan says:

    wow you jsut lost any credability you had in my mind. You could have written absolute gold after you used that racial slur for all i care, i simply did not want to read any more. you are slime. go jump off a cliff or something more productive that put down people based on the color of their skin.

  11. kasparaitisflyer says:

    anyone who says fighting should be taken out is crazy. Even super mario fought a couple times.

    hockey is just a violent sport there will always be fighting the penalties for it are fine the way they are

    i dont know about removing the red line because the Defense would just be less agressive and hang back a lil more, they should try it in the AHL and see how scoring is from mid to end season when players start catching on.

    I dont like the tag up offsides thats 2 confusing itd just be running arround n stuff.

    Goalies playing the puck=My solution would be to extend the crease back to the boards they can play it in there but if they come out of there behind the goal line than you are allowed to unload on them

  12. Enigma says:

    Fighting in my opinion can be a turning point in a game. Think about it, if your team was down 3 to nothing early in the third chances are you’d be pretty lifeless for the rest of the game…………….Unless you see a Jarome Iginla (for example) drop his gloves and get into a great fight with a guy like hatcher. It pumps the fans up (home town if they’re down 3 to nothing) and it pumps the players’ team up. If anything it could end up making the score closer.

    If you eliminate fighting, you also eliminate ANY possibility (albeit slim) of a Jorome Iginla and a hatcher going at it. Those are priceless. Oh and let’s not forget the patrick roy Vs osgood/Vernon fights. You’re telling me those weren’t entertaining ? I know they are rare, but hey so are pretty goals nowadays….why not elminate those too.

    Hope all that made sense, I couldn’t think of a more clearer way to say it. It was just what came to mind.

  13. Enigma says:

    “the penalties for it are fine the way they are”

    I completely agree with that, it’s just too bad though that the refs don’t call it the way they are.

  14. dudemar says:

    you’re an asshole. take your racist opinions elsewhere. i come to this site to read about hockey not this nazi shit.

  15. dudemar says:

    I agree, awesome article. I also think they should take out the redline, especially after the olympic hockey a few years back, that was just flat out exciting. I’m not sure about the goalie thing though…I think they should still be aloud to play the puck but if they do they should in turn be treated like any other player on the ice and be susceptible to hits. Just a thought. It just seems kind of wrong to strip them of the right.

  16. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    Fighting is an essential and exciting part of hockey period.

    What needs to be dropped is the instigator penalty so that teams can correctly police themselves.

    Imagine some idiot ref decided he wants to interject himself into a game and push the balance of power one way. (it happens all the time) And one of your star players is getting cheap shots all night (think Crosby or Ovechkin). What do you do? Nothing? Maybe OR if you are really pissed off and you are going to miss the playoffs or one of your star players becomes injured, you lash out. THIS IS HOW THE BERTUZZI incodent happened. The league needs to better punish the players but they ALSO need to stay out of their way.

    The fact is fighting is an important strategic part of the game. You want more people watching hockey, call the rules that make the trap illegal beyond the PRESEASON. Goal scoring will go up and THAT is what new fans want to see. They want to see Malkin trying to break a Mario record for goal scoring. They want to see Ovechkin on the verge of 70 goals.

  17. Just-Checking-In says:

    Do you remember hockey from the 1980’s?

    It’s great to go back and remincise, but make sure you remember the bad with the good.

    Take a look at the attendance from the 1980’s.

    1980 10726

    1981 10710

    1982 11020

    1983 11359

    1984 13849

    1985 13834

    1986 14114

    1987 14425

    1988 14783

    1989 14975

    Consider that last season the average attendance was 16591.

    That means you have 1616 more people coming to every NHL game last season than during the most popular year in the 1980’s.

    So by attendance, it looks as thought the NHL is MORE popular now than in the 1980’s.

    As for the instigator rule, what exactly does that have to do with anything? Come up with some form of argument where a bunch of mindless goons running around the ice is making the sport more popular and increasing scoring? Yes, by putting more people on the ice that have no talent we will increase scoring. You sure you don’t work for the government?

    Expanded too fast

    Maybe, maybe not, however maybe when you come back with some actual points of discussion there we can talk about it.

  18. Just-Checking-In says:

    Well optimist, you are either kidding yourself or not following current events very much.

    Remember all of those new rules that were going to take effect? The limiting of goalie equipment and the play behind the goal line? Well that has been thrown into a union grievence. What does that mean? That means that even ideas that were thought up to help the game is cannon fodder for the union in these contract negoiations.

    Do you think the NHLPA is filing a grievence because they care about the goalies? No, it is simply another lever to use in barginning for a new CBA.

    Others have touched on the red line. The coaching of the NHL is quite good. Teams will take a little while to adapt and then they will defense against it and we will be right back to where we are now, saying what can we do.

    This will be a long and bloody lock out. The players are secure in the fact that they have been making some great money over the years and they understand that they economics of the NHL will not let them keep those high priced salaries and they are hoping that there is a division between the haves and have nots of the NHL to keep the big money flowing. Won’t happen, but it will take awhile for the players to spend down their multi millions.

  19. Wintersong says:

    Well Toto, in a lot of ways im glad you braught this up. I dont agree with you on some of your points but some I do. You probably could have been a little more PC to get your points across, more people might have taken you seriously. But im glad you broke the ice on this topic, let me give my opinion on this whole thing. There is no doubt that the NHL is deseperetly trying to recruit black fans. One of the largest cultural differences between the US and Canada, is that here in the USA, Urban Culture owns all. If you wanna be cool, you gotta be down with the hip hop culture. I dont mean dress and act like a thug, but you gotta be “into” it. People here eat up and love things like Ben Wallace’s huge afro, they think its cool. They love Terell Owens sharpie episodes and Joe Horn on the cell phone. The NBA and NFL are dominated by black athletes, and in turn, urban culture lifts these athletes up, promotes them in all sorts of ways. I dont listen to rap music, but the few songs I hear from changing channels on the TV or the radio, it seems like every Rap song has the mention of some black athlete. Allen Iverson, Randy Moss, Kobe Bryant, Donovan Mcnabb. They wear the jerseys in the videos. And like in all aspects of life, people imitate what they like. The masses respond to these sights and sounds and then you got these same people on wheaties boxes and doing commercials. The fact is, Hockey is full of doopey white guys from the North, or Euro Trash. at least thats how it looks. Canada doesnt have the same infactuation with Black Culture like we do in America, and even if it did, Hockey IS canadian cutlure. Now no doubt the league is trying to adress this and put the spotlight on its few black stars. But really, is Jerome THAT good? If I were starting a hockey team today, there are at least 10-15 other players I would rather then him to build my team around or be my captain. So why does the league want to ship him to a bigger market where he can get more exposure? I wonder? Why has the league marketed him to appear on MTV Beach House and countless other pop culture outlets? Why not Hossa or Nash or St Louis? Why did they do an expo on Donald Brashear during the playoffs? Is he really that good that he deserves an “inside look at his life”? I mean, how much would he affect the Flyers if he were gone? Fact is, probably not much. Talent wise, there are a LOT of guys that can do what he does. But because he is a fighter, and because he can put a few garbage goals in the net, they gonna dedicate a whole segment to him during the playoff intermission. Why does ABC have a black host to their hockey games? As he played hockey? I cant tell you how many times I have watched games on ABC only to have to listen to him butcher names and stumble on terminology. He obviously isnt as qualified as a lot of other potential hosts. So its plainly obvious the NHL wants to make itself more available to pop culture … IE Black Culture. As long as all the players come from Boston, Minnesota, NY and Michigan … the boys in Krenshaw, Compton, Hotlanta and Miami de la espanola arent gonna be interested. But the league in my opinion has it all wrong. Urban culture is about being flashy and outspoken, being the top dog with attitude and style. Its not about hard work and patience, strategy and penalties. The fact is the NHL doesnt have rim shattering slam dunks, over the shoulder alley oops, Endzone dances or first down celebrations. Here in the USA athletes are just as celebrated for their antics as they are for performance. People wanna see Mike Vick shoeboat after he scrambles for a first down, or Terrell Owns playing with Pom Poms after a touchdown. I mean lets face it, a below average running back is hugely popular here in the USA cause when he played for the defunct XFL his Jersey name was “”He Hate Me”. Americans yawns at Bret Hull slapshots ringing past the goaltenders glove. They wait through the Heatly break away deke goal, so they can see Iverson serve up “the facial” on the evening highlights. Hockey has its moments of flash and dash, but its often to mixed up with the hardwork and grit that goes into every game. You arent going to be instantly gratified with something flashy like a slam dunk or Dion Sanders dancing into the endzone like you get in football and basketball. I think the NHL should just continue with its program of developing hockey foundations in towns and cities all across america. It is no doubt the best and most exciting sport, it just takes time to realize it. I didnt always like hockey, but now that I do, there is nothing that compares to it. I am sure Gary Bettman thought he had made it when Snoop Dog wore a Jagr Jersey in his Gin and Juice video, but like most pop culture idea, that one faded as fast as jagrs game. The leauge would do itself better if it stayed focused on its true stars and exhibited and marketed the things that make the game great. Hard work, hard hitting, skating and team work.

    Oh and to say that Black Athletes are superior is a joke. I am not saying that white athletes are superior either. White people and black people are built differently and therefore strive in different aspects of athletics. Hockey players are just as if not more athletic then most other athletes on team sports. I mean seriously, you think a guy in warren sapps condition could ever play in the NHL? I doubt there is a guy in the NHL that isnt physically prepared to play in the NFL (with the exception of some old bruisers like Rob Ray). Besides, havent you ever noticed that Black athletes dominate in summer olympics, but when is the last time you seen a black athlete in the Winter Olympics? I guess that means that winter olympic athletes are far less athtletes then their summer counterparts…… NOT

    -Rob

  20. simplyhabby says:

    Well then,

    In 1980, the NHL was 21 teams large. The last expansion was in 2000-01 expanding to 30 teams. From 1992 to 2001, the league expanded an additional 8 teams.

    If you look at the attendance figures you produced, the average attendance grew 39.6% during the 1980’s. From 1989 to last year the attendance grew by only 10.8% yet the league increased teams by 36.3% meaning they have not been improving by the same standards as the 1980’s.

    As a business standpoint, you have to look at your growth and market share. Yes the attendance is rising but not anywhere near the gains in the 80’s and that was when the league only expanded by 1 team. Its all about makert share and low tv contracts combined with poor ratings have decreased that market share.

    In regards to your instigator comment, funny how with all these mindless goons floating around, hockey was a fast paced run and gun super offence. I agree to the point that goons today have to be more rounded as hockey players and the absence of the trap but did anyone get 50 goals this year let alone 50 in 50? Did anyone score 100pts let alone multiple 100 pts scorers? What about the debate regarding interference and referees these days? They had no such debate in the 80’s because it was not a problem.

    You come and say that the idea of taking away the instigator decreases the talent pool but you make no mention of the thin talent situation that we have now with 30 teams? Oh i guess you forgot to mention that in your argument i am sure.

    So before you make such an ignorant comment regarding points to discuss, why don’t you educate yourself regarding the numbers you copy and pasted from a website.

  21. Just-Checking-In says:

    Trust me smart guy, I don’t cut and paste, I know what I am talking about. Did I copy the stats? Yes. However that was because I was quoting a fact and not just talking out my ass.

    I do not see where you came up with a nearly 40% growth rate. I see a 28% one but not a 40% growth rate. However, that is misleading because the attendance in the NHL sucked. So is it easy to have high percentage attendance increases when you are starting near the bottom of the barrel? Of course it is. Now compare the current attendance figures or even attendance from the Bettman era to that of the 1970’s. The figures are even more incredible.

    The fact is that average (and why does it matter if there 21 teams for an average or 30 teams for an average?) is dramatically higher than it was in the 1980’s. So don’t try and hide behind the percentages, look at how the Bettman years have consistently beat the 1980’s and that is with much higher ticket prices and the competition from television.

    Oh it must be the goons that suppilied that fast paced open ended offense of the 1980’s. My bad.

    Now let’s look at the best goalie of that era, Grant Fuhr. He is in the HOF. Now during those glory days of the Edmonton Oilers what did Grant Fuhr’s stats look like?

    In 1983 he had a GAA of 3.06. Congratulations, this past season that would have ranked him right up there at around 81st in the league. And that was his best season during those cup runs in Edmonton.

    His save percentage was .890 and again that was the best one. Guess where that one would rank last season? Somewhere around 90th in the league.

    So does that mean that all of these goalies (at least 60 to 70 of them) should be in the HOF because they have better stats than Grant Fuhr?

    Of course not. In the 1980’s teams did not play the trap and defense the way they do today. So when you talk of all of the 50 goal scorers of the 1980’s you cannot compare that todays game. Todays team are light years ahead of defensive schemes than they were in the 1980’s.

    So when you talk about the instigator and such you are making what is called a suprious relationship.

    It is when someone takes two facts and creates a nexus that does not exist between them and purports that as the answer.

    So maybe the next time you want to go and try and impress the highschoolers with your flim flam arguments and smoke and mirrors facts, I hope it works. Just remember there are people on this site that do know what they are talking about.

    So if we are to believe you, the fantastic growth of the NHL was great in the 1980’s. I mean look at those double digit percentage increases.

    Oh wait, but when we look at the numbers

  22. simplyhabby says:

    Did I state you cut and pasted your argument? No. I stated why don’t you research the numbers you cut and pasted from a website. So before you tribulate my argument, read the argument correctly.

    39.6% of 10726 is 4247 and 30% of 10726 is 3218. You do the math.

    You state that its easy to increase your attendence when you are at the bottom of the barrel which is true, but what state is the league in when its barely beating out the WNBA in US ratings today. My argument regarding the attendence ratings is proportionate growth hence the market share. Sorry, the league’s popularity sucks in the US. If it had maintained that growth (to an extent) and we would not be discussing this. How can the NHL salaries be much lower then the NBA (using arena size) but be in financial stress?

    I agreed in principle that expanding the league may help but it expanded too fast. Why would you expand so much when teams like Quebec, Hartford and Winnipeg had to move due to financial problems. Colorado is successful but last time I checked, Carolina and Pheonix are not financial powerhouses with a huge attendence. If you owned a business and had many branches, sure you would relocate some of these branches for a boost but would you expand when aspects of your business is failing? No. You need to establish the markets you are currently in then expand. Granted some of the expansion teams are doing well but those teams that were struggling to begin with are well still struggling.

    Funny how Bettman himself is complaining about all these teams losing money. You tell me why they are losing money other then the inflated salaries?

    Unlike you, I do admit the variables as I did in my last argument that the trap plays a huge role in the slow paced game. I also admitted that todays goons have to be better hockey players. Guys like Chris Nilan and John kordic would never survive in this league. What you are failing to admit is that the talent pool is already thin (thank you expansion…hopefully it will thicken in 5-10 years to match the rate of expansion). There is a lot of mediocre players in the NHL that do nothing but drape themselves over the stars and then they are called great defensive players in spite of the refs not calling interference.

    I agree, I don’t want a league full of no talent goons but I don’t like interference which is never called. I don’t like mediocre players trying to make a name for themselves by leveling (legal mind you) star players. (Not justifying the Bert incident, Bert was still wrong). If you don’t want that, then guys like Kariya, Kovulchuk, Naslund, etc will eventually have 5 year careers because of people will always be looking for the big hit against them without fear of revenge. The plus side of this is it will produce more players like Iggy and Thorton which is great because I like them but I want to see a guy like Crosby who is coming up awe us for 20 years.

    I want whats best for the league. Obviously, I don’t know everything because if I did, I would be workign for the NHL but there is something seriously wrong with the league today whether you like it or not.

    Now, I appreciate a good argument and you do substantiate some points but your arrogance amazes me. Are you Gary Bettman? Seriously, you can tell me. You defend the guy fiercely, you have your nose in the air like Bettman, and for some unknown reason, you (correct me if I am wrong) think the NHL is in a better state today then the 80’s and defend the guy who complains about what a sorry state the NHL is in today!

  23. Just-Checking-In says:

    Ok, I’ll do something here I really do not like to do, I will answer off the cuff after having just read it.

    “39.6% of 10726 is 4247 and 30% of 10726 is 3218. You do the math.”

    –> What exactly again is the signifcance of approx 40% of that number. I am not trying to be smart, but for the life of me I cannot remember what the number argument was about and why you took 405 of that number.

    “You state that its easy to increase your attendence when you are at the bottom of the barrel which is true, but what state is the league in when its barely beating out the WNBA in US ratings today. My argument regarding the attendence ratings is proportionate growth hence the market share. Sorry, the league’s popularity sucks in the US. If it had maintained that growth (to an extent) and we would not be discussing this. How can the NHL salaries be much lower then the NBA (using arena size) but be in financial stress?”

    –> Now some of that is what I would argue are two different issues. Market share and attendance are two different animals.

    Remember before Bettman there was not a television contract to really speak off.

    To answer the last question is easy. The NHL is a gate driven revenue sport whereas the NFL, NBA and MLB are all driven by the television dollar.

    “I agreed in principle that expanding the league may help but it expanded too fast. Why would you expand so much when teams like Quebec, Hartford and Winnipeg had to move due to financial problems. Colorado is successful but last time I checked, Carolina and Pheonix are not financial powerhouses with a huge attendence. If you owned a business and had many branches, sure you would relocate some of these branches for a boost but would you expand when aspects of your business is failing? No. You need to establish the markets you are currently in then expand. Granted some of the expansion teams are doing well but those teams that were struggling to begin with are well still struggling.”

    –> Again there is a lot to be said for that, however it is one of those circular arguments since we have no idea what could happen since something did happen.

    However, I will say this for the teams that did move that you menitoned.

    Winnipeg had its best average attendance in 85/86 with 13620.

    Now the last two seasons Phoenix has been below that number by around 250 and 300 per game. However five of the seven years the team has been in phoenix it has exceed the highest number Winnipeg ever averaged.

    So was it better to move?

    I will say the fans are more passionate in Winnipeg, however they have shown in Phoenix that they are more willing to purchase tickets.

    “Unlike you, I do admit the variables as I did in my last argument that the trap plays a huge role in the slow paced game. I also admitted that todays goons have to be better hockey players. Guys like Chris Nilan and John kordic would never survive in this league. What you are failing to admit is that the talent pool is already thin (thank you expansion…hopefully it will thicken in 5-10 years to match the rate of expansion). There is a lot of mediocre players in the NHL that do nothing but drape themselves over the stars and then they are called great defensive players in spite of the refs not calling interference.”

    Sure I freely admit that there is some dip in talent, however I would also argue that that is not just a cause and effect relationship. In a lot of ways the players entering the league are much better today than they were in the 1980’s. There is better coaching, bettering conditioning and better game scheming.

    If there is such a drop in talent, why aren’t the stars like Naslund, Jagr and such approaching those high goal totals? They should be cleaning up against the inferior talent level?

    Well its because the goalies are a world apart better than they were in the 1980’s. Teams play a much better defensive system than they used to and a bunch of other factors.

    The fact that the scoring in the 1980’s has no correlation to the instigator rule. One thing was just a coincidence to have happened when the other did.

    I want’s whats best for the league as well, however I also have a problem with people that blame Bettman for every pain they feel in the NHL. Personally I could care less about Bettman, however I really think it is silly for those that say oh pooh-pooh Bettman this and Bettman that.

    Talk specfically about where he made mistakes and lets talk about that. Simply saying this is wrong with the league its Bettman’s fault is silly.

    I too enjoy a good discussion, however my time is limiting me in what I can reply.

  24. simplyhabby says:

    Now that is a comment I can respect. Objective argument supported fact without arrogance and ignorance. Thank You. I take back any comments that were directed to be offensive.

    My argument was popularity and that has to take into account market share and attendence.

    In regards to the drop in talent, I pointed out that interference is running rampid with no calls. Thats why the stars are no longer cleaning up. (The trap is partial to blame too)

    Bettman is not completely at blame. His goals when he became commisioner was to control salary increase and to market the NHL. Well the first one, were are almost at a lockout and the second…..we will see the long term effects after the lockout. I just don’t see an improved NHL under his tenure. Bigger yeah, a small tv contract sure, better hockey, no. Lockouts…yeah!

  25. Just-Checking-In says:

    I will agree that interference is running rampant, however calling more penalties is not just the answer.

    Remember when officals were calling 9 to 10 penalties a game. Teams were *****ing and moaning that all of the power plays were ruining the flow of the game.

    As for the two prong points:

    With this current lock out coming, I blame the union. As we have talked about the league simply cannot support the current salary structure. The union has given us next to nothing in a way of correcting that. Only recently have they attempted any kind of talk but what they have offered is too little way to late.

    Now I am not sure if a $31 million hard cap will fly but the union stance of no cap at all will not fly either. So for that I do not blame Bettman. I blame Goodenaw.

    I agree with the second and for the most part the league is being marketed better, however in my opinion for the league to grow it needs to be competitive. Everyone knows hockey is not going to be sucessful in the southern US unless those teams can win.

    Look at Calgary. The fan support was great, however during the season attendance for Calgary was 16th in the league. Number 17 was the Florida Panthers.

    As Carolina’s run shows, teams that are winning, the fans will get behind them. They will not support a team that will not make the playoffs three years in a row. But then again, where will they.

    I think at the end of all of this we are closer on things than we are further apart.

    PS:

    It is nice to have an intelligent conversation with someone instead of the usual you are an asshole remarks I usually recieve.

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