Meeting will tell of NHL's destiny -- JR speaks up...again
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12-09-2004, 02:07 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Nashville, TN
Originally Posted by
his points are accurate, if there is competitive balance it will help these small markets. my concern is that if the lockout goes through the year and into next year the markets may be so damaged that they will be irrecoverable. hopefully that won't happen... but if they come back in these hurting markets and even less people are going to the games the mess will just be worse.
the league is about five teams too big at the moment, which isn't any specific cities fault, it's bettman's. he overexpanded and the league revenue wasn't good enough to support it.
would have been much better off letting 1 or 2 teams get a bunch of high draft picks and build their system up. instead of continually introducing teams that were on the basement and needed to try and build up, forcing them to all compete with one another for the top draft picks.
But it's not the recent expansion teams that are all that awful. Carolina doesn't really count, since they were relocated and were awful in Hartford long before they ever moved to a non-traditional market. Minnesota went to the Western Conference finals and had a solid season after, despite not making the playoffs. Columbus and Atlanta have the pieces in line, and with the maturation of these kids both will continue to get better. Nashville got steadily better for 5 years through the draft and finally made the playoffs, taking the President's Trophy winners to six games and selling out all their playoff games, with a prospect core that suggests even better things to come. San Jose, Anaheim, Ottawa, Tampa Bay...all teams that struggled coming into the league and turned themselves into solid franchises. How long were San Jose and Ottawa absolutely abysmal? Now, through home-grown talent and prudent FA signings, they're two of the better teams in the league. The Bolts were long considered a joke...now they're a powerhouse. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks and Penguins, too formerly great teams, are in dire straits. The talent level is consistent enough for thirty teams, and I think that some of the teams that are struggling in their infancy should be given some time to establish themselves before expansion is declared a failure. How can Atlanta be called a failure because of their poor attendance..when they haven't given the people of Atlanta a REASON to support them? Realistically...yes...this is a non traditional market, but who says it can't become a traditional one? What many people that live in the supposed "hotbeds" of hockey don't seem to understand is that hockey has to sell itself to these people, and with a few exceptions, there hasn't been such an opportunity yet. Yes...we as fans love the game...but those that are just learning it need something to pull for, and a losing team isn't going to endear itself to skeptics and the curious. Case in point is the Predators' playoff drive last year. The casual observer in Nashville was sick of watching the Preds crash and burn through five years..but as soon as things picked up...toward middle of the season, attendance soared. All three playoff games sold out almost instantly...AND season ticket sales were their highest they had been since the team was new to town and had a novelty factor going. If the Thrashers turn it around, make the the playoffs the next four or so years with a decent shot at the cup in a couple of them...and they're still pulling in 11,000 on a weekend...THEN we can call it a failure..but even then, i'd still think we were being hasty.
Hockey can work anywhere, it just has to have the chance to do so.
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