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The Business of Hockey Discuss the financial and business aspects of the NHL. Topics may include the CBA, work stoppages, broadcast contracts, franchise sales, and NHL revenues.

My thoughts on the NHL's situation

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Old
09-05-2004, 11:19 PM
  #76
Tom_Benjamin
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Originally Posted by DementedReality
the owners have been making a fortune off the NHL for decades and expansion lined their pockets with 100's of more millions. yet you think they HAD to expand to cover losses ?
Never mind the chumps who put up the half billion dollars! Were they sucked in or what? They bought into a league that is dying! They saw the books, they crunched the numbers and they ponied up a fortune to cover the losses of the existing owners just so they can lose hundreds of millions themselves!

How many impossible things does a guy have to believe to accept the owner's version as reality? How many impossible things does a guy have to believe to think this labour dispute is about giving the Buffalo Sabres a better chance to win?

To each his own, I guess.

Tom

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09-06-2004, 12:48 AM
  #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
Never mind the chumps who put up the half billion dollars! Were they sucked in or what? They bought into a league that is dying! They saw the books, they crunched the numbers and they ponied up a fortune to cover the losses of the existing owners just so they can lose hundreds of millions themselves!

How many impossible things does a guy have to believe to accept the owner's version as reality? How many impossible things does a guy have to believe to think this labour dispute is about giving the Buffalo Sabres a better chance to win?

To each his own, I guess.

Tom
tom tom tom ... they had a promise from bettman to fix it all up in 2004. hey, thats good enough to make the investment.

dr

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Old
09-06-2004, 02:06 AM
  #78
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Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
I did not say this. I said I'm from Missouri. I did not object to the location of the latest exapnsion franchises. I think hockey probably can sell anywhere. But - and it is a very big but - I'm not in favour of doing anything to the game to make it more attractive to US TV or to the fans in Nashville or Atlanta.
I just don't understand that sentiment, doesn't make any sense to me. But I'm not gonna push it. You feel one way, I feel another. And we're likely not gonna change each other's mind.

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"Who can you blame for hockey's bad TV contract? I blame the Rangers. Well, not just the Rangers, but our big market teams in general. The NHL cannot afford to have LA, Chicago, and New York out of the playoffs year after year. The New York Media is the greatest equalizer in sports reporting. If you want to create a superstar in the NHL today, he's going to have to come out of New York."

This is absolutely true. It is probably part of the agenda being advanced by the NHL owners. They want a great Ranger team. They want the Hawks to be good. They don't want to have to build a great team in Los Angeles from the ground up. They want an NFL-NBA type system at least in part because they can't sell Tampa-Calgary or Nashville-Ottawa is a Stanley Cup Final.
Not gonna argue with that. For financial purposes, for exposure purposes; you're right. Though I'm not about believing any sort of agenda or conspiracy theory. Too many different personalities in too many different situations; the possibility they could work together towards that goal is a minute one at best. And without a hint of it thus far, no. Too many curious eyes watching for that to happen.

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I doubt we will see players coming from Atlanta or Nashville, but I don't think that matters any way. I agree with this point. This means that 10 or 15 years from now hockey may actually sell as a TV sport in the United States. That's fine, although even then ratings will depend on which cities win.
I live in Atlanta, my brother just recently moved to Nashville (he is actually good friends with the guy in charge of all the booking at the Gaylord Entertainment Center, lucky *******). So I have a good view of how hockey is growing in these two cities. Rec leagues sprouting up everywhere, not nearly as many as a Canadian city mind you but most around here are just getting used to this. Every year more and more participants. Even UGA and Georgia Tech have hockey programs. There's an ECHL team a mile down the road from the Thrashers practice facility. In Nashville I know there has been a boom in the number of people playing the game, and actually drawing some attention to it despite the entire state being centered around University of Tennessee football. And Atlanta is very much a fair-weather sports town; a couple years of decent success by the Thrashers will spark a big growth and have even more people starting up in the sport.

It's actually exciting to see this happening. People just discovering their passion for the game. A world apart from places where the sport has been around for decades, and where some people have taken such things for granted. I won't say that you'll see a rash of players coming from these cities in the next 15 or so years, can't see what the future might bring to help or hinder that. But the foundation is there now, more and more people are now a part of the sport and are raising kids in that enviornment. Of course the warm weather will hurt this growth but we already knew that. But don't be surprised if a few players come from this area in the near future.

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But don't try to tell me we should do something because if it is not done, "the game can't grow." If Nashville can't generate the revenue Detroit can generate, too bad for Nashville. Unless they cap Detroit's payroll, the game can't grow. Unless we eliminate Bertuzzi incidents, the game can't grow. Unless fans think the team can win, the game can't grow. Unless we get a good team in New York, the game can't grow.

To all of those arguments, I say "Good! It is better for the fan if the game does not grow!"
I agree, it is better for the fan's wallet if the game doesn't grow. But it's the reality that we live in right now. You can't go back and change the past to put the game back to when you thought it was better. You either accept what is the reality now and deal with that, or you become bitter harkening back to days that will never be again.

Growth and change are gonna happen, no matter how much we may dislike it. Sometimes it will help, sometimes it will hurt. Such is life, we are quite powerless to change that. So accepting what is has to be better than trying to form some sort of perfect ideals about what the game "should" be. It's a nice pipe-dream, I'll admit it. But it's nothing more, so I prefer to deal with the realities no matter how much I don't like it.

But I guess how we view it is a personal thing, and one not likely to change.

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Old
09-06-2004, 04:08 AM
  #79
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Originally Posted by cw7
Not gonna argue with that. For financial purposes, for exposure purposes; you're right. Though I'm not about believing any sort of agenda or conspiracy theory. Too many different personalities in too many different situations; the possibility they could work together towards that goal is a minute one at best. And without a hint of it thus far, no. Too many curious eyes watching for that to happen.
I don't really think it is a priority item like cost certainty is, but everybody still remembers the Fox TV contract. That looked like a great deal when Vancouver-New York in the SCF blew the socks off the ratings charts on both sides of the border. There hasn't been a good TV matchup since. We've had 12 different teams make the Final Four in the past three years without New York, Chicago or Los Angeles involved.

Nobody has to consciously drive the league in that direction. No agenda or conspiracy is required. The invisible hand makes it happen. It is in everyone's interest. The biggest competitive issue is not imbalance. Everyone has pretty much the same chance to build a great team and that's fair. The problem is that a great team is great for the life of the core and that will usually run for about a decade.

To me it is easy to see the three teams that will most likely dominate the East for the next ten years: Tampa, Ottawa and Atlanta. There are more possibilities in the West, but I'd pick San Jose, Vancouver, and, believe it or not, Nashville. Suppose four of those six teams win 10 Cups in the next 10 years and dominate like Detroit, Dallas, Colorado and New Jersey dominated the last decade.

Nobody except those teams thinks that is a very good idea and even those teams recognize it is not good for the league's bottom line. None of the teams that dominated the last decade are particularly large markets, but they aren't small hockey markets either. Suppose all the giants of the next decade come from small markets.

I think all 30 owners realize this is a real possibility even if they don't say one word about it. It will factor into their decisions as individuals, and that self interest would drive the league away from the existing system and towards a system that would generate the most money.

The priority is cost certainty. Brian Burke made this very clear the other night when he was defending the ownership position. It doesn't have to be a cap of any sort, he said. They could just add a hold back on the salary with money being kicked back to the owners if the player share exceeded XX%. (This is one ownership model I would support if the alternative is a lockout. Guarantee the profits and otherwise leave everything else the same. I don't care what the players make and I don't care what the owners make.)

But a far better system for the owners involves the combination of earlier free agency (so money spent on players is spent on guys who are still in their primes) and a high salary cap. As long as the cap is substantially above what most markets can afford to spend without winner's revenues, the few mega markets will be the only teams able to build by buying. They will be able to afford to spend to the cap even with the loser and buy good players to boot. It will not rule out small market winners but they will have to build the same way teams are built today.

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So I have a good view of how hockey is growing in these two cities. Rec leagues sprouting up everywhere, not nearly as many as a Canadian city mind you but most around here are just getting used to this.
I'm sure, but it will take decades to catch up. The most talented youngsters won't get the great competition, it's way harder to get ice and the kid can't play pickup hockey on the local pond or in a tennis court that has been frozen or a backyard rink Dad built. The Canadian Minor Hockey system is a factory designed to produce NHL players. Talented kids are identified by about age 11 and streamed into elite programs that involve perhaps 100 games a year.

It will take a long time - if ever - before a Georgia boy has anywhere near the opportunity to get good enough.

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I agree, it is better for the fan's wallet if the game doesn't grow. But it's the reality that we live in right now. You can't go back and change the past to put the game back to when you thought it was better. You either accept what is the reality now and deal with that, or you become bitter harkening back to days that will never be again.
I agree with this. I accept a 30 team NHL. I'm a guy who decided the move from Quebec and Winnipeg had to happen. I don't have to like it but if teams up here can't compete with an American market trying to stop the move is like trying to reverse gravity. I opposed expansion for several reason but not the cities involved. If hockey is going to expand in the US it has to go where the population is growing.

But there is a difference between accepting change and growth - sometimes reluctantly, sometimes not - and actively supporting it when it is not in my interest. If the Rangers, Hawks and Kings all suck it is evidence the league is fair. If that means a lousy TV contract, so be it. Good. The only way to rectify that is to tilt the league towards the big markets. That isn't change or growth that any fan should support.

Tom

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Old
09-06-2004, 10:39 AM
  #80
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I'm sure, but it will take decades to catch up. The most talented youngsters won't get the great competition, it's way harder to get ice and the kid can't play pickup hockey on the local pond or in a tennis court that has been frozen or a backyard rink Dad built. The Canadian Minor Hockey system is a factory designed to produce NHL players. Talented kids are identified by about age 11 and streamed into elite programs that involve perhaps 100 games a year.

It will take a long time - if ever - before a Georgia boy has anywhere near the opportunity to get good enough.
I have to agree somewhat. However, America has one great system to help all of this. The NCAA D1 schools are an excellent developement program, and will recruit High School players from pretty much anywhere. If there was a kid with NHL talent playing in High School somewhere in Georgia, maybe a scout would hear about it from one of the lesser D1 schools like UNH or PC or BC or something and check him out.

Of course, thats all hypothetical.

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Old
09-06-2004, 01:33 PM
  #81
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Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
I'm sure, but it will take decades to catch up. The most talented youngsters won't get the great competition, it's way harder to get ice and the kid can't play pickup hockey on the local pond or in a tennis court that has been frozen or a backyard rink Dad built. The Canadian Minor Hockey system is a factory designed to produce NHL players. Talented kids are identified by about age 11 and streamed into elite programs that involve perhaps 100 games a year.

It will take a long time - if ever - before a Georgia boy has anywhere near the opportunity to get good enough.
Of course it will take decades to catch up. That happens when you start decades behind. I'm not saying you'll see a ton of players come from this area. Granted, outside ice and lack of competition will hurt. We can't do anything out outdoor rink, and competition will take a while to build. That's why it will be 10 or 15 years before you even start to see anyone from here. But Atlanta does has an advantage; a big city with lots of money. That's why the success of the Thrashers factors in so much. They get better, they'll draw more support and interest (like I said, this is a fair-weather city). If the greedy SOBs in this town sniff a profit, rinks will start popping up like beer tents at a concert. More opportunities will be there, it's just going to take time.

I've lived here long enough to know how this town operates. That's why I feel it's a decent possibility, just not anytime soon. It also helps that nearly half of the 4M people living in metro Atlanta are from the northern US and grew up around decent hockey environments. Many just need the spark; when they get that, the opportunities to play will increase rather quickly. We are a babe in the woods here, patience is the key. But the ability to grow is better than those outside of the city know of.

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I agree with this. I accept a 30 team NHL. I'm a guy who decided the move from Quebec and Winnipeg had to happen. I don't have to like it but if teams up here can't compete with an American market trying to stop the move is like trying to reverse gravity. I opposed expansion for several reason but not the cities involved. If hockey is going to expand in the US it has to go where the population is growing.

But there is a difference between accepting change and growth - sometimes reluctantly, sometimes not - and actively supporting it when it is not in my interest. If the Rangers, Hawks and Kings all suck it is evidence the league is fair. If that means a lousy TV contract, so be it. Good. The only way to rectify that is to tilt the league towards the big markets. That isn't change or growth that any fan should support.
In many ways, I do agree. The league shouldn't be titled in any direction. Financial concerns shouldn't be the prime motivation. That of course isn't the case. I'd love it if we could change that, and I won't to much of anything to help that cause. But the reality is that the fans en masse won't react in such a way, they won't lead a revolt against the system so to speak. I'd be nice to see, but it won't happen. So personally, I put such ideas in the back of my head and don't let them interfere with my thought process while mulling over the issues we discuss here. The harsh realitites and lack of information I run into make it difficult enough to try and put together coherent and logic thought on these matters, to have what I consider a pipe-dream in the mix clouds the issue way too much.

Obviously we see this differently. I do understand where you're coming from though.


Last edited by cw7: 09-06-2004 at 02:02 PM.
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Old
09-08-2004, 10:50 PM
  #82
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Originally Posted by hockeytown9321
Is Detroit well managed? Is Calgary? Who won the series between them?
That is such a shallow way of looking at things. Clearly Detroit has been the better team for a long time. Calgary will not be able to afford such a long period of consistent success. I bet they will miss the playoffs this year if there is one. Every other team lately has: Anaheim, Carolina, Florida, etc. Don't tell me they are better than Detroit.

If you are pro Luxury Tax, then you are on my side of things.

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09-08-2004, 10:53 PM
  #83
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Originally Posted by DementedReality
look at the last 12 years of drafting and you will see CGY doesnt deserve the success that DET has had, whether they could afford it or not.

dr
Even if CGY did have the same success as DET they couldn't afford to keep the players they drafted, so what's the point of your argument?

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09-08-2004, 11:04 PM
  #84
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Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
Then get rid of Edmonton.
Tom
That's real nice.

That's a lovely solution. Get rid of the small markets so we can keep paying certain players huge contracts. Great. But then less players have NHL jobs and so the Union has failed in what it's trying to do.

This from an NHLPA fan and Current CBA Lover.

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09-09-2004, 05:16 PM
  #85
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Originally Posted by Licentia
Even if CGY did have the same success as DET they couldn't afford to keep the players they drafted, so what's the point of your argument?
You're very close to understanding whats wrong with a cap. No team will be able to afford the good players they draft. There are two different meanings of afford.

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09-09-2004, 05:17 PM
  #86
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Originally Posted by Licentia
That is such a shallow way of looking at things. Clearly Detroit has been the better team for a long time. Calgary will not be able to afford such a long period of consistent success. I bet they will miss the playoffs this year if there is one. Every other team lately has: Anaheim, Carolina, Florida, etc. Don't tell me they are better than Detroit.

If you are pro Luxury Tax, then you are on my side of things.
you said if two well managed teams met, the team with the bigger budget wil always win out. Well, as a Detroit fan, i wish you were right the last couple of years.

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09-09-2004, 06:39 PM
  #87
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Originally Posted by Licentia
If you are pro Luxury Tax, then you are on my side of things.
I would think if you are pro luxury tax, you are on the players' side of things. I can see why the players would want a luxury tax, they at least make just as much as before, but I cant see how a luxury tax will save the owners $300Mil dollars, it will just shify where it is spent and give some teams an opportunity to spend they might'nt have had

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09-09-2004, 06:42 PM
  #88
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Originally Posted by hockeytown9321
You're very close to understanding whats wrong with a cap. No team will be able to afford the good players they draft. There are two different meanings of afford.
with a cap though, players will either be more inclined to taking what they can get, or they'll be on the next plane for europe if they want to play THAT badly, it might take a few years for everything to come in line, but it would happen

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09-09-2004, 06:48 PM
  #89
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Originally Posted by garry1221
with a cap though, players will either be more inclined to taking what they can get, or they'll be on the next plane for europe if they want to play THAT badly, it might take a few years for everything to come in line, but it would happen
But you have to remember too, since salaries will be so much lower, it won't be a matter of a team having enogh money to sign a FA, its just an issue of cap space. Lets say Atlanta had $3 million in cap space and Heatly was a FA. How much would he be willing to give up to stay in Atlanta? If another team with $5 million in cap room wants him, he's going to leave.

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09-09-2004, 07:16 PM
  #90
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I also want to add that this proposed system of total 100% equality in talent, management , etc (which is the only way a salary cap is fair) is something Karl Marx would advocate. And if you know anything about true communisim, you know the only place it can ever work is on paper.

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