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Tom Poti: Verizon Center ice "an embarrassment"

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Old
02-08-2009, 10:41 PM
  #51
Efactor
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As soon as OV goes down with a career altering injury (groin, knee, etc.), the ice will get better or atleast Ted will try harder to fix it.

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02-08-2009, 11:44 PM
  #52
Drake1588
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Two thoughts:

1) Ted is a marvelous spin doctor. It comes with the territory as a marketing man.

2) Until Abe keels over, this isn't Ted's fault. The answer is that older multi-use buildings need to have their innards ripped out and periodically replaced for hockey. That is an expensive proposition that does not interest a basketball club.

It's not ideal for ice conditions, with a busy multiple tenant schedule, although when the team struggles, the Caps win because the whole group of interests (Caps, Wizards, Hoyas, Mystics, and the Verizon Center) serve to help each other out, buttress each others' business when any of them are hurting. The advantages of multi-use buildings outweight the disadvantages. None of these teams is going to move as a result. It's a package Washington sports team cash cow. That building is hopping nearly year-round, to an extent most arenas could only hope to see.

Rexall is not really a multi-use building, besides the odd concert, and the climate is as cold as it gets. Nonetheless as an older building, Edmonton's home ice is surviving on reputation these days. That's no longer the clear frontrunner for best ice in the game, simply because the plumbing, humidity machines, and A/C older buildings start to degrade over time. That's an old building that needs to be scrapped. Verizon is newer, and probably needs a mid-life extension program.

When Ted buys the lot of the teams and the building, lock, stock and barrel, there will probably be quiet changes.

It's not in Ted's interest to get into a war with Abe Pollin at this stage, or at any stage, really. Yes, there are problems, and yes, Abe probably stops the Caps from major infrastructure investment (or even dialing up the A/C). Yet given the nature of the relationship, what's Ted going to do? He is patiently waiting to take over, and it would be foolhardy to make an enemy of Abe.

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02-09-2009, 02:52 AM
  #53
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Well thought out post as usual Drake.

To me Ted is putting the spin on to try and defend Abe a bit, as well as himself some. I am sure if Ted pushed he could get more done for the Caps but he doesnt wanna risk crossing a line of too much that gets Abe thinking about a new number 2. Abe is old and old senile people have in the past turned on people for lesser reasons.

I can kind of imagine Ted pushing the issue and Abe saying "he doesnt realize ALL the GOOD things I do for this franchise?!" (even if there arent many)

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02-09-2009, 11:34 PM
  #54
sk84fun_dc
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Wash. Post article on the ice issues...

link

"...Leonsis declined an interview request yesterday, saying through a team spokesman that his blog entry spoke for itself. Meanwhile, three Capitals confirmed they had been asked by the team not to discuss the ice conditions with reporters..."


Drake, no surprise, well-written and thought out post, but I don't agree with all of what you wrote. There's a problem and it is not being addressed as well as it could be, IMO, and Leonsis is in avoidance mode as he has been since last season on this topic.

#1 agree and see above for the latest

#2 I have a hard time believing that there aren't some investments that could be made before Leonsis gains 100% control through his right of first refusal to purchase the arena, Wizards, etc. From what I have seen, there have been investments/changes made to the VC the last few years, just not the physical plant ones that would help with the ice. Leonsis owns the Capitals outright, is a major tenant in the building, and owns 44% of WS&E if the number hasn't changed since the last time anything was published on the topic.

I don't think anyone is arguing that it is easy to manage the ice with a busy multi-use facility, but they have to do more than they are currently doing both the small day to day/game day changes that can be made and the bigger building changes/investments.

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02-10-2009, 12:05 AM
  #55
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Originally Posted by sk84fun_dc View Post
Meanwhile, three Capitals confirmed they had been asked by the team not to discuss the ice conditions with reporters...
No surprise there.

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02-10-2009, 12:33 AM
  #56
Drake1588
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Leonsis knows full well that his $100 million player, only partially insured, is a ticking time bomb on that ice. It is in Ted's self interest to improve the ice, if he had the ability to do so.

So he's cutting corners with that hanging over his head? I don't buy it. He's a partner, junior at that, and there's not much he can do until he buys Abe out.

It doesn't help Ted's cause, in a bid to make some minor improvements, when the inmates are going public with this. Every single time a Cap complains in the press, it is that much less likely for Ted to make any headway with Abe. Clark, Poti... they just made it worse.

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02-10-2009, 12:36 AM
  #57
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Everyone bring one of these to the next game.

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02-10-2009, 05:52 AM
  #58
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...020903302.html

WaPo article about the ice.

Mostly a rehash of what's been discussed here.

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02-10-2009, 07:06 AM
  #59
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Interesting that Tarik didn't mention Briere's comments last spring.

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02-10-2009, 08:23 AM
  #60
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Interesting that Tarik didn't mention Briere's comments last spring.
"Another thing that favored us was the condition of the ice," he said. "It was so bad that it was tough for guys like Semin, Backstrom and Ovechkin to get anything going, the ice was so bad. That was another thing that went our way."

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02-10-2009, 08:32 AM
  #61
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As a tenant in the building, I have a hard time believing that Leonsis, at a minimum, does not have control of the HVAC system on game days. Even if he doesn't, that's no excuse; that's an easy negotiation. Gain control of the HVAC, and accept the chargebacks for energy consumption.

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02-10-2009, 08:35 AM
  #62
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Carolina has the same problem with their ice. You can literally see from home when the North Carolina State basketball team has played and the changeover has to be made. One thing that i've noticed is that on game days between the fans going in and out they REALLY blast the AC into the building to the point that you can sit there during the game in what we associate with a winter jacket in NC and be fine. Even still the puck bounces and all that but it's a start.

You would think that by 2009 there would be a full proof way of keeping the ice in great condition be it vents inside the end boards to dehumidifiers. Just odd that it hasn't been solved to this point. Maybe with that spage age material that came out recently that is like wax based we can actually have some good "ice" to skate on.

Just kind of shocking that Poti took the ice crew to task like that in front of the media. I'm sure those guys are doing the best they can with what they have.

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02-10-2009, 08:41 AM
  #63
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I'm late to the party.


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02-10-2009, 08:42 AM
  #64
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Poti isn't the first or even the second guy to do it this year.

Take the situation in Raleigh, then add 40 NBA games on top of that, and imagine how much more cluttered the VC schedule is.

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02-10-2009, 08:46 AM
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foy View Post
Poti isn't the first or even the second guy to do it this year.

Take the situation in Raleigh, then add 40 NBA games on top of that, and imagine how much more cluttered the VC schedule is.
I would imagine that if that was the situation in Carolina they'd have to kick somebody out. That is just nuts to have a possible three events in theory on a given night.

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02-10-2009, 09:36 AM
  #66
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I would imagine that if that was the situation in Carolina they'd have to kick somebody out. That is just nuts to have a possible three events in theory on a given night.
I don't think they've ever had 3 in one day, but it gets crazy at times.

Then you have events like the DC Horse Show, the Annual Monster Truck doohickey, the BB&T College Basketball Classic, Hosting the NCAA Basketball tournament for a weekend, and this year the Frozen Four. Not to mention concerts, and you occasional Dali Lama visit.

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02-10-2009, 09:49 AM
  #67
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Ted had better pray that nobody gets injured on the ice during the frozen four.

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02-10-2009, 12:22 PM
  #68
sk84fun_dc
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Originally Posted by Drake1588 View Post
Leonsis knows full well that his $100 million player, only partially insured, is a ticking time bomb on that ice. It is in Ted's self interest to improve the ice, if he had the ability to do so.

So he's cutting corners with that hanging over his head? I don't buy it. He's a partner, junior at that, and there's not much he can do until he buys Abe out.

It doesn't help Ted's cause, in a bid to make some minor improvements, when the inmates are going public with this. Every single time a Cap complains in the press, it is that much less likely for Ted to make any headway with Abe. Clark, Poti... they just made it worse.
I thought someone would have linked the Wash Times article by now

contentious conditions/

I think the players speaking out may hurt the individual players in the eyes of the owner and/or management, but I believe they are talking out of frustration and it is possible, it could be viewed as the only way they thought something will change. If this is really a business relationship issue with Polin, you'd hope they would have communicated the issues to the players before the meeting yesterday, IF that is the case and IF that is what happened yesterday (assumptions on my part.)

"We just had a meeting. We're not really allowed to comment... because we don't wanna say something that will cause a problem," he said. "We know for sure people who work and try to make ice better are working very, very hard, so let's keep it that way."

Leonsis has been in spin mode on this issue for awhile now.

I don't know all that has taken place to date and I am not going to pretend that I do. Still, I don't think this is 100% on Polin; maybe it is, but I have a hard time believing that at this point. And while not major infrastructure changes, there was money spent on improvements/upgrades to the arena a season or two ago in certain areas.

I don't think Polin will do something for free, but there has to be some contractual obligation combined with Leonsis' 44% share of WS&E to make some of the changes, even if the largest infrastructure changes aren't possible right now (and I don't know for sure that they aren't.) Even the smaller changes didn't seem to be of great concern before now from what I can tell attending games on a regular basis...temperature in the rink and other game day rink issues.

Unless someone really digs like an investigative reporter, not a beat writer (I don't expect it to be a beat writer to risk their access to the team), I don't see the public learning anything more so plenty of assumptions left remaining.

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02-10-2009, 12:26 PM
  #69
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Frozen Four week: While there is one Wizards game the following week, the last scheduled event in the arena leading up to the Frozen Four (Thursday and Saturday) is a Sunday hockey game (of course, a 3pm game after an evening basketball game.)

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02-10-2009, 12:32 PM
  #70
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That's a great article, one of the few that seems not to care what the reaction from the team is going to be about a public article.

The team itself, though, is clearly under a gag order. Occasionally, it boils over and a given player lashes out about the conditions, but regardless of what he wrote in his blog, Ted was ticked off that he had to read about it in the press. Hockey is a closed community, and they want to keep this conversation in the proverbial dressing room, as it were. It if wasn't clear before, it's clear enough now: Talk about ice conditions in the press and there will be repercussions. "Say, Smitty, Jimmy here has a problem with the ice in Washington? I hear the ice conditions in Edmonton are first rate!" There are always solutions for a disgruntled player, and there are always Siberias to which players can be exiled. They've told the team to shut the hell up about the ice.

My guess is that Ted knows he risks losing his star to an injury, and he has no reason to skimp on these things if they were in his control. My guess (and really, guessing is all we have) is that there are partnership reasons why the <50 percent partner has limited options when the guy with >50 percent share in the building and basketball team has no particular incentive to ensure the building is frosty.

Giving up Saturday night home dates simply aren't options, either. Those are cash cow dates, and you have to play when the building is available. I don't begrudge Ted drawing a line there.

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02-10-2009, 12:36 PM
  #71
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I like our home ice record, if not the ice itself.

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02-10-2009, 12:44 PM
  #72
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I'm sending a picture of Lloyd to Abe Pollin's office.

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Old
02-10-2009, 12:45 PM
  #73
Foy
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I'm sending a picture of Lloyd to Abe Pollin's office.
That's 1st degree in several states.

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02-10-2009, 12:49 PM
  #74
sk84fun_dc
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That's a great article, one of the few that seems not to care what the reaction from the team is going to be about a public article.

...

Giving up Saturday night home dates simply aren't options, either. Those are cash cow dates, and you have to play when the building is available. I don't begrudge Ted drawing a line there.
Agree, which is why I was surprised no one had posted it.

I don't expect them to give up Saturday night or weekend afternoon dates. I do expect them to move the start time back an hour and/or to limit on ice activities that could make the ice worse in those situations.

Agree we are guessing and as it relates to major infrastructure changes I agree with you it is likely due to his standing as the minority owner although it is possible it is 100% about who would spend the money. As it relates to smaller changes, I have a hard time thinking it is about anything other than the expense.

from another recent Wash Times article:

"Leonsis, for his part, said he is encouraged by the Caps' rising popularity but still will lose millions of dollars this year... " link

Of course, that depends on what calculation is taking place in the context of the LH/WS&E contract and the revenue and expense streams...I assume this is the simple calculation for the Caps not including the 44% LH investment in WS&E, etc. And he is the one that entered into the contract with Polin, if it is a bad contract until he becomes the majority owner, that is his problem.

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02-10-2009, 12:55 PM
  #75
Drake1588
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That is an excellent point. There is no reason that game can't start at 7:30, and you could make an excellent case for the 8pm start time on a Saturday night, and probably Friday nights as well.

I cant see any involved parties having a valid retort when the reasons are explained. Neither club was active on Sunday or Monday.


Last edited by Drake1588: 02-10-2009 at 03:10 PM. Reason: typos
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