Friday, February 27, 2009

Game 62.5; Intermission...

Three things:

1) Is anyone else being haunted by this commercial that came on about eighty times last game?

2) Several thoughts on the Whitney trade:

a) I like it. We are a better team now than we were before the trade.

b) Kunitz is a decent player. Will he make up for not being able to resign Hossa? No. Is he better than pretty much every winger on the current roster? Yes. Would you rather see him than Dupuis, Talbot, Minard, etc. on the top two lines? Yes.

He's not the dream sniper everyone wants for Crosby, but it's questionable whether we have the assets or cap space to get such a player (any such deal now would involve Crosby, Malkin, or Staal+others).

c) Tangradi has a lot of potential for the future as a top winger. Second in scoring in the OHL behind only Tavares is a good sign. No success is guaranteed, but whatever.

d) Whitney was expendable as we have Gonch, Letang, and Gogo. We did not need four puck moving defensemen who do not play a physical game (well, Letang hits everything he can, but he's not that big).

3) I had this long winded response today to several friends after they directed my attention to today's Bills Simmons article on ESPN.

Here's the key quote that caused me to flip out (he also suggested Pittsburgh was a good city for an NBA team to move to, which I disagree with):

"Looking at the big picture, the league won't struggle even 1/10th as much as the NHL in years to come -- of all the wildest predictions I heard in Phoenix, the craziest came from a connected executive who predicted that fifteen NHL teams would go under within the next two years (and was dead serious)"

My points of rebuttal to this article are as follows:

a) I will never trust unnamed NBA sources who are "connected" and "know something" about the NHL. This is especially true in an article written by an NBA diehard who admits often and frequently he stopped caring about hockey 15 years ago.

b) The NBA will never work in Pittsburgh. Where are all the sponsorships going to come from? Like it or not, we are a small city with only so much money to go around. We already have three professional sports franchises and the Pens have gone bankrupt multiple times.

Sure, a new arena might be attractive, but it's a small city where a team would be fighting for attention with three well-established teams, two of whom have had recent success, a strong fanbase, and promising futures.

c) Correct me if I'm wrong since I'm doing this for memory, but aren't attendance, revenue, and television ratings trending in opposite directions for the past couple of years for the NBA and NHL? Since the lockout, the NHL has raised it's profile every year (despite nearly every non-hockey writer trying to mock it back into obscurity while ignoring actual numbers). The NBA has faced decreased ratings every year for their playoffs. They might still be higher than NHL ratings (and probably are), but they are trending in opposite directions from what I remember. I'd love to see the numbers come out for the NBA Finals this year if it was San Antonio vs. anyone other than Cleveland or Boston. It would be fun watching every NBA supporter writing it off as not meaning anything while turning around and saying the opposite about the NHL.

d) Phoenix is definitely screwed. I concede that point. Nashville cannot be far behind. Perhaps the two Florida teams are in the same boat (though the Panthers are rebuilding their fanbase this season it seems). I'm not sure if I'd be able to get to 15 teams that are potentially "going under" (read: "sold to Balsillie until Bettman prevents it") though, but let's try:

  1. Phoenix
  2. Nashville
  3. Tampa
  4. Florida
  5. Buffalo
  6. Atlanta
  7. Carolina
  8. Islanders (even the Islanders not so much. They seem to be pulling a Lemieux in an attempt to get a new arena.)

After this it gets murky and I start throwing in teams like the Devils, who despite attendance issues, have never seemed to be on unsound financial ground...or Detroit simply because they're located in Detroit.

e) The NHL doesn't have many super ridiculous contracts for washed up players receiving $20+ million per season or role players making $15 million (Starbury, Kidd, and Iverson: $21m, Shaq: $20m, Kirilenko: $15m) . To be sure, there are some terrible contracts that teams would love to get out of (I'm looking in your directions Wade Redden, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, and Daniel Briere), but due to the hard cap and player maximums, no role players are making $15m per year in the NHL, no matter how much Glen Sather would like to sign Robbie Scuds to that type of contract.

Also, no luxury tax in the NHL due to the hard cap.

Okay...enough of my defensiveness that I dive into every time non-hockey fans write about the game without any basis other than personal feelings or unnamed sources (note: this also occurs every time Mike Milbury talks). I'll save the rest of my defensiveness for the next time the NHL comes up on PTI and I end up throwing a beer bottle at the television...


cookeing with satan said...

The NBA won't ever work in Pittsburgh. As you said, this market is simply not large enough to support four sports teams. Regarding the NHL's financial woes, it is clear that the league overexpanded during the 1980's and 1990's. Either some teams will have to move or contract. Phoenix, Florida, and Nashville are all on the proverbial chopping block. The bottom line is this: At this point in time, hockey, not unlike soccer, is a niche sport in the U.S. Case in point, NBC who pays nothing for the NHL broadcasting rights is probably going to dump them after this season. It will be interesting to see how the NHL navigates through these choppy waters.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I hate that damned fish commercial.

Anonymous said...

the fish ad is genius

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