Dr. Isaly von Yinzer
Joined: May 2010
I Root For: Common Sense
RE: OT NHL realignment
1.) I absolutely love hockey and I have a lot of thoughts on this situation that I'd like to share.
2.) I love the playoffs in all sports and I curse college football for openly conspiring to avoid one. However of all of the postseasons in American sports the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and the Stanley Cup playoffs are - for my money - far and away the most compelling. Few teams actually win the Stanley Cup in a given year as much as one team survives it.
3.) I don't think Atlanta is necessarily going anywhere...yet. However the Thrashers' ownership group - the Atlanta Spirit - are desperate to sell that team and with each passing day that goes by True North's (Winnipeg) proposal has to look better and better to an already bitterly and openly divided Atlanta ownership group.
4.) Phoenix is going to move to Canada eventually, I'm just not sure if it will be after next season or the season after that.
5.) So far all of the attention in Canada has gone to True North (Winnipeg) or to a lesser degree Jim Balsille (Hamilton). However both of those cities have real issues. Winnipeg's arena is just 15K seats and Hamilton is opposed by both Buffalo and mighty Toronto. Also, Copps Coliseum in Hamilton needs hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations. That is why I think it is a real mistake for anyone to count out Quebecor Media (Quebec City) as they are getting ready to put shovel to dirt for a $400 million building that they are hoping will land them the 2022 Winter Olympics.
6.) The difference between Glendale and Atlanta is that Glendale built Jobing.com arena specifically for the Coyotes (the Suns play in another building) whereas Philips Arena will not go backrupt if the Thrashers leave. That is a BIG deal and seems to get glossed over again and again. If the Coyotes leave the desert they and the NHL are going to get their eyeballs sued off.
7.) Get healthy soon, Sid. Both the Pens and the league need you.
8.) Hockey absolutely can work in non-traditional markets but the teams in those places have to win once in a while to build that support. That is what happened in Raliegh, Dallas, Tampa, Anaheim, etc. In the cities where the teams haven't ever won anything the fans have been slower to embrace the sport.
9.) Atlanta and Phoenix are terrible sports cities in all sports (except maybe college football).
10.) The fact that so many Canadians have turned this entire issue into one of blind nationalism (and xenophobia) is extremely annoying and makes me root for all of the teams to stay put.
11.) The truth of the matter is that the Canadian markets probably are underserved relative to the number of passionate hockey fans in that country. Combine that with the fact that the Canadian dollar is almost even with the American dollar and the NHL now has a salary cap and it is very realistic for those teams to compete as mid-salary types of teams (they will rarely be able to spend to the cap).
12.) As far as I'm concerned the only question I have is if places like Winnipeg and Quebec City would be able to garner the corporate support to consistently sell out those luxury suites. If the answer to that question is in the affirmative then those cities absolutely should - and likely will - get their NHL teams back.
14.) A second team in the GTA makes the most sense to me as it would easily satisfy all of the above criteria but because of the power of the Leafs I doubt that is going to happen any time soon. Still, if the New York metro area can handle three teams I am absolutely positive that Toronto can handle two.
15.) If Atlanta does indeed move to Winnipeg I think Nashville will likely move eastward over Detroit's objections. I know that will PISS OFF the Wings brass - who already have a very complicated relationship with the league - but it is probably the best thing for the league as a whole. Moving DET to the Eastern Conference would cause all sorts of chain reactions that would upset all kinds of teams and their fan bases. Chicago fans would be pissed to lose their rivals and so too would fans of the team that was forced to move to the Southeast Division and that teams' rivals. For example let's say that Pittsburgh or Philadelphia is forced to the south. Well, that would not only piss off the fans of either of those teams but it would also irritate the fans of the other teams in that division that have grown to hate those teams and who show up when those teams are in town. It is much easier just to swap NAS for ATL and be done with it.
16.) My prediction is that by 2016 the NHL will have teams in QC and WIN and perhaps TOR as well. I think HAM is going to get skunked.
|05-14-2011 05:31 PM