NHL Week in Review (Dec. 4-10)

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Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is one of the most valuable Sports and Entertainment companies in the world. As the owner of Toronto FC, the Toronto Raptors, Toronto Marlies, and the Toronto Maples Leafs as well as the Air Canada Centre, BMO Field, and Maple Leaf Square they are one of the most valuable companies in sports. A lot of this value is directly due to their connection with their first team the Toronto Maple Leafs. Recently valued at over half a billion dollars the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world and are far above any other team in the NHL. This makes MLSE one of the most desirable sports company in Canada. The dream of owning this company became a reality when the Teachers Pension Plan, the majority owner of MLSE, decided to sell their share in the company. With a potential buying price of over $1 billion the sale was getting some bites including an investment company from the United States and a major Telecommunications Company based in Toronto. After a few weeks the Teachers Pension Plan decided to call off the sale as they would remain the majority owners of MLSE. Then a few days later it was announced that the Teacher’s Pension Plan was no longer the owner of MLSE but instead Rogers Communications and Bell Media had bought the majority share in the company. The new deal was that Bell Media and Rogers Communications, two of the biggest telecommunications companies in Canada, would own 75% of the company, 37.5% for each, and Larry Tannenbaum would remain a minority owner with 25% of the company. With the deal done there is a lot to analyze as the Maple Leafs will now have a new owner. The biggest issue in the deal was that the two largest communications companies in Canada that have been competing for years to own the rights to every sport are now equal owners. This will become interesting in the coming years as they will both try to get the rights to games for their respective channels, TSN with Bell and Sportsnet with Rogers, but the question remains how they will divide it. With this possible debate Larry Tanenbaum could become the key piece to the equation with a deciding vote in who the broadcasting rights will go to. This also leads to the motivation for these two companies to buy MLSE as they have a very different motivation than the previous owners. The Teacher’s Pension Plan was mainly about one goal and that was to make as much money as they could. This was their one and only goal as they were always going to sell their shares in the company to make a profit. Rogers and Bell are also in it to make money but not through the team directly as they both bought the team for the television rights. With Sportsnet and TSN both battling for the top game in the top leagues they will now have access to all Raptors, TFC, Marlies, and most importantly the Toronto Maple Leafs. How they divide has remained to be seen but the fact is Leafs fans may see a bit of a break in the wallet. The purchase of MLSE was one of the biggest stories in the NHL this week as the NHL’s biggest franchise the Maple Leafs will enter into new management. This could mean some big changes in the Leafs organization or could mean there will be no changes in the organization. The most interesting part of this deal will be how these two communications giants will divide the television rights next year.

With the announcement of the four new conferences in the NHL to start next year there is still some process to be done. With the approval of the owners the Conference are only halfway finished as there is yet another step to take before this realignment is finalized. The next step towards this is the approval of the NHLPA of the new format. This could be a big issue as the NHLPA needs to approve it for it to go through or everything goes back to the drawing board. The NHLPA has not expressed any big issues with the new format and so it should be easy for approval but one factor may make it different. At the end of this year the NHL CBA will no longer be valid as the NHL and NHLPA begin negotiating their new CBA. This means that everything both of these entities do this year will be very calculated in order to get a leg up on the negotiations. This is especially true for the approval of the alignment in the NHL. The NHLPA does not have a problem with the new alignment but that does not mean they won’t use it to gain an advantage in the future negotiations. The NHLPA will likely try to strike an agreement with the NHL where they approve the new alignment and get something in return. This could be a bigger share in the NHL revenue or any number of things that the NHLPA would like in the new deal. The approval should be an easy process but the NHL CBA ending at the end of the season will ensure that this process will take longer than it was meant to. As both sides continue to position themselves this approval of the realignment could be the first big moment in the negotiations of the new CBA.

 

Standings

 

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division:

1. Philadelphia Flyers (39)

2. Pittsburgh Penguins (38)

3. New York Rangers (36)

4. New Jersey Devils (29)

5. New York Islanders (24)

Northeast Division:

1. Boston Bruins (37)

2. Toronto Maple Leafs (33)

3. Buffalo Sabres (32)

4. Montreal Canadiens (31)

5. Ottawa Senators (30)

Southeast Division:

1. Florida Panthers (37)

2. Washington Capitals (31)

3. Winnipeg Jets (30)

4. Tampa Bay Lightning (26)

5. Carolina Hurricanes (22)

 

Western Conference

Central Division:

1. Chicago Blackhawks (38)

2. Detroit Red Wings (37)

3. St. Louis Blues (37)

4. Nashville Predators (32)

5. Columbus Blue Jackets (20)

Northwest Division:

1. Minnesota Wild (43)

2. Vancouver Canucks (37)

3. Edmonton Oilers (31)

4. Calgary Flames (30)

5. Colorado Avalanche (27)

Pacific Division:

1. Dallas Stars (33)

2. Phoenix Coyotes (33)

3. San Jose Sharks (31)

4. Los Angeles Kings (30)

5. Anaheim Ducks (21)

 

NHL Three Stars

1. Jerome Iginla, RW (Calgary Flames)

4 G

2 A

6 P

+6

 

2. Matt Hackett, G (Minnesota Wild)

2-0-0

1.00 GAA

.974 SV%

1 SO

 

3. John Carlson, D (Washington Capitals)

1 G

6 A

7 P

+3 +/-

 

Key Scores:

Colorado Avalanche 4 – 2 Detroit Red Wings

– The rivalry had gone cold but the Avs finally won a game in the series breaking a long winning streak by the Red Wings who took one stumble in a great season

 

Toronto Maple Leafs 4 – 2 New York Rangers

– The two top earning teams in the NHL faced off with Toronto continuing their great season beating the Rangers

 

Washington Capitals 5 – 3 Ottawa Senators

– The faceoff of the capitals saw the Capitals take on the Senators with Washington coming out on top as the team looks to turn around with their new coach at the helm

 

Philadelphia Flyers 3 – 2 Pittsburgh Penguins

– The battle of Pennsylvania saw the Flyers overcome the Penguins who were without Sidney Crosby again after they scratched him after a knee on knee hit

 

Key Matchups Next Week:

Minnesota Wild vs. Winnipeg Jets (December 13th; 8:30 pm)

– The border war goes on with Winnipeg, who are playing great, taking on the American neighbours in Minnesota who are currently the best team in the NHL

 

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild (December 14th; 7:30 pm)

– Two of the best teams in the West will face off as Chicago looks to make up some ground in the Conference against a very surprising Wild team

 

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Buffalo Sabres (December 16th; 7:30 pm)

– The Battle of the QEW continues as Toronto will drive down the QEW into Buffalo as the Leafs look to continue their good season while the Sabres try to overtake their regional rivals

 

Vancouver Canucks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (December 17th; 7:00 pm)

– The Canucks will travel across the country for Hockey Night in Canada as they take on their Canadian rivals in Toronto

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