NHL Week in Review (October 12-18)

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This past week the Florida Panthers set a record that nobody wants to set, especially not a struggling franchise. They had an all-time low in attendance when they faced-off against the Ottawa Senators this week. As the teams came out on the ice for warm-ups there was a significant amount of empty seats. As the game began there was not a lot of change to the numbers with a total attendance of 7,311. It was the record low for the league and came just a week after the Panthers saw only 11,000 show up for their home opener. It has gotten bad enough that the Panthers are going to start using tarps on sections of the arena in order to make it easier to sell out. After ending their practice of giving away tickets for free the Panthers are now seeing the results with the seats being empty. It is a sign of the times in the NHL where the league has never been stronger and yet teams continue to struggle to stay afloat. In some places hockey is the king and nothing even comes close to the team. Most of those places are Canadian with some of the most valuable teams located in Canada including the $1 billion tag that the Toronto Maple Leafs carry after being evaluated by Forbes Magazine last year. There are even teams that may not be the be-all and end-all of sports in a city but have their own strong following that makes them a viable option. That is not the case for every team though and in the NHL there are a handful of teams that are struggling to find their place in a newer hockey market. Teams like the New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Dallas Stars, Arizona Coyotes, and Florida Panthers are all struggling this year and have been struggling for the past few years. It is strangers in some of these areas as the Islanders and Devils sit in a hockey friendly market with both seeing fans showing up before but no longer see the same numbers. These teams have that ability to be better as they look to find ways to start winning games and win back their fans. Dallas was much like both of these teams in the fact that they have had success in the past when they were winning. Since then though the Stars are still finding it hard to get their fan base back even though they are getting better and starting to win games. The story is a bit different for the Coyotes and the Panthers though as they have rarely found much success in the league. The Panthers had one great run in the playoffs but that still did not make hockey a big sport in the panhandle. Yet their in-state rivals are still a team that does well as Tampa Bay has proven to be a fairly successful market. The Panthers have shown time and time again that they do not have the same fan base and that they struggle to fill their stands while they lose money. The Arizona Coyotes have been in the situation before as they continue to try to find a place in the sports landscape of the desert. Both teams have been considered some of the worst teams in the NHL in terms of their ability to make money and for that have become the two teams that are mentioned every time talk of relocation is brought up. The NHL has said many times that it is not interested in relocating teams or expanding the league. Despite that message from the NHL sometimes their hands are forced. In the midst of Arizona being bought by the NHL to keep them in Arizona Atlanta’s team was sold and moved to Winnipeg. It was not expected and it was done quickly and so when the NHL says they are not interested in relocation they may not be lying but they may find that there are no other options. Neither team is about to more this year but if Florida continues to fall short in their attendance the owners may have no other choice but to sell with a number of cities waiting fort he opportunity to own an NHL franchise.


(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

Bad Start gets worse for Avs
The Colorado Avalanche have not had the start hey were hoping for this year and that bad start on the ice got worse when they lost Vezina Trophy Finalist Semyon Varlamov who was placed on IR this week

Lucic fined, rivalry grows
The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens don’t need any more reasons to dislike each other but that didn’t stop Milan Lucic from making a lewd gesture towards the Montreal fans building the hate and giving Montreal fans another reason to hate the Bruins

2016 All-Star City
The NHL will get back to the All-Star game this year after a few years off with the lockout and the Olympics taking the annual midseason game out of the schedule and in 2016 they will continue it as the All-Star game will travel to Nashville




Key Scores:
Colorado Avalanche 2 – 1 Boston Bruins
– The Avalanche got their first win of the season from the big bad Bruins and it came on a night where Jarome Iginla travelled back to his old team and taking the win in an important game for the Avs

New York Islanders 6 – 3 New York Rangers
– The battle of New York got underway again this year and got underway early as the Islanders took the first win of the year against the Rangers and started their way up the standings to continue a good start to the year

Montreal Canadiens 6 – 4 Boston Bruins
– The Bruins and Canadiens renewed their rivalry for another season as the Canadiens took the first shot in the season long series with a 6-4 win that put them at the top of the standings to start the year

Philadelphia Flyers 6 – 5 Dallas Stars (OT)
– The Flyers were locked in a tight battle with the Stars the entire game in an offensive fight but in the end it was Claude Giroux that put the Flyers over the edge in the game scoring in overtime to give them the win


Next Week:
New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils (Tuesday October 21st; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Hudson River Rivalry gets going once again this year as the struggling Rangers try to get back to their old winning ways while the Devils try to continue winning and remain at the top of the division

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Ottawa Senators (Wednesday October 22nd; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Battle of Ontario will see a reversal of roles this year as the Sens are sitting near the top of the division and looking like the better team while the Leafs continue to struggle to start the season

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings (Thursday October 23rd; 7:30 pm ET)
– The Penguins and the Red Wings are sitting in the middle of their divisions trying to prove that there are better than just being middling teams as they face off in a matchup of the old power versus the new power

Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues (Saturday October 25th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The divisional rivalry did not leave when the divisions were re-organized as the Blues and Blackhawks continue to fight for the division lead and will try to do the same this year by taking the first shot in the season series

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