NHL Week in Review (November 2-8)

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The NHL has long been a secondary league in the USA with pockets of great fans being overshadowed by the rest of the league being viewed as lesser. It has been the constant struggle for the NHL in trying to get the league to work everywhere rather than just a few spots. The biggest concern is the fact that a number of teams are losing money regularly in the USA and that is holding the league back. After posting profits in the last few years the NHL sees a lot left on the table that could make them a bigger force in the USA and therefore a bigger member of the Big Four. They are also concerned about those teams that are not doing well and could be folding very soon as they struggle to make enough to keep the lights on in the arenas. One strategy to try to save these teams and give them an opportunity to make more money is to put advertisements on the jerseys of teams. It is not a new suggestion and it has been done many times before in other leagues around the world. In European soccer, jerseys don’t display the logo on the main section of the jersey. The team logos sits on top left of the jersey, above the heart, while a sponsor sits front and centre where North American jerseys place their team logos. European hockey has also done this with sponsorships all over their jerseys, helmets, and even skates. The NHL has given serious thought to putting ads on their jerseys and they are not the only league in North America that has given this consideration. The NBA has already discussed putting logos on their jerseys as they sit in much the same situation as the NHL with money nowhere near the level of the NFL. The addition of logos to the jerseys will reportedly bring $120 million to the NHL, breaking down to about $4 million per team, which for the NHL could be enough to convince them to put ads on their jerseys. The argument against putting these ads on jerseys is more about the optics of it for most people. When thinking about ads on jerseys, specifically in hockey, they start thinking about the ads that European hockey puts on their jerseys. The ads in Europe are littered all over the jerseys and make the leagues look almost amateurish. The amount of ads on the jerseys make those leagues look like they need the money, which many do, and have to sell all free space to earn that money. That is the concern over ads on NHL jerseys as fans do not want their jerseys to look like they do in Europe. Yet there is still the example of European soccer where the jerseys are not littered with ads and still hold a classic look. If the NHL does go with the ads on the jerseys they would likely do something more along the lines of soccer. They would not take the logos away instead placing smaller ads on jerseys and not ruining the classic jersey designs. Fans may still not want to see those ads on jerseys but according to NHL COO John Collins they better get used to it. Collins stated this week that ads on jerseys are inevitably going to happen in the NHL. The NHL may not want to be the first to do it but they will do it as they look to other leagues to lead the way. In a position of the NHL where they are not the most popular league and not the league that can blaze a trail in the USA with the risk of alienating even more fans. If another league, say the NBA, does put ads on their jerseys the NHL will not be far behind as they are coming to pro sports in North America and the NHL will be on the bandwagon as they look for ways to keep their teams in the black and make hockey in many US states viable.

 

Overtime
(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

Fleury’s the man in Pittsburgh
He has been one of the more embattled goaltenders in the NHL as Marc-Andre Fleury has had his good and bad years but on the tail of one of his best starts ever the Penguins showed that they believe in him singing him to a four-year $23 million contract extension

Ashton suspended
Suspensions are usually reserved for players playing dangerously, especially in the last few years but this week it was for another reason as Carter Ashton was suspended for 20 games after he violated the league’s drug policy

Julien Sticking Around
He has overseen one of the strongest runs for the Boston Bruins as they remain one of the best teams in the NHL and for that Claude Julien received a multi-year contract extension keeping stability behind the bench for the Bruins

standings_w5

Key Scores:
Winnipeg Jets 1 – 0 Chicago Blackhawks
– The Jets sent a message as they beat the Blackhawks and began their climb up the standings this week as they look to show that they are ready to compete this year in one of the toughest divisions in the league

Ottawa Senators 3 – 1 Detroit Red Wings
– The Senators are looking to recover from a bad start to the season as they sat at the bottom of the standings but are beginning to make up for it especially after this win against the Detroit Red Wings

New York Rangers 4 – 3 Detroit Red Wings (OT)
– It was not a great week for the Red Wings as they followed a loss to Ottawa with a loss to the Rangers in an Original Six matchup that had to go extra time for it to be solved as the Wings continued to fall down the standings

Toronto Maple Leafs 5 – 4 New York Rangers
– In a matchup of the two most valuable franchises in the NHL the Leafs showed plenty of resilience after going down four to three in the third period but scoring two goals to take the win in the end

 

Next Week:
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Ottawa Senators (Sunday November 9th; 6:00 pm ET)
– The Leafs and Sens were rocked by tragedy a few weeks ago in the Ottawa Parliament shootings with this game being cancelled and now they get to make up the cancelled match in another moment of healing for the city and the country

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers (Tuesday November 11th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Penguins and Rangers face-off on a day meant to remember those in the military, past and present, as two of the league’s best American franchises face-off with the Rangers trying to gain some ground in the division

Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks (Wednesday November 12th; 10:30 pm ET)
– The Kings and Ducks face off in the constant battle of the Pacific division as the rivalry grows between the two with the Ducks standings above the Kings in the standings and the Kings trying to catch up

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens (Thursday November 13th; 7:30 pm ET)
– The season-long battle continues between these two longtime rivals as the Canadiens try to continue their strong start to the season while the Bruins hope to move up the standings and begin to challenge for the top of the division

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