NHL Week in Review (February 25-March 3)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Things are going well for the NHL in terms of their business with more teams than ever doing great things as well as their expansion team doing much better than anyone expected.

With more expansion plans on their way, the league seems to be focusing on the other issues that they have been struggling with for a few years.

Although a number of teams are finally doing great there are a few that still struggle to get by in the league.

At the end of the week, Gary Bettman visited one of those teams and made comments that expressed what many have said in the past

The Flames are not doing great in the league, although they are far from the worst-off, and for the last number of years, they have seen one solution to their issues.

Calgary has long been a leader in refusing to use public money to build stadiums and the Flames are at the centre of that battle.

The Saddledome is one of the oldest stadiums in the NHL as it first opened in 1983 and hasn’t really gone through many changes since then.

In the world of sports arenas and stadiums can truly make a big difference as they can be a determining factor in how well a team can survive.

New stadiums bring more fans because they are nicer places to watch games and provide more concessions and options for fans.

Older stadiums tend to be a place that many don’t want to go and that leads to fans preferring to stay home rather than attend a game.

That is why teas are always on the lookout for a new stadium to help them increase their business and help them grow.

When the Edmonton Oilers moved into their new stadium last season the Flames saw an even more urgent need for a new stadium.

Yet the Calgary government continues to be one of the major cities to refuse to lose the fight between major leagues and governments.

They refuse to believe that a new stadium will do much for the city and therefore they don’t believe public funds should be used to build that stadium.hockey-sidebar

The city has often been the leaders in a movement by many governments to stop public funding for these stadiums.

They are battling against billionaires or billion-dollar companies who should be able to afford to build their own stadiums.

The Flames are stuck for now as they continue to try to find a way to get a new stadium and help them evolve as a team.

The strange part about this week though is the fact that Bettman visited the city without an express decision to talk about the stadium but threw fuel onto the fire.

Meanwhile, two other teams are far worse-off than the Flames and every time they are talked about it becomes a dodged question.

Bettman never seems to want to talk about Florida or Arizona despite the obvious issues they have had over the last few years.

Florida and Arizona continue to struggle to sell tickets and make any money as they are the worst black marks in the league.

Yet each year people suggest that they should be moved nothing happens and the NHL insists that they believe both teams can do well.

Meanwhile, Quebec City has a brand new arena and a fan base that desperately wants hockey back much like the Winnipeg fans did in the past.

The NHL never seems to want to consider a move of either of those teams despite their issues and prefers to talk about potential expansion cities.

Yet Bettman made a trip in person to Calgary and without really saying it essentially said that the Flames are in danger.

The reason he gave for their issues was the arena and yet when asked about teams that are worse off he won’t come anywhere close to that type of revelation.

The NHL has long had a reputation for never really accepting the Canadian teams and instead focusing solely on the US market.

That reputation has come with Bettman leading the way and although a focus on the American market is a good strategy to grow the game ignoring the roots has created a rift between fans and the league management.

His latest trip to address issues in a Canadian market rather than worrying about the two worst franchises in the league shows that disconnect more than ever.

 

Overtime

O’Ree to the Hall

Willie O’Ree has a permanent spot in the history of the NHL as he was the first black player to play in the league. He was a trailblazer in the league but only played a few games and wasn’t the greatest player during his time. Usually, spots in the Hockey Hall of Fame are reserved for the best of the best but a campaign has gained steam recently to put O’Ree into the Hall of fame. Although his stats don’t warrant it there is little doubt that was he did and his position in the history of the league may just earn him a plaque.

Expansion Looking Good

The success of the Vegas Golden Knights has only increased the talk about future expansion and the decision on the newest NHL city seems close to being final. A group in Seattle expressed interest earlier this year and it seems like every few weeks they take another step towards getting a team. A new renovation of KeyBank Arena peaked interest then the group filed for expansion consideration paying the $500,000 fee. This week they got closer with a season-ticket drive that sold out in record time showing interest and giving the NHL a real option to even out the league.

Trade Deadline

The deadline is always an interesting day as it can range from league-changing to completely quiet. There was some movement this year as the league saw a number of names move and join new teams as they prepare for runs. The biggest name on the list of potential trade targets though didn’t go with Erik Karlsson sticking in Ottawa. There were still names like Tomas Plekanec heading to Toronto and Evander Kane going to San Jose.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 168 other followers

%d bloggers like this: