Monday, November 30, 2009

Ovechkin Hurt Himself

I'm a Don Cherry fan. I don't agree with everything he says, but I think he has a good grip on whats right and wrong with hockey. I agree with him in the fact that Alexander Ovechkin gets away with some stuff that he shouldn't. When I saw him go down tonight with an injury, I felt bad for him. When I saw the replay of how it happened, I did not feel bad for him anymore. Take a look:

I took that screenshot about an hour ago. Clearly, he is sticking his knee out to an extent. Don Cherry is going to have an absolute field day with this. All the knee-to-knee hits last week was the issue, and now this? I cannot wait for Coach's Corner.

Alex Ovechkin, I do not feel bad for you, you stuck your knee out in a reckless way and no observer that saw you do this should be shocked that you might be injured.

That is all.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On Ottawa and the NHL

So I was at the Rangers 2-1 SO Win over the Ottawa Senators Saturday afternoon inside Scotiabank Place. Ottawa is great, and even though the arena is in Kanata (about 10 minutes outside the city), there is plenty to do around Kanata as well.

The Senators as a franchise were lucky enough to have the distinct advantage of being placed in Canada to start from a business perspective. Unless they never win a game for the next five years, I don't see how their attendance could ever dive below the top 15 (in terms of percent capacity). The biggest business challenge for the Sens to me? They are going up against the history of the Maple Leafs, Canadiens, and even the Quebec Nordiques to an extent.

I was thinking about this at the game. Ottawa is, for the most part, just stuck between Montreal and Toronto. With the Leafs and Habs being apart of the original six, generations upon generations of Canadians grew up supporters of one of the two clubs typically. With the Senators playing only their 17th season this year (16 if you want to subtract the lockout), its no wonder some people seem to think Sens fans aren't as dedicated as others.

To this I say bullshit. I know the passion is there otherwise they wouldn't fill the arena year in and year out. The key, to me at least, is to create a consistently winning team. I mean, look at the fan passion during the 2006 Stanley Cup final. That looks like a lot of fun for anyone. What needs to happen is the team has to give a reason for the roof to blow off Scotiabank, which could easily happen with a playoff run.

To me, part of the reason why the Rangers are so popular (besides being from NY), is because of 1994. The support of the Rangers got passed down generation by generation just like any other original six team, but 1994 awoke many sleeping fans along with creating new ones (including myself, as my dad is a Bruins fan with his parents from Boston). Hockey was hot in '94, and conveniently one of the biggest cities in the world captured the top prize. Coincidence that there are Ranger fans scattered across North America and the World today? Not at all.

My end point is this: I want Ottawa to succeed because I think there should/can be at least two more teams in Canada. This whole southern expansion thing has been good and bad, but the NHL needs to cut its losses in the next three to five years. The NFL did it with NFL Europe, and cut its losses eventually. Canada is where hockey will always be king, and the NHL needs to take advantage of that in a business sense. The great thing about the Senators is that, from my point of view as an American going to games at Scotiabank, all they need to do is put a winning team on the ice consistently. Everything else will fall in line because Ottawa is lucky enough as a franchise (from a business sense) to be located where Hockey is king.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Re-Grand Opening: What a Pass

Few will read this, but for those of you who will (because your either still following or you forgot to delete me from your RSS feeds), I'm back with a new look. Welcome to What a Pass (WaP for short), where I (Rob) give my dilettante-esque opinion on the business of Hockey and Soccer (and occasionally the sports) in North America (for the most part).

If any of you remember Puck Money, this is the same site (with all the old posts), but instead of trying to act like the journalist I will never become, I am just going to write what I think and post it. It may not get much attention here, but I plan on sending stuff around to see if I can make any waves. I would venture a guess to say half the time I will be reacting to a link or story I saw, while the other half I will be attempting to share some ideas with many about improving the popularity and financial viability of Hockey and Soccer in North America.

Why Hockey and Soccer? Well, I've played Hockey almost all my life, and I've suffered almost fifteen years now of being a New York Ranger fan (It doesn't help when one of your first sports memories is the 1994 Stanley Cup win). As for Soccer, I am memorized by the loyal support of the fans in Europe along with the high level of difficulty of the game (similar to Hockey, to me). In a perfect world, I would be singing and supporting the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden with 10,000 other crazed fans like at Soccer games and SC Bern games in Switzerland. But, thats not how Americans work, so I'll have to settle with what I've got for now.

I plan on going into the Business World of Sports in one way or the other. My plan now is to crack in with the MLS or NHL, and go from there. Ideally, I get lucky and get the right connections and end up with decision-making power of some sort for a North American NHL or MLS franchise. Being the "non-traditional" sports guy among friends of NFL, MLB, and NBA fans, I seem to spend a lot of time explaining issues and persuading them to watch NHL and MLS games with me. Big games aren't the problem - even I watch the World Series and the Super Bowl - its the league games that I wan't to improve.

So if you're reading this, check back in eventually. I expect to update the site three to five times a week, so lets see where this ends up going. I'm actually headed to Ottawa this weekend for the Ranger game, so I'm sure I'll have something on that.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Thought You Quit.... Phoenix Coyotes Links

Yeah so by know you all probably know about the Phoenix Coyotes situation with Jim Basillie. Well if you are looking for more in depth reading, Here are some quality links:

- A solid summary by James Mirtle (From The Rink).

- The NHL is apparently really pissed off about this and this will all be heading to court (Mirtle - From The Rink). A couple of things about this...

I received the email he mentioned to by their marketing team, which kind of shocked me that I was considered a "popular hockey blogger." Still, that only shows that I can't do this daily because I was so far behind on the news that by time I read my email the news was a day old.

But more importantly is the power battle that is going on between the NHL and Basillie. Basillie has a little bit of leverage here because he has offered to pay certain debts (already), and has essentially put in the hands down best offer for the club with a clause that they have to move to Southern Ontario. BUT... the NHL has the legal rights to the club when Jerry Moyes basically gave up a couple of months ago. And there is no chance the courts will turn against that. This should be fun to watch...

- A Coyotes Call to Arms at Five For Howling.

- A small timeline of all that's gone on with the Coyotes since January (Puck Report)

- The official news release that I received (Canadian Press). Still can't believe they sent it to me.

So that's that. I'm considering a comeback now (it always seems to work this way, doesn't it?) for something small, but I would have to figure out how much time I could dedicate. You'll know by Sunday.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The End (?) of Puck Money

To any loyal readers:

I am sorry to say that I will not continue this blog beyond this day. It has been four months of fun and I have learned a lot about the Business of Hockey, but I am unable to fully commit to writing this blog daily, which makes it unfair to you guys to keep it going. I am not deleting the site in case anyone needs my statistics and such, but this will most likely be the last post unless I for some reason revive it in the unforeseeable future.

This blog did allow me to improve my writing skills and get noticed for a new gig (New York Ranger analysis at Blueshirt Banter). For that I am grateful. Thanks to all the commenters, and if anyone needs anything feel free to email me.

Here's to Northern Relocation and the NHL growing in general,

Rob Luker - Puck Money.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Coyotes Living Off NHL Funds

The Phoenix Coyotes are now living under the NHL's financial roof (AZ Central):
The day after the team agreed to loan terms Feb. 24 with the NHL, it paid Glendale nearly $351,000 in overdue arena rent payments that dated to late summer 2008. The money also likely was used to meet player payroll.

The loan, for an unknown amount, gives the NHL more control over the future of the Coyotes - including the possible relocation of the team. The Coyotes have never made money since owner Jerry Moyes became an investor in 2001, and annual financial losses have exceeded $20 million during his tenure.
Good and bad. Bad obviously because the league and other successful franchises are supporting the Coyotes in this horrid economy. Good because now this gives the NHL leverage to find a new owner or (preferably) move the Yotes out of Arizona.

To get money from the league, the team pledged all of its assets, including its management agreement of Arena in Glendale, as collateral, according to financial records filed with Maricopa County Recorder's Office. Glendale officials had no comment.

The league's investment ultimately could give the NHL leverage to move the team, according to one sports business expert.

And exactly how deep were the Coyotes in before this loan?
Public records do not indicate how much money the NHL loaned the Coyotes. The team already had borrowed at least $57.5 million since December 2003 from affiliates of MSD Capital, records show.
My emotions as I write this consist of rolling my eyes and just having my face in my palms. The NHL needs to figure this out in the long term ASAP, and I don't think keeping the Coyotes in Phoenix is a viable option.

- Enjoy another Hockey Falls commercial, where analysts go to get ideas apparently:

BallHype: hype it up!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Relocation Issues and a Panthers Merger?

News and Notes from around the Business world of Hockey...

- The NHL and NHLPA are butting heads over a possible second franchise in the Toronto area via Relocation (Globe and Mail):

"With a handful of Sun Belt teams struggling to sell hockey, NHLPA director of player affairs Glenn Healy believes the timing could not be better for the NHL to seriously look at transferring a second team to the Toronto area.

He also stated that, in addition to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie and a group that wants to bring a team to Vaughn, Ont., there are at least two other factions interested in landing another NHL team for Southwestern Ontario.

"They have been trying to fit a square peg into a round hole for a lot of years," Healy said yesterday, in reference to the failure of the Sun Belt teams in the NHL. "They have tried everything in the world to sell the game, market the game, put fans in the seats and it doesn't work for a lot of reasons."

The square peg into a round hole analysis is a perfect way to put it. I've never been a big fan of the southern movement to being with, but I'm all for sticking with the ones that have worked relatively well so far.

- Speaking of the Southern movement, the Florida Panthers are the subject of merger talks (Sports Business Journal):

"The Florida Panthers are in negotiations to merge the team, its arena management company and rights to the real estate surrounding BankAtlantic Center with Sports Properties Acquisition Corp., a public-stock company formed last year, sources said.

The potential deal values the assets at $230 million, including debt, with the plum in the talks a planned mixed-use development around the south Florida arena, the sources said. The negotiations have been taking place over the last several weeks, the sources said."

As a franchise, the Panthers have struggled from poor on-ice performance, but the BankAtlantic Center books over 200 events per year, which most likely means a nice profit in general. The merger would probably help a lot with any Panther debt that is lying around.

- That's all I got for today, but I found these commercials on YouTube the other day and I cannot believe I forgot about them. "Clement Clement, hands of Cement" haha, enjoy:

BallHype: hype it up!