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luvmnger

should there be another team in the NHL?

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I'm on the fence about Seattle...it seems like a great environment for hockey, but I have no idea how many people there are actually hockey fans, and their population is kind of small. If they can do a study that shows they have a high proportion of hockey fans in the population, then heck yeah, go for it. Thrashers, anyone?

They're HUGE hockey fans. I lived in Vancouver for some time, and it was insane to see the number of Washington and Oregon license plates there, and a lot of them were at the Canucks stadium. I realize that Washington is more than just Seattle, but one team in that state, probably closer to the border of Washington/Oregon would do very, very well.

Not to mention, a friend of my wife's lives in L.A, and a lot of people from Washington/Oregon also come to see the Kings play... most of the time, more people from Washington/Oregon are there then people from California. Which makes the decision harder. If you put a team in Seattle or Portland... the Kings will lose a LOT of fans.

Edited by Shady Ultima

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They're HUGE hockey fans. I lived in Vancouver for some time, and it was insane to see the number of Washington and Oregon license plates there, and a lot of them were at the Canucks stadium. I realize that Washington is more than just Seattle, but one team in that state, probably closer to the border of Washington/Oregon would do very, very well.

Not to mention, a friend of my wife's lives in L.A, and a lot of people from Washington/Oregon also come to see the Kings play... most of the time, more people from Washington/Oregon are there then people from California. Which makes the decision harder. If you put a team in Seattle or Portland... the Kings will lose a LOT of fans.

Sweet! Then I'm all for it. It seemed to me like there ought to be lots of hockey fans in WA/OR, but I'd never met anyone from there, so I wasn't sure.

Do you mean people drive down JUST for a game? Or is it more snowbirds who are already in the area for the winter (and there are definitely a lot of those)? If it's just for the game, those are some dedicated hockey fans! If it's the snowbird effect, I hope maybe they'll keep going to Kings games just because they're there, but you never know...give WA a hockey team, and maybe people won't be so hot to be Kings fans anymore. Hmm, interesting side effect, either way.

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my personal fix for the league....

franchise bred players cost 50% of cap hit to salary...1 mil. player hits cap 500K

#1 draft pick goes to first team NOT in playoffs. (this will drive the win every game theme and no one gets the "we suck" award of a prime time player.

more across conference games... less inter division.

shrink season to 70 games, spread out season ( non-hockey fans need time to digest the game before the next one)

move Atlanta...Florida...Phoenix...

open up shops in Vegas..Quebec/Toronto...Seattle....Winnipeg...Hartford

divide the league north/south

use the Bud Light advertising team to help market hockey faces in humorous commercials.

latch on to Hollywood types that love hockey to help promote the sports passion.

same for music, lots of musicians love the NHL but are quiet about it.

lynch Bettman! Shanahan for commissioner!

please get someone in the NHLPA that can keep the peace.

fire mccrimmon and assign chelios to defensive coach.

1 mandatory mullet per team! (just checking if your still reading)

that's my take on the world of hockey!

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I'd be okay with expansion if they expand to the right markets. They need to move struggling teams from crap markets that they keep trying to force down people's throats. People in the south couldn't care less if they lost their team. I mean I'm sure there would be some who would be upset but the majority aren't going to care and the proof that people don't care is there.

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They're HUGE hockey fans. I lived in Vancouver for some time, and it was insane to see the number of Washington and Oregon license plates there, and a lot of them were at the Canucks stadium. I realize that Washington is more than just Seattle, but one team in that state, probably closer to the border of Washington/Oregon would do very, very well.

Not to mention, a friend of my wife's lives in L.A, and a lot of people from Washington/Oregon also come to see the Kings play... most of the time, more people from Washington/Oregon are there then people from California. Which makes the decision harder. If you put a team in Seattle or Portland... the Kings will lose a LOT of fans.

I lived in Washington for a little while.....I don't think it's quite the hockey market you describe. I didn't see the fanaticism. It probably wouldn't be too bad, certainly an improvement over a few existing markets, but "insane" wouldn't describe it.

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I think we have enough teams currently in the league. After reading your post twice I have a few thoughts of my own to add.

I think alot of GM's have inadvertently priced themselves out of competition. Meaning they signed people and before they knew it they were to close to the cap to sign anyone but bargain basement. Hopefully after some time they will get used to it and things will balance out but i'm not holding my breath. Wishful though.

I think alot of players perhaps over value themselves. They see one player with a similar skill set, point totals and just cause that one player was given perhaps too much by a GM some place they assume they are worth that as well. This may be great for that player, but not for the team as it leaves the team short to sign other quality players.

Then you got the rookies, awesome if you can get some on your team that are NHL ready. In the cap crunch perhaps some teams are more willing to let younger guys play to save on the cap.

Right now there are two types of players that seem to be benefiting from the salary cap in my eyes. Those are the star players that command 6 million plus to play in the league. Then there is the under million club, basically any player that is willing to take 1 mill or less to play. The players in the middle are perhaps not deemed important enough for GM's to budget around or simply casualties of bad cap planning. For the player, they sometimes often think they are worth more than they are. Thus pricing themselves out of a job for most teams in a cap world. It's not that teams don't want players like Afinogenov it's just they simply can't pay him what he wants due to a cap. Thus limiting his options.

As for extra teams, I already mentioned I wouldn't want more. I simply think they should solve the issue with some of the teams in the current locations they are at. Over time we will loose some players, gain some but once gm's learn from their mistakes, players sit from over pricing themselves or leave to the KHL then I think it should hopefully improve.

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I think the league could support as many as 32 franchises, but they have to explore moving teams out of struggling markets BEFORE they consider expansion. As many on here have said, and I agree 100%, teams should be moved from Phoenix, Atlanta, Florida, Nashville, and put them in Winnipeg, Quebec, etc. where the fanbase will support them until corporate sponsors can be found.

I also think that the NHL should be trying markets such as Kansas City, Seattle, SLC, where junior and youth hockey are strong and the league can draw upon the existing grassroots efforts and generate real interest in a potential franchise (besides, if you moved a team from the east to any of these cities, then Detroit could be moved to the Eastern Conference where they would dominate :cool: )

Bottom line, I agree with the OP that there is enough of a talent pool to support expansion, but I also think that the league has to cut their losses and get teams out of struggling markets and improve the financial position of the league as a whole before they should think about taking on any more franchises.

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I lived in Washington for a little while.....I don't think it's quite the hockey market you describe. I didn't see the fanaticism. It probably wouldn't be too bad, certainly an improvement over a few existing markets, but "insane" wouldn't describe it.

Well, I've never lived in Washington, my post was simply referring to the number of Washington license plates at Canucks games.

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Guest CaliWingsNut   
Guest CaliWingsNut

We have teams now that can barely afford to pay their players, and you guys are talking expansion?!?!?! WTF?

This is a professional sport. Only the best of the best play, and if they get kicked off a team, tough s***.

I'm sorry some player you like can't find a spot.

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Take for example Hossa. It took him several tries in Pittsburgh and Detroit before he found a team that would give him a long-term contract with a nice salary.

Hossa had multiple long term offers from Pittsburgh and a huge offer from Edmonton in the range of 90 million and instead signed with the Wings just to get a cup

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The league is due for an expansion of two more teams. Aside from 32 teams being a much more desirable number for a number of scheduling and divisional reasons, the talent pool of developing youth, both in Europe and North America, has greatly expanded. There's investment opportunity out there (see: number of investors that were at one point in line for a hockey team even in a crappy location, aka Phoenix), and there's certainly talent. In fact, I'd imagine you'd see less skilled players, Russians included, going to the KHL and other leagues; the addition of two extra teams would allow them to get paid more.

On top of that, if both teams were in the West (Pick 2 of: Seattle, Winnipeg, Vegas, Kansas City, Houston), then the Wings could finally be moved to the East where they belong

Edit: I know some people are going to ask "Why did you mention 'x' city?" Here's why:

Kansas City: Preexisting arena; rivalry potential with Blues; close to relocation there before

Vegas: Feed off tourism

Seattle: Northwest seems a logical destination for expanding the game both business-wise and in popularity/player development. It gets, you know, cold there.

Winnipeg: No explanation needed, I hope

Houston: Largest hockey market (AHL) without an NHL team. Old and longstanding tradition of having an AHL team there and a hockey following.. oddly enough. I look at Houston's AHL success as an example of what can happen in the south if given both enough time AND competent management (something many of the southern expansion teams have not had).

Edited by Datsyerberger

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The league needs to contract some teams, and not expand.

Everyone is jumping to the KHL post lockout because the salaries players were getting before aren't as widely available now. Now it's only 2 or 3 players on every team taking up about 50% of the salary for the team. The rest of the role players (the ones jumping to the KHL), don't get paid as much.

That's why all these jobbers jump to the KHL, and not because there's not enough team. Blame the salary cap.

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Out of work players just means they were not good enough anymore. I think the league could use two teams less. The cap has really leveled out the league as far as distribution of skill and it will continue to do so. No more teams!!!

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Guest CaliWingsNut   
Guest CaliWingsNut

The league is due for an expansion of two more teams. Aside from 32 teams being a much more desirable number for a number of scheduling and divisional reasons, the talent pool of developing youth, both in Europe and North America, has greatly expanded. There's investment opportunity out there (see: number of investors that were at one point in line for a hockey team even in a crappy location, aka Phoenix), and there's certainly talent. In fact, I'd imagine you'd see less skilled players, Russians included, going to the KHL and other leagues; the addition of two extra teams would allow them to get paid more.

On top of that, if both teams were in the West (Pick 2 of: Seattle, Winnipeg, Vegas, Kansas City, Houston), then the Wings could finally be moved to the East where they belong

Edit: I know some people are going to ask "Why did you mention 'x' city?" Here's why:

Kansas City: Preexisting arena; rivalry potential with Blues; close to relocation there before

Vegas: Feed off tourism

Seattle: Northwest seems a logical destination for expanding the game both business-wise and in popularity/player development. It gets, you know, cold there.

Winnipeg: No explanation needed, I hope

Houston: Largest hockey market (AHL) without an NHL team. Old and longstanding tradition of having an AHL team there and a hockey following.. oddly enough. I look at Houston's AHL success as an example of what can happen in the south if given both enough time AND competent management (something many of the southern expansion teams have not had).

This is almost the exact opposite of what I think.

How many players are put in the press regularly? besides sid, ovi and kovy (currently)? Do you think adding 2 more teams is going to improve that?

Growth to the point of watered down is not what professional sports are about. How about consolidating the number of teams down to 16 big teams and paying players salaries comparable to other professional sports? No one will care about the KHL, if the NHL is nothing but the top players.

The way you guys seem to think, merging with the AHL would be a good thing.crazy.gif Then again, It's in line with Canadians thinking they need teams in markets half the size of current (US & CA) NHL teams.

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This is almost the exact opposite of what I think.

How many players are put in the press regularly? besides sid, ovi and kovy (currently)? Do you think adding 2 more teams is going to improve that?

Growth to the point of watered down is not what professional sports are about. How about consolidating the number of teams down to 16 big teams and paying players salaries comparable to other professional sports? No one will care about the KHL, if the NHL is nothing but the top players.

The way you guys seem to think, merging with the AHL would be a good thing.crazy.gif Then again, It's in line with Canadians thinking they need teams in markets half the size of current (US & CA) NHL teams.

Adding teams won't help marketing at all... but the reason marketing for the NHL is bad is not because there are too many teams, but because hockey is a niche sport and the NHL is just not good at marketing! They tried to put all their eggs in the Crosby basket.

the key is to find the optimal balance between available talent in the world and markets that can support a big league team. Clearly, a merger with the AHL would not work in either regard. That said, there appear to be markets available right now that could be had. Whether there is enough talent to support the current 30 teams (or more) can be a debateable point. I agree that you don't want to water down the talent. Perhaps the most prudent move is to take franchises in failing markets and try them in fresh ones.

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Guest Shoreline   
Guest Shoreline

No. In fact, the NHL shouldn't try to, in any form, save failing teams, or expand until every team can be around the cap. They need to let them go and pool more talent together. Pre-2000s expansion the spread of NHL teams was just fine, teams' fan base was more encompassing, which also meant more revenue. Continuing to add teams may overall help the NHL as far as their own piece of the pie, but it will without a doubt perpetuate what happened to Anaheim, Phoenix, Buffalo, Nashville, and so on, and overall not good for the fan base, or the NHL's image.

Edited by Shoreline

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No. In fact, the NHL shouldn't try to, in any form, save failing teams, or expand until every team can be around the cap. They need to let them go and pool more talent together. Pre-2000s expansion the spread of NHL teams was just fine, teams' fan base was more encompassing, which also meant more revenue. Continuing to add teams may overall help the NHL as far as their own piece of the pie, but it will without a doubt perpetuate what happened to Anaheim, Phoenix, Buffalo, Nashville, and so on, and overall not good for the fan base, or the NHL's image.

Yep, contraction would greatly help each remaining team's talent level. I think you could fold Phoenix, Florida, Columbus, and Nashville without anyone really batting an eye. Although Trotz would likely stick his neck out for the Preds (pun intended).

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Contraction would have this effect:

Because there's an overall raise in talent per team, average salary per team rises as players seek to be paid what they're worth.

Either the cap rises to accomodate this, or more (and more talented) players leave the NHL to seek what they're worth elsewhere. Likely, some combination of both.

If the cap rises to accomodate this (more than just to accomodate the rate of inflation), the gap between the teams that can afford higher salaries and those who can't afford quite as much increases. This results in more teams becoming revenue losing bottom dwellers, owners eventually becoming disenfranchised (terrible pun, I know), and eventually this whittles down to the remaining relative handful of teams that can afford to invest within a reasonable range of eachother to become competitive. While this might be cute to some people, it would be a terrible degradation in terms of business and oodles of lost revenue for the league as a whole, which ultimately makes it harder to market and grow the game...

On the other hand, there are a plethora of willing investors in a number of aforementioned locations. In fact, investor 'demand' is high enough at the moment that there were a normal solid investors willing to go for a failing team in the desert, with a number of them prepared to try keeping the team there for a reasonable period. This is indicator that, business-wise, the business is ready to expand. Competitiveness is still an issue, but it has improved on the whole, and I think that soon it will be close enough that the league considers a 2 team expansion.

Expecting every team in the league to be financially strong at every moment is simply unrealistic. Like every other major sport, or for that matter, every other major business, the NHL and its teams are going to experience states of economic flux. Sometimes a franchise is simply badly managed for an extended period, sometimes it was never placed in a good location to begin with, sometimes the state of the economy in a particular area changes. The Wal-Mart serving the upper middle class burbs always outsells the one servicing the lower end neighborhoods even though both remain a viable business. Or a Wal-Mart moves from one part of a metro area to another in response to changing economic situations and population concentrations. This is simply the state of business. Franchises grow, shrink, change, move. Every major sport in North America goes through the same situation, and to mistake such as a sign of unhealthiness and to prevent growth on that false assumption is damaging over the long term.

That said, I think there is an upper limit on how many teams there should be in terms of ability of fans to follow the game, among other limitations. 30 works (NBA, MLB), but 32 works as well (NFL) and makes for much better playoff bracketing. Considering which one of those is the current leader in North American sports, I think I know which example I'd go with.

Edited by Datsyerberger

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That said, I think there is an upper limit on how many teams there should be in terms of ability of fans to follow the game, among other limitations. 30 works (NBA, MLB), but 32 works as well (NFL) and makes for much better playoff bracketing. Considering which one of those is the current leader in North American sports, I think I know which example I'd go with.

NICE!

I think two new teams would be ok, because I think the talent level is better now than it has been. People are comparing now to the 80's or prior, but they forget that the equipment has changed, the game has evolved. A 4th liner today, could have been a first liner back then. There were so few amazing goalies. I watch highlights from those days, and half the goals scored would rarely, if ever go in on a decent goalie now.

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NICE!

I think two new teams would be ok, because I think the talent level is better now than it has been. People are comparing now to the 80's or prior, but they forget that the equipment has changed, the game has evolved. A 4th liner today, could have been a first liner back then. There were so few amazing goalies. I watch highlights from those days, and half the goals scored would rarely, if ever go in on a decent goalie now.

The skaters in the 80s were fairly equal, mildly less talented. The goaltending is something I am glad you mentioned because there are usually maybe a handful of goaltenders per decade as you go through the years who could honestly be called all-time greats. Many of the Hall of Famers who players in the early 1900s likely would not be able to goal nowadays.

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All you people in favor of contraction don't seem to grasp what the cost of contraction would be. Prohibitive. The only way it wouldn't be is if a team is liquidated through bankruptcy, and while that sounds attractive to those of us who can speak from the ivory tower of having a team comfortably in place, I'm not sure the cost to the league in terms of image is worth it.

TV exec: "Why should we pay your league millions of dollars to broadcast it when your teams are folding? What assurance can you give us that more teams won't fold and the value of your product won't continue to nosedive?"

League: "Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....."

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