Friday, January 19, 2007

League to discuss expansion?

I don't have a link for this at the moment, but the word going around today is that one of the items to be discussed by NHL governors at the all-star game festivities will be expansion.

Kansas City's insistence on getting an NBA/NHL team, and the fact they have an open building waiting for a tenant, is going to be an awfully attractive carrot for a league looking for cash. There have also been other signs this may be under consideration.

More as it comes


At 1:22 p.m., January 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many are against expansion because of thelack of talent to go around, but since the new cap breeds mediocrity maybe expansion may help. There are too few slugs in the NHL.

Coaching and systems has made the playing field too even. By allowing more "bad" players into the league, you give the remaining talent players they can exploit.

Looking back ten years it is amazing how bad the fourth line players and many of the D were. That allowed for a lot of turnovers and spectacular plays by the elite.

At 1:28 p.m., January 19, 2007, Anonymous Logan said...

I notice that you said how bad they were, not are. At the time people felt the talent pool was too diluted, and now there are third and fourth line players who could play on the second lines of some teams while there are point-per-game guys stuck in the AHL because there's no room for them.

The talent is there.

At 2:05 p.m., January 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By expanding you would hope you reach the limits of the current talent pool. That's why I think there are too few bad players. We need a way to introduce some.

Current players top through bottom are better than they were twenty years ago. Much has to do with conditioning, treating it as a profession, non-stop coaching and systems. Every player is maxed out and it takes away many of the advantages talent creates.

This leaves fewer players to abuse and it becomes more of a chess match. I love to watch the Devils play, but few casual fans do. If the goal is to make the game more exciting then the goal is to create more mismatches within the context of the game.

You can still have team wide parity, but the disparities in talent from shift to shift would create more highlights. See Jagr when facing Pandolfo and when he isn't.

At 3:38 p.m., January 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a league perspective, it's always better to expand into an attractive new market, thus pocketing the expansion fees, rather than allow one of your existing franchises to move into it first. That way, you snooker the owner who wanted to move, leaving him stuck in his lousy market. The QMJHL did this recently, expanding into Saint John just before the Acadie-Bathurst Titan were set to move there.

At 4:06 p.m., January 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Expansion is free money to the existng owners in the short term, but could devalue your franchise if it looks like you cannot relocate to a better market when things go south.

The real money is increasing the value of your team over the long hall and then selling it at a higher price. Anything that deflates that long term value isn't a wise move.

In any case, if you own the stadium, having the team whether it is a big money maker or not guarantees 46 more nights where the stadium itself generates revenue as opposed to sitting there empty.

At 4:19 a.m., January 20, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

The NHL is in an odd position; expansion may not be a good idea, but it isn't for the reason usually trotted out. The talent pool being too shallow is a canard. Take account of population growth in Canada and the old time US feeders (Boston and Minnesota, mainly), throw in the expansion of youth hockey to other parts of the US, then throw in the huge influx of talent from Europe, and the population base from which players are drawn relative to the number of teams really hasn't changed much in the last 40 years.

The NHL's problem is a lack of quality markets to put new teams in. Kansas City is not a good prospective market. Ditto Houston. The league already has teams that are going to need to move, and, no, Pittsburgh is not one of them.

The vision problem the NHL has at the moment is that it confuses a sweetheart arena deal with the quality potential of a market. In the long run, Kansas City simply can't offer enough to make it a good idea to go there. Similarly, the problems in Pittsburgh are purely short term ones, if the league and/or the Penguins were willing to solve their own problems, rather than begging other people to solve them.


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