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Hockey Traditionalists Nightmare - Bettman Must Go


Notch Novelty

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http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news;_ylc=X3oD...=yhoo&type=lgns

It's been worrying me with the possible TB vs SJ for the Cup even worse is if that is the series we as NHL fans have to remember as the last NHL hockey for sometime.

As Sabres and Senators fan even little Blackhawk fan in me (not so much anymore) I am rooting for Flyers and Red Wings/Flames for the Cup. I don't care who wins but please no TB vs SJ.

I mean sure, they are both good teams and TB seems to have loads of talent but the Sharks seem to be more of this years Anaheim/Carolina (cindrella story). I would much rather have Winnipeg and Quebec or Hartford than TB or SJ Finals.

Bettman must go folks. He has messed up hockey. Although he made the players richer but drove away Canadian teams and put teams into markets like Miami and Phoenix where hockey is second rate.

Fix hockey!!!!!!! Please - if Green Bay can compete with Chicago and NY - I think any city in Canada can compete with any team in the US when it comes to the NHL.

Save Pittsburgh before it's Alabama or Orlando or Houston. Panthers are dying move them to Winnipeg.

Bettman did make the AHL and minor league hockey more structured.

I'm sorry for the rant - what you guys think

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The Sharks are far from a Cinderella story. They didn't exactly sneak into the playoffs--they won the Pacific Division. Aside from last year's pothole, they've been on the road to success for quite a few years now.

I would love to see a San Jose/Tampa or Calgary/Tampa series. It will be great hockey. The thought that only the "big market teams"--and by that I mean New York, Detroit, and Colorado--are the only teams worth watching is ludicrous.

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SJ last to first - I think it's a cinderella story ala Carolina

Don Cherry once said if there are hockey gods "Ottawa will make the playoffs and Carolina wont"

Ottawa did. I think he needs to come out

Please Hockey Gods prevent SJ/TB

Not that SJ/TB/Miami don't deserve teams but Winnipeg/Quebec/Hartford deserve them more.

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Notoriousap, you seem to have very conveniently forgotten that under Bettman, hockey has either been moved to, or added to such hockey mad markets as Minnesota, Denver (sorry it's not a Canadian city) and Columbus. He's also helped grow the NHL's fan base by approving expansion and relocation to Southern US cities, where hockey is a growing sport.

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Well, Carolina made the playoffs the year before going to the finals. So it wasn't not worst to first for them. SJ is not a cinderella, they were a high seed that many expected to go to the finals.

No I think the NHL expanded into cities it shouldn't of have, but If we were moving teams I would leave TB and SJ. The NHL overexpanded into Florida, they should have gone with only 1 florida team, that would be TB. And SJ is fine, why shouldn't the Bay Area have a team. Isn't the Bay Area in Northern Californina.

Yes, Bettman should go but mainly becuase he has hurt the game on the ice with all the rule changes. He's a guy who doesn't know hockey, and has not picked p new fan but has alienated real hockey fans. Changing the division names is the best example of this.

I disagree with that the big markets must be in the finals all year or it's going to suck. Unfortunatly alot of people who talk about the game and comment on them don't watch the games but just read the score sheet. That is the real problem of the NHL is PR and it starts by who you hire to be your commentators. All the ESPN announcers to is trash the game and not help to promote it, your not going to gain fans by doing this.

The NHL on ice is fine, maybe the best it's ever been. Off-ice in the front office it's the worst, and that is why Bettman should go.

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San Jose was first the year before last too you know. They were given 7:1 odds to win the Cup last season, but they had a really bad start last season that they didn't recover from until it was too late.

To say Tampa Bay or San Jose are Cinderella teams is asinine. They were ranked 2nd and 3rd overall IN THE LEAGUE. Any team that keeps gradually improving their playoff positon is not a Cinderella team. You only think they are a Cinderella team because they are actually this good now.

Calgary and Montreal could be considered Cinderella teams, but then again it'll surprise no one if they win, probably because Anaheim's campaign of "Shock and Awe" from last year nullified all expectations of huge upsets. I find no one is surprised by underdogs anymore and all bets seem to be hedged in statistics.

If neither Toronto or Calgary make it, I'm hoping for a Tampa Bay/San Jose final.

--Roger "Time?" Clemente.

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If a team si good, they desrve to win. Whether or not they get snow is something else. personally, I do beleive that the NHL expanded out oo much int he south, but can see why. In California there is a large fan base to be tapped, but honestly, why Anahiem got a team is beyond me (how close are they again to LA?) and two AFlorida teams is too much IMO. After looking at things for some time, teams int eh sun belt can survive, but wether or not some of thsoe teams should have been placed there int he first place is the problem.

as for Bettman, I think he's out lived his usefulness. he's had aa long run, dpone alot of good stuff, but it's time for someone new, someone with some fresh ideas and a fresh outlook on the game

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It's been worrying me with the possible TB vs SJ for the Cup even worse is if that is the series we as NHL fans have to remember as the last NHL hockey for sometime.

As Sabres and Senators fan even little Blackhawk fan in me (not so much anymore) I am rooting for Flyers and Red Wings/Flames for the Cup. I don't care who wins but please no TB vs SJ.

I mean sure, they are both good teams and TB seems to have loads of talent but the Sharks seem to be more of this years Anaheim/Carolina (cindrella story). I would much rather have Winnipeg and Quebec or Hartford than TB or SJ Finals.

Bettman must go folks. He has messed up hockey. Although he made the players richer but drove away Canadian teams and put teams into markets like Miami and Phoenix where hockey is second rate.

Fix hockey!!!!!!! Please - if Green Bay can compete with Chicago and NY - I think any city in Canada can compete with any team in the US when it comes to the NHL.

Save Pittsburgh before it's Alabama or Orlando or Houston. Panthers are dying move them to Winnipeg.

Bettman did make the AHL and minor league hockey more structured.

I'm sorry for the rant - what you guys think

Wow major insult. Excuse me for living in a "sun belt" city! If you guys ever come to San Jose for a game, you can see the passion and how big the game of hockey is. For someone to say we don't DESERVE a cup is an insult to me and fellow Sharks fans everywhere.

If you want to blame anyone, blame the league for allowing San Jose, Tampa Bay, Florida, Anaheim, Nashville, and Atlanta to be granted expansion teams. Also blame Bettman himself for allowing Minnesota to go to Dallas, Winnipeg to go to Phoenix, and Hartford to go to Carolina.

DON'T YOU EVER SAY WE DON'T DESERVE A CUP. OUR DEDICATION TO THE SHARKS IS ONE THE RIVALS THE CANADIAN TEAMS, DETROIT AND MINNESOTA. EXCUSE ME FOR HAVING A TEAM IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA!

No one complained during Florida and Colorado's run in 1996, or even Anaheim's run last year, now its a problem? :cursing::cursing::cursing::cursing:

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What's bad for the league is having teams in markets where they get no support, and try to pass it off as a growing market.

San Jose supports the Sharks. I haven't gotten as strong a feeling about Tampa, but they're still better off than Carolina, Nashville and Phoenix.

Success grows interest, so maybe a TB/SJ finals would be good.

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I would also like to add this:

lets say the sharks do win the western conference and play in the stanley cup fianls

then the sharks will be written off as a one year wonder that is destined for the same fate as florida, carolina, and anaheim

the fact of the matter is, those three teams have had attendance problems in the past and thier brief run at sucess did little to sustain any support they earned from that sucess.

san jose however, has NEVER had serious attendance problems. Even early this year, when the crowds were only hovering around the 14,000 mark, they were still good crowds in comparison. The Canes would KILL to get 14,000 in thier building every game.

Erik probably has more accurate numbers then me, but to my knowledge, the Sharks have never had a home crowd dip below a five-digit figure.

The Sharks play in a tough conference with Dallas, Detroit, Colorado, and St Louis - four teams that are regarded by many as elite teams. Despite that though they are able to win thier division two times in three years with the same core of young, improving players. This team is NOT going to be a one-hit wonder. They have all the pieces in place to stay in contention for years to come, unlike the aforementioned clubs.

Last season was a major stumbling point, yes. Its been well documented that it was a result of the young core of the team not stepping up and taking charge of thier season, relying too much on the veterans such as Nolan, Selanne, Marchment, and Graves. Nabokov's holdout didnt help either. However that's not the case this year. Now the best players on the team are those young players like Marleau, Cheechoo, Sturm, Stuart, Hannan......theyve taken charge of thier season and now as a result, the Sharks are one of those elite teams

As long as this group stays together, the Sharks will be a healthy franchise for years. the only thing that could stop them is the same thing that could stop the other clubs, and thats the looming work stoppage

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ICS is right, the lowest the crowd has been since the Sharks moved into San Jose Arena aka the Shark Tank aka HP Pavilion at San Jose was the 14,000 the team got when they went winless at home in October this season. (Note: the Cow Palace, the temporary home for the Sharks only held 11,100)

The fan dedication is there. They may not be as big of a fan like me or ICS, but they are close. Hockey is doing well here and has been since the Sharks played at the Cow Palace. I've always said, if the team and the organization shows a commitment to winning, the fans will be there. At first this season, it didn't look like that, but once the team believed in each other, so did the fans, and they're back.

As for a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals, if they get there fair and square, they deserve to be there and I'll be the happiest guy in the world. After all, you know how much crap I took those first two seasons? How would you like it to have everyone make fun of you because you support a team that lost 71 games in one season!

Just because the Sharks are in the "sun belt" doesn't mean they should suck all the time and lose to every team up north? Come on now, that wouldn't be FAIR!

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I don't consider San Jose in the Sun Belt. I don't have a map in front of me, but isn't San Jose as far south as D.C., or at most, Atlanta?

I agree with most of the people here that Bettman's plan to force hockey into warm-weather areas like Miami, Anaheim, Phoenix, and Raleigh has not been good. They are fair-weather fans at best. I think by taking some teams out of large fan bases (Winnipeg & Hartford) has not produced the expected increase in attendance and money. Except for the anomaly of a Stanley Cup appearance, these teams continue to draw poorly and get an apathetic reaction from the area.

I hope that some of these teams can relocate to better markets (like back in Canada, perhaps?) I don't want these teams to fold up entirely, because I live next door to one of their AHL affiliates (Carolina-Lowell) and I like watching AHL hockey.

I can see what happens with these NHL cities on a smaller scale with Lowell in the AHL. Lowell has one of the smallest capacity arenas in the league (6,500). Most nights, the team is lucky if there are 1500-2000 fans, even though the box score lists tickets sold and the number jumps to 3500. It's hard to see how the team can survive much longer being in the bottom of the league in attendance, and I would imagine merchandise as well. If the AHL moves out and ECHL moves in, the arena would shut down. I don't know anyone up here who cares about AA-level hockey.

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Here's a novel concept - I'd like to see the Western Conference team playing the best hockey right now play the Eastern Conference team playing the best hockey right now face off for the Stanley Cup. Let's remember, this playoff is about HOCKEY, which to my understanding has nothing to do with anything off the ice, including the level of fan support in the markets in which the teams play their home games. If San Jose and Tampa Bay are playing the best hockey right now, then let's see them square off for the Cup.

Economics will ultimately dictate who "should" and "should not" have teams and I think it's really quite silly for people to state that a good team that plays in a "non-traditional" hockey market is somehow not "deserving" to play for the championship.

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San Jose and Tampa Bay for the Cup would be great. I think the San Jose fans are some of the best in the league. Tampa fans, i don't know. But both teams have great talent and it would make it entertaining. I always like to see different teams win championships. I don't know who i'll pull for, since San Jose is about to TKO my Avs. :mad:

Please....No DETROIT and no PHILLY!

Anyone else would be Kosher!

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Here we go again: hockey's "traditionalists" bemoaning the fact that teams from "non-traditional" markets (i.e. anything outside of Canada or the Northern tier of the U.S.) have the temerity to put winning teams on the ice. Oh, and God forbid that any of these teams should actually make it into the Stanley Cup Finals.

BULL!!!

I grew up a fan of both the Boston Bruins (#1 team) and New England/Hartford Whalers (# 1-A). My family was SO into hockey that at one time we simultaneously held season tickets for the Boston Bruins (NHL), New England Whalers (WHA) and Boston Braves (AHL). When the Whalers moved to Hartford, we maintained a season ticket package, splitting it with my uncle who lives in Connecticut. I outline this background so as to illustrate the point that you need not come across as self-importantly dismissive of "Sunbelt" hockey if you grew up in a more "traditional" market.

BULLETIN: Professional sports is a NUMBERS-DRIVEN BUSINESS, gang! Numbers like size of a city/metro area population base... the number of Fortune 500 companies (potential corporate partners for a team) in a given locale... the Nielsen ratings numbers. We may not like the fact that pro sports has become so bottom-line driven, but it is a FACT... and it isn't changing.

The National Hockey League - like any other business - is looking to grow. It's targeting "growth markets". Like it or not, in North America a preponderance of these growth markets are located in the U.S. South. You want proof? Let's take a look at the numbers:

San Jose - city population of 900,943... metro area population of 6,816,047... number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the region is 25+... 5th-largest TV market in US...

Tampa/St.Petersburg - Tampa city population of 315,140... St. Petersburg city population of 248,546... metro area population of 2,256,559... number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the region is 2 by my count... 13th-largest TV market in US...

Miami - city population of 374,791... metro area population of 3,655,844... number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the region is 4 by my count... 17th-largest TV market in US...

Most importantly, all three markets are in "growth areas" of the United States. Contrast the numbers with...

Hartford - city population of 121,578... metro area population of 1,143,859... number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the city is 4, total number in the region is 6 by my count (there are several more in the State of Connecticut, but they are located in the Western half/Southwestern corner of the state and fall within the New York Metro Area)... 27th-largest TV market in US...

Winnipeg - city population of 616,790... metro area population of 671,274... number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the region is 0 by my count...

Quebec City - city population of 167,264... metro area population of 682,757... number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the region is 0 by my count...

Most importantly, all three markets have seen their size shrink in the past ten years. Hell, Winnipeg has dropped from the 4th or 5th largest Canadian city twenty years ago, to 8th largest in the most recent census.

With the possible exception of the number of Fortune 500 companies based in Hartford, the numbers for the latter three cities don't compare favorably to those of the first three. That's just business. The National Hockey League saw the first three markets as potential growth areas for their brand of sports entertainment. Why? They have much larger population bases from which to draw prospective fans... and those populations are still growing. As those populations grow, an already exsistant corporate base is expected to continually grow in the markets... a corporate base that an NHL club can target as a partner (naming rights, dasher board ad sales, luxury suite sales, club seat sales, etc). And let's not forget that United States markets are viewed more favorably as expansion/relocation markets because of the vagaries of the U.S. - Canadian exchange rate.

Bottom line? Will every single "sunbelt" or "non-traditional" market that the NHL has targeted over the past fifteen years be a run-away success? Probably not? You'll get no argument from me that some recently targeted markets (Raleigh and Nashville leap to mind), while in growth areas of the country, still haven't reached a critical mass of poulation and business large enough to support the NHL. Still, the league is hoping to grow with the markets in those cities. Whether it will succeed long-term is still open to debate.

What we have to remember is that with the exception of the behemoth that is the NFL, pro sports as a whole are in a precarious state business-wise. They aren't guaranteed successful propositions... most especially the NHL which has always been seen as more of a regional entity. But the NHL just can't resign themselves to embracing that "regional" label, because it would be business suicide with regard to wooing the larger corporate partners that they covet. And let's not assume that the NFL's brand of revenue sharing would automatically work wonders for the NHL. First and foremost, the exchange rate would still have some impact on the financial model. Yes, the revenue-sharing would help somewhat, but in turn, the revenue-sharing plan would be bolstered by the reputation of the NFL. The NFL has now earned the reputation as being the pro sports front-runner worldwide. The NHL may never be able to overtake them perception-wise in the eyes of the world. This is why you'll often here me say that an NFL franchise, benefitting from (1) what help the revenue-sharing formula would bring, (2) the NFL's reputation and (3) Toronto's market size, could succeed in Metro Toronto. Whether a similar revenue-sharing plan administered by the NHL would bolster teams in small-market Canadian cities is open to debate.

Still, the NHL is going to do everything in its power to grow its brand throughout the up-and-coming markets in North America. What other choice does it have? Fold? Become an even smaller fish in the big pond of modern entertainment? Sadly, Hartford, Winnipeg and Quebec City don't realistically represent the markets that the NHL must target. Simply because they're based in the birthplace of the sport (the Canadian cities) or the Nothern tier of the U.S. (Hartford) or just because they once played host to an NHL team, doesn't mean that these markets have the wherewithal to support major professional sports in the modern era.

Begrudging markets like Tampa Bay and San Jose their on-ice success isn't going to change the reality of the situation. More importantly, it does the fans and management of the teams a grave disservice. In fact, the argument can be made that the growth of the sport needs to see teams in these types of markets enjoy such on-ice success. After all, they're hoping to build the same sort of history and tradition that the more "traditional" markets now take for granted as some sort of birthright.

As a die-hard fan of the sport of hockey and the NHL, I can honestly say that I'm pulling for a Tampa Bay versus San Jose Stanley Cup Final. I think that it would be GREAT for the sport of hockey and the NHL!!!

Brian in Boston

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