Archive for Business of Hockey

Elias not a fan of the ASG Draft

via the Star-Ledger:

Selected by Team Staal with only five other players remaining, Elias said the process had a built-in insult factor for those who are bypassed until the end.

“I didn’t enjoy it (much). The fans and media enjoy it. Whoever is going last is going to hear it for a long time,” Elias said today. “It’s not right. The guys are top players and you don’t want to put guys in that position.”

He was relieved not to be picked last.

“Kind of,” he said.

Phil Kessel was the last pick and received a car for it. Elias said he would not have wanted to get a car for being last, although he was able to crack jokes during the draft.

“One was when they called the rookies up on the stage and we were still sitting there,” Elias recalled. “I said, ‘Holy (cow), the rookies are going before us. That’s not good.’ ”

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NHL will not continue to publicize fines

via TSN:

Suspensions in the National Hockey League are always announced by the NHL’s Hockey Operations department. Fines, on the other hand may surface a day or two after they’ve been levied or even slide entirely under the radar simply because the NHL doesn’t – as a matter of policy – announce fines.

Last week, Colin Campbell, broke with that policy and issued a press release, announcing Ottawa’s Nick Foligno had been fined the league maximum, $2500 for his blindside hit on Carolina’s Patrick Dwyer.

It took a media report to reveal Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta had been fined twice for incidents in a game versus the New Jersey Devils where Kaleta, first received a charging penalty after hitting the Devils’ Mark Fraser, and later attempted to head-butt Travis Zajac. Another media report revealed Edmonton’s Tom Gilbert has been fined for a head hit on Matt Stajan.

To publicly acknowledge fines isn’t likely to become normal practice in the NHL anytime soon, although, that possibility has been discussed.

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NHL partners with HBO to produce reality series

via Vancouver Sun:

“Taking our reality series 24/7 into the world of the National Hockey League is a perfect fit,” said HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg. “The 24/7 franchise is fashioned on larger-than-life personalities, engaging storylines, and unrestricted access. With Sidney Crosby leading the Penguins and Alex Ovechkin leading the Capitals, we have all the ingredients for a dynamic show that will take viewers deep inside professional hockey and set the stage for the Winter Classic.”

The series will debut on Dec. 15 and will follow each of the teams in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 1 game, giving viewers behind-the-scenes access, including interviews with players, coaches and front-office personnel.

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League reviewing Luongo deal

via Sportsnet:

Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis has confirmed that the league is taking another look atRoberto Luongo’s 12-year, $64 million contract, according to a report by The Vancouver Sun.

Gillis confirmed this action in an email to the Vancouver Sun Monday night.

“We have complied with the NHL request for information and are awaiting further instructions,” Gillis said. “Cannot say anything further at this point.”

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Devils resume talks with Kovalchuk

via New Jersey Devils:

New Jersey Devils President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello today issued the following statement in response to Arbitrator Richard Bloch’s decision in regard to the team’s contract with Ilya Kovalchuk:

“We have reviewed and respect Arbitrator Bloch’s ruling in the Kovalchuk matter.  We also note and appreciate his finding that nothing in his opinion should be read as suggesting that either the club or Ilya Kovalchuk operated in bad faith or on the basis of any assumption other than that the Standard Player Contract was fully compliant with the CBA. That has been our consistent position throughout.

“While we do not currently have a contract with Ilya Kovalchuk, discussions have resumed and we are hopeful that a contract will be reached that meets with the principles in Arbitrator Bloch’s award and the NHL’s approval.”

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Arbitrator rules in favour of NHL – Kovalchuk contract void

via TSN:

Ilya Kovalchuk is an unrestricted free agent for the second time this summer.

Independent arbitrator Richard Bloch ruled in favour of the NHL’s rejection of Kovalchuk’s 17-year, US$102-million contract with the New Jersey Devils.

The NHL team released a statement Monday night saying it respects Bloch’s ruling and indicated that it still hopes to land the talented Russian.

“While we do not currently have a contract with Ilya Kovalchuk, discussions have resumed and we are hopeful that a contract will be reached that meets with the principles in arbitrator Bloch’s award and the NHL’s approval,” said Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello.

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Flames and Canadiens unvail jerseys for Heritage Classic

via CBC Sports:

The Calgary Flames will sport retro jerseys for February’s Heritage Classic against the Montreal Canadiens as the NHL rekindles its special outdoor matchup.

The Canadian teams will face off Feb. 20 at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium, which is expected to sell out.

“It could be as warm as now or it be colder than words can describe,” Calgary Flames president Ken King said Wednesday, flanked by players and executives from both teams as well as the National Hockey League at a news conference.

King said more seats will be added to McMahon Stadium’s regular capacity of 35,650, but not as many as the 46,020 for the 2009 Grey Cup game.

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Devils owner expects Kovalchuk situation to be done fast

via TSN from New York Daily News:

Vanderbeek told the New York Daily News that while he could not comment directly on the case, he did say that he felt that it was in the best interest of both sides to quickly resolve the grievance.  While there is no arbitrator currently in place, Vanderbeek did not expect it to take long to find an appropriate candidate.

“From what I understand, the union and the league are moving forward to choose an arbitrator,” Vanderbeek told the Daily News. “I think (NHL deputy commissioner) Bill Daly said they want to see this done on an expedited basis. The union wants to see it done quickly. I see no reason why that won’t be done.”

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The Debate: NHL Players In The Olympics

The original version of this post can be found on my blog site: http://bit.ly/ceBn3i

My original idea for this post was to show that as North American professional sports leagues became more worldly, the debate should be laid to rest as to whether or not it’s fair that pro athletes be allowed to compete for their country. After all, this isn’t 1992, when a Dream Team of NBA superstars traveled to Barcelona & wreaked havoc on the Basketball events of the summer games.

But an unofficial poll on such social networking sites as Twitter and Facebook has shown me that there are many people who are very much divided on the topic. And, I found that it wasn’t nessecarily about balance of competition, or even whether pros should be allowed to compete in what is usually an ametuer event. Rather, the biggest debate was about how the layoff will effect the league that the players regularly play in.

This has become a bit of a moot point for the NBA, since basketball is a summer event and the NBA plays during the fall and winter months. But, in hockey, it’s quite a hot topic, because the NHL is forced to take a two week hiatus. So who’s right and who’s wrong. I’ll give you both sides, then I’ll give you my opinion. After that, you can decide for yourself.

Pros:

The NHL is no longer a North American league. It may be the most global of the four major sports on the continent. This influx of European and Russian athletes has infused a sort of Olympic feel in the league’s day to day operations (The NHL even experimented with a North America vs. The World All Star format). Allowing it’s players to compete on a world stage can only help grow a sport so desperately seeking real estate among it’s bigger, more popular brothers.

Piggy-backing on the above point; having NHL players guarantees world class competition. Each game in the tournament is a mini All Star game. Again, not a bad showcase for a sport trying to grow in popularity.

Olympic teams have competitive balance. Unlike the 1992 Dream Team, allowing NHL players to compete for their countries has leveled the playing field.

The stereotype regarding the desires of the athletes are no longer divided by region. It was always presumed that North American players grew up with dreams of winning a Stanley Cup over an Olympic Medal. Conversely, it was assumed that players who came from overseas to play in the NHL didn’t have the passion to strive for the Stanley Cup and were only here to collect a paycheck and showcase their talents. Now all players get to compete for both. North American players learned the value of playing for their country while European and Eastern Asian players developed a desire to compete for Lord Stanley’s Cup. *NOTE* I stress that these are stereotypes. In no way am I disputing the validity of an athletes desire to compete. At any level, or for any trophy.

Cons:

What about the NHL? Is a two week hiatus a good thing for a league trying to grow in popularity. Sure, hockey fans will be paying attention to the Olympic Games. And it doesn’t hurt that the host country is hockey crazed Canada. But, the lights will be turned off for two weeks. Any modest fan who was becoming a little more curious about the NHL might be turned off, especially since NBC hasn’t done much to put hockey at the forefront of its broadcasts. You have to do a little channel surfing to find the games. Will that mildly curious fan just stick to alpine skiing and figure skating? Even Snowboarding gets billing over hockey on the NBC network of Olympic channels. Does the NHL, and the game of hockey itself, need another sport to compete with? *NOTE* Hockey can be found on every channel in Canada, this argument only applies to the United States Markets.

Team momentum will no doubt be affected by the break. Teams like the Flyers, who had just seemed to find a positive rhythym, are stopped in their tracks. And who knows if they can find that groove again when play resumes. This works both ways. Teams on slides, the Devils and Penguins come to mind, could be aided by the break. It might allow them to regroup and come back with a new slate to work with. My point is, how is that fair to the competitive balance of a league which has obviously worked very hard to achieve such a balance in the first place.

Chemistry is another element bound to be affected. Most of the league’s players are home with family, while a small percentage rev up the concentration levels to compete for their countries. This may cause teammates and linemates to be on different pages when play resumes.

Injury and fatigue are probably the biggest points in the argument against NHL players in the Winter Games. Yes, we all have National Pride, even million dollar athletes. But these men collect paychecks from teams counting on them to produce revenue, excitement, and ultimately, a championship for their fan base. What if one of them is seriously injured during the Olympics? It would not only impact that player’s season, but quite possibly, the fate of his team. After all, we’re not talking about the Donald Brashears of the NHL playing in this tournament. It’s the Crosbys and Ovechkins. Players that the NHL depends on. Also, it is said that The Stanley Cup just might be the hardest trophy to win in all of sports. The NHL Playoffs are a grueling marathon. How will players respond after having already exhausted so much in pursuit of Olympic glory?

My Take:

Despite the risk of losing the casual viewer, or even losing a player for the season due to injury. I like having NHL Players in the Olympics. I’ve long said, you’re either a fan of hockey, or you’re not. The NHL shouldn’t concern itself with chasing casual fans. It has one of the most loyal fan bases in all of sports, and should play to that strength. As for injury; any one of us could get hurt walking down the street, that shouldn’t even be an argument.

The Olympics create a unique opportunity to showcase the many talented athletes who play in the NHL, and can provide hockey fans everywhere with an opportunity to witness the game played at it’s highest level. And if the casual fan wants to hop on board for the ride, so be it.

Lastly, as I mentioned above, we all have National Pride. It’s not the players fault that some smart business men decided to start leagues that allowed lots of people the opportunity to make lots of money. National pride knows no dollar sign. If my country has terrific players, I want them playing for my team to help my country gain international bragging rights.

- Mike Tursi

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Phoenix Coyotes conditionally sold to Jim Balsillie

The Phoenix Coyotes will be moving out of the desert. That is only of course if Jim Balsillie can move the team to southern Ontario. A hearing is planned for this week and their fate will be decided. The rumor is he has offered $212 million.

UPDATE:

From Bill Daly via NHL.com:

“We have just become aware of today’s Bankruptcy Court filing purportedly made on behalf of the Phoenix Coyotes.  We are investigating the circumstances surrounding the petition, including the propriety of its filing.  We have removed Jerry Moyes from all positions of authority to act for or on behalf of the Club.  The League will appear and proceed before the Bankruptcy Court in the best interests of all of the Club’s constituencies, including its fans in Arizona and the League’s 29 other Member Clubs.”

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