December 14, 2008

Puttin' On the Foil - A Weekly NHL Recap 12/14


MONOLOGUE
What do you know, I actually agree with Larry Brooks for once in his column today about the National Hockey League implementing a league-wide price freeze on tickets.

"The salary cap was supposed to make the game more affordable for NHL fans. It hasn't. Prices have increased. Playoff prices have escalated with one team after another gouging customers because, well, that's what teams do when they make the postseason."

This was one of the selling points that Commissioner Gary Bettman told the fans after the lockout ended. It's been anything but that. With league revenues increasing, so has the salary cap, and in effect more teams are spending money on players, therefore ticket prices need to be increased to afford those players.

One example would the Winter Classic. Last year, the tickets were run through the Buffalo Sabres with prices ranging from $10-$225 among nine different tier prices in a 70,000 seat football stadium. This season, the NHL has taken over the distribution of tickets to the 40,000 seat Wrigley Field in Chicago. There are only three tier prices: $75, $225, and $325.

Some teams are experiencing such a hard time to sell tickets to their market that they've began special sales to entice fans just to get in the door and help gain ancillary revenue through concessions and merchandise.

The empty seats in many markets show that no matter what the product is on the ice (good or bad), in the end, the price of tickets will ultimately determine whether or not fans fill the seats.

WEEK THAT WAS
The Washington Capitals have been so hampered by injuries of late, they dressed their website editor as their backup goaltender on Friday night, at least until Simeon Varlamov showed up after the first period.

Joe Sakic suffered three broken fingers in an accident involving a snowblower. He'll be out for three months and to me, I think 'Super' Joe hangs them up after this season.

The struggling global economy was the biggest topic at this week's Board of Governor's meetings in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Wayne Gretzky's father, Walter, received the Order of Canada, the highest honor given to a civilian.

Former President Bill Clinton visited the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning before their game on Thursday night.

The never-ending Mats Sundin sweepstakes may be coming to a close in the not too distant future.

EXCELLENT ELEVEN POWER RANKINGS
11. Vancouver Canucks
10. Calgary Flames
9. Pittsburgh Penguins
8. Montreal Canadiens
7. New York Rangers
6. Chicago Blackhawks
5. Washington Capitals
4. Philadelphia Flyers
3. Detroit Red Wings
2. Boston Bruins
1. San Jose Sharks

LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE
This week's Coach's Corner with Don Cherry.


Petr Sykora finally scored his first career hat-trick.


Tune into this year's Winter Classic.


PLAYER OF THE WEEK (12/7-12/13)
Phil Kessel, Boston Bruins
4 GP, 3 G, 5 A, 8 PTS, +2, 2 PPG
The hype that surrounded Kessel before the 2006 NHL Draft is finally catching up with him. He's been quite the story this season.

GAME OF THE WEEK
Washington Capitals at Montreal Canadiens 12/13
Rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov stole the show and the game for Washington as Michael Nylander's goal with 3:32 remaining helped continued the Canadiens struggles. Montreal has been hindered by injuries of late while the Capitals are finally getting healthy and their 2-1 win last night was their fifth win in their last six games.

Highlights:


UPCOMING GAME OF INTEREST
Thursday, December 18, 7 :30p.m. ET
San Jose Sharks at Detroit Red Wings
The two best teams in the Western Conference face each other for the second time this season. Detroit will be looking in the mirror when they skate against former assistant coach Todd McLellan's system which he brought over from his time with the Red Wings. It'll be interesting to see how the Detroit goaltending handles San Jose's uptempo style of play. Last time out, the Sharks were victorious 4-2.

GRATUITOUS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS RELATED AWESOMENESS
A profile of the Penguins public address announcer, John Barbaro.



Ballhype: hype it up!


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