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Old 01-26-2013, 04:33 AM
 
6,310 posts, read 9,557,343 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
I'm not saying Dallas was a bad choice for relocated team or even having a team in Tampa or having any teams in the South was a poor choice. It just seems though like Gary Bettman had his eyes on this huge expansion in the Sun Belt to compete with the NBA and in the end it just seems like it was a bit too much. Especially since now the NHL has now gone back to really promoting the original or older American franchises--which is why the Winter Classics just about exclusively focus on the teams from the Northeast and the Midwest.
You hit the nail on the head -- it was to compete with the NBA.

I won't argue that the southern expansion was probably too much, too quick. It was almost as if they were throwing spit balls and seeing which ones would stick -- not a particularly good strategy.

The brazen expansion to the South did benefit me, though. My team, the Predators, would not be here today if the NHL hadn't taken a chance. Actually, I think it's quite interesting that the small market sun belt teams (Nashville and Carolina) have been rather successful compared to their larger market counterparts...perhaps in hindsight, the NHL should've concentrated on under served pro markets rather than the bigger ones.

Winter Classics focus on the old teams because...they're classics. It would be the same as if Green Bay and Dallas played a "classic" NFL game. That kind of goes without saying...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
In general the NHL sort of expanded too quickly in the 90s in some ways. They moved franchises from Canada back when the Canadian economy and dollar were weaker and now that Canada's booming in some ways that market to the north doesn't look as bad. In general teams outside the old school franchises or Canada are going to be warm-weather crowds in a lot of ways(though that's true for a lot of sports and teams)--so as long as you have teams that can remain competitive and still draw crowds it's not a bad thing to have teams in more markets. The problem is when you have constantly poor performing teams in markets that are very warm-weather to the team--like Atlanta or Miami. It's not like Edmonton, that while it's a smaller market with often weak teams, you can still get sell-outs(and national TV broadcasts in Canada that get a good audience). But hockey can be successful outside the old northern cities(the Sharks have done pretty well) it just takes some time to build a fanbase and a level of success to keep people interested.
Another good point. The Canadian markets were in real trouble when the Canadian dollar was weak. We're not just talking Winnipeg and Quebec, but rather pretty much all of them, save for Toronto, Montreal, and *maybe* Vancouver. It was impossible to tell when that would end -- so actually for the good of the league, some of the teams had to relocate.

But the move to the sun belt served another purpose -- as I pointed out earlier, the sun belt is where the majority of the growth in this country has been for the past several decades. In the 90s, it simply didn't make sense to add more teams to the traditional "cold" climates for economic reasons. Why would you locate in a city with stagnant growth or even population loss? The two north of the Mason-Dixon line expansions in the late 90s both took place in cities with healthier growth and economies (Twin Cities and Columbus).

Also, jump back to the 90s...and considering the Canadian dollar dilemma, and tell me which northern cities take the place of Florida, Tampa, Carolina, Nashville, Dallas, and Phoenix (not to mention the Cali cities) and now relocated Atlanta. Were there 7 deserving northern cities that could handle a pro sports franchise? Mind you, each of these places would have to build a new arena.

From sports fan to sports fan -- don't trust anything from the bleacher report. It's the Forbes of sports.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
I think the point I was making was a little misstated in my last sentence though, as I don't feel that all teams in the South were a bad idea--I just feel that a new or relocated franchise in Seattle might have been a better idea than Miami or Atlanta or Nashville or Phoenix during that period of expansion. The Northwest has a pretty good history of hockey in the region, the WHL franchises in Seattle and Portland have good crowds and frequent sell-outs and while not as many kids play hockey as over the border in BC, there's still a healthy level of support for the game.

So yeah, I'd like to see a team in Seattle and a team back in Quebec City.
I think it's fair to say some of the sun belt franchises were or are failures or works in progress. But some have been successes. A lot of the northern fans like to point at the southern expansion as some sort of complete failure -- it's not. The sport is growing here. And now we are starting to have fans who were born and are growing up around the sport. To pull the plug now would be a big mistake in terms of foresight. I'm not going to suggest the "future" of the sport is here -- but if the NHL wants to be a national sport, it must have national representation.

As a last point, I would like to throw out that your lumping (possibly unintentional) of Nashville with Atlanta, Miami, and Phoenix strikes me as a little odd. Nashville has been a very successful franchise, and fan support has grown since we have an ownership group with solid footing (and not run by a cheapskate liar like Leopold). Last year we had 97.5% attendance.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:06 PM
 
127 posts, read 146,745 times
Reputation: 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joke Insurance View Post
*** This is all fantasy ***

If NHL was to expand to 40 teams with a new alignment and some relocations (talent isn't spread thin, cities can support the team, companies/TV sponsorships galore, etc), here is what I've chosen:

Western Conference, Northwest Division

Vancouver Canucks
Edmonton Oilers
Calgary Flames
Seattle Pilots (formally Anaheim Ducks)
Portland Thorns (expansion team)

Western Conference, Pacific Division

San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
Utah Grizzlies (expansion team) *located in Salt Lake City UT*
San Diego Warriors (expansion team)
Las Vegas Aces (expansion team)

Western Conference, Central Division

Winnipeg Jets
Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche
Minnesota Wild
Kansas City Scouts (formally Phoenix Coyotes)

Western Conference, Great Lakes Division

Detroit Red Wings
Hamilton Harpoons (formally Florida Panthers)
Cleveland Barons (formally Columbus Blue Jackets)
Milwaukee Muskies (expansion team)
Dayton Blades (expansion team)

Eastern Conference, Atlantic Division

New York Rangers
Boston Bruins
New Jersey Devils
Pittsburgh Penguins
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (expansion team) *located in Allentown-Bethlehem PA*

Eastern Conference, Northeast Division

Buffalo Sabres
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Toronto Maple Leafs
Quebec Nordiques (formally New York Islanders)

Eastern Conference, Appalachian Division

Washington Capitals
Carolina Hurricanes
Nashville Predators
Philadelphia Flyers
Norfolk Admirals (expansion team)

Eastern Conference, Gulf Division

Tampa Bay Lightning
St. Louis Blues
Houston Aeros (formally Dallas Stars)
Austin Bats (expansion team)
Jacksonville Barracudas (expansion team)


------------------------------------

What do you guys think of the new team names? If you don't like some of them, what would you prefer seeing instead? As for the alignments, do you like them? If not, what teams would you switch around and to where?
San Diego, Dayton, Jacksonville and Allentown.

I hope it takes a lot more than 40 teams to get these teams on ice. I got a chuckle of your Portland nickname. I actually kind of like it. The badass rose logo would be the challenge.

I personally feel that I missed the glory days of the NHL. Late 80s / early 90s when speed and skill were on display and scoring chances abundant. I know it's very popular with a lot of people to say that over-expansion is what killed the golden era. I'm not so sure. I personally think the size and speed of the players that you will see on a given team in 2012-2013 is far superior to that of your 1987-1988 team. I would assume there were a lot more North American kids playing the sport in 1988 vs 1963. And certainly, access to European talent is a lot greater now than what it was.

Clearly, the talent in Canadian Junior and NCAA hockey is inferior to that of the NHL. Yet, I personally feel that the brand of hockey in these leagues is more exciting. Basically, I'm speculating that perhaps with forwards getting bigger and better, goalies getting bigger and better, and defenders getting bigger and better, defense is ultimately winning out in this equation where the growth of the overall talent pool has outpaced an increase of NHL teams from 22 to 30.

So if a pool of a great hockey minds got together and came to a consensus that a 40 team "watered down" league would actually help move the NHL closer towards the firewagon brand of hockey that was on display 25 years ago, I would actually embrace it.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:42 PM
 
41,602 posts, read 39,346,792 times
Reputation: 13251
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjimmy24 View Post
I am morally opposed to hockey south of the Mason Dixon line. I would move all the current southern teams to northern/Canadian cities. Last year moving a team from Atlanta to Winnipeg is a good start. Now we just need to get rid of the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, LA Kings, and the Phoenix Coyotes. They can go to Quebec, Seattle, Milwaukee or some place like that. But I guess the Washington Capitals can stay. Then all we need to do is change the Wild to the North Stars and nudge the Blue Jackets just a little bit to the north to Cleveland and make them the Barons again.
Why? Make your case.

Last time I checked, Canada had the Montreal Expos(before they were moved). I didn't hear anyone complain about them being there. Canada also has the Toronto Blue Jays. I hear no one complaining about soccer being in Canada these days. No one complained about baseball going to Seattle, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, or Denver. Why can't that same courtesy be extended in terms of hockey?
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:51 PM
 
41,602 posts, read 39,346,792 times
Reputation: 13251
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
Really is a question of how many southerners enjoy hockey. Do enough southerners enjoy hockey for the highest level of hockey to open a team there? If not than why not just that market for the minor leagues? It will give some other budding entrepreneur a wide open market.
Out of the teams in the southern markets, only the Atlanta Thrashers have done poorly. It is really only Atlanta that doesn't do hockey well. They have lost TWO NHL franchises. The first time it was the Atlanta Flames(they went to Calgary in the early 1980s). The Thrashers went to Winnipeg in 2011.

All of the other teams in the South were founded before the Atlanta Thrashers were founded, and have lasted longer than the Atlanta Thrashers have.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:09 PM
 
127 posts, read 146,745 times
Reputation: 107
Here's my hypothetical 40-team league. I'll even try my hand at some lame nicknames:

Pacific

Vancouver Canucks
*Seattle Thunderbirds
*Portland Winterhawks
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
Anaheim Ducks
Phoenix Coyotes
Colorado Avalanche

Central
Dallas Stars
*Houston Aeros
Nashville Predators
*Kansas City Scarecrows
St. Louis Blues
Chicago Blackhawks
*Wisconsin Mad Cows
Minnesota Wild
Winnipeg Jets
*Saskatchewan Owls

Atlantic
Tampa Bay Lightning
Florida Panthers
*Atlanta Thrashers
Carolina Hurricanes
Washington Capitals
Pittsburgh Penguins
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
New Jersey Devils
Philadelphia Flyers

Northeast
Detroit Red Wings
Columbus Blue Jackets
Buffalo Sabres
Toronto Maple Leafs
*Ontario Generals
Ottawa Senators
Montreal Canadiens
*Quebec Nordiques
Boston Bruins
*Hartford Whalers
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:22 PM
JJG
 
Location: Fort Worth
12,651 posts, read 17,073,108 times
Reputation: 6225
To your point, Deezus, I will say that some "non-hockey markets" worked better than others since the mid-90's.

Dallas, Tampa, Raleigh, San Jose, Nashville... all pretty good markets for not just the NHL, but the sport of hockey.

L.A.? Meh.
Anaheim? A little better than L.A. but not by a mile.
Miami? Not really.
Phoenix? No.
Atlanta? Obviously not.

When I was little back in '95-'96, I did find it weird how the Winnipeg Jets, Hartford Whalers, and Quebec Nordiques were suddenly gone. But no matter how much you like or hate Bettman, you can at least understand what he was trying to do and 50/50, it worked.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:07 PM
 
41,602 posts, read 39,346,792 times
Reputation: 13251
Quote:
Originally Posted by wherespankakehouse? View Post
Here's my hypothetical 40-team league. I'll even try my hand at some lame nicknames:

Pacific

Vancouver Canucks
*Seattle Thunderbirds
*Portland Winterhawks
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
Anaheim Ducks
Phoenix Coyotes
Colorado Avalanche

Central
Dallas Stars
*Houston Aeros
Nashville Predators
*Kansas City Scarecrows
St. Louis Blues
Chicago Blackhawks
*Wisconsin Mad Cows
Minnesota Wild
Winnipeg Jets
*Saskatchewan Owls

Atlantic
Tampa Bay Lightning
Florida Panthers
*Atlanta Thrashers
Carolina Hurricanes
Washington Capitals
Pittsburgh Penguins
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
New Jersey Devils
Philadelphia Flyers

Northeast
Detroit Red Wings
Columbus Blue Jackets
Buffalo Sabres
Toronto Maple Leafs
*Ontario Generals
Ottawa Senators
Montreal Canadiens
*Quebec Nordiques
Boston Bruins
*Hartford Whalers
Good, but here is my take. Most I would keep. However, I have these ideas.

Instead of the Portland Winterhawks, I would name them the Portland Steelheads(species of salmon in the area). Instead of the Kansas City Scarecrows, I would suggest the Kansas City Scouts(the KC Scouts were once an NHL team before becoming the NJ Devils). I would rename the Wisconsin Mad Cows the Milwaukee Admirals. Ontario already has two hockey teams, so I would switch that team to Cincinnati or Cleveland and named them the Barons.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:39 PM
 
6,310 posts, read 9,557,343 times
Reputation: 6273
Quote:
Originally Posted by green_mariner View Post
Ontario already has two hockey teams, so I would switch that team to Cincinnati or Cleveland and named them the Barons.
I'll disagree with you there. While there is some merit in expanding markets, the Toronto area deserves to have another franchise. The NYC area has 3 teams, and LA has two. Why shouldn't the largest city in Canada, with easily the largest single base of hockey fans on this continent, only have 1 team?

I'm not sure Cleveland/Cincy can support more pro teams right now.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:14 AM
 
127 posts, read 146,745 times
Reputation: 107
Agreed. I think three teams in the GTA/SE Ontario/Buffalo region is warranted over two in central/northern Ohio. Even if the Ontario team had to resort to a site just past the 50 mile radius of Toronto and Buffalo (Kitchener perhaps?) I still think they would do pretty well in a gate driven league. If I'm the Maple Leafs, I'm not sure I would feel any better about a team 50.1 miles away marketing themselves as Ontario vs. a team 40 miles away marketing themselves as 'Hamilton'. Both would be better than a team in Markham, unless that's a payout they're interested in.

I know the Jackets are Columbus' pro team. But I think it would be a nice move to play a game or two at Quicken Loans Arena every year. Better yet, have the Cavs and Jackets do a trading spaces. Help solidify a statewide fanbase for both teams. I think a Milwaukee/Wisconsin team would be well served playing a game or even six in Madison.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:29 AM
 
Location: The Mini-Apple
219 posts, read 136,424 times
Reputation: 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by wherespankakehouse? View Post
I know the Jackets are Columbus' pro team. But I think it would be a nice move to play a game or two at Quicken Loans Arena every year. Better yet, have the Cavs and Jackets do a trading spaces. Help solidify a statewide fanbase for both teams. I think a Milwaukee/Wisconsin team would be well served playing a game or even six in Madison.
I thought the Packers played a game a year in Milwaukee. Play an NHL game - maybe a few - in GB where it's gets scary cold there. More fitting and I believe larger overall market than Madison. Madison would be nice though, too.
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