Wednesday, May 13, 2009



We are gathered here today to mark the passing of the 2008/2009 Vancouver Canucks. Let us pause for a moment of silence: to reflect on what might have been, but mostly to allow GM Place staff to clear debris tossed by petulant fans.

I was given the privilege of eulogizing the 2008/09 Canucks at Puck Daddy, and as you can see, I went for the blindingly obvious joke in the lede.

Whole thing here. Not my best work, but hopefully it does the job. Ironic given the title and origins of this blog, but I find it surprisingly difficult to be vicious and make sense at the same time.

Blast from the past: the gold standard for these pieces is Mike W's eulogy of last season's Flames ("We ask now that everyone remove their idiotic Stetsons as we bury your dreams.")

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Incentives Matter. Still.

[...] one wonders at what point the owners look at this situation and wonder why they are propping up losing propositions everywhere they look.

That's BDHS, contemplating Gary Bettman and the Coyotes. Here's something I wrote in July 2007 that I think is still pretty relevant:
The present CBA has an expiry date. The next one, and the one after that, will be different. Extremely different? I doubt it, but time will tell. Maybe some of the cost certainty elements will be watered down. Maybe some of the revenue-sharing provisions will be altered. I dunno. What I do know is that NHL owners have to plan for this in some way; they do have incentives to make decisions that will benefit the value of their businesses regardless of exactly what the next CBA says.

Steadfastly supporting a franchise that appears to have no chance of being profitable in their present location is not one of those things. Keeping a team from relocating into a market that will be extremely lucrative is not one of those things. Exercising an extreme amount of collective control over the fate of an individual franchise is not one of those things. And being indifferent -- or hostile -- to overall league revenue growth is not one of those things.

(And let's not forget: the next CBA will not drop out of the sky, it will be negotiated. If the league and owners spend the next 4 years trying to torque everything except Hockey Related Revenues, then the notion of the "partnership" will be in much bigger shambles than it is now, and it will considerably more difficult to negotiate a CBA with terms favourable to them.)

When I assess the short, medium, and long-term interests of NHL owners, each weighed as appropriately as I can figure, I think they must be in favour of the Balsillie bid for the Preds. It got denied this time, because Gary Bettman aggressively intervened (note: his interests are not identical to the owners'), and because Balsillie overplayed his hand (acting as if it was a done deal, instead of simply being clear about his intentions). Next time -- especially after all the owners have had time to reflect on this past bid -- Gary's veto is going to be overridden. Or at least, that's my prediction.


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