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People don't stop attending because of fights either. 

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8 hours ago, Commandant said:

Fights are way down, league wide attendance isn't

 

Do fights really sell tickets?

Owners (or enough of them) seem to think so and all that matters.

(and yes of course fights sell tickets...what is the #1 hockey movie of all time? And staged fighting between humans has been around for thousands of years, why is that do you think?)

Edited by DON
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29 minutes ago, DON said:

Owners (or enough of them) seem to think so and all that matters.

 

Owners also agreed to give Vegas a Stanley Cup final team in their first year.

 

They don’t really understand the game.

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I used to love hockey fights. But once you take concussions seriously, they become impossible to support IMHO. 

 

I think the idea of hockey as a combination of speed and physicality is what sells tickets. 'Physicality' needn't mean fights. Frankly, I doubt that anyone is shilling out for the high price of tickets today *primarily* because they think there might be a fight or two. And I never heard anyone come out of a good, close, intense hockey game saying it sucked that there were no fights.

 

Besides all of that, I'm actually not convinced you need the 'physicality' element at ALL. Soccer, basketball, and baseball have no integral physical element and they seem to do all right. Heck, soccer in Seattle - faked injuries and all - outdraws the average crowd at a hockey game. Even if hockey banned bodychecking (which could conceivably be the end game of all this concussion awareness) it would still be at least as exciting as those other sports.

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I love hockey fights and I hope they never get rid of it. These are grown men who make grown up decisions if they want to fight then let them fight I say.

 

Concussions are a real danger to be sure but I feel hitting leads to more concussions than fighting does and hell UFC and Boxing are awesome sports to watch.

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1 hour ago, zumpano21 said:

 

Owners also agreed to give Vegas a Stanley Cup final team in their first year.

 

They don’t really understand the game.

What do you mean? That was great to see Vegas do well, wasnt it?

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24 minutes ago, Scott462 said:

 

 

Concussions are a real danger to be sure but I feel hitting leads to more concussions than fighting does and hell UFC and Boxing are awesome sports to watch.

 

Yeah, but they leave a long trail of permanently brain-damaged human beings behind them. I don't find the sight of young men crippling each other permanently to be very entertaining. And I say that as a guy who used to love boxing.

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8 minutes ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

 

Yeah, but they leave a long trail of permanently brain-damaged human beings behind them. I don't find the sight of young men crippling each other permanently to be very entertaining. And I say that as a guy who used to love boxing.

I think "mature" or older folks have a much different view on blood sports. Once you see 1,000 fights with highlight KOs and see long term ramifications years down the road on an Ali for example, it just gets old as well.

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2 hours ago, DON said:

Owners (or enough of them) seem to think so and all that matters.

(and yes of course fights sell tickets...what is the #1 hockey movie of all time? And staged fighting between humans has been around for thousands of years, why is that do you think?)

 

With the way things like UFC are now readily available, I don't think that Hockey Fights sell tickets the same way they did in the 1970s.  The people who want to see fights can go to an MMA event and are guaranteed 8-10 fights in their night.  They don't even have a guarantee of 1 in an NHL game.

 

We've also seen fights go way down with little to no change in attendance in the NHL. 

 

Lastly, the most important games, and highest priced and selling tickets are the playoffs.  The playoffs also feature even less fights per game than any other time of the year.  

 

Doesn't seem to me that fighting is that big a part of selling tickets. 

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2 hours ago, Chris said:

People don't stop attending because of fights either. 

 

Thats not an argument for them being necessary. 

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2 hours ago, DON said:

Owners (or enough of them) seem to think so and all that matters.

(and yes of course fights sell tickets...what is the #1 hockey movie of all time? And staged fighting between humans has been around for thousands of years, why is that do you think?)

 

I'm not sure that owners really think so. 

 

I think the owners are well aware that fighting in the NHL is slowly dying out, and are content to let it die a natural death. 

 

No one wants to be the guy who made the rule banning fighting (and get the blowback from the section of fans that support it), when it is naturally dying anyway. 

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1 hour ago, DON said:

What do you mean? That was great to see Vegas do well, wasnt it?

 

It was. Nobody wanted to see Columbus v2.0.

 

My point is that while they wanted Vegas to do better than past expansion teams, they certainly did not want to give them a championship caliber team.

 

In retrospect, the Vegas first year was incredibly revealing. The owners gave them a package that most thought would maybe have them on the fence for a playoff berth. Quite a few pundits had them in the bottom 5 of the league.

 

Take home message being - I think a lot of us who think we understand this game (owners included) have a lot left to learn.

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46 minutes ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

 

Yeah, but they leave a long trail of permanently brain-damaged human beings behind them. I don't find the sight of young men crippling each other permanently to be very entertaining. And I say that as a guy who used to love boxing.

 

I get it.

 

But we have to understand people will make their own decisions and accept the repercussions of those decisions. I’m of the mind that we educate everyone extremely well on the risks of doing it and if they still choose to do it then that’s their choice. Who are we to tell them no? 

 

I still enjoy fighting and physical play in hockey.

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1 hour ago, Scott462 said:

I’m of the mind that we educate everyone extremely well on the risks of doing it and if they still choose to do it then that’s their choice. Who are we to tell them no? 

So if want to have a dozen pops at pub before driving home, when all know ramifications, that is fine by you?

 

 

 

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55 minutes ago, DON said:

So if want to have a dozen pops at pub before driving home, when all know ramifications, that is fine by you?

 

 

 

 

What? That isn’t a very good comparison Don. Your endangering others with that decision to drink and drive, so no I don’t agree with that.

 

But if you have an outlet and everyone involved knows the risks of it I’m not going to start dictating what they should and should not do.

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4 hours ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

I used to love hockey fights. But once you take concussions seriously, they become impossible to support IMHO. 

 

I think the idea of hockey as a combination of speed and physicality is what sells tickets. 'Physicality' needn't mean fights. Frankly, I doubt that anyone is shilling out for the high price of tickets today *primarily* because they think there might be a fight or two. And I never heard anyone come out of a good, close, intense hockey game saying it sucked that there were no fights.

 

Besides all of that, I'm actually not convinced you need the 'physicality' element at ALL. Soccer, basketball, and baseball have no integral physical element and they seem to do all right. Heck, soccer in Seattle - faked injuries and all - outdraws the average crowd at a hockey game. Even if hockey banned bodychecking (which could conceivably be the end game of all this concussion awareness) it would still be at least as exciting as those other sports.

 

I absolutely hate fighting and would prefer players be ejected when they do. That said, I love watching puck scrambles in front of a fallen goalie (so long as nobody is throwing crosschecks. Guys like Pronger got away with that for too long), I love corner battles, I love two players jockeying for position for the puck, and it's great when players get angry at each other and in their face. At the same time I don't care for the "scrum with players after a blown whistle because they got too close to the goalie" crap that got popular in the western conference.

 

I'm fine with physicality. But after Todd Ewen, a guy who never wanted to fight but was pressured to due to being huge, then got so many concussions and had so much regret he eventually killed himself, I'm done with unnecessary physicality. If two guys want to punch it out? Fine. But get off the ice and go home after so the actual hockey players can finish the game.

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1 hour ago, Scott462 said:

 

But if you have an outlet and everyone involved knows the risks of it I’m not going to start dictating what they should and should not do.

Why not? You simply will sit on the fence and have zero opinion?

Pretty easy to say fighting isnt part of any skilled team sport in the world and should be banned, as already is in 99.9% of those sports. Is only one in the world that allows it.

 

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5 hours ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

I used to love hockey fights. But once you take concussions seriously, they become impossible to support IMHO. 

 

I think the idea of hockey as a combination of speed and physicality is what sells tickets. 'Physicality' needn't mean fights. Frankly, I doubt that anyone is shilling out for the high price of tickets today *primarily* because they think there might be a fight or two. And I never heard anyone come out of a good, close, intense hockey game saying it sucked that there were no fights.

 

Besides all of that, I'm actually not convinced you need the 'physicality' element at ALL. Soccer, basketball, and baseball have no integral physical element and they seem to do all right. Heck, soccer in Seattle - faked injuries and all - outdraws the average crowd at a hockey game. Even if hockey banned bodychecking (which could conceivably be the end game of all this concussion awareness) it would still be at least as exciting as those other sports.

If hockey bans bodychecks it will be like futsal. (Minisoccer indoors) because there is already the sport of bandy.

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12 minutes ago, DON said:

Why not? You simply will sit on the fence and have zero opinion?

Pretty easy to say fighting isnt part of any skilled team sport in the world and should be banned, as already is in 99.9% of those sports. Is only one in the world that allows it.

 

 

I’m not sitting on the fence with zero opinion, I thought I made my opinion quite clear. It’s an libertarian opinion of you are a big boy you can make up your own mind if you want to do this or not.

 

Hockey had fighting since the beginning and in a way has been ingrained into the sport and in some way and I can only speak for myself, drew me closer to the game because it had fighting in it. I’ll be honest I watch other sports and sure they can be entertaining at times but hockey is my favourite sport. I love everything about it the skill, the speed, the commeradery, the physical aspect and yes the fighting. 

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21 hours ago, zumpano21 said:

 

Owners also agreed to give Vegas a Stanley Cup final team in their first year.

 

They don’t really understand the game.

 

That's nonsense. The goal was for Vegas to be competitive, not a playoff team, let alone a finalist. Even with the new rules, they were still selecting from 3rd and 4th liners and bottom pairing defencemen.  Only a handful of higher end guys like Neal were available. I mean, you think anyone expected that Wild Bill would become an elite scorer? In two full seasons he had 5 goals and Columbus paid Vegas to take him.

 

Vegas simply had a magical season. You draft with the same rules next time and I will bet money we're back to the norm with an expansion team.

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6 hours ago, Fanpuck33 said:

 

That's nonsense. The goal was for Vegas to be competitive, not a playoff team, let alone a finalist. Even with the new rules, they were still selecting from 3rd and 4th liners and bottom pairing defencemen.  Only a handful of higher end guys like Neal were available. I mean, you think anyone expected that Wild Bill would become an elite scorer? In two full seasons he had 5 goals and Columbus paid Vegas to take him.

 

Vegas simply had a magical season. You draft with the same rules next time and I will bet money we're back to the norm with an expansion team.

 

Either the owners miscalculated by creating a much too generous framework (quite possible, since they are generally idiots) or this was indeed a freak event.

 

I've also heard it argued that the expansion arrangement was OK, but the GMs acted stupidly within that framework. Florida basically handed them two top-6 players, for instance. You get a concatenation of stupid moves, perhaps complacently informed by the idea that Vegas is no threat, and Bob's your uncle. They'll learn from their mistakes and not be so stupid next time.

 

The tale won't really be told until Seattle assembles itself. At that point we'll have a much better idea of whether the framework itself was f**ked up, or whether it was just some combination of luck and stupidity.

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6 hours ago, Fanpuck33 said:

 

That's nonsense. The goal was for Vegas to be competitive, not a playoff team, let alone a finalist. Even with the new rules, they were still selecting from 3rd and 4th liners and bottom pairing defencemen.  Only a handful of higher end guys like Neal were available. I mean, you think anyone expected that Wild Bill would become an elite scorer? In two full seasons he had 5 goals and Columbus paid Vegas to take him.

 

Vegas simply had a magical season. You draft with the same rules next time and I will bet money we're back to the norm with an expansion team.

 

Disagree. 

 

They were money from the opening whistle and tore a hole through excellent teams.

 

The immediate reaction is to dismiss it as an anomaly while I say their team was 2nd line forwards up and down the entire lineup and #3-4 defenceman. 

 

i.e. no immediate weakness to exploit hence their success  in a “weak link” sport

 

 

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5 hours ago, Commandant said:

I was actually listening to a Craig Custance podcast with Lawrence Gilman, who used to be the Canucks A.GM, and was hired by the league to help with the expansion draft rules. 

 

Basically, GMs made rules... and then he did an excercise where he looked at every team, looked at who they were likely to protect and projected what the rules would mean and what Vegas would look like.

 

He mentioned a few things.

 

1) the original draft of the rules was even more generous to vegas.  It required teams to put a certain amount of salary exposed, it would have made them even better as better players were exposed. The process he went through made the rules tougher on Vegas.

2) McPhee started to make his deals with teams at the trade deadline.  This really helped them.  These deals were registered with the league, but not announced.  This was so if a GM got fired between the end of the season and the expansion draft, the deal would still be in place with the new regime.

3) One thing Gilman said would really hurt Vegas would be teams trading away players prior to expansion.  Sort of like our Beaulieu to Buffalo deal.  Guys one team couldnt' protect but another team could.  This happened in a few cases, but not as many as Gilman anticipated.  The really smart thing McPhee did was "The Pledge".  Any team he made a deal with to take one of their players... or things like that... he forced them to agree that they would not make any other deals of this type to circumvent protection lists.  This helped him keep as many players available as possible.

4) He leveraged his cap space and used it as a weapon.  Taking on contracts like David Clarkson and Mikhail Grabovski in order to get better deal from the Blue Jackets and Islanders.  Gilman thought a team might do that, but he praised McPhee as he got absolute max value out of doing it. 

5) He built a team.  He didn't just take the best players available necessarily, but he focused on a real concept of what he wanted from his team from day 1.... that concept was speed. 

6) He maxed out on the number of D he was allowed to draft under the rules.  Because of the rules, D were the best assets available. 

7) It was one team of expansion, so he was able to plan his picks very methodically.  He didn't have to worry about a second expansion team competing for the same group of players, like previous two team expansions had to.  This allowed him and Vegas to keep running the same scenario over and over and absolutely maximize every asset they would get out of the draft.

 

Gilman's main takeaway was that McPhee did an absolutely perfect job under the rules.  He basically didn't make one bad move. 

 

At the same time he took advantage of team's like Florida and Columbus and Minnesota who gave him extra assets not to take their players.  He felt teams overreacted to losing one player, and should have just lost that player and not made these multi-asset trades. 

 

The last thing (and this is important for the Habs), teams only had one year to plan for expansion.  They didn't know the rules.  Now GMs have 2-3 years to know what they will be facing, and can manipulate their rosters well in advance. 

 

This wasn't from Gilman, but my on though on how this applies to two players on the Habs... Kotkaniemi and Suzuki.  The Habs are better off putting Suzuki in the OHL, where he won't accumulate a year of pro experience... and Kotkaniemi in Finland... where he won't accumulate a year of pro experience (he would in the AHL)... under the old expansion draft rules.  Depending when Seattle comes in, this is the difference between protecting the players or them being exempt from the draft and giving us more protection slots. 

 

 

Fantastic post. Thanks. I always liked Laurence Gillman, who actually did an extended spell as a regular radio personality on sports radio here and was invariably insightful and intelligent. I do recall him saying some of these things over the airwaves a few months ago.

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7 hours ago, Commandant said:

At the same time he took advantage of team's like Florida and Columbus and Minnesota who gave him extra assets not to take their players.  He felt teams overreacted to losing one player, and should have just lost that player and not made these multi-asset trades. 

 

I wrote a bunch of stuff back in the day on the expansion drafts because they are so much fun, and just want to add that the first GM to really take advantage of this was David Poile with the 1998 expansion draft of the Nashville Predators.

 

The Chicago Blackhawks gave Nashville Sergei Krivokrasov so they wouldn't take Chris Terreri. Terreri ended up selected by the Minnesota Wild in the 2000 expansion draft and would be out of the league by 2001. Krivokrasov had a 25 goal season with Nashville but was gone after two years. But Greg Johnson, the guy they took, was a big part of the early Predators and became their second captain.

 

The LA Kings didn't want Garry Galley selected so they gave up Kimmo Timonen and Jan Vopat. It's still to this day one of the most lopsided trades in NHL history. Galley retired in 2001. Vopat was nothing special, but Kimmo Timonen was the best defenceman on Nashville until Weber and Suter came along and put up five solid seasons. The guy they selected, Chabot, they ended up putting on waivers and the Kings took him back.

 

And finally, to bring this back to the Habs, Montreal gave Nashville Sebastien Bordeleau to they wouldn't select Peter Popovic, who the Habs would trade less than a month later to the New York Rangers for a fifth round pick. Bordeleau had one good season with Nashville and was gone. Who did the Predators take instead? Tomas Vokoun, who is still the second best goalie in Predators history, behind only Rinne.

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