Not too long ago in a land on the eastern part of the United States, there was a team in total turmoil. There was a general manager who was dumping long-term contracts, players who weren't living up to expectations, and a media department that dug itself into a hole in the public eye. And while the Columbus Blue Jackets luck hasn't changed all that much since that point, they are attempting to fix things. The best thing going for the club is that the national media has become focused on the playoff bound teams and the rotating positions of the final spots in each conference.
In a unique move announced by the team's twitter account, the Blue Jackets will be supplying a free nameplate jersey switch to all of those who bring a Jeff Carter #7 jerseys during tonight's game against the Los Angeles Kings. While supplies last, the Carter nameplate will become a Johnson nameplate before you leave for the night. Luckily for the club, the trade that sent out Carter for Johnson (& a 1st) was relatively easy on the merchandise department. Jack Johnson quickly adopted Carter's number 7 and first step of transition was completed rather easily.
Back on November 2nd, I wrote a post titled The Door Opens: Puck Drunk Love where I explain about how I was approached to be a part of a main hockey blog for bloguin. Since that post, I've been a staff writer for PDL and have written posts on a weekly basis.
Not too long ago, things began to change at PDL. And because of the shuffle, I had an opportunity to step up to become the new Managing Editor. I never saw this opportunity coming but I grabbed it when it was presented to me. This past week I've been writing constantly for PDL and unfortunately have skipped a beat or two on Ice the Office. Now if you head on over to PDL, you'll see that I've covered more day-to-day stuff and news that happens on the ice.
As the new managing editor, I feel obligated to plug the site again on this post. If you want to follow the stream of content, there are 3 ways you can do so:
1.) Through the Twitter article feed @PuckDrunkLove
2.) Through the Facebook page
3.) And of course, actually bookmarking the blog
For those of you who just want to read what I write (and opinions thrown in), you can follow me tweeting about my posts at @icetheoffice.
What does this mean for Ice the Office...Again?no comments
There is absolutely no need to waste time. Gaglardi is on the case.
In less than a month as the new owner, Tom Gaglardi made his first official move. In a statement made through the Dallas Stars club website, Gaglardi announced the immediate lowering of ticket prices throughout the area. He states:
"...Since taking over the reins of the Dallas Stars, we have spent countless hours asking you, our fans, questions and listening to some tough answers about the past and present of this organization. There was one common theme: Tickets have gotten too expensive.
So, the first thing we did as a management team was look at individual ticket prices and evaluate what we could do to respond to your feedback.
You spoke. We listened.
I am pleased to let you know that we have lowered individual ticket prices. And we’re doing it right now! Even though we are in the middle of hockey season, there is no reason to wait. We want to reward our current fan base, reach out to our former fans and welcome new fans…"
Not only is this a genius move from a fan's perspective, but also it is a quality move from a business standpoint. One has to realize that every time there is an empty seat at a Stars' home game, there is money being left on the table. In order to recoup a portion of the lost money, the team lowers the prices in hopes of acquiring immediate boost in ticket revenue. To give you a good comparison, think of it like the Priceline television commercials. If you have a perishable item that does not sell, why not lower the price in hopes to retaining some value for that product?
Well done, Mr. Gaglardi. I can't wait to see your next move as the new owner.
A few quick points in the list of changes:
- $15 Tickets Down To $9
- 85% of the Upper Bowl Level qualifies as $25 or less
- Over 1,500 seats have been reduced 30% in price ($100 to $70)
- StarsClub Premium Seats, center ice seats, have gone down by $40 ($150 to $110)
To see the ticket price changes from a visual standpoint, please consult the chart below (can also be found on the team's website).
Late last night, during an NHL Board of Governors meeting, the league approved a total realignment plan for the 2012-2013 NHL season. According to the approved plan, the current divisions and conferences would be eliminated in exchange for a four conference system. For a basic breakdown of the conferences, visit Puck Drunk Love, where I wrote a post about the changes.
With an understanding of what was approved, you may ask yourself the purpose of the new alignment. The problem began when the Atlanta franchise was sold and moved to Winnipeg during the offseason. Because of the move, divisions no longer made geographical sense, given that Winnipeg was temporarily placed in the Southeastern Division. On top of that, the Detroit Red Wings organization began lobbying for the team to move to the Eastern Conference, citing that the travel grind was too much for the players to handle. To handle all the requests at once, the league ultimately blew up the division system we know today.
If you take a step back and take it all in, there are five big reasons why the Board of Governors approved such radical change:
Money will always be the top priority. Not only does this plan helps franchises who have trouble selling tickets fill their arenas by bringing in talent from the opposite conference, but it also alleviates some of the financial burden of travel for centrally located teams (such as the Red Wings). Once a full season with this new plan is over, expect to see plenty of positive changes in the accounting department.
For a breakdown on new travel imbalances, head over to On the Forecheck.
It sets the league up for expansion or contraction
With the Coyotes situation lingering, the league had to implement a plan where it wouldn't require big changes if the Coyotes changed cities. The new system allows the league to drag and drop the organization into any conference it deems appropriate without dealing around divisional barriers.
Two words that surround any sports league, contraction and expansion, aren't that scary anymore to the NHL. The wide open plan will have the capacity to hold at least two more teams if the league decides to go down that road. May we see a franchise in Seattle or Quebec? On the flip side, league offices can easily bring down the axe on one or two franchises without shouting Jenga. Could we say goodbye to the New York Islanders or Columbus Blue Jackets?
Through various twists and turns, I happened to stumble across a blog post written about the NHL's merchandise style. Found on StyleSegment.com, they write a brief post on how fashion is playing more of a role in the design of the clothing items found all across North America. By the looks of it, the author found inspiration for the post from an article on WWD. In the article, the fashion website talks with James Haskins - who is the Vice President of Consumer Products Licensing for the NHL.
The bad thing is that those who wish to read the article will find a pay stop. And since I'm not interested in the cutting edge of fashion, I decided not to pay. However, there might be fans out there that like both, so I thought I would pass along the link (at the bottom of this post).
Since it is the holiday season, those wishing to pick up retro style gifts for the hockey fan in their life, they can find these designs at J.C. Penny, Nordstrom, Fred Segal, and Bloomingdale stores (amongst others such as Dicks Sporting Goods).
You can additionally shop through the official NHL catalog that is a direct representation of NHL.com. There are various retro designs featured in the guide for both men and women. Remember though, those that order directly from Shop.NHL.com may pay more for a specific item. If you're on a tight budget, I'd recommend sticking to local shopping stores.
To request a free shopping catalog, visit the NHL shop. Bonus points for those who indicate the Atlanta Thrashers as their favorite team (Late on the draw for NHL web-coding folks?).
Updated Designs Spark Sales of NHL Products [WWD]
The National Hockey League continues to spread across Europe. After reaching a television deal with MTG about six weeks ago, the league announced today that they've secured yet another television deal - this time in Russia. The new deal with All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) will be able to broadcast multiple games per week. The games will be split amongst the network's channels Rossiya 2 and Sport 1. I would imagine that most of the games that will be shown will have DET/PIT/WSH/NJD teams in action, given they each hold a prominent Russian star. Secondary choices might fall to the Los Angeles Kings and the Colorado Avalanche. The terms of the deal were not disclosed at the release, although keep an eye out as I'm sure revenue projections will leak within the coming weeks.
From John Collins - NHL COO:
"Providing NHL games on television in Russia is important given that some of the League's biggest stars such as Alex Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk and Evgeni Malkin were born, grew up and began their hockey careers there. This agreement is one way we are providing fans throughout Russia with the NHL content that they demand and the ability to follow their hometown heroes throughout their NHL careers."
This deal comes at a time were the NHL is furiously trying to promote their games on the international stage. Russia was a primary target for the NHL, given that the hockey headlines are filled with KHL news. The new deal will hope to build further popularity of the NHL in Russia - calming some of the hype surrounding the Kontinental Hockey League.
A full listing of the NHL's worldwide broadcast partners:
There is a new sheriff in town for the Dallas Stars organization. After supposedly losing $38 million in the last fiscal year and $92 million over the last three, the Dallas Stars were officially sold to Tom Gaglardi. The NHL Board of Governors have already approved the sale. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, however, it is believed that the initial bid for the team was at $265 million.
If you're not familiar with the name, Gaglardi is current president of Northland Properties, which is considered a family run company that was founded in 1963. The company develops and operates hotels, restaurants, inns, manages residential apartments, and commercial office space. A young owner at the ripe of age of 43, resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. According to court documents, Gaglardi has no intention of moving the team and is committed to keeping the Stars in Dallas, Texas. This isn't the first dive into hockey ownership for Gaglardi. He is currently part of an ownership group that operates the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League.
Wasting no time, Gaglardi quickly named Jim Lites as the team's president and CEO. This will be Lites' third tenure with the Dallas Stars, as he served in the same capacity between 1993-2001 and 2003-2007. Both parties hope they can return to the promised land where they won their only Stanley Cup during the 1998-1999 season. They narrowly missed the playoffs last season sitting in 9th place in the Western Conference and haven't qualified for the playoffs since the 2007-2008 season.
In a special outdoor event at Central Park, the New York Rangers hockey club officially rolled out their 2012 Winter Classic jersey. MSG's Dave Maloney and Al Trautwig hosted an event that featured Rangers talk, a preview clip from 24/7 Road to the Winter Classic, and interviews with four players. Among the players taking part in the event were Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, and Dan Girardi. The event was streamed live through UStream and was accessible through BlueShirtsUnited.com and the team's Facebook Fan Page.
As for the jersey, it features a logo that was inspired by the original Rangers logo that was used in 1926. The lettering features a very basic blue font and the numbers are outlined in red. The "sock" design makes another appearance as we can see the use of red and blue stripes on the arm. The winter classic patch is featured on the right shoulder. Overall, this jersey is okay. It isn't bad but it isn't great. I always believe that the away team (sans Penguins vs. Buffalo) has a much harder jersey to design sign the body of the jersey has to be white. I would chalk this jersey up to a long line of service but not able to stand up against some of their other jerseys. Despite what I think, this Rangers jersey will be considered a victory.
For those wishing to purchase the jersey, they will be found at the team store beginning December 5th and can be pre-ordered at shop.nhl.com. To see how it looks on the players, additional picture after the jump.
The Ottawa Convention Centre will be plenty busy in late January.
It was announced on the Ottawa Senators team website that Scotiabank and the National Hockey League will bring the Fan Fair to the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend. This doesn't prove to be any groundbreaking news, as many thought they would mirror the events of the 2011 All-Star weekend. From the official release:
As part of Scotiabank’s commitment to serving hockey fans of all ages, the 2012 Scotiabank NHL Fan Fair™ will offer three days of family-friendly interactive games and attractions, special appearances, trophy and memorabilia displays, live TV and radio broadcasts, music, food and dozens of other dynamic activities.
The NHL fan fair is the place to be for any hockey fan. If we can recall, the 2011 Fan Fair in Carolina was quite memorable than most since the league decided to hold the All-Star draft amongst the rest of the displays. The television draft special gave North American fans a glimpse of what the fan fair had to offer - from shooting zones, wall-to-wall graphics, signing sessions, and much more.
I would also imagine that as we get closer to the date, the NHL will confirm that they will repeat the All-Star Draft team selection process. Once the fan voting is over and the full player pool is selected, they will move forward with setting up the event. The 2011 All-Star game was the first time they attempt a player draft and by the looks of it, it was highly successful. Keep this in mind if you plan on going.
Hours of Operation:
Thursday, January 26th - 3PM to 10PM
Friday, January 27th - 10AM to 10PM
Saturday, January 28th - 10AM to 6PM
For those that want to see all the activity up close can do so by purchasing tickets through the Scotiabank Place box office. Tickets can also be found on CapitalTickets.ca. If you order tickets before January 25th, the price will be $10 per person. The ticket price will rise to $15 for those who purchase tickets after the 25th.
NHL Fan Fair Site [NHL.com]
Following the amazing success of documentary experiment leading into the 2011 Winter Classic, Home Box Office and the National Hockey League have decided to renew their experiment for the 2012 Winter Classic. Starting in the middle of December, you will be able to follow the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers on their separate roads to the Winter Classic. The series will premiere on Wednesday, December 14th at 10PM EST on HBO. You can visit HBO's website for additional coverage when the episodes start.
As someone who watched last year's documentary in a religious manner, I have high hopes in anticipation for this year. The way that HBO was able to piece together the players/coaches, visual imagery, and sound was something to behold. The best way I can compliment last year's effort is by stating that when it was on your television, the world stopped. Any distractions that you might have (work, phones, homework) went away. When 24/7 came on, it was time for 24/7. Nothing else mattered.