Friday, May 30, 2008

Wild Still "In The Money"

The Minnesota Wild franchise continues to be a cash cow. In a Toronto Star report, the Wild had the 8th highest per game ticket revenue in the NHL for the 07-08 season at $1.1M (USD). This was up from their 06-07 figure of $1M. Additionally, the Wild was the second-highest American franchise on the list, behind the New York Rangers.

Across the league, per game ticket revenue was up 9.9%.

While this is most likely in line with ticket price increases, the bottom line is that people are still going to the games.

The teams that saw the biggest increases from 06-07 to 07-08 were Chicago (42.8%, new lease on life after ownership "change"), New Jersey (41.6%, new building), Pittsburgh and St. Louis (33.3%), Vancouver (27.2%) and Toronto (26.7%).

The teams that saw the biggest decreases from 06-07 to 07-08 were Phoenix (-18.2%), Los Angeles (-7.1%), Columbus (-5.9%), Colorado (-4.8%) and Dallas (-0.5%).


Friday, May 23, 2008

Open Letter to Bill Robertson

Dear Mr. Robertson -

I read that the Wild is "satisfied" with the team's broadcast announcers, as they prepare to enter into contract negotiations with them.

As far as Messers Kurtz and Reid go, I - as a consumer of your broadcasters' work - couldn't agree more. Kurtz and Reid do a great job on the radio and, on the occasions where I have no video available for a Wild game (I live in New York, so I am only able to catch around one Wild game per season in person), being able to tune them in on an audio feed is a more-than adequate substitution.

Sadly, the same can not be said for the television "talent" of Terhaar and Greenlay.

Simply put, those two are a disgrace to the "State of Hockey".

Further, they impugn the Wild organization's support of the "State of Hockey" marketing campaign every single time they're on the air.

I realize they work for the Minnesota Wild, and that distinction (as opposed to, say, working, proprietarily, for CBC or Versus) affords them a degree of "Wild-centric" attitude in their commentary. However I feel that they exceed what would be an acceptible level of parochialism on a consistant basis - to the team's detriment.

Mr. Terhaar, in particular, elevates his "homerism" to an unrepentant art form. This offends the coherant viewer on several levels. First, it's unnecessary. Minnesotans pride ourselves on our hockey savvy, by in large. Given the regional breadth of the broadcast, Terhaar should feel comfortable speaking "to" the hockey-smart Minnesotans who don't need any extra sunshine blown up their collective backside about their team. Second, whenever he's whining about an alleged "missed call" against the opposition or some other injustice befallen the Wild, he's not providing play-by-play - you know, doing his job. Third, he continuously makes these ridiculous claims of improprietary against the Wild without benefit of factual support, precedent or background - and the effect, anyway, is that he has no idea what he's talking about. The State of Hockey deserves better.

Mr. Greenlay, while less Wild-centric in general than Terhaar, simply fails to offer enough of the game-within-a-game insight that a former player/color analyst exists to provide. To be fair, I find that the insight he does offer is interesting, if not enlightening. I find him the less-odious of the two by a comfortable margin.

My recommendation is to dump Terhaar without hesitation, and find a more professional and hockey savvy play-by-play announcer. I feel this will elevate Greenlay's game as well, if only in providing him a more stable foundation from which to educate the masses on the goings on in a professional ice hockey game.

Thanks, and have a great summer!


Monday, May 19, 2008

The Wild, Wild East... where Chris Simon is headed, according to the report in Michael Russo's 'Russo Rants' at

Simon will join ex-NY Islander teammate Oleg Kvasha on Vityaz Podolsk Chekhov next season. (I wonder if someone enitced him with the now-infamous Ak Bars Kazan bench-clearing brawl video which has become a YouTube staple)?

The 36-year-old Simon was a trade-deadline pickup for the Wild, for which Wild GM Doug Risebrough was vilified across the board by fans and media alike. Simon served a 30-game suspension after stepping on the skate of Pittsburgh's Jarkko Ruutu in early December during a late game altercation.

Simon joins Petteri Nummelin as Wild players who have left the club for Europe since the Wild were eliminated in six games by the Colorado Avalanche in this season's first round playoffs.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Call and Answer

“I think…
It’s getting to the point where we have almost made amends…”

I know, I know, quoting lyrics is Bucci’s bag (actually, wouldn’t that be Gammons’ bag?) but in this case the quote is apt, I believe.

For the dedicated fan, a season is a relationship with “their” team. And when that season ends…well, not to be too dramatic, but it is sort of a breakup.

And it’s not just that I thought the Wild was capable of going onto the second round this year that hurts. It’s also not just that they played well enough to win, more often than they actually did against Colorado. It’s not just the salve of running into a goalie playing out of his mind. It’s all those things together that leave this sour taste in my mouth.

Alas, ‘tis but water under the bridge.

Meanwhile, back on earth, there is still NHL-level hockey being played, and it’s being played at a very, very high level. Both conference finals matchups have been set as of (very early) this morning – and they’re both doozies.

Out east, it’s a battle of Pennsylvania as the Flyers earned a date with the Penguins. The Penguins, in addition to being the youngest team still in the playoffs, have breezed through the first two rounds with a record of 8-1. They are fresh, healthy and hitting on all cylinders. The Flyers have played a few more games (8-5) but they, too, are cruising along at pretty close to full power right now. To the extent that the players emulate the fans’ dislike of each other, this could be a bombastic and generally awesome.

In the west, the Red Wings and Stars are familiar playoff names, but for different reasons. The Wings are a perennial Cup favorite, while the Stars have had legendary struggles just getting out of the first round between 2000 and 2007. This year, the Stars have shown a confounding ability to win on the road, have gotten tremendous goaltending from Marty Turco and timely scoring. Plus, Brenden Morrow is becoming a total stud in the mold of the great all-around playoff performers.

Other than some tidbits from the Worlds (Burns playing well for Canada), and Gaby’s minor surgery, there isn’t a whole hell of a lot of news on the Wild front.