Question on expansion

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by CaptBrannigan, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. CaptBrannigan

    CaptBrannigan Registered User

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    If I were to take a poll of Canadian NHL fans about expansion and offered the following two choices, which would prevail: Putting a new team in Canada (for argument's sake Hamilton but where ever really) when the league-wide depth cannot support more teams, or putting a team in a KC or Las Vegas, or any other 'non-traditional' place in a time when the league does have enough depth to support the forming of a new team?

    This is more of a hypothetical question, since both conditions cannot happen at once. I'm just trying to gauge what the most important reasons for opposing expansion are.

    Personally, I hate to see the talent pool get watered down. I think we can all agree that the latest round of expansion was too many, too quick. (Although feel free to debate me :) ). Columbus would be struggling just as much in any other city and Minnesota would have run it's airtight system if it had been elsewhere also. A team needs a couple of seasons to be built the right way, bridging the gap between the initial excitement of a new team and respectibility is probably the hardest thing to do.

    Please add your thoughts to this, I'm genuinely interested to find out what the bigger 'evil' of expansion is. And if any of what I've said is confusing or seems out of whack, call me out so I may try and explain my point better or perhaps clarify. :)
     
  2. billcanuck

    billcanuck Registered User

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    ANY more expansion is bad, wherever the teams are. I actually think contraction - which would look awful in the short-term - would be healthy for this league. I'd be delighted if we were down to 24 and 6 of them were in Canada (my dream would be 8, because I think a third should be up here - but I can live with one-quarter).

    As you indicated, the sport is diluted right now and we've got dozens of players who are just not up to NHL-standard. You can teach these guys to clog the neutral zone and collapse around the net; you can't teach them talent. We're now in a position where - at best - most teams have two or there legitmate stars and cast of plumbers.

    The ironic thing is that the league is obssessed with "growing" the sport in the US but the product is so unbelievably boring now that it's counter-productive. A smaller league would have more exciting games and would be therefore more attractive to television (the major US markets will, after all, still be in the league).

    I've said this before - the sport is now so tactical that you have to really understand it before you can enjoy a game now. I pine for the days when the players just played...
     
  3. Crazy_Ike

    Crazy_Ike Cookin' with fire.

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    Amusingly you got it completely backwards. It's the overabundance of talent that has led to the decline in scoring and excitement. Too many good players playing good defensive hockey. It was NOT ENOUGH talent to go around - before the fall of the iron curtain and the big influx of Europeans - that led to the league's most offensive era, because of all the sub-par players the good players could exploit.

    Want more exciting games? Expand. Expansion is the only thing that kept games watchable during the later 90s/2000s. It could have been much much worse.

    :teach:
     
  4. billcanuck

    billcanuck Registered User

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    I stand corrected. I wonder what the optimum number of teams is, given the abundance of talent?

    If we can get talent pool thin enough then the good players will be able to skate around with abandon.
     
  5. vivianmb

    vivianmb Registered User

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    todays players are better ATHLETES, but not neccessarily more talented. and there is a big difference.
    yes they are prob. faster,stronger,bigger,more conditioned,etc... which would lead us to believe they are better.
    but are they better? imo NO.

    maybe expansion would help, get more sleds in the league and you'd get more def. breakdowns.
     
  6. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    I don't think that the NHL should expand ever again, not while the talent pool is stretched as far as it is and the league is doing poorly in certain cities.
     
  7. CaptBrannigan

    CaptBrannigan Registered User

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    So if I am to understand correctly, diluting the league talent pool would be ok because it would make the league more exciting? I'm not sure I agree with this. If I am coach of a talented team, I am going to use that to my advantage and adopt a style of play that plays to my strengths. Conversely, you can't "teach talent" as billcanuck said. I would have to disagree with the prevailing sentiment here and say that a derth of talented players makes for boring games/systems, not an excess of them.
     
  8. Bear of Bad News

    Bear of Bad News HFBoards Escape Goat

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    The vast majority of goals scored (at any level) are a result of mistakes.

    Fewer teams = better players on each team = fewer mistakes = fewer goals.

    There's a reason why recreational league game scores are usually on the order of 12-10.
     
  9. CaptBrannigan

    CaptBrannigan Registered User

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    I understand that and the thinking behind it. However, why then are leagues such as the C(entral)HL and ECHL not as popular (term used loosely :sarcasm: ) as the NHL? There are a lot of chances in these games as a result of mistakes. A mistake filled game is more fun to watch than one filled with premier talent? Maybe I'll just have to agree to disagree on this point. I much prefer to see a perfectly executed 2-on-1 or a killer wrist shot goal than a goal scored because of botched defensive coverage. Not every goal is scored because of a mistake.
     
  10. Bear of Bad News

    Bear of Bad News HFBoards Escape Goat

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    Probably for the same reason that my rec-league game had twelve people in the audience the other night. :biglaugh:

    People want to see the best in the world - in the NHL, you can say that you're watching the best hockey players in the world (*) (**). You can't say that with the CHL or ECHL.

    So why do CHL/ECHL teams get any attendance? Civic pride has a lot to do with it.

    (*) Collectively as a league; not necessarily the two teams participating.

    (**) You wouldn't necessarily be correct, but it's at least plausible.
     
  11. billcanuck

    billcanuck Registered User

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    Isn't that true in all sports, whenever any points are scored? They're always the result of mistakes.

    I don't find the prospect of 12-10 hockey games remotely interesting. It's the amount of chances that makes for excitement. The current NHL will its focus on positional play that limits these chances. This comes back to the talent level combined with the coaching strategies (ie the trap!).
     
  12. HughJass*

    HughJass* Guest

    HF myth #17832993: The NHL's talent pool is dilluted.

    Riiiigggghhht....

    Plenty to go around. More expansion the better, I believe there are guys out there who aren't getting their chances because they are getting less ice time than they should.
     
  13. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch America **** YEAH!

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    Awesome, lets go to 60 teams then.
     
  14. Bucky_Hoyt

    Bucky_Hoyt Registered User

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    I think it is too soon to jump to 32 teams. Perhaps by 2020 it might be more palatable, as other leagues like MLB and NBA will probably be going to that level by then. 32, I would say, should be the peak though for pro-sports teams in the US/Canada. Any more than that, and it just becomes ridiculous.

    Hamilton could be good but I do worry about the impact on Buffalo. How many fans are coming from Hamilton to Buffalo games and, more importantly, how many people in Hamilton could be watching Sabres games on TV?

    Looking at NYC, which has a far larger population than Toronto/Hamilton/Kitchner/Buffalo/Rochester (might as well lump it all into one), I honestly do believe that 3 teams is too many. Call it a conspiracy if you want to but it seems that since the Devils came into the NYC area in the early 80s, the Isles numbers have dipped significantly and the Devils numbers were only good for a short period in the 90s. Granted, there has never been a period where all 3 were strong teams, but will there ever really be?

    I doubt putting a team in Kitchner/Waterloo is really that good of an idea. Yes it is farther away from Toronto/Buffalo but there really isn't much of a central hub there and you're basically looking at the Richfield Ohio paradigm again. If there's going to be a Southern Ontario team, it's either Hamilton or a 2nd team in GTA proper. Sorry to Jets and Nords fans but there just isn't the population and/or the corporate $$$ and I doubt there ever will be.

    I wouldn't mind seeing expansion happen in Houston and Seattle. I do not believe Kansas City will be a strong candidate for expansion (or relocation for that matter).

    Call it bias for non-traditional markets all you want but there is hardly any hockey in KC and there hasn't really been since the IHL was in operation. I also think that Missouri needs an NBA team more than an NHL team. Maybe, and only maybe, if Saint Louis managed to land an NBA team and the Blues were desperate to get out of Saint Louis, would I see Kansas City working out with the NHL. Otherwise, I honestly believe we'd be seeing "Nashville Predators: The Fiasco, Part 2" in less than a decade. Does the NHL need yet another black eye with tainted ownership? (And, yes, I actually WANT to see the Preds stay in Nashville but they have to get corporate support or it's just a lost cause.)

    Houston has had some form of minor hockey consistently for over 3 decades and the population, matched with the potential rivalry with Dallas, makes for a solid opportunity. They have the arena; they have shown interest in recent years; and they have the cash-flow!

    Seattle is a kind of one-off. They can only get the NHL if they build a new arena for the Sonics or if they lose the Sonics and get an NBA expansion team in the future (a la Charlotte) bootstrapped with a new arena deal. Their population is quite large and they have had a long history of Hockey in the area. Yes, the T-Birds do not attract well but they do have two WHL franchises in their extended metro area. The Everett Silvertips do quite well. Also to note, they aren't a poor city.

    Portland might be an alright candidate (considering the building and WHL history) but there has been little talk of NHL there for some time and the current ownership of the Blazers is not showing interest in the NHL. That could change but it's certainly up in the air.
     
  15. MoreOrr

    MoreOrr B4

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    You're right. I mean, sure enough, the NFL already has 32 teams but I can see no logical reason why the NHL should be the next major league to go to that number of teams. Without a doubt, I wish that there were a couple more teams in the west so that the Conferences could have a better geographical distribution of the teams, especially in a place like the northwest (Portland / Seattle); but the current flawed placement of teams isn't in itself a reason for expansion.

    However, I wouldn't go so far as to say that the NHL shouldn't have 32 teams or more until 2020. I think that by sometime between 2010 and 2015 the League will be fully ready for expansion. My only real wish is that the League doesn't wait until that time before it does some sort realignment to create a fairer geographical distribution (within the Divisions) of the teams that currently exist. I do believe that this can be done, where there is a will there is a way, as they say.
     
  16. billcanuck

    billcanuck Registered User

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    I'm sorry but I just don't agree. Look at the crazy sums that will be handed out to players like Gomez. This league is diluted, plain and simple. There are not enough hockey-players in the world to sustain the number of teams we have now...
     
  17. DrVanntastic

    DrVanntastic Registered User

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    So because players will be making a large amount of money, the talent pool is diluted? :help:

    The reason Gomez will command a large salary is because the free agent pool is weak, not the talent pool. It's simple supply and demand. It could just be that Gomez is good enough to deserve a large sum of money. Not too sure though.:sarcasm:
     
  18. Bear of Bad News

    Bear of Bad News HFBoards Escape Goat

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    You realize that hockey talent in the National Hockey League is not normally distributed, but is rather the far right-hand tail of a normal distribution? This would be true even with 1000 franchises. (For further illustration, find a copy of the 1984 Baseball Abstract)

    People on the right-hand side of that distribution will still have a lot of value, regardless of the number of franchises.
     
  19. Patman

    Patman Registered User

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    Good lord, put down the t-tables and the crack. (Note: I'm a statistician)

    The talent pool isn't diluted due to the inclusion of Euro talent that is by and large as talented as the previous talent before Euros came this way. Any expansion will dilute talent but not by a troublesome amount.

    The bigger problem is the spreading of success that comes with expansion. Not the # of wins per season... but basically the awards and top players get spread out further and further. A person's team will go to stage X of the playoffs less and less, a team will have the top players less and less (top 10 is top 10 whether its a 6 team league or a 50 team league). This is the real problem that none of the sports will own up to because it requires to think beneath the surface. When you expand a league by 50% as the NHL has (more or less) that means 33% less accolades on the overall for each team. The average percieved success of a team goes down.
     
  20. Egil

    Egil Registered User

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    Correct! This is why I think it would be VERY SMART of the NHL to return to Divisional playoffs. Expand to 32 teams, 4 divisions of 8 teams. An Average team should win its division 1 in 8 years. In short, it creates a lower bar for success, along with the ultimate goal of the Stanley Cup.
     
  21. Bear of Bad News

    Bear of Bad News HFBoards Escape Goat

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    Snappy comebacks aside (I've never used crack in my life, and haven't used a t-table in probably two years), my point is still valid regarding the value of top free agents.
     

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