Hockey Rodent explores why EXPANSION is a bad idea

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by nyrmessier011, Mar 27, 2007.

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  1. nyrmessier011

    nyrmessier011 Registered User

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    I had to post because during the lockout this article was essentially my reasoning again expansion and for contraction. A good read, and explains how expansion is just a brutal idea and dilutes the talent field.

    http://hockeyrodent.com/R1785.HTM
     
  2. kurt

    kurt the last emperor

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    I disagree with this article in almost every way.

    Equating clutch-n-grab hockey to expansion is a fallacy. This was a combination of better coaching, and a lack of commitment to rule enforcement, in my opinion. Expansion could just has easily led to more scoring, and more electrifying offensive play, as the dominant top-tier players of the league would be playing against a "watered down" defense. Instead, the league allowed teams to hook and slash players blazing up the wing, and cross-check and bear-hug players around the net, combined with much better goaltending techniques and bigger, lighter goalie equipment.

    Second, the idea that "more players = higher pay scale" is also illogical, especially in the cap world. The salaries of players are dictated exclusively by league revenue. If the league expanded or contracted, players still receive a fixed percentage of league revenue. And suggesting ticket prices would have to go up to support these escalating salaries is even further from the truth, as salaries are driven by revenue, not the other way around.

    Also, extension of player careers has much more to do with better equipment, nutrition, training, and medical procedures to extend the career of an athlete than it has to do with expansion.

    In my opinion, the viability of a particular market to support a franchise is the important consideration regarding expansion.
     
  3. Resolute

    Resolute Registered User

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    He begins with the false argument that the talent pool is diluted, then goes downhill from there. Very poor article.
     
  4. Sotnos

    Sotnos Registered User

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    Agreed, he's pretty much wrong on every point.
     
  5. Meichel Kane

    Meichel Kane My Name Is

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    I disagree with 99% of the article, as I always do with this guy.
     
  6. TorontoSports

    TorontoSports Registered User

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    HockeyRodent is a fool.
     
  7. coyoteshockeyfan

    coyoteshockeyfan Registered User

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    Holy straw man!
     
  8. Fugu

    Fugu Guest

    Does anybody know who the Hockey Rodent is-- I mean a real name? I noticed his Fox Sports articles also just identify him as HR. Lyle Richardson, for example, writes under the name of Spector, but he has a bio around telling you more about himself.
     
  9. Stone87

    Stone87 Registered User

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    This article is wrong in so many ways. Just look at the increased number of americans going in the first round of the draft. The number of high end talent is increasing by quite a bit. Add in the fact that nations that did not really produce talent such as Slovenia, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland are now putting out players and you've got your 50 players. Honestly the biggest reason I am against expansion is one that is not even mentioned in the article. Bettman needs to work on fixing a few markets that we currently have before expansion is considered. The New York Islanders need a new stadium, and every effort should be made to run out Chicago, New York, and Boston's ownership groups. When he gets that straightened out then you expand. Houston, Seattle, Portland, Winnipeg would all work for me.
     
  10. kdb209

    kdb209 Registered User

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    And of course the fact that (even with expansion and the addition of 9 more teams) there are actually fewer canadians in the NHL now than in 1987. So unless you want to argue that Canadians are less talented than they were 20 years ago or that there has been some sort of affirmative action program to hire less talented Europeans (and Americans) over good old Canadian boys, it is pretty hard to argue that the talent level has been diluted by expansion.

    You could argue that the average talent level would be higher if there hadn't been expansion (and there was the same influx of Euros and Americans) - but that's a different argument than "Expansion has watered down the talent from the halcyon days of <whenever I started to watch hockey>".
     
  11. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    That rules out Winnipeg
     
  12. Tafkak

    Tafkak Registered User

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    I need the time I wasted reading that article back please.
     
  13. McDonald19

    McDonald19 Marcus Pettersson

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    Isn't that what the article said though? The NHL wanted the expansion teams to be competitive and the only way teams like Minnesota could survive their first few seasons was by clutching and grabbing and grinding out 1-0 wins. Minnesota actually combined clutching and grabbing with the trap and decent goaltending and made it to the conference finals.
     
  14. McDonald19

    McDonald19 Marcus Pettersson

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    We need a solid 10 seasons post lockout with these 30 franchises before expansion is even discussed. 8 more seasons to go.
     
  15. Arastiroth

    Arastiroth Registered User

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    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thought that was a terrible article. I haven't read anything from him before (although I've heard of him several times), but I'd have trouble taking anything he says seriously after that. Player salaries are actually, if anything, more likely to go down if expansion happens. The two new teams that would be added would likely earn less than the average team, meaning that the salary cap would drop (is it allowed to drop?) because the average per team would be less, even if it is just a little bit.

    Second, the NHL expanded in the 90s because Europe was opening up to the NHL. All the new players that were suddenly available needed NHL jobs. It is completely and utterly incorrect to assume that the best 500 or so players in the world were playing in the NHL, and when it expanded the next 100 or so best players in the world filtered in. The NHL took players who, in many cases, were better than the ones already playing in the NHL from the European leagues. Sure, it takes a little time to fill the new jobs with true talent, but it isn't like the next crop of crap players just filter in in a linear line from best to worst.

    Lastly, if we are to assume that the NHL clutch and grab era of the 90s happened solely because the NHL was trying to let expansion teams have a chance against the established teams, then shouldn't we assume that they have learned their lesson about doing that. The NHL has gone through hell trying to get rid of clutching and grabbing, and while I sometimes question their intelligence I don't think they are as stupid as to go back to what they spent several years trying to fix.
     
  16. Hawker14

    Hawker14 Registered User

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    Really ?

    11 US teams received revenue sharing last year, some in very large cities with big arenas. I guess those teams should be ruled out as legitimate markets and simply contracted !

    Once those franchises are deleted, since they obviously can't make it by their very virtue of sucking money from good markets, then can expansion be discussed ?
     
  17. Bucky Katt

    Bucky Katt Registered User

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    I agree with most everyone else here, some real gaps in logic in that article.

    Also, something else not brought up is roster size. The NHLPA members may not want to share its money with an additional 40 or so players. What if teams could only dress 17 skaters and roster sizes were cut by 1 per team? That would mean only an additional dozen or so players would play in the NHL if there was expansion which, in terms of talent, would be unnoticeable.
     
  18. Tb0ne

    Tb0ne Registered User

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    Well said, but I have a few comments.
    Unless there is some new untapped hockey talent pool waiting to be discovered by NHL scouts, any futher expansion, especially on a scale similar to what we saw in the 90's would probably dilute the talent pool. Finding talent for two more teams wouldn't be much of a problem, but I have to ask wouldn't anything more than that decrease the overall quality of play back in Europe and possibly hurt player development in the long run?

    Even though we are seeing what appears to be a surge of NHL prospects from countries like Denmark it probably isn't enough to cover the losses to expansion.
    Maybe there will be in Asia in 15-20 years if Wang's Chinese hockey schools end up producing Draft quality players, but that is a big if.
     
  19. Crosby87.*

    Crosby87.* Guest

    I think he was just trying to be a dick, don't worry about it.
     
  20. Fugu

    Fugu Guest

    The article is right about talent dilution at the time teams are added, but incorrect over a longer period of time. If two new teams are added, assuming a 22 man roster, that's 44 new jobs at the NHL level that must be filled by players who did not make the cut before expansion. However 3+ years out, as more players are absorbed into the NHL-level of play, simply having the exposure should increase talent levels.

    There were several reasons why more European players weren't in the older NHL. There was something called the Iron Curtain for starters, so that had some effect on Russian, Czech, Slovak. Belarus, Latvian, Lithuanian, East German, Kazakhstan, etc. (did I get most of them) players' options. If there were only 12 NHL teams, for example, and all twelve were sufficiently staffed by North Americans, why would teams spend the money to scout and recruit overseas? We are talking about significant sums of money. Some of you older folk here have no excuses either in forgetting how difficult it was to communicate and transmit large amounts of data even in the 1980's. At least by then, you could direct dial overseas! Internet? Yeah, right.

    I guess the point is that there were other factors as to why the proportion of players from various countries changed in the past 20 years, including custom/tradition, and the lack of a global perspective in major league North American sports then vs. now. Certainly expansion was a factor as more jobs became available, but the fact that non-North American players were being recognized as having a sufficient level of talent to be considered (thanks in part to the Summit Series and related international competitions that let the new countries exhibit their talent). It was a bit of a cottage industry. As demand for talent grew, new sources had to be found. The world was getting smaller too thanks to greater travel and communication possibilities, and more players were willing and able to change addresses.
     
    Last edited by moderator : Mar 28, 2007
  21. jsginsocal

    jsginsocal Registered User

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    I agree - that article was the biggest bunch of trash I've read in a while. Clutching and grabbing is due to the lack of skill...please....what about in the 70's and 80's when a good percentage of forwards could make d-man look like ice pylons...
     
  22. undraftedstlouis

    undraftedstlouis Registered User

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    I started that article already agreeing with the underlying premise that a reduction to 24 teams would be a good move. By the end of the article I had nearly changed my mind.

    Not bringing up the influx of Eastern Euro players was near criminal.

    He didn't touch on (or if so properly address) the issues actually relevant to all this for me. Concentrating star players on fewer teams and thus more easily building up their name recognition. I don't think the talent pool was diluted but that doesn't mean that contraction wouldn't improve the standard of play. Concentrating teams in the best markets so that the product looks good on TV and the teams do better financially. Many may not agree with his premise, but there's so many better ways to broach the issue.

    For me it's about what are the NHL's goals? To sell tickets and bring hockey to as many markets as possible? Then 32 teams is great though I'm not sure salaries can remain at current levels. But if it's to sell the product for TV revenue in the US (the basis of high salaries in most pro sports IMO), then I'm not following how the NHL plans to accomplish such a goal (again, maybe this isn't the goal?).
     
  23. kdb209

    kdb209 Registered User

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    I think you (and many others) overstate the importance of national TV revenues in professional sports.

    With the exception of the NFL, they do not provide a significant percentage of total revenues - and are not "he basis of high salaries in most pro sports".

    Take the NBA as an example - very similar to the NHL in number of teams, number of games, and types of revenues available.

    Working back from this NBA season's $53.135M cap gives total NBA revenues (BRI) of about $3.345B. The NBA's national TV deals with ABC/ESPN/TNT average out to ~767M/yr ($400M from ABC/ESPN and$367 from TNT) or less than 23% of total revenues. A chunk of change yes, but not the primary driver of revenues and salary.

    The NHL, NBA, and MLB are all much more dependent on gate revenues and local broadcast revenues than on any national TV deals.
     
  24. undraftedstlouis

    undraftedstlouis Registered User

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    I was somewhat also including local TV revenue in my thinking. I think that's where MLB generates quite a bit of revenue. Some European soccer leagues (England, France and maybe Spain & Italy) generate a good % of revenue through TV. Much of it outside their own country. Paying off arenas, travel, gameday expenses, etc are fairly fixed. So I'd think player salaries would get a good share of any extra revenue (or conversely, if the NBA lost all TV revenue then player salaries would be among the top targets).

    I guess the NFL is unique (at least looking just at the US) in their ability to make money.
     
  25. Clash*

    Clash* Registered User

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    The difference between the NFL and other major sports leagues is, the NFL is ran as a single entity and evenly splits a majority of revenue. Other sports leagues operate as 30 or so seperate entities with a common goal. That is partly why NFL owners are not allowed to own sports franchises in other major sports leagues. They don't want their secret getting out, as I heard it refered to one time.
     

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