When it comes to all sports, some organizations are known for hiding the facts. Okay fine, every team does it in some form like inflating attendance numbers or puff pieces following tough losses, but some are just flat out tone deaf. The most recent obvious example is the Boston Bruins firing Claude Julien during the Patriots Super Bowl parade. We talked to The Creator about the importance of being open with his fan base. We didn’t ask him about the Bruins situation specifically, but we asked about fan communication.
We’re going to be fan friendly. We’re going to be careful about it. We’re going to be a community oriented team, that’s what we have to be. -The Creator
Fans aren’t dumb, they see through all the poppycock. It’s up to the owner to make sure fans aren’t fed nonsense.
Thus far there have been a few missteps when it comes to being forthcoming, such as the reasoning behind the team name and the trademark situation to point out a couple. But overall, and especially in terms of The Creator himself, the team has been incredibly open and honest to this point… maybe even to a fault.
That’s what the fan base wants. Actually, that’s what a fan base like Las Vegas needs. Covering up negative information gets unearthed in the amount of time it takes someone to type 140 characters, or however many characters are in Ken’s mean fingers at any given moment. But more importantly, those moments are the ones fans take with them.
Questionable calls are going to happen in the NHL, something Las Vegas fans will have to get used to. Suspensions on the other hand, NHL fans tend to take their anger out on the wrong people. Take for instance Bruins forward David Pastrnak, and the two-game suspension he was slapped with for an illegal check to the head on Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi.
If you heard Boston sports radio yesterday, then you would’ve thought Girardi roughed up Pasta. That’s Pastrnak’s nickname by the way, and not a bad one I may add. Even the Bruins management complained about the NHL Department of Player Safety’s decision to suspend the young Czech. But shouldn’t the B’s and their fans be angry with Pastrnak? He contacted Girardi’s head, not the league. It makes it difficult for the NHL to punish head hunters if the team gets publicly upset.
Player safety isn’t getting any softer, and if you ask me that’s a good thing. The NY Post examined Pastrnak’s hit and agreed with the two-game suspension. What the Post didn’t agree with was the two-minute minor Pasta had to serve. If the hit is worthy of a two-game league benching, why did the Bruins forward only serve a minor penalty? The NCAA has a rule that any hit to the head or neck is an automatic major penalty. It’s not far fetched to see the NHL adopt a rule like that to further protect players.
Watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s easy to see why some teams are perennial cup chasers and why the rest chase the draft lottery. If you look at the team’s that didn’t make the playoffs this year, you end up with a lot of the same teams from years past. Organizations like the Oilers, Sabres, Hurricanes, Coyotes, Leafs and others barely sniffed the playoffs. Fans in these cities never expect to win… Really when’s the last time Toronto fans felt good about their team?
Now, you can always learn from failing teams, the mistakes are easy to spot. Poor hiring, horrible scouting, and bad leadership. What about non-playoff teams that should be still playing? The Bruins, Canadiens, Avalanche, and Senators all held playoff spots this season. We know what happened up in Montreal, tough to win without Vezina winner Carey Price. The Habs front office is taking the lets move on and forget about it approach. The Owner and GM have already announced Michelle Therrien will be back, and they expect Price to be 100% healthy. Even though you could argue Montreal should’ve fired their coach, you can understand their patient attitude. If a coach doesn’t have his star goalie, than its tough for fun to win. I accept that.
Going to your first pro sporting event is something you never forget. I can still remember my first Red Sox game, when I was six years old. Sure I don’t remember the game much, but I can’t forget the atmosphere. The bright stadium lights, the peanut shells on the ground, and some loud guys calling Rich Gedman a f**king bum. Yeah, you don’t forgot your first game. So when my close friend told me he went to his first NHL game, I was interested in his experience.
There’s a good chance many Vegas residents haven’t been to an NHL hockey game before. Really where’s the opportunity? Ducks and Kings are 3+ hours away, and the Coyotes are even further. The Frozen Fury is played once a year at the MGM, and it’s preseason. There could be a lot of first timers when puck drops at the T-Mobile Arena. That being said, let’s check out my buddy Jimmy’s first experience at an NHL game. He answered some of my questions after the Bruins defeated the Blackhawks 4-2.
Jason Pothier: To start, a quick description on your overall experience.
Jimmy: It was a blast, I couldn’t believe how loud it was. I really had no expectations.
The first step to our mock draft is to establish the list of players that will be available for the Las Vegas franchise to draft. To do this, we decided to have a blogger from each team represent their own franchise and select the players that will be protected from the Mock Expansion Draft available player pool. To see the rules which were followed to protect players, hit this link.
Due to time constraints, our own Dana Lane has taken on the task of completely the rosters for each of the remaining teams. Next up is the Boston Bruins.
Last week hockey fans watched the Montreal Canadiens skate circles around the Boston Bruins in the annual Winter Classic. Boston lost 5-1 in the ‘House that Brady built.’ Maybe that’s why Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara was so embarrassed by his team’s play.
We’ve got to be better. We know that. But let’s pick it up (word beginning with ‘F’ only reserved for SinBin.vegas podcasts) mentally too. – Zdeno Chara
You see the Winter Classic is a big deal. Each team is honored to be invited to play outdoors. Most teams circle the date, and get their own TV show hyping it up. However, it didn’t seem as if the B’s took it as seriously as the Habs. And it was apparent in the four-part series on EPIX. P.K. Subban, Brendan Gallagher, and Mike Condon all showed excitement, and determination for Montreal. While Boston seemed to be taking the game as if it was another ordinary, regular season game. Well it isn’t.
I’ve brought this up before, but the topic came up on Twitter again, so I figured we should properly tackle it.
@SinBinVegas if Vegas gets an NHL team, do you think they would ever get to host a winter classic?
First of all Las Vegas currently doesn’t have the proper outdoor venue. When you consider this year’s outdoor games will be played at Gillette Stadium (68,000 capacity), Coors Field (50,000 capacity), and the TCF Bank Stadium (50,000 capacity) all dwarf Sam Boyd Stadium (40,000 capacity). Sam Boyd also doesn’t have the space, parking or amenities that the other stadiums posses. It would need some major renovations to hold a major professional event like an outdoor NHL game. The City of Las Vegas will have to build a state-of- the- art stadium that can hold 60,000+ people. Unfortunately there are no legitimate plans in the works, unless you are unlike us and believe this 100,000 seat stadium could become a reality.
Secondly, the NHL loves to promote their teams, especially new expansion teams. So an outdoor game between Las Vegas and the Arizona Coyotes makes sense. However, the Phoenix area has fine venues, in fact maybe some of the best. Southern Arizona has held Super Bowls, National Titles, Pro Bowls and WrestleMania’s for crying out loud. So it would make more sense to host an outdoor game in Arizona. Good news however, this would put the Las Vegas franchise in an outdoor game much faster. Really, it’s a win-win for the NHL. They get to promote a new expansion team and continue to assist the Coyotes direction.
Lastly, it seems the Pacific conference will continue to get squeezed on Winter Classics. Now there have been Stadium Series games, but the Winter Classics get more hype. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a west coast New Year’s Day game. So if Las Vegas was to be awarded an outdoor game, it would be after the All-Star break. But really, who cares? An outdoor game is always an event.
There’s not a desire to grow the league to a burgeoning market in Las Vegas and a hockey-starved city in Quebec?
“There’s a capacity out there, but I don’t know if there’s a will from a league standpoint.”
What successful business sees an opportunity to grow, has the investor backing to do it, has proof in the form of 13,500 already sold tickets in the tougher market to sell, and then says, “I’m not sure if there’s a will?” If you see the capacity, why isn’t there a will?
“(We will do) the best thing for the league as a whole, and what’s the best thing for Boston.”
This is an owner that is well-known for being focused on his money. A real dollars a cents guy. And now with the chance to add $1 billion in immediate revenue, plus the obvious benefits of having 164 (82×2) more games, and all else that comes with a larger league, he says they’re unsure?
The man runs a $750 million dollar business, and I run a website that’s struggling to make our way up the search results on Google, so I understand that my business mind is not quite as sharp as his, but the quotes that were thrown around yesterday simply don’t add up.
There has to be something missing here. Concern over struggling franchises in Arizona and Florida. A will or desire to be in Seattle. Fear over the strength of the Canadian dollar. Something other than a relative “lack of desire” to make an astute business decision.
He’s right to do what’s best for his beloved city and the league he has part ownership in, but what he said yesterday was certainly not it.
Don’t worry though,
“Jacobs did say if the NHL were to expand, Las Vegas might make more sense than Quebec City.”
Well that’s nice, but I think we here in Vegas, and especially all of you in Quebec, have a “will or desire” to be really ticked off.