Leafs Nation round table - The worst team

Cam Charron
September 07 2012 12:42PM

This may be an extended offseason, so to break up the time, some of the writers on TLN are exchanging emails to each other, discussing the Toronto Maple Leafs and NHL hockey as whole. Today's topic is ESPN The Magazine's assertion that the Maple Leafs are the single worst major pro sports team for fan experience in all of North America.

From: Danny Gray
To: Steve Dangle, Gus Katsaros, Cam Charron
Subj: The worst team

I'll never understand why these things praise "affordability" and "ownership-fan relations" or "in-house experience" over you know, selling a whack tonne of tickets, TV spots, and gear. Who cares if the Florida Panthers have cheap seats and really funny jumbo-tron videos or t-shirt cannons, you still have to watch the Florida freaking Panthers. The list is basically: Teams that haven't won a championship recently but still charge a lot for tickets. And by that criteria the Leafs obviously suck, the funny thing is that the other 29 teams in the league would kill to be in this circumstance.

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Winger is Center of Attention

Gus Katsaros
September 07 2012 07:11AM

When the Toronto Maple Leafs traded away once highly-regarded rearguard Luke Schenn for Flyers winger James Van Riemsdyk, speculation revolved around moving the six-foot-three gentle giant into the middle between Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel.

I find that to be folly, something assessed as an idea, a conceptual thought experiment that fizzles almost instantly. I didn’t have a chance at the time to write about this when it first appeared, but I wanted to touch upon it.

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Slicing and dicing: that expensive second contract

Cam Charron
September 06 2012 10:13AM

One of the craziest common questions circulating around during this period of labour uncertainty is that if the owners cry poor, then why are they still signing these players to huge contracts? The simplest answer is that the owners that are crying poor, aren't exactly the ones signing teams to contracts.

The big deals signed by NHL players, the ones over $50M, are proportionally distributed with the top revenue teams in the NHL and, coincidentally, with the number of playoff berths:

  % of NHL Revenue % of NHL Playoff Spots % of $50M+ Contracts
Top 10 revenue teams 46% 44% 45%
Bottom 10 revenue teams 23% 25% 20%

That's revenue from 2010-11, $50M contracts signed for the 2011-12 season and playoff berths for the 2011-12 season.

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NHL 13: A First Look with Sean "Rammer" Ramjagsingh

Steve Dangle
September 05 2012 08:49PM

The great thing about covering hockey for a living is sometimes you get to play videogames for a living, too!

I sit down and play NHL 13 with the producer of game, Sean "Rammer" Ramjagsingh - who is 6'11", by the way. Have the Leafs found their new number one centre?!?!

Anyway, Rammer explains a lot of the game's new features, shows some great, new in-game footage, and I score two goals on him, including a goal on the Flyers by James van Riemsdyk. That made me really happy. Enjoy!

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The 24-team solution

Cam Charron
September 05 2012 10:44AM

All of a sudden, we feel the need to drop teams from the NHL roster. Michael Grange suggested four, but in the interest of balance, let's drop six, for two 12-team conferences. Right now, the teams are spread out, few are shown on television, and the NHL cannot obviously compete financially in the United States with a league similarly sized to the NFL and MLB.

But this leads me to a question, one that I'm determined to answer before the next round of contraction or relocation:

If it were in the best interests of the National Hockey League to have fewer teams, why wouldn't there already be fewer teams?

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