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Old 05-27-2011, 10:17 PM   #741
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Very good game.
I'd be happy with either team winning. I just hope it's good hockey and goes 7
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:30 PM   #742
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A little more education from one of the only Atlanta media folks that is speaking up about the ownership group:

Quote:
Cowardly Bettman ignoring evidence of Thrashers fans
2:17 pm May 24, 2011, by Jeff Schultz


Gary Bettman is blaming Atlanta hockey fans for not supporting a bad product.

In his most recent spoken example of the Wile E. Coyote/Acme explosives/NHL public relations disaster, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman somewhat admonished Thrashers fans for not buying tickets to what has been a crummy product for most of their 11 seasons.

Quoting here: “Demonstrating your dissatisfaction by not going to games is an interesting strategy. It’s your absolute right. But if it becomes a turnoff for anybody who might want to buy the franchise, the long-term consequences could be severe.”

Imagine if we applied this philosophy to other aspects in our life.

Buy a new car. If the doors fall off two blocks down the street, that’s OK. Just make sure you support that dealership by buying another one next year. Eat at a new restaurant. If dinner makes your stomach feel like there are a thousand screaming piranhas in it, that’s OK. Eat there the following week, because you wouldn’t want that restaurant to go out of business. And this time, bring friends!

Bettman doesn’t want to leave the impression that the NHL is on the verge of abandoning Atlanta again (which it is). So he is trying to lay the ground work for the Thrashers’ exit to Winnipeg. He’ll point to attendance and stupid stuff like only a few hundred fans showing up at a rally. He’ll do everything possible to try to convince you that this mugging wasn’t his fault and he had no choice.

Don’t fall for it.

All aboard for Winnipeg . . .

Let me tell you a story. The Braves averaged about 10,000 fans per game in 1988, which they finished 54-106. In one late-season game, attendance was announced at 3,017. Ex-Brave Gerald Perry mused, “Sometimes, we look up from the dugout and say, ‘This’d be another good day to paint the seats.’”

Let me tell you a story. In 1989, 7,792 fans showed up for an NFL game, or at least one between the Falcons and Detroit Lions at old Atlanta-Fulton Stadium. When one fan was asked why he purchased a ticket, he responded, “It was a Christmas present, and I didn’t want to let my brother down. He could be here, but he said he’d rather go to grandma’s.” The Falcons finished 3-13 that season.

Postscript: The Braves started winning in 1991 and attendance doubled. It tripled by 1992 and quadrupled by 1993. Falcons’ attendance spiked under Jerry Glanville, dropped again when the team lost, then returned after Arthur Blank, Michael Vick and success arrived (38 straight sellouts).

Most of you probably understand where I’m going with this. The cowardly Bettman is in the corner with his eyes closed, ears covered and loudly humming, pretending not to notice.

If a team wins, it draws fans. If a team does the right thing – or sometimes even just leaves the impression it’s trying really hard to do the right things – it draws fans. Atlanta losing an NHL team isn’t about Atlanta not having enough hockey fans to support a franchise. It’s about the fact that people grew fed up with supporting a bad product run by bad ownership.

Let me tell you a story. In their inaugural season, the Thrashers sold out 14 games and averaged 17,205 fans per game in a 61-loss season. A year later, they averaged 15,265 in a 47-loss season. In three year, the team got worse and attendance dropped even more.

The Thrashers made the playoffs in 2006-07 for the first (and only) time in their history. Funny thing happened. They sold out more games (11) and averaged more fans (16,239) than in any season since the first.

Millions of Braves fans didn’t suddenly move here in 1991. Blank didn’t hand out $500 bills across state borders to get people to come to Falcons games. Thrashers fans didn’t move after two seasons, then come for the playoffs, then move again. This isn’t about a market. It’s about a fan base that has seen too many car doors fall off.

In 2003-04, Chicago, an “Original 6” team, had the second-worst record in the league and ranked 27th in attendance at 13,253 (2,000 less than the Thrashers). Six years later, when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, they drew 21,356.

Could it be there’s a connection?

Bettman will try to convince you Atlanta just didn’t want hockey bad enough. He’ll ignore the reasons. He’ll grab millions in a relocation fee from a city that he moved a team from 15 years earlier.

The Winnipeg Jets averaged 11,316 fans in their final season — 2,000 less than the Thrashers drew this year. Don’t expect to read that in the news release.

By Jeff Schultz
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:26 PM   #743
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All signs point to an official announcement on the move to Winnipeg to be made tomorrow at 10 a.m. Central.
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:10 AM   #744
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Originally Posted by BoMac View Post
All signs point to an official announcement on the move to Winnipeg to be made tomorrow at 10 a.m. Central.
The people there were SO excited this weekend during the U2 show.

Good week to be Winnipegian!

(plus, now I know what an easy drive it is, so I can plan on going up for a Wild game)
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:01 AM   #745
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It's official: the announcement will be made today. A news conference has been scheduled at 10 a.m. CT.

And, Mark, I think the term is Winnipegger. Or something.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:04 AM   #746
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Naw, it's "Winningpegger"











(ftw, of course )
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:28 AM   #747
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It's not WinePig?
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:43 PM   #748
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I am pissed.

Quote:
Owners to blame for Thrashers' failure
By Scott Burnside
ESPN.com

So hockey goes out in Atlanta not with a bang, but a whimper.

It goes meekly, a beaten dog with its tail tucked between its legs.

Driven out by foolish, incompetent owners, it goes into the welcoming arms of a city that couldn't hang on to its own NHL team the first time around.

Good for Winnipeg that it gets a second chance.

But good for the game?

That's another matter entirely and a question that won't be answered until the Jets Deux or Frostbitten Thrashers, whatever the former Thrashers will be called, go four or five more years without making the playoffs. We'll see how mediocrity plays in Winnipeg the second time around.

For all the flag-waving that the impending move of the Thrashers to Winnipeg has generated throughout Canada (or at least in much of the Canadian media), Winnipeg is a small outpost city in an unforgiving prairie. Players will not flock to play there. That is the reality.

Think Edmonton has it tough? That city has hosted five Stanley Cup parades, yet players stay away in droves. They will stay away in droves from Winnipeg, too, no matter how much the city embraces this team.

Good for the game?

Winnipeg has a fraction of the corporate community that Atlanta has and even a fraction of the corporate community that beleaguered Phoenix has.

A corporate community is valuable only if it is committed to the franchise, if the business leaders can be sold on the team's value. It's no different than a coach selling his players on a system. There has to be buy-in, which often fosters success.

It has been so in Nashville, once considered the top candidate to relocate to Canada. Maybe Winnipeg will break even or turn a small profit even with its inherent corporate limitations. With ownership that appears to be content to withstand significant if not annual losses, maybe none of that matters.

It hardly seems like a guaranteed recipe for success, but that tells you just how badly things have gone in the South.

In Atlanta, for all its corporate might, the city never connected with the team. We know key sponsors who left the Thrashers in recent years for the simple reason that they did not believe in the team. They did not believe the Thrashers would be good enough to waste their precious money on. They did not believe in ownership or the product that ownership was putting on the ice.

And the sponsors reflected the feelings of most fans.

Who could blame them?

The very owners of the team didn't believe in the Thrashers, secretly trying to sell the team almost from the beginning in spite of the pap they tried to sell to their ever-shrinking fan base about being committed to the community.

One thing is certain as this sad little scene plays out: The demise of the Thrashers should be a cautionary tale to markets everywhere.

First, the Atlanta Spirit Group and its bungling of the team represents a blueprint on how to ruin a franchise, especially one in a nontraditional market.

We were asked recently, what was the high-water mark for this franchise? Was it the two lone home playoff games in 2007, when netminder Kari Lehtonen dyed his hair blue before then-coach Bob Hartley yanked him en route to a four-game sweep by the New York Rangers?

There were electric moments from Ilya Kovalchuk before he fled the team for New Jersey.

Dany Heatley was, along with Kovalchuk, the team's first bona fide star. Had a modicum of talent surrounded that duo, the Thrashers should have been able to generate something akin to a following in the city. But Heatley pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide in a 2003 car crash that took the life of teammate Dan Snyder, then asked to be traded in 2005.

And there was never enough of anything else -- goaltending, defense, structure.

Eleven years of futility, mediocrity and, in the end, indifference.

Apparently ignorant of how to build a fan base, ownership made no inroads in selling the game. It had no commitment to build a minor hockey program in Atlanta the way Dallas did when the Stars first moved there. There was nothing in Atlanta to compare to the grassroots initiatives in Anaheim, San Jose and Nashville.

In those markets, kids play the game, connect with the team, drag their parents and friends to games, buy merchandise and build a bond. Homegrown players' names from Texas and California and yes, Tennessee are called at NHL entry drafts every year. Ownership made sure of that in those markets, and if those teams left, there would be a scar on the community, a sense of loss.

In Atlanta, the Thrashers leave without creating a ripple on the surface of the community.

At a recent rally, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that a couple of hundred fans showed up. That isn't a market failing; that is a market that was failed by owners.

In the end, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is making sure they pay the price for their failures. The NHL will exact a $60 million relocation fee from the Atlanta Spirit Group, along with other potential fees. So with the purchase price of the Thrashers at $170 million, a source told ESPN.com, the Atlanta Spirit Group will see just $110 million of it.

The only shame is that the owners will get that much for having ruined a market forever. Because know this: The NHL will never come back here. Thanks for that, Atlanta Spirit Group.

There is a common misconception that the NHL chose not to fight for the Thrashers. That theory is born out of ignorance. For months and months, Bettman and team president Don Waddell beat the bushes for an owner or ownership group to buy the team and keep it in Atlanta.

Bettman has shown himself to be resourceful in these matters, covering up ownership messes in Tampa with Jeff Vinik and Buffalo with Terry Pegula. He may even end up covering the sinkhole in Phoenix with Matthew Hulsizer.

No one stepped forward in Atlanta because it was a mess beyond saving, and the only alternative was to sweep that mess into a corner and give the people of Winnipeg the team they have been craving.

The only justice is that it cost the Atlanta Spirit Group dearly, being that it was its mess and its alone.

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:48 PM   #749
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:55 AM   #750
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This video cracks me up!

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Old 06-01-2011, 03:55 PM   #751
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poor music editing skills
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:49 PM   #752
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There's a rumor going around on Twitter that U2 will be playing an opening song at the game tonight. I heard it from the Province newspaper twitter feed. They're a pretty trashy newspaper, so I don't know whether to believe it or not.

I don't know how they'd do it - whether they'd pick up a satellite feed from Edmonton, or if the boys would fly back and forth (it would be insane, but technically somewhat do-able), but still. That's pretty exciting!


Edit - apparently the Team 1040, who are actually reputable, mentioned something about this about an hour or two ago. U2 were seen in Vancouver with some gear, so maybe they pre-taped something earlier this week.

If I wasn't already jacked up for this game, this rumor DEFINITELY has me even more excited!
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:22 PM   #753
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This is awesome news
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:02 PM   #754
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Just saw a tweet from a blue cracker who is in Edmonton, and the band is soundchecking now. Looks like if there's anything U2 related at the game, it will either be a feed from Edmonton, or something they pre-taped earlier this week.

Live in the arena would have been awesome, but I knew it was too good to be true.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:56 PM   #755
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I'm too excited, I can't not wait to watch the game 4 hours after its actually finished. I'm streaming Team 1040. C'mon!
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:12 PM   #756
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I'm too excited, I can't not wait to watch the game 4 hours after its actually finished. I'm streaming Team 1040. C'mon!
WOO!

Didn't think I'd be able to get home in time, but I did. Phew! Puck drop is in 10 mins. There's already been one live performance so far...
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:19 PM   #757
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I'm guessing it wasn't U2?
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:24 PM   #758
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Nope. A local guy called Kyprios.

Just the usual album version of Streets for the intro.

Wow, this game has gotten off to a great start!

Maybe there will be something in one of the intermissions. That's the only time I can see anything from them happening.
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:25 PM   #759
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OMG, I need a TV, why must I be at work.
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:29 PM   #760
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Awww. I don't suppose you can duck out, can you?

Seriously, though. The intro and anthems are AMAZING!

We're in the Stanley Cup Final. WOW. Just - wow. This is unbelievably awesome!
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