Eye of the Hurricane

May 2, 2011

NHL Thinking of Retooling Playoffs?

Filed under: Uncategorized — eadeutsch @ 3:48 pm
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The National Hockey League has been attempting to re-brand itself and acquire a larger American audience ever since the lockout that saw the cancellation of the 2004-2005 NHL season.  When the league became active the next season, fans saw a number of changes that were meant to increase scoring and excitement in a league that was criticized for lacking in those departments in the years prior to the lockout.  No longer was the “two-line offside pass” rule enforced, there was a limited trapezoidal area behind each net that was the only location behind the goal that a goaltender could roam with the puck, and the fan favorite overtime shootout became a staple of the league

Still looking for excitement, the league has never been one to shun a suggestion, and this season’s All-Star Game was a perfect example of this.  The teams were split with captains–Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom–picking their own teams in a Fantasy-draft style.  The NHL deemed this a success and we can count on seeing this next year, although probably tweaked.

The playoff system is one of my least favorite things about the NHL.  The two conferences are seeded just like basketball, 1-8, with the top three seeds going to the division leaders.  But instead of a simple bracket format throughout the conference playoffs, the teams are re-seeded after the first round to guarantee the greatest advantage to the top-seeded team, and make the road to the finals as challenging as possible for the lowest-seeded team.  So if the eighth-seeded team won an upset in the first round, they would go on to play the best remaining team in the second round.

Now, however, the NHL may be considering a static bracket format like basketball or the NCAA where the teams will play the winner of another series no matter what.  I like this idea, and I don’t know why it hasn’t been initiated since the lockout.

But as I said, the NHL is not going to ignore an idea–no matter how outlandish it may seem at first–and it is considering a 1-16 bracket that will include match-ups determined by conference standings.  The top eight teams from each conference would advance to the playoffs, but they would be matched up with a corresponding team–determined by regular season points–that will not necessarily be from their own conference.  It would be possible, then, for teams from the same conference to play each other in the Stanley Cup Finals.

As much as I don’t like this idea (travel would be strenuous and costly, bad match-ups between teams with no history would be costly in terms of fan excitement in the opening rounds), it might be a win for the NHL, who after all is looking out for its best interests.

No offense to my friends who root for the Marlins, but you can bet your house that the front office of Major League Baseball enjoyed the viewership and earnings from the epic seven-game ALCS between the Yankees and Red Sox more than they did the world series.

Likewise, the NHL commissioner and owners might enjoy a Capitals-Penguins Stanley Cup or a Red Wings-Canucks matchup.  The integrity of the NHL may be at stake, but in the meantime, several of the league’s franchises are threatened by financial struggles, and this might be just one way to increase viewership at a time that the NHL is desperately trying to stay relevant.

In the meantime, enjoy the Stanley Cup playoffs as they are.  The Capitals and Red Wings, both down 0-2, are fighting for their lives, while the Predators are attempting to stun the top-seeded Canucks in a series that’s tied 1-1.  The Bruins, up 1-0 in their series against the Flyers, host Philadelphia tonight.


April 22, 2011

Conflicting information from two sides on movement of NBA franchise

Filed under: NBA — davidfurones @ 10:56 pm
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Sacramento Kings part-owner Joe Maloof said today that no decision has been made on his franchise’s potential movesouth from the California’s capitol to Anaheim.

The NBA, however, said today that it is likelythe Kings will stay in Sacramento and play their home games in Arco Arena for the 2011-12 season.

Several teams have relocated within the past decade of NBA basketball, including the Seattle Supersonics becoming the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Hornets making the move from Charlotte to New Orleans, and the Grizzlies moving from Vancouver to Memphis.

The Sacramento Kings, as they are currently known, have constantly been relocating. The storied franchise that started off in New York as the Rochester Royals moved to Cincinnati in 1957. They continued moving west to be known as the Kansas City-Omaha Kings in 1972 for three seasons before simply calling themselves the Kansas City Kings starting in 1975. Then they finally arrived in Sacramento in 1985.

April 17, 2011

Memphis Grizzlies earn first playoff win in franchise history

They were previously 0-12 in playoff games. They reached three consecutive postseasons from 2004 to 2006, getting swept by the Spurs, Suns, and Mavericks in that order.

But in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the West’s No. 1 seed, the San Antonio Spurs, the Memphis Grizzlies are finally in the win column when it comes to the postseason after Richard Jefferson’s wide open top of the key three hit the back of the rim as the buzzer went off.

The Charlotte Bobcats, who began play in the 2004-05 season, are now the only NBA franchise without a playoff win. They reached the postseason last year, but were swept in the first round by the Orlando Magic.

April 15, 2011

Cuban wrong about LeBron’s “decision”


On July 8, 2010 LeBron James made his decision to take his talents to South Beach.

As the start to the NBA’s regular season approached, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said that LeBron James “lost a billion dollars in brand equity.”

It came out recently that James outdid former top dog Kobe Bryant and ranked first in NBA jersey sales over the past season. The combination of the new number, the new colors, and the new name on the front of the jersey, in addition to his stellar play on the hardwood, were enough to overcome the negative publicity from James’ decision in the minds of NBA fans and make his jersey most popular.

It seems like his brand equity is doing quite alright.

LeBron’s No. 6 Miami Heat jersey can be seen in action Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference first round series against the Philadelphia 76ers.