Friday, November 30, 2012

Forbes Magazine excuses

Much like the magazine article,
this card is mostly red ink.

As if NHL fans haven't been bombarded with enough dollars and cents talk recently, Forbes magazine chose this week to release its annual summary of NHL finances. And while the figures got plenty of attention thanks to some headline-grabbing claims (like the Leafs now being worth $1 billion), they were also roundly criticized.

You might expect the notoriously secretive NHL and its teams to deny the accuracy of the Forbes numbers, especially during a lockout. But even unbiased observers were quick to point out apparent issues in the report. In fact the closer you dig into the numbers, the bigger the problems appear to be.

But why? How could such a well-respected magazine make such a mess of things? I wasn't sure, so I figured I'd go straight to the source. And it turns out that putting together an estimate of the NHL's business is tougher than it looks. According to my spies at Forbes, here's what they say went wrong:

  • Although we appreciated the Phoenix Coyotes taking the time to share their in-depth business plan with us, we're still not sure whether or not "waltz into Glendale city council, give them all wedgies, and take their lunch money" counts as hockey-related revenue.

  • We couldn't get a detailed answer about Winnipeg's revenue forecasts, because every time a Jets executive would start to answer a question Jeremy Jacobs would yell "Silence, peon!" and hit him over the head with a folding chair.

  • While we did manage to get hold of an internal spreadsheet detailing all of the Toronto Maple Leafs future revenue projections, we couldn't figure out what all those sideways 8's mean.

  • We tried to reach out to the Vancouver Canucks front office about their finances, but apparently it takes those guys six months just to make a simple decision about their net assets.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A look back at the superstar careers cut short by the last NHL lockout

How YOU doin'? Oh, right, I knocked you unconscious.

As the lockout continues to drag on, some pessimistic fans have already started wondering which players may not return if the 2012-13 season is cancelled. If the NHL and NHLPA can't figure out a way to make a deal and save the season, we may have seen the last of popular veterans like Teemu Selanne, Martin Brodeur, and Daniel Alfredsson.

Hockey fans have been through this before. When the 2004-05 season was cancelled, it cost fans the chance to see one more year from several hockey legends. Here's a look back at some of star players whose careers were cut short the last time the NHL scrapped an entire season.

Adam Oates - Retired after the lockout but attempted a brief comeback in 2009, we assume, since that's the only logical way to explain a guy with 1,400 career points not making the Hall of Fame until this year.

Al MacInnis - Decided to use some downtime during the last lockout to try out his slapshot with one of those fancy modern superfelx sticks, at which point he was immediately kidnapped by government scientists who used him to power the Large Hadron Collider.

Ron Francis - Was so well-respected during his long career with the Whalers, Penguins and Hurricanes that some fans paid tribute to him upon retirement by creating bizarre Photoshops of him wearing a Maple Leafs uniform for some reason.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A moment with the guy who has to answer the phone when Gary Bettman orders a pizza

Let me have one with that topping that only irredeemably
evil people like. Yes, yes, of course I mean pineapple.

Hello, thank you for calling the pizza delivery hotline. How can I help you?

You say your name is Gary, and you need some pizza delivered to a very important negotiation meeting you're currently having. Well we can certainly do that, sir. What size pizza would you like?

Hmm, we don't really have "record-breakingly large but about to get a lot smaller". I'll just put you down for a medium, which comes to $10. Sound OK? Great. And what toppings did you want on that?

Oh, you guys are having some trouble agreeing on that part. I see. Not even speaking the same language, eh? I can imagine that could be frustrating. Well, how about we just divide the whole thing right down the middle?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Grantland: The first draft of Gary Bettman's awkward Hall of Fame speech

You may have seen Gary Bettman's speech at this week's Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It was mostly awkward and completely unnecessary... but if not for some last-minute edits, it could have been a lot worse.

Click to visit Grantland and read: The First Draft of Gary Bettman's Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Speech

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Things overheard at last night's Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony

"Almost as cool as a Cup ring, am I right?" joked
Joe Sakic right before the uncomfortable silence.

In a welcome break from the never-ending CBA negotiations, last night saw a positive NHL story: the induction of the four newest members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. During an evening of celebration in Toronto, the Hall welcomed Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Adam Oates and Pavel Bure to its ranks.

DGB spies were in attendance, and reported back on some of the most common things heard during the evening's festivities.

  • Uh oh, Mats Sundin has become confused and disoriented. Pavel Bure stood beside him for a few seconds, and it was the first time he'd ever had a decent winger next to him.

  • Joe Sakic's speech tonight was incredibly gracious without a hint of negativity, which is a nice change from that time they tried inducting him into the international snowblowing hall of fame.

  • Is it just me, or is Adam Oates asking Bure a lot of oddly specific questions about the best way to deal with overly cocky Russian snipers?

  • Did you hear, Brendan Shanahan just suspended the entire Hall of Fame induction committee! No, really, they're all dangling from a frayed rope under the 401 overpass.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Checking in on the NHL stars playing in Europe

Meet you back here for the 2017 lockout?
The NHL's work stoppage continues to drag on, leaving locked out players unemployed and on the sidelines. Or at least it does for the players who haven't already found a job somewhere else—and lately that list is shrinking rapidly.

It seems as if most of the league's top players have already found new jobs in one of the various European leagues, with new names being added to the list every day. So let's take a moment to catch up with the some of the NHL stars who are currently playing overseas.

Rick Nash - Agreed to terms with Swiss league powerhouse HC Davos after they were willing to meet his critical contract demand that they be absolutely 100% sure that they don't play in Columbus.

Paul Bissonnette - His new contract with the British league's Cardiff Devils gives the veteran enforcer the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be known as "the guy with the relatively nice teeth".

Nicklas Backstrom - Briefly created controversy by wearing #99, which is associated with Wayne Gretzky, before switching to #69, which is associated with that fat guy with the mullet in your ball hockey league.

Alexander Semin - Got tired of constantly being referred to as "the enigmatic Russian"; signed with his hometown team in Russia so that he could try constantly being referred to as "the enigmatic local boy" instead.