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Paul Nicholson
Nashvegas TN
Digital Marketing guy for Captain D's. Hockey fan, photographer, and father of 2 awesome boys.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Predators/Hockey News (with attendance update)

I was widely quoted as being a pessimist about the attendance for the Predators when i made this post back a few weeks ago (something about titling it "Bad News for the Predators' Future"). Since I posted that, i figure i owe everyone an update:

Through 28 games, the Predators had averaged 12,756 in paid attendance. In the last 5 games, the Preds averaged 14,190 in paid attendance (including a few sellouts that were at about 15,200 in paid attendance). That's a significant increase, and something to be proud of. That brings our average through 33 games to 12,973 per game. Still not where it needs to be, but an improvement.

So, now we must average 13,750 in paid attendance to reach the 13,125 needed to qualify for the revenue sharing we need. Looks like a very do-able number, especially since we've averaged well better than that lately (and the current race for the playoffs, free food night, and a few games against Detroit won't hurt).

Unfortunately, it looks like my other predictions from my earlier post were pretty accurate. Even if the Preds sold out every game from here on out (assuming that translates to 15,200 in paid attendance out of the 17,113 capacity, as has usually been the case) that would only pull the average up to 13,408. Far, far short of the 14,000 needed to keep the current lease intact.

So, it's a good thing Freeman and the new ownership crew finally got the new lease over to the Sports Authority after all. That agreement keeps the team here for at least another 3-5 years (depending on attendance) and I am beginning to trust this new ownership group to do what it takes to win over fans and businesses in the community...

UPDATE: A blogger on the Tennessean's website (only works in I.E.) is also reporting that the new ownership has rescinded the "cure clause" for attendance this year. Meaning that, technically, even if the new lease isn't put into effect and the 14,000 in paid attendance isn't reached, the team still can't move. The same blogger says that the Sports Authority will be reviewing (and voting on?) the new lease terms tomorrow morning. Still awaiting any official confirmation...

UPDATE 2: Just talked to my ticket rep and it looks like the March 20th Detroit game and the March 22nd Chicago game will be sellouts, and several other games are going fast. Looking good!

Which reminds me, it turns out that local good-guy Gordon David Freeman is the largest shareholder after all. He owns 32.63% of the team, while the "outsiders" from California, Boots Del Biaggio and Warren Woo own only a combined 31.58%. That is a significant change from what we were led to believe earlier.

The fact that the outsiders (with eyes for a franchise in Kansas City) don't actually own most of the team, with locals just holding a token share, really means a lot to me. Conspiracy theories about them just playing nice and having a plan all-along to move the team (and Freeman just being a guy they talked into being a local front/mouthpiece) aren't going to go away... but this sure looks better, especially when you take into account that the remaining 35.79% is owned by other Nashville locals (making the total local share nearly 70%). I'm kinda surprised the team hasn't made a bigger deal out of it.

The first two sentences from an article in the Tennessean today regarding Martin Gelinas:
Predators forward Martin Gelinas will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair his torn ACL, putting an end to his season.

Gelinas had suffered the injury Feb. 21 against Vancouver, but was hoping that — after the swelling had gone down — there would still be a chance he’d be able to play without the ACL this season.

Really? I'd love to have seen him try to play with a ligament completely removed from his leg. He's a tough player, but i don't think anyone would be able to pull that off.

On a more serious note, it is too bad that we've lost Jelly Gelli Gelinas for the season, and i honestly wonder if his career is done. He was playing very well for us this year, but he's getting up in years, and recovering from ACL damage this bad won't be easy, even for a fitness and conditioning nut like him. If he were under contract, i'd say he'll be back. But i don't know many teams that will take a 38 year old 3rd-liner recovering from a bum ACL. Great player, but that may be it for him.

I didn't get a chance to watch the Washington Capitals clean the ice with the Boston Bruins tonight, but...wow. Of course, everyone's going to be talking about Ovechkin's 5-point hat-trick-with-2-helpers night, but just take a second to check out the box score. More than just the 10-2 slaughter stands out to me...

Boston players Zedeno Chara (who i have on my fantasy roster), Marco Sturm, and Phil Kessel all played 16 or more minutes (nearly 20 for Chara) but ended up even in plus/minus. Kessel actually ended up plus-1 for the night!? I know 4 goals were on the power play (so they don't count toward plus/minus), but 6 goals were at even strength! How do you end up on the bad side of a 10-2 drubbing and still end up plus-1 for the game? Wow.

Conversely, with 6 goals scored at even strength and only one even strength goal allowed against their team, Sergei Federov, Brooks Laich, and Alexander Semin somehow ended up minus-1 for the game. Ouch.

Ovechkin got his 5 points, but the Caps really spread the love tonight. Every single player in the Capitals roster registered at least a point (either a goal or an assist) except poor Jurcina and new arrival Sergei Federov.

Besides the horrible minus-1 and no points for Sergei in the game, he didn't draw a complete goose-egg on the otherwise packed box score...he had a single shot on goal. Woooow. I'm sure he was one of the 3 stars for this game...

Chara not only pulled off an even plus/minus for my fantasy team in this game, he also pulled in an assist, a shot on goal, and 9 PIMs. And someone just offered me a trade with him for Jonathan Cheechoo. Ha! Yeah right!


The Forechecker said...

Not to nitpick (someone on the Preds message boards said the same thing), but Freeman is not the majority owner. He has the single largest holding, but not a majority...

jc said...

are you serious about keeping Chara over a trade with Cheechoo? You are crazy, he is in fire right now. How many goals & assists to you get from Chara EACH game?

Cheech pulled 1 goal, assist & 4 PIM last night alone. He is averaging nearly a goal a game. he is only getting hotter & hotter, with the Fantasy season winding down I would consider that trade.

Who else is being offered?

I watched that Caps game. I am so glad I anticipated Ovi having a great year and I bought those Preds Caps tickets. 7 games out till they are in town. That is a goal a game minus 1 to be there when he hits 60. How awesome would that be?

Paul Nicholson said...

true enough. Post corrected.

I'm absolutely serious. First you have to recognize that Cheechoo is a forward, Chara is a D-man. Much much harder to find and replace good D-men, and i have to fill those roster spots.

Second if you look at overall fantasy production (in our league that tracks G, A, PPP, SHP, +/-, SOGs, and PIMs) Chara has been a much higher performer and more consistent. In our fantasy league Chara has been the 25th best player in our league, and ranks 8th in the last month. Amazing for a D-man. Cheechoo on the other hand ranked 120th for the year (very average for a forward) and 7th for the last month. I could never get rid of a D-man with that kind of production for a forward who has been on a bit of a hot streak.

I know that Cheechoo has probably been playing well in real-life terms, but in fantasy terms he's been (relatively) stinking it up.

Not to mention i'd just never want a Shark on my roster ;-)

Kevin Hicks said...

JC, I'm with you 100%--as a matter of fact, I actually am the one who offered P-Nich the trade. I can understand his point of view as well, ass it's nice to have a reliable defenseman, but I don't think it's a bad trade for him at all. Cheechoo is definitely on fire, not only for the last month, but for the last 2 months, which truly indicates to me that he is legit. The Sharks are always going to be competitive, and he's right in the center of it. Consider this for fantasy purposes: over the last month, Cheech has only ONE LESS shot-on-goal than Ovechkin (65 to 64), the same number of goals, a higher +/- and 5x as many PIM (20 to 4). You're telling me that's "in fantasy terms, relatively stinking it up"? He's on par with Ovechkin!!!

Don't get me wrong, Chara's good, that's why I was interested in him. But to diminish Cheech's accomplishments, even for fantasy purposes, is absurd. For the record, Chara is ranked #8 overall over the last month. Where is Cheech? #7. That's right, still ahead. And for the record, one of the only reasons Chara is that high is because he's had a short-handed point in the last month, which is like catching lightning in a bottle.

A similar fluke comparison would be a 340-pound defensive tackle in football being ranked higher than his peers because he happened to catch an interception for a TD, boosting his stats compared to other linemen. The reality could be that the QB panicked and threw it right into the unsuspecting D-lineman's gut, and when he overcame the shock and realized that he had the ball, he rumbled 10 yards in for a TD. Does it differentiate statistically? Nope. That one play propels him above the competition, even though it doesn't necessarily make him better than his peers. He just so happened to have a "1" in a category where his peers have a "0".

It's nice to have a great defenseman, but it's not a justification for dismissing the accomplishments of a forward that is giving you better overall numbers.

Paul Nicholson said...

Again, i turned down the trade because i'd have to replace Chara on my D-lineup. There are no D-men available that are half of what he is, so i'd be taking a huge hit. If we were talking about who we were drafting, then yes, i'd take Cheechoo first.

But if i trade Chara away, i have to replace him on my D-core, and i'll also have to drop a forward. Sure Cheechoo would be an upgrade at forward over who i would drop, but Chara is the 3rd best D-man in the game (fantasy wise) right now. Only behind Phanuef (who i also have) and Lindstrom. The drop off to the next available D-man that i'd be able to pickup for losing Chara would be to the 25th best D-man in the league, 150th overall, Pavel Kubina.

No thanks.

If you were offering a top 3 forward in place of a top 3 d-man, then we could talk... :-)

jc said...

yeah trading a forward for a good D man is a different story. wasnt thinking that when I posted. Plus you are getting a ton of PIM off of Chara.

and Cheech is far from stinking it up. He is a producer,and will continue to produce for the rest of the year. He is back in true form.

Now if you want have him cause he is a Shark, that is just dumb.

I wouldnt have a Pred on my team, but not cause they are Preds.