Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Taylor Hall Contract Extension

The Edmonton Oilers have signed former 1st overall pick Taylor Hall to a 7 year contract extension worth $42M (with an annual salary of $6M). This is certainly a rich contract for a player at his stage of development with 95 PTS in his first 126 GP. That's a richer contract than John Tavares, but less money than Edmonton offered Thomas Vanek once upon a time. Taylor Hall's second contract is more money than that attained by Corey Perry, Milan Lucic, Ryan Getzlaf, and Phil Kessel. Logan Couture signed a 2 year $5.7M deal, and compared to what Hall got, Logan should consider firing his agent. The bottom line, this is an expensive contract for a player who has yet to play more than 65 games in a season.

Below is a list of players who signed their current contracts at a similar age and have comparable offensive production.

Player  Team   Cap HitYears Total money
Alexander Ovechkin WSH $9,538,462 13 $124,000,006
Thomas Vanek BUF $7,142,857 7 $49,999,999
Anze Kopitar LAK $6,800,000 7 $47,600,000
Patrick Kane CHI $6,300,000 5 $31,500,000
Jonathan Toews CHI $6,300,000 5 $31,500,000
John Tavares NYI $5,500,000 6 $33,000,000
Phil Kessel TOR $5,400,000 5 $27,000,000
Corey Perry ANA $5,325,000 5 $26,625,000
Ryan Getzlaf ANA $5,325,000 5 $26,625,000
Bobby Ryan ANA $5,100,000 5 $25,500,000
Jakub Voracek PHI $4,250,000 4 $17,000,000
Milan Lucic BOS $4,083,333 3 $12,249,999
Jordan Staal CAR $4,000,000 4 $16,000,000
Nathan Horton BOS $4,000,000 6 $24,000,000
Sam Gagner EDM $3,200,000 1 $3,200,000
Logan Couture SJS $2,875,000 2 $5,750,000
Brad Marchand BOS $2,500,000 2 $5,000,000
Bryan Little WPG $2,383,333 3 $7,149,999
Max Pacioretty MTL $1,625,000 2 $3,250,000

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How Hockey Fans Can Punish NHL For Pending Lockout

NHL fans are once again staring down the barrel of Gary Bettman's gun, with yet another lockout appearing more likely by the day. Us die hard fans can't help but feel helpless in a process where we have no voice. While we feel rage against the NHL machine, there is one way that we can make our voices heard. Make the NHL feel our pain if they choose to force a work stoppage; and that is by boycotting every single NHL sponsor (credit Puck Daddy). The Marek Vs Wyshynski podcast mostly promoted an "occupy movement" targeting the NHL store, but also addressed a the possibility of a boycott of sponsor's products. Clearly the boycott is the best possible idea, and one that needs to go viral.

We the fans need to organize into a cohesive consumer unit. We are very loyal fans and will likely return to the rinks if there is another prolonged lockout as Gary suggests. But if we can organize a mass boycott of NHL sponsors and are actually able to have an impact on their bottom line, that's the only thing that will put sufficient pressure on the league to get back on the ice. It is imperative that we draw a line in the sand here and now and exercise our collective power to affect change, lest we doom ourselves to work stoppages every few years. Lets send a message to Gary Bettman that he can't silence the voice of the voiceless.

If you are anything like me, I've peaked your interest. To participate, do not buy any products from the companies listed below. These are the "corporate marketing partners" listed on If you want to try and affect a speedier resolution to this stalemate, take the pledge and join the boycott. It even includes Tim Hortons, which might be difficult for some people. You're right Gary, myself and others will return to watching hockey when it resumes, but that doesn't mean that I have to drink Gatorade, Molson Canadian, Coors Light, or Pepsi Max in the meantime. I don't have to eat Lays potato chips. Maybe I can't eat just one, but I can sure as shit eat none. Please, help me help you help the game of hockey; and take the pledge.

The Pledge: Put one hand in the air and one hand on your heart. Repeat the words "I (insert name) pledge not to buy products from the following companies until a new NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed."

NHL Sponsors
EA Sports
Molson Canadian
Pepsi Max
Westin Hotels
Sirius radio
Canadian Tire
Tim Hortons
Discover card

Monday, August 27, 2012

Which Active NHL Players Played In Europe During 2005 Lockout?

With another NHL lockout looming in 2012, it remains to be seen how many NHL players will explore playing in Europe as a plan B if they want to keep playing hockey. This list is of active NHL players who played their first and last pro season in Europe in 2005, and what team/league they played in. You may also see their point totals from that league (for those that played in more than 1 league, only the stats from the team they played the most games for is listed). Sweden and Switzerland were by far the most popular destinations. This list does not include undrafted players, so only those drafted by a NHL team are here (simply explained, I made the list from my database of drafted players). To qualify a player must have played at least 1 NHL game in 2012.

Marty Reasoner Salzburg Austria 11 5 4 9
Jay Pandolfo Salzburg Austria 19 5 7 12
Ethan Moreau VSV Austria 16 10 6 16
Scott Nichol London Britain 24 9 19 28
Michal Rozsival Trinec Czech 51 2 13 15
Rostislav Klesla Vsetin Czech 41 7 17 24
Mike Ribeiro Blues Finland 17 8 9 17
Brian Campbell Jokerit Finland 44 12 13 25
Hal Gill Lukko Finland 31 2 8 10
Erik Cole Berlin Germany 39 6 21 27
Stephane Robidas Frankfurt Germany 51 15 32 47
Jamie Langenbrunner Ingolstadt Germany 11 2 2 4
John-Michael Liles Iserlohn Germany 17 5 6 11
Nick Schultz Kassel Germany 46 7 15 22
Eric Belanger Bolzano Italy 12 13 10 23
Matt Cullen Cortina Italy 36 27 33 60
Craig Adams Milan Italy 30 15 14 29
Ryan Malone Ritten Italy 10 6 2 8
Jason Chimera Varese Italy 15 7 3 10
Brad Richards Kazan Russia 7 2 5 7
Vincent Lecavalier Kazan Russia 30 7 8 15
Dainius Zubrus Tolyatti Lada Russia 42 8 11 19
Bryan Allen Voskresensk Russia 19 0 2 2
Michal Handzus Zvolen Slovakia 33 14 24 38
Chris Phillips Brynas Sweden 27 5 3 8
Sheldon Souray Farestads Sweden 39 9 8 17
Manny Malhotra HV71 Sweden 20 5 2 7
Mike Knuble Linkoping Sweden 49 26 13 39
Steve Staios Lulea Sweden 7 2 1 3
Justin Williams Lulea Sweden 49 14 18 32
Adrian Aucoin Modo Sweden 14 2 4 6
Daniel Cleary Mora Sweden 47 11 26 37
Shawn Horcoff Mora Sweden 50 19 27 46
Nicklas Grossman Sodertalje Sweden 31 0 2 2
Taylor Pyatt Hammarby Sweden2 24 11 9 20
Jamal Mayers Hammarby Sweden2 19 9 13 22
Michael Ryder Leksands Sweden2 32 27 21 48
Trent Hunter Nykoping Sweden2 24 9 6 15
Dany Heatley Bern Swiss 27 17 11 28
Daniel Briere Bern Swiss 36 17 29 46
Rick Nash Davos Swiss 44 27 20 47
Joe Thornton Davos Swiss 40 10 44 54
Paul Martin Fibourg Swiss 11 3 4 7
Tim Connolly Langnau Swiss 16 8 3 11
Alex Tanguay Lugano Swiss 6 3 3 6
Mike Fisher Zug Swiss 21 9 18 27
David Legwand Besel SwissB 3 6 2 8
Arron Asham Visp SwissB 5 2 4 6

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Did Lance Armstrong Cheat?

Cycling is one of the world's dirtiest sports for blood doping. One would be completely justified to assume that winning 7 Tour de France titles against a heavily doped up field would require some form of artificial (and likely illegal) performance enhancer. If everyone else is cheating, then the odds of that level of success done legally becomes more improbable, if not impossible. That being said, you can't impose guilt on an athlete until he tests positive (Barry Bonds notwithstanding), however likely you think it is that he cheated. Suspicion and indirect circumstantial evidence is not sufficient to prove guilt in our society (unless it is Barry Bonds).

Do I think Lance Armstrong cheated? Probably. Do I care if he did? Not at all, not in that sport. If they take a title away from Lance and give it to the 2nd place finisher, I'm willing to wager that guy probably also received an artificial boost. Add to that the fact that Lance is a cancer survivor and an inspiration to everyone with that malady, he's not someone I'd like to see publicly shamed after retirement (unlike Barry Bonds, whom I very much enjoyed watching his shaming). This crusade by the US federal authorities to strip Lance Armstrong of his yellow jerseys is ridiculous, and a precious waste of tax payers money. They spent millions of dollars on this investigation, money that could have been spent on advancements in drug testing.

Does the fact that everyone else was cheating make it okay if Lance did? No and yes. I choose to have my cake and eat it too. Cheating is bad and should be discouraged, but look forwards rather backwards, especially with the cancer survivor. Accuse me of selective hypocrisy if necessary, but I choose to like Lance Armstrong and disapprove of his punishment by his own government.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

David Pratt Gets A New Show

After spending half the summer guest hosting Sportstalk for Dan Russell on CKNW 980 in Vancouver, David Pratt has been rewarded with his own show, weekdays 7pm to 9pm on that same station, as the Newstalk channel expands its sports coverage. This is great news for those of us who listen to sports talk radio in British Columbia and are tiring of the Team 1040/1410 content. Big Daddy is back and no longer has to live under the shadow of Don Taylor, he's free to blossom. I have trouble listening to that afternoon show ever since B-Mac took over for Pratt. It's as though that job requires a flagrant jack-ass to be entertaining.

It needs to be said that there are drawbacks to Pratt; 1) he makes frequent factual errors, 2) he over-sensationalizes stories that are far from sensational 3) he's a douchebag, albeit the manner in which he is a douchebag makes him a more entertaining host for talk radio.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Why Gary Bettman Should Be Fired

With less than a month remaining before the current NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire, Commissioner Gary Bettman has been talking tough, threatening yet another lockout unless the owners demands are met. The initial CBA proposal unleashed by the NHL received general ridicule from the hockey media, where the player offer was considered fair, if not compromising. One thing is becoming increasingly clear as these "negotiations" deteriorate, Gary Bettman needs to be fired. He needs to be fired not just for the benefit of hockey fans, but also the owners who pay his excessive salary. This widely reviled figure has become a hindrance to healthy labour negotiations.

So why should Gary Bettman be fired? Here are 5 reasons.

1) He's a douchebag. Yes, in my quasi-professional opinion as a hardcore hockey fan, I hate Gary Bettman and I'm not alone. No other professional commissioner gets booed as frequently and as passionately as Gary, pretty much everywhere he goes. It would seem as though the court of public opinion doesn't matter to the league's owners as they continue to allow a toxic figure to be their representative. He's like a cheap outcast from a Bond villain casting couch, and now the large majority of fans are on the player's side. Is there no leverage in having public opinion supporting your cause? It might not matter, but it should matter.

2) If the NHL were an episode of Sesame Street, we'd have to play the game "several of these things do not belong here"; namely hockey franchises struggling in weak hockey markets that were moved there under Gary's watch. Phoenix is dying. The Atlanta Thrashers have already moved to Winnipeg, while Florida, Nashville, Dallas and others find themselves in perilous financial positions. I'm not sure the Columbus Blue Jackets have ever turned a profit. The worst example though is Phoenix, a team that should have been moved 3 years ago when they had a buyer, "money bags" Balsille. The team has been bleeding money ever since, with the owners picking up the tab. Millions of dollars they never would have had to pay if the Coyotes were playing in Hamilton.

3)  Boots Del Biaggio was his name-o. Before Bettman ever went to court to block Balsille from relocating the Coyotes to a healthy hockey market, he did the same thing in Nashville. He found a hand picked stooge to save the Predators franchise, a man who would end up being convicted of fraud for falsifying documents used to obtain the loan to buy his share of the team. Rather than skeletons in his closet, Gary has Boots.

4) We lost an entire season to get a system Bettman insisted we needed; a system that 7 years later with revenue at record levels, Bettman now insists is flawed/broken and needs an overhaul. If the system we have now is broken, when Bettman got everything he wanted, who's fault is that exactly? What broke first, the chicken or the egg? He was either wrong then or he is lying now. Most of us are convinced that the system in place is working just fine and should be extended as is., and we don't trust Gary Bettman to give us a correct or honest appraisal of the state of NHL hockey.

5) He gets paid too much. $8 million dollars per season is far more than this man is worth. There are a lot of people out there who can do a far better job at a far cheaper price. At least demand a 25% rollback in his salary. Hold a chunk of it in escrow in the event that NHL revenue falls.

The biggest problem facing the NHL are the dying franchises, but the majority of the league is in a very healthy financial position. It would seem that if you want to solve the most serious problem, revenue sharing would do a Hell of a lot more than turning back the clock on free agency. Why should the players and fans pay a heavy price because Gary helped moved franchises to markets with no business hosting NHL hockey teams? This entire predicament rests entirely on Gary's shoulders, no matter which way you slice it. I would encourage all hockey fans to send a Tweet to the Twitter hashtag #FireBettman. This needs to be done, as we are leaving the future of our game in the hands of a deviant who does not deserve the privilege.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

NHLPA CBA Proposal

Today the NHL Player's Association boss Donald Fehr gave the league a proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement. He said that it was not a "counter-offer" but rather an "alternative view". The initial offer made by the NHL received general condemnation by the media for being absurd and excessively greedy. The player's first proposed CBA is far more reasonable than what Commissioner Gary Bettman tried to shove down our throats. Considering the league has been setting revenue records consistently since the lockout (where we lost a season so the owners could get "cost certainty" which they now have), it's hard to swallow when Gary tries to sell a story of financial hardship. Things have never been better.

The NHLPA is seeking to break the linkage between league revenue and the salary cap, settling instead for small incremental increases in the salary cap. The cap would no longer be free floating, which would eliminate the need for escrow. When Donald Fehr says the deal will save the NHL $465 million, that number is just a little bit misleading. That refers to the amount of cap space the players would be giving up (over 3 years combined) if the NHL revenue continues to grow at 7% (its average growth rate since the last lockout). Under the NHLPA proposal, if revenues stay the same, the salary cap goes up. If revenues fall, the salary cap goes up. This proposal takes away all the downside risk and guarantees the players cap increases for the next 3 seasons.

The next major highlight of the NHLPA offer was increased revenue sharing, which is no surprise. By helping provide lower income teams with the means to spend more money on player salaries, the players will make more money. There would certainly be a number of owners eager for a more lucrative revenue sharing system, depending on where they draw the line. The question is whether it will get enough support from owners to pass into NHL law, which is dicey at best. It would benefit the players and low income teams, but will receive strong opposition from the league's richest and most powerful teams who will be on the hook to prop up weak franchises more than they already do.

The existing CBA is set to expire in one month and both sides have now made their initial offers. Where things go from here is anyone's guess, but if Bettman categorically rejects the offer, he's going to find that public opinion is not on his side this time around. The worst possible thing he could do is walk away from negotiations rather than making a reasonable counter offer. The NHLPA offer was completely fair, the same can't be said about the crap produced by the NHL.

Chad Johnson: The Ultimate Head-butt

This weekend Miami Dolphins wide receiver Chad Johnson (aka Chad Ochocinco) was arrested for allegedly head-butting his wife after she confronted him about a receipt for a box of condoms. As a result of this infraction VH1 has announced that it is cancelling its new reality series Eve and Ocho, which was going to follow the lives of the couple. The dozens and dozens of fans of Chad's other series "The Ultimate Catch" (his Flava Flav knock off dating show) have to be very disappointed. Ochocinco claims that his wife head-butted him, that he was not the aggressor, but either way a domestic violence charge will very likely kill his career in reality "romance" television. The world is mourning the loss of "Eve and Ocho" before it even started, not to mention Ultimate Catch reruns.

If we're lucky, he'll catch on with the next series of the Surreal World, where troubled celebrities gather and live under the same roof. Being embroiled in controversy will not necessarily kill his career as a reality television star, just romance based reality television. He can no longer be considered the "ultimate catch", as he slowly drifts into the Mel Gibson zone.

Monday, August 13, 2012

NHL CBA 2012: Free Agency Rules

The NHL submitted their initial proposal for the next NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, which included new rules for unrestricted free agency. The new rules would give NHL teams ownership over players for 10 years, up from the 7 years of service in the expiring CBA. The NHL's initial offer included a number of absurd proposals, but turning back the clock on free agency has to be the most ridiculous. It is as much a general workers rights issue as it is a component of a financial bargaining. The rest of us out in the work force have the right to choose our employer, and more importantly, the city in which we live.

One could argue that giving up the freedom to choose is a reasonable price to pay if you're going to work in an industry with multi-million dollar salaries, however the majority of players who will play at least 1 game in the NHL will never become multi-millionaires. Being unable to chose the optimal system can significantly diminish a player's career prospects (like a goaltender with a franchise that has too many goaltenders). Perhaps if restricted free agent offer sheets were more common, more generally accepted among Managers, then this proposal would be more tenable, giving players more flexibility in determining where they'd like to live and work, while compensating teams for the loss of an asset. I'm a huge proponent of offer sheets and have said on multiple occasions that the biggest problem with offer sheets is that they aren't used often enough.

Rather than further restricting free agency, change the rules so that players can make more money if they re-sign with their current team, and/or lower the cap hit for returning players. Give teams an advantage when it comes to retaining talent, rather than further restricting freedom. This allows for "sign and trades" where teams losing the player can at least get something in return for the departing asset. The salary cap discount should only apply to players who played at least a full season with that team, such that there is no compensation for teams losing rental players. This is a far better option than restricting freedom to choose.

A wise philosopher once said "you may take our lives, but you'll never take our freedom!" Bettman has to know that this is a non-starter with the NHLPA. Perhaps it is a preemptive strike to discourage the union from asking for a further lowering of the unrestricted free agency age. Hopefully it is just a bargaining tactic rather than an amendment the NHL is willing to lose games to get. That would be a shame, especially given the logical alternatives. Compensate teams for losing players and give them an advantage in retaining their players. Gary's proposal is a bad idea.

London 2012 Olympics: Canadian Crying Games

The 2012 London Summer Olympics have come to a close and as countries reflect on their performances, how will Canadians remember these games? Our athletes lacked the "Midas touch", winning only one gold medal and placing 36th in the medal standings. I don't know about you, but I'll remember these games for all the weeping Canadian athletes did after disappointing performances. There's no crying in baseball, but apparently there is plenty of crying in Summer Olympics. This was the first Summer Olympics since the introduction of the Own The Podium program, offering government funding for athletes based on performance. Canada finished with the same total medals as Beijing, but far fewer gold and silver.

What will I remember about these Olympics many years from now? Here's a list of 10 things I'll remember about London 2012:

1) Bolt vs Phelps: The world was privileged enough to watch two of the greatest Olympic athletes of all-time go out with a bang. London fell in love with Usain Bolt. Our generation will debate for years who was the greater Olympian, Phelps or Bolt? Phelps has become the most decorated Olympian in terms of total medals, but Bolt is also in uncharted waters as the greatest sprinter of all-time. Bolt has won every single race he's ran at the Olympics, but since sprinters tend to have smaller career windows than swimmers (and fewer available medals), they can't be compared by the same metrics. It's a tough call, but great conversation for the golf course or water cooler.

2) Christine Sinclair is awesome: The soccer star has now vaulted herself into the conversation for who is the best Canadian female athlete in any sport. She's definitely top 3, arguably our very best. Her 3 goals against the United States in the semi-finals might be the single greatest individual athletic performance in Canadian Olympic history. Sadly for Christine, the rest of the Canadian team could not play to her level. She deserved to be Canada's flag bearer for the closing ceremonies, and kudos to those who chose her for that honor over the trampolinist. Sinclair is not about to fade into oblivion, with Canada hosting the women's World Cup of Soccer in 2015.

3) Cry me a river: Normally I would feel more sympathy watching an athlete sob in defeat, but it feels as though we have been saturated in tears and my compassion for weeping is experiencing diminishing marginal returns. Enough! Was Paula Findlay crying because she let down Canada, or because she might lose funding? Most of us didn't even know who she was until we saw her crying on television. We didn't place this pressure on her, she placed it on herself. It got to the point where Jered Connaughton was applauded as a National hero for not crying after he was disqualified in the 4x100 relay, taking all the attention away from Justyn Warner who ran a magnificent final leg. A horse rider was weeping like a toddler when they wouldn't let her run on a wounded animal, which was the moment my empathy dried up.

4) Controversial officiating: Canada got hosed on several occasions, in soccer, horse riding, boxing, track, to name a few, prompting investigations and appeals. This is the most upset I can ever remember feeling about refereeing, judging, and officiating in any Olympics. Rightly or wrongly, there was an overdose of controversy involving Canadian athletes. It does change things that the Canadian goalie was warned by the official earlier in the game that she was holding on to the ball longer than the rules permitted. Perhaps delay of game is rarely called, but a warning had been issued and the goalie continued holding on to the ball too long. That being said, I'm still furious.

5) Boo British culture: After watching a two week "celebration of British culture" I quickly came to one inescapable conclusion, I hate British culture. Mr Bean isn't funny. The Spice Girls still suck. It might have made Britons warm and fuzzy with feelings of nostalgia, doesn't mean I have to like it.

6) Spring runner: I'll remember watching Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius of South Africa run track with two legs amputated below the knee. Some openly questioned whether or not having two springs on his legs gave him an unfair advantage. In my opinion he's a great story, an inspiration to amputees and the disabled, and his participation should be encouraged in the future. Regardless of the mechanics of his prosthetic limbs, I still have to think that the calf muscle makes a significant contribution to human locomotion. Plus, it probably hurts like Hell to run in those things. Well done Oscar. I'd like to watch him run again some day.

7) "HELLO!? You play to win the game!": I will remember badminton teams deliberately trying to lose, with 3 teams tanking at the same time. The judge pleaded with them to stop, they continued to tank, and were tossed from the Olympics. This is not the first time a team or athlete has attempted to throw a match in the round robin to secure a preferred opponent in the elimination rounds, but possibly the first with two teams going head to head trying to lose. It was hilarious to watch. The best part of the story was the winless Canadian team advancing to the elimination rounds by virtue of multiple DQs, like a short track speed skating race.

I love Herm...

8) Jump around: There is only one Summer Olympic sport where Canada is walking away as the best in the world, f**king trampoline. Congrats to Rosie McLennan on her achievement, that 10 seconds of jumping producing a gold medal, but it is just a little bit embarrassing that this was the only event in which a Canadian was the best in the world. Again, well done Rosie, and forgive me if I'd like to see Canada win something other than jumping on a trampoline a few times. Canada dominates trampoline, and by the Own the Podium funding formula, this sport will not be without money anytime soon. How awesome would it be to get paid to jump up and down all day? Where do I sign up?

9) Relax, it's just a bronze: I have never seen this many athletes celebrating 2nd and 3rd place finishes like they just won the competition. Great athletes tend to have one thing in common, they hate losing and generally refrain from rejoicing anything but number one. Why is a person who finishes in 3rd place going bananas like they just won the lottery? Granted, I'm sure if you researched precisely how Canadian athlete compensation/funding is allocated, it would probably explain why some are celebrating third place like a hillbilly who just won a thousand dollars on a scratch ticket.

10) Flag bearer crashes: Former gold medalist in Triathlon Simon Whitfield got on his bike after a great swim and crashed after going over a speed bump. My first thought; why on earth is there a speed bump on an Olympic bike course? That makes no sense. The whole point of a speed bump is to slow people down, and the whole point of a race is to go as fast as possible. It was a nice career for Simon, too bad it had to end like this.

Friday, August 10, 2012

NHL Contraction/Expansion Instead Of Relocation?

With the NHL owned Phoenix Coyotes dying a slow painful death, word on the street is that the NHL would rather disband the franchise followed by expansion rather than relocate the team to a new city. This scenario includes holding a dispersal draft to release the entire Phoenix roster to the rest of the league and allows the owners to charge an exorbitant expansion fee rather than simply moving the existing team. The owners will maximize their profits, while punishing the fans of the city about to get NHL hockey.

This is a terrible idea, especially for the city getting a new NHL team. Why? Moving the Coyotes allows the new team a head start by absorbing the existing talent on the roster, a roster good enough to make it to the conference finals last season. Years of draft picks, trades, and free agent signings have allowed Phoenix to assemble an impressive collection of assets that will benefit the fans of Quebec, Markham, or even Hamilton. Disbanding the roster and starting from scratch significantly diminishes how quickly the new team will become competitive.

Of the last 9 expansion teams in the NHL (post WHA expansion) only 2 of them (22%) have won a Stanley Cup, and none made the playoffs in their first 2 seasons (where Colorado won the Cup the year after leaving Quebec). The average number of playoff appearances in the first 10 seasons of these teams was 3. Anaheim made the playoffs 3 times in their first 10 seasons, then won the Cup in their 13th season. Tampa Bay only made the playoffs once in their first 10 seasons, then won the Cup in their 12th season.

Over that same time period (1980-2012) there have been 7 teams that relocated to a new city, and 5 of them (71%) won a Stanley Cup after relocating (Winnipeg only getting the Thrashers last season). 4 of those 5 champions won less than 10 years after relocating (Dallas, Colorado, Calgary, Carolina). It took New Jersey 13 years to win the Cup after relocating from Colorado, but they did win 3 championships.

So if you are a hockey fan in a city that has a chance of acquiring a NHL franchise, what gives you the best chance of winning, an expansion team or an existing team relocating? It's not even close! But hey, at least when you're watching that diminished product struggle to reach mediocrity, you can take solace in the fact that Gary Bettman and the group of billionaires he represents made a few extra dollars. Hopefully that will bring you comfort...