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Thread: Does star power matter for the NHL in the U.S.?

      
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    Default Does star power matter for the NHL in the U.S.?

    If were to make an all-injured player all-star team, it's probably Daniel Sedin(notes), Eric Staal(notes) and Marian Hossa(notes) up front; Andrei Markov(notes) and Rob Blake(notes) on the blue line; and Cam Ward(notes) between the pipes. Which is to say that there are some pretty **** good players watching the game form the press box right now (though Hossa and Sedin are nearly back).

    This infirmary-on-skates was a topic for both the Globe & Mail and the Sun this morning, as the NHL reaches the quarter pole; with Mike Zeisberger of the latter publication writing that the injuries have a devastating effect on the League's marketing:

    For a league thirsting for star power, the assembly line of sidelined marquee performers truly is a punch right in the NHL's P.R. gut. That's especially true south of the border, where, in the absence of a true national television contract (sorry, Versus, but you are no ESPN), big names are crucial in the wooing of fans.

    There's no question that the NHL's marketing focus has been star-centric ever since Gary Bettman came over from the NBA, where the name on the back of the uniform might as well be on the front, too.

    That's why the NHL flopped and flailed in its promotion of the game during the trap years: How does one market stars when their talent is literally being held back? That's why the NHL has found its stride after the lockout, as the new rules have opened up the offense; players like Sidney Crosby(notes), Evgeni Malkin(notes) and Alex Ovechkin(notes) have become marketable stars; and the shootout provides SportsCenter-ready highlights in games that would otherwise end in a tie. (Though as Puck Buddy Walt wrote over email today: Take the helmets off already.)

    So Zeisberger is correct that big names are "crucial in the wooing of fans" because the NHL has set it its marketing up to be that way. But it's that "especially true south of the border" part that we're wondering about: Do star players make a difference in the NHL's popularity in the U.S.? Or is it still about the logo on the front?

    One of the reasons Zeisberger's line raised our interest was that it harkened back to something Stu Siegel, new majority co-owner of the Florida Panthers, told us in an interview this week when asked about the impact of star players in "non-traditional" U.S. markets. In this case, we were talking specifically about Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) with the Atlanta Thrashers:

    That one superstar, arguably one of the top 10 players in the League. And the market doesn't know who he is, or they're not marketing him properly.

    There are few extremely marketable players in the League: Crosby, Ovechkin ... there aren't that many. People look at us and say we don't have any stars on our team. I would argue, "What makes a star?"

    Siegel went on to say that David Booth(notes), the injured forward for the Panthers, "is a star or pretty close to that" on a local level for the team. That said: Will the fans who do attend Panthers games not go, or not watch on television, if Booth is out?

    Like Siegel said: The players that can have that affect on gate in the U.S. are rare. Crosby is one. Ovechkin is another. On a local level, the absence of Martin Brodeur(notes) from a particular Devils game probably affects the walk-up gate. Are there others locally that do the same?

    For television, U.S. fans will make time for Ovechkin or Crosby or Malkin; the Versus ratings back that up. But is, say, Rick Nash's(notes) participation in the Blue Jackets game going to determine whether you watch it or not, as a fan inside or outside of Columbus?

    If there aren't a great number of players that swing attendance and/or viewership one way or another, what does? We'd argue that the franchise brands carry more weight with fans than anything else. The Detroit Red Wings coming to town, for example, is a big deal in a U.S. market, and not for any particular player.

    Where these theories collide is for teams like the San Jose Sharks and the Chicago Blackhawks, who are winning and entertaining teams with more than a few "name" players. Are we paying, and paying attention, as U.S. fans because of their place in the standings or because of names like Thornton, Heatley, Kane and Toews (and soon, Hossa)?

    If Zeisberger is correct, then the NHL does need to work harder to make this generation of stars viable. It needs to be "Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning" coming to down, or "Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets"; we're not sure the marketing is there yet for casual hockey fans in the U.S.

    If Zeisberger is off-base about what "star power" means in U.S. markets, then is the NHL better off marketing teams rather than players?

    Puck Daddy Wyshynski

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    Default Re: Does star power matter for the NHL in the U.S.?

    In the thoroughbred horse race known as the 2009-10 NHL season, more than a handful of competitors have come up lame by the quarter pole.

    Indeed, there is no shortage of NHL teams that have limped through the opening quarter thanks to a rash of injuries to star players, a league-wide trend that Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland calls "freakish."

    "That's the best way to describe it," Holland said yesterday. "I've never seen it like this before."

    Consider the list of big names who have been -- or still are -- out of action for at least two weeks, if not longer.

    Alexander Ovechkin. Evgeni Malkin. Ilya Kovalchuk. Brian Gionta. Ryan Smyth. Marc Savard. Milan Lucic. Jonathan Toews. Johan Franzen. Daniel Sedin. Roberto Luongo. Cam Ward. Eric Staal. Rob Blake. Sergei Gonchar. Thomas Vanek. Sheldon Souray. Just to identify a few.

    For a league thirsting for star power, the assembly line of sidelined marquee performers truly is a punch right in the NHL's P.R. gut. That's especially true south of the border, where, in the absence of a true national television contract (sorry, Versus, but you are no ESPN), big names are crucial in the wooing of fans.

    While the messes in both Phoenix and at the NHLPA are of concern to the league, the glut of superstars stuffed in the trainers room should be the NHL's most pressing issue at the quarter pole. As injury lists go, this one has been unprecedented.

    Holland sees two reasons for the trend.

    "First off, it's a freak occurrence," Holland said. "To have so many top line guys go down, what else can you say?

    "Secondly, it shows that those who claim the regular season doesn't mean anything are wrong. There are so many teams so close to each other in this age of parity, every game means something. Guys are going that extra mile, blocking shots, sacrificing their bodies, because they know every point matters.

    "In a cap world, with the majority of teams within five points of a playoff spot, guys who are bigger and stronger than ever before are playing very intense hockey."

    Equipment remains an issue, with the league examining prototypes that might soften the impact of items such as shoulder pads and elbow pads, which can be used as devastating weapons.

    Meanwhile, all these injuries have left the head honchos of the respective Olympic teams fretting endlessly. With most squads being picked by the first week of January, which players will be in top form by then, let alone by the start of the Games in February?

    For example, every member of Russia's potential top line -- Ovechkin, Malkin and Kovalchuk -- already has spent significant time sidelined because of injury.

    As for Team Canada, how will Staal rebound when he gets back? Ward too? It certainly doesn't make life easier for Steve Yzerman heading into the release of his roster Dec. 31.

    As Sun Media takes a look at the NHL at the quarter pole, remember this: In the past few days alone, it was announced that Gionta and Smyth both will miss significant time.

    Let's hope this is nothing more than, as Holland says, a "freakish" thing. Those marketing the NHL certainly do.

    ---

    Say what?

    - "In the old days (Jarome Iginla) would have got hit over the head with a stick right after ..." -- Oilers coach Pat Quinn, on what he thought was a dirty hit by Iginla on Sheldon Souray. Maybe that was the case in your day, Pat, but not in this new politically correct NHL. Hence your $10,000 fine.

    - "I don't want to be known as a loser" -- Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson. Note to Wilson: As of yesterday, your record as Leaf bench boss was 37-46-18. If you want to be known as a winner here, start winning!

    - "(He called me) the biggest fattest (expletive) pig he'd ever seen." -- Caps coach Bruce Boudreau, referring to comments aimed at him by Sean Avery. Hey Bruce, just consider the source.

    ---

    Surprise, Surprise!

    - Phoenix Coyotes: Kudos to the players for an admirable start in circus-like conditions.

    - Colorado Avalanche: There is life -- and wins -- after Joe Sakic.

    - Los Angeles Kings: Weren't the Ducks supposed to be the class of La-La-Land?

    - Buffalo Sabres: Every night is Miller time.

    Coming Up Short

    - St. Louis Blues: Too much offensive talent not to be scoring.

    - Toronto Maple Leafs: No excuses for worst start in team history.

    - Anaheim Ducks: Surely the loss of Chris Pronger isn't the sole reason for this collapse.

    - Carolina Hurricanes: Biggest free fall in league.

    Disappearing Acts

    - Christopher Higgins (Rangers): It's easy to get lost in the bright lights of the Big Apple but not like this.

    - Pavol Demitra (Canucks): Is this guy ALWAYS hurt?

    - Alexei Kovalev (Senators): Habs fans are painfully aware of this "now you see him, now you don't" act.

    - Martin Havlat (Wild): Five years, $24 million US, two goals.

    Enough Already

    - NHLPA Mess: Just bring back Glenn Healy, please.

    - Empty Seats In Phoenix/Florida: This is news?

    - Sean Avery: The Act That Never Ends.

    - A Second Team For Southern Ontario: There already is one -- the Buffalo Sabres. We like Quebec City where they sell out for peewee games.

    Early frontrunners

    - Hart Trophy (MVP): G Ryan Miller (Sabres), G Craig Anderson (Avs), F Anze Kopitar (Kings), F Alex Ovechkin (Capitals), F Marian Gaborik (Rangers), F Rick Nash (Blue Jackets).

    - Norris Trophy (Top Defenceman): Dan Boyle (Sharks), Drew Doughty (Kings), Chris Pronger (Flyers), Duncan Keith (Hawks), Mike Green (Caps), Nicklas Lidstrom (Red Wings).

    - Vezina Trophy (Top Goalie): Ryan Miller (Sabres), Craig Anderson (Avs), Martin Brodeur (Devils), Marc-Andre Fleury (Penguins), Miikka Kiprusoff (Flames).

    - Calder Trophy (Top Rookie): F John Tavares (Islanders), D Tyler Myers (Sabres), D Michael Del Zotto (Rangers), F Ryan O'Reilly (Avs), F James van Riemsdyk (Flyers), F Niclas Bergfors (Devils), F Jamie Benn (Stars).

    By MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

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    Default Re: Does star power matter for the NHL in the U.S.?

    NHL's injury list a mix of old and new names

    Published on Friday, Nov. 20, 2009 10:06AM EST

    Last updated on Friday, Nov. 20, 2009 2:39PM EST


    Injuries were the story in the first quarter of the NHL season, from tip to toe. There were injuries to players' heads (Jonathan Toews, David Booth) and injuries to their feet (more than can be counted, but including Andrei Markov, Daniel Sedin, Marc Savard, Ilya Kovalchuk and just this past week Brian Gionta). There were injuries to the players that never get hurt (Alexander Ovechkin, Eric Staal, Evgeni Malkin) and injuries to the players that always spend a portion of every season in sick bay (Simon Gagne, Daniel Briere, Martin Havlat).

    Injuries, injuries, injuries … they didn't stop and only a few teams survived the body count without it demonstrably affecting their performance.

    No club did more to purge a mediocre reputation than the San Jose Sharks, who played much of the quarter without two top-six forwards, Joe Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi, and have been without captain Rob Blake for much of November.

    Even so, the Sharks rocketed to the top of the Western Conference standings (again), placed three players in the top 10 in scoring (Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley); and have their goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov among the league leaders in wins (12), save percentage (.927), GAA (2.16), and minutes played (1,194).

    San Jose did what a lot of other teams couldn't – surviving the sort of crippling injuries that blind-sided fantasy players as well as the 30 real general mangers that run NHL teams, some of whom discovered their seasons in tatters already thanks to all the pivotal lost bodies.

    Carolina is as good as done with Staal and Cam Ward out; and Toronto is close.

    There is a maddening unpredictably to the NHL in the post-lockout era that sometimes belies all logic; and perhaps the best way to trace its fickleness is to focus on three European players - all of them high-end talents; all of whom switched teams this past summer as unrestricted free agents; and all of whom had wildly different starts to the season, mostly thanks to the injury issue. We are referring to Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa and Martin Havlat.

    The Wild – channelling the inspiring and suddenly cool again Leonard Cohen – said So Long Marian to Mr. Gaborik last summer, ending years of uncertainty and frustration over his chronic groin issues.

    Gaborik, save for one game missed this season, has been the picture of health in his new NHL home, the New York Rangers. That was him, second in the overall scoring race behind the Los Angeles Kings' breakout star, Anze Kopitar with 27 points in just 19 games through Thursday.

    Along with the play of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and astute free-agent buy Vinny Prospal, Gaborik is a primary reason why the skilled but soft Rangers are even remotely competitive this season.

    The Wild moved quickly to replace Gaborik by signing Havlat, who was coming off a fine year in which he was unusually healthy, playing 81 regular-season games and leading the resurgent Chicago Blackhawks in scoring with 77 points.

    Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher had good reason to think Havlat could give him as much – maybe even more – than Gaborik; and that at worst, it would be a wash, given the similarities in their injury histories and career point totals (Havlat – 396 points in 470 career games; Gaborik 437 points in 502 career games).

    Sadly, that has proven to be a wrong assumption. Through Thursday, Havlat – slowed by groin problems – had managed just eight points in 19 games and was a disastrous minus-14. Havlat, remember, had only been a minus player once in his career (2001-02 with the Ottawa Senators) and in three years with Chicago, was a cumulative plus-48, even if the Blackhawks were a mediocre squad for more than half of his time with the team.

    Minnesota's plan was to play Havlat with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Petr Sykora on their second line to support Mikko Koivu's front-line unit. Thus far, the trio has missed more games than it has played, with both Bouchard and Sykora on the shelf of late with concussions.

    To replace Havlat, Chicago's domino was to sign Hossa away from divisional rival Detroit. The primary difference was that Hossa has been far more durable than the others (having missed only 28 games in nine previous seasons). Hossa, who signed a 12-year contract with Chicago on July 1, promptly underwent shoulder surgery to repair a rotator cuff three weeks later. Hossa is scheduled to return some time on the Blackhawks' road trip that began Thursday night in Calgary and in an interview, suggested it would come some time next week, perhaps as early as Wednesday's date with the San Jose Sharks.

    “I just want to make sure I feel comfortable out there and have full practices with contact and get used to the game speed,” said Hossa. “That's what my aim is. Probably first or second game of the California trip, I would like to play.”

    The fact that Chicago stayed competitive despite Hossa's absence is a heartening development for coach Joel Quenneville's team, which also absorbed the departure of starting goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin for salary cap reasons and yet is still challenging for top spot in the Central Division.

    Quenneville received many different scouting reports on Hossa, all of them positive, and suggested that his transition to the lineup – even this far along in the season - would be relatively seamless. In the beginning, Quenneville plans to try him on a line with Toews and Patrick Kane just to see how the chemistry works.

    “Immediately, right after he started practising with us, we liked how he upgraded the tempo of our practices – the way he can handle the puck and see plays and make plays,” said Quenneville in an interview. “It's going to give me a lot of options as a coach. It's going to enhance our special teams as well. We're looking forward to him being useful in a lot of ways. He's probably going to get a lot of ice time.”

    As for his conditioning, Hossa says it is pretty good under the circumstances.

    “I mean, it's getting there. I feel good in practices. I was working hard on the bike when I couldn't skate, and afterwards, on the ice. But the practice and the game, it's a little bit different. It's going to take me a little time to adjust, but I hope it will be an easy adjustment.”

    The Bank of Chicago

    Even though an announcement hasn't been made, the assumption is that the Blackhawks will get all three of their core young talents – Toews, Kane and Duncan Keith – to agree to long-term contract extensions well before the end of the calendar year. The talks are unlikely to go off the rails; the expectation is that the team, so conscious of public relations these days, will await the end of their current six-game road trip to make the announcements, which would mean they probably won't come until the end of the month.

    The only real question is how they will squeeze these new contracts, which will come in with a combined cap hit in the $15-million (all currency U.S.) range – onto a payroll already at $43.2-million for 13 players for next year.

    The primary culprits were identified long ago: Goaltender Cristobal Huet ($5.625-million cap hit) and defenceman Brian Campbell ($7.14-million cap hit), neither of whom is tradable at those prices.

    Instead, the players in the crosshairs will be Kris Versteeg, Cam Barker, Dustin Byfuglien and/or Patrick Sharp, all of whom are useful NHLers. Byfuglien would be of interest to say a team such as the Rangers, who need to add a little grit. Barker can run a power play; Sharp is an underrated scorer, and Versteeg is a useful all-around player. The Blackhawks would need to shed some of those salaries without getting a salary back next year to make the cap numbers work. Instead, they'd be after draft choices; or prospects that are either on or could be inked to entry-level deals and left in the minors to develop.

    Around the rinks

    Toews gets a chance to face the Vancouver Canucks' Willie Mitchell on Sunday night for the first time since that Oct. 21 date between the two teams. That was when Mitchell's shoulder-to-chin hit concussed Toews and knocked him out of the lineup for six games. In an interview, Toews said revenge is not on his mind: “Most guys, if they could, would go back and fight the guy. I'm not looking for any retribution like that. Obviously, I want to play a great game and show them something like that isn't going to change the way I play. I felt great in the last four games. I haven't thought about going to the corners tentatively for one second. I'm just going to go right in there and mix it up and play my game” … The St. Louis Blues' Paul Kariya, coming off surgery on both his hips last season, scored two goals in his first game of the season – over in Sweden, against the Detroit Red Wings – and had a respectable five points in his first six games, but has been in a dismal slump ever since and thus far has managed zero points in November. The three-time Olympian had hoped that a fast start might put him in the mix for a fourth Olympic appearance in his hometown of Vancouver. So far, he isn't on the radar screen … Meanwhile, Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow had managed just one point in the month and might have been slipping down the chart for Canada's 2010 Olympic team until a rib injury sidelined the Los Angeles Kings' Ryan Smyth for a minimum of four weeks. The link between Kariya and Morrow: Both are veteran players, coming off major operations (Kariya hip, Morrow reconstructive knee surgery) who haven't come close to returning to their previous form … How much of an effect will Smyth's absence have on Anze Kopitar, the NHL's leading scorer? Hard to say, but the chemistry is demonstrably different with Alexander Frolov playing on the top line. Smyth likes to go to the net; Frolov generally does whatever he can to stay on the outside. If coach Terry Murray sticks with that line, it means Justin Williams will need to do much of the dirty work on the line … Good news for the Pittsburgh Penguins from the medical ward: Both Sergei Gonchar and Max Talbot played Thursday night vs. Ottawa, Gonchar for the first time in a month after breaking his left wrist and Talbot for the first time all year since off-season shoulder surgery … Also back: Milan Lucic, returning to the Bruins' lineup after a 14-game absence with a broken finger. Lucic adds beef and muscle to a Boston team that badly missed those elements during his stay on IR … Ceding to his wishes for a move back home, the Columbus Blue Jackets assigned Nikolai Filatov to CSKA Moscow of the Continental Hockey League for the remainder of the 2009-10season. The move means Filatov still owes Columbus two years on his entry-level contract. Red Army will pick up his contract for the rest of this season. It also permits Filatov – a slender six-footer weighing in at only 172 pounds, to fill out before taking another run a regular employment in the NHL … Unexpectedly, the Anaheim Ducks were bringing up the rear in the Western Conference, even with Corey Perry challenging for the scoring lead in the NHL, and his regular centre, Ryan Getzlaf, tied with Joe Thornton for the assists lead with 20 apiece. What ails Anaheim is the inability to keep the puck out of the net – something even J.S. Giguere (he of the 3.38 GAA and winless in five tries on the year) acknowledges. “If this team wants to move forward, goaltending is going to have to be better,” said Giguere, to the L. A. Times … A final thought on the Mitchell hit against Toews, from Blackhawks' coach Joel Quenneville, who noted: “You can't complain about it” – even though Toews didn't see Mitchell, who had just stepped out of the penalty box before delivering the hit. “I don't think there was any intent (to injure). It's part of the game. If he (Mitchell) wanted to hurt him, maybe he leads with his elbow, but he kept it down; sometimes, it can go in your favour as well. We all like hitting as part of the game. We'll let other people worry about it and police it.”

    Globe and mail Eric Duhatschek

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    Default Re: Does star power matter for the NHL in the U.S.?

    ????
    The only player in the NHL more overpaid than MAF is Jordan Staal

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    Default Re: Does star power matter for the NHL in the U.S.?

    Quote Originally Posted by Genofan#1 View Post
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    If were to make an all-injured player all-star team, it's probably Daniel Sedin(notes), Eric Staal(notes) and Marian Hossa(notes) up front; Andrei Markov(notes) and Rob Blake(notes) on the blue line; and Cam Ward(notes) between the pipes. Which is to say that there are some pretty **** good players watching the game form the press box right now (though Hossa and Sedin are nearly back).

    This infirmary-on-skates was a topic for both the Globe & Mail and the Sun this morning, as the NHL reaches the quarter pole; with Mike Zeisberger of the latter publication writing that the injuries have a devastating effect on the League's marketing:

    For a league thirsting for star power, the assembly line of sidelined marquee performers truly is a punch right in the NHL's P.R. gut. That's especially true south of the border, where, in the absence of a true national television contract (sorry, Versus, but you are no ESPN), big names are crucial in the wooing of fans.

    There's no question that the NHL's marketing focus has been star-centric ever since Gary Bettman came over from the NBA, where the name on the back of the uniform might as well be on the front, too.

    That's why the NHL flopped and flailed in its promotion of the game during the trap years: How does one market stars when their talent is literally being held back? That's why the NHL has found its stride after the lockout, as the new rules have opened up the offense; players like Sidney Crosby(notes), Evgeni Malkin(notes) and Alex Ovechkin(notes) have become marketable stars; and the shootout provides SportsCenter-ready highlights in games that would otherwise end in a tie. (Though as Puck Buddy Walt wrote over email today: Take the helmets off already.)

    So Zeisberger is correct that big names are "crucial in the wooing of fans" because the NHL has set it its marketing up to be that way. But it's that "especially true south of the border" part that we're wondering about: Do star players make a difference in the NHL's popularity in the U.S.? Or is it still about the logo on the front?

    One of the reasons Zeisberger's line raised our interest was that it harkened back to something Stu Siegel, new majority co-owner of the Florida Panthers, told us in an interview this week when asked about the impact of star players in "non-traditional" U.S. markets. In this case, we were talking specifically about Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) with the Atlanta Thrashers:

    That one superstar, arguably one of the top 10 players in the League. And the market doesn't know who he is, or they're not marketing him properly.

    There are few extremely marketable players in the League: Crosby, Ovechkin ... there aren't that many. People look at us and say we don't have any stars on our team. I would argue, "What makes a star?"

    Siegel went on to say that David Booth(notes), the injured forward for the Panthers, "is a star or pretty close to that" on a local level for the team. That said: Will the fans who do attend Panthers games not go, or not watch on television, if Booth is out?

    Like Siegel said: The players that can have that affect on gate in the U.S. are rare. Crosby is one. Ovechkin is another. On a local level, the absence of Martin Brodeur(notes) from a particular Devils game probably affects the walk-up gate. Are there others locally that do the same?

    For television, U.S. fans will make time for Ovechkin or Crosby or Malkin; the Versus ratings back that up. But is, say, Rick Nash's(notes) participation in the Blue Jackets game going to determine whether you watch it or not, as a fan inside or outside of Columbus?

    If there aren't a great number of players that swing attendance and/or viewership one way or another, what does? We'd argue that the franchise brands carry more weight with fans than anything else. The Detroit Red Wings coming to town, for example, is a big deal in a U.S. market, and not for any particular player.

    Where these theories collide is for teams like the San Jose Sharks and the Chicago Blackhawks, who are winning and entertaining teams with more than a few "name" players. Are we paying, and paying attention, as U.S. fans because of their place in the standings or because of names like Thornton, Heatley, Kane and Toews (and soon, Hossa)?

    If Zeisberger is correct, then the NHL does need to work harder to make this generation of stars viable. It needs to be "Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning" coming to down, or "Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets"; we're not sure the marketing is there yet for casual hockey fans in the U.S.

    If Zeisberger is off-base about what "star power" means in U.S. markets, then is the NHL better off marketing teams rather than players?

    Puck Daddy Wyshynski
    To promote, you need exposure. As it stands right now with this Versus TV contract, all that the NHL is really exposing itself to are other hockey fans. NBC kicking in after January 1st helps a tad bit but the coverage isn't greatly consistent either.

    The NHL not being on ESPN and anything hockey getting buried on ESPN news coverage is a huge set back for the sports exposure and promotion. ESPN is a network into other sports, other fans and an entire nation. Without that that type of exposure, the NHL is left basically exposing itself to itself.

    If you're going to put VERSUS it's going to be to purposely watch hockey, or bullriding or ultimate fighting. That's it and usually one isn't caring much about the other too much. there's no dominating news show or anything like that on VERSUS so running promotions on VERSUS IMO is pretty useless. It's like me as a musician, promoting the next show at a show I'm playing. It keeps the current fans in the "know" but it does nothing to attract new fans. To do that, I have to get out to different markets and areas and promote there and get the exposure up out there to gain interest in people that don't know about my band. Same exact principals with hockey and as a whole, marketing in general

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    Default Re: Does star power matter for the NHL in the U.S.?

    ****... i need to get rid of Vegas Gold in a quote. that's rough

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