It’s no secret that the 2012-13 Washington Capitals have holes to fill at wing on their top two lines. After going without a legitimate second line center for several years, the Caps’ June 2012 acquisition of Mike Ribeiro from the Dallas Stars appears to have solved that problem at least through the end of this season, when Ribeiro’s contract is set to expire. But after Ribeiro, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, the “Top 6″ talent on the Caps’ 2012-13 roster drops off substantially.
Here’s the question for you, the readers: How many Top 6 forwards do you feel the Caps have on the team right now? Tell us in the comments below or via Twitter (we’ll paste some of your tweets into this post) how many you think the Caps have and who those players are. Your answer does not have to be a whole number. For example, I might score the team at a 3.5 right now:
— Mike Holden (@mikeholden) February 18, 2013
Resale Report, a column focused on the secondary ticket market, runs every Wednesday here on BrooksLaichyear.com. Check out the first Resale Report from last week if you missed it.
Wednesday, February 13, 2012 Resale Report
Leonsis on ticket scalping at Verizon Center – “Selling tickets and sadly, buying tickets outside of Verizon Center is illegal. Scalping has become a major concern for many of our fans and they communicate these issues to us directly,” wrote Ted Leonsis, owner of the venue and three DC sports teams that play there.
In the age of online resellers such as StubHub and Ticket Exchange, it’s hard to believe that any buyers would make scalpers near a venue their source for tickets. Fraud protection and, in most cases, better prices are available through online outlets, which also don’t come with the risk of being stopped by the police or having to haggle with a scalper.
The chances of getting five people into Verizon Center for the price of one face-value ticket is a transaction that would be highly unlikely to ever occur outside the arena. But there are bargains to be had like that to games around the country on a regular basis when you use the more high-tech and legal ticket solutions. Unless you’ve waited until less than two hours before game time to purchase a ticket, when resellers have cut off resales, there’s hardly ever a reason to take your business to a scalper outside the venue. Even a tweet or a Facebook post in those last two hours before an event starts might yield tickets at a better price than purchasing them on the street.
So much for a victory tour? – The reigning Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings visited Detroit on Sunday afternoon for a nationally televised NHL on NBC game. On Friday, tickets for that Kings visit to the Wings were available starting at $15 on StubHub. On Monday, when L.A. played at St. Louis, tickets for that Blues home game were available for $7.95 on StubHub late that afternoon. The Kings at least appear to be a hot ticket back home in L.A. On Friday, they play the first of three home games in four days, as they face the Bluejackets, Avs and Ducks. Nothing is currently available on StubHub under $30 for any of those three games.
Yankees add new ticket resale option – The New York Yankees this week announced an agreement with Ticketmaster to create Yankees Ticket Exchange, providing fans with another option for buying and selling their game tickets. As reported by the New York Times Ken Belson, the team will provide fans with an incentive to use the new service over the popular StubHub: “Ticket holders will be charged only a 5 percent fee to sell their tickets, compared with 15 percent on StubHub. Buyers will be charged 10 percent of the resale value, the same as on StubHub.” Consumers (and brokers) can still unload or acquire Yankees tickets through StubHub and, with buyers being charged the same percentage on either service, it’s likely they’ll buy from the one that offers them the best ticket options or prices.
Cheap Valentine’s Day option in South Florida – The Florida Panthers have some of the lowest StubHub prices in hockey, with very few games starting at over $10. Valentine’s Day is no exception, as the Montreal Canadiens visit Sunrise. The lowest price ticket on StubHub for that game is currently listed for $8.00 and there are over 1,000 available. $35 will get you into the lower bowl presently. If last night’s sparse crowd in South Florida, when the Panthers hosted the Washington Capitals, is any indication, you and your date will have a pretty good chance at getting on the big screen. Own the Kiss Cam…or an entire section. On Saturday, it will be a much different resale story on Montreal, when the Canadiens return home to face Philadelphia. Seats on StubHub for the Flyers visit to Bell Centre currently start at $101 on StubHub.
Bargain alert for Caps fans – On Tuesday, February 26, the Carolina Hurricanes visit Verizon Center to face the Caps. As of this posting, there are 2,259 tickets available on StubHub, with the cheapest going for $24.99. On Ticket Exchange there are another 1,788 available and those currently start at $21. There are already below-face-value options available, but those prices could drop even further as the game date gets closer, especially if the inventory remains plentiful. The key to getting a great deal for a game like this is often to wait. The buyer risks the chance that prices could go up or never drop any further if the tickets start to move. But with patience from enough buyers and the right conditions, there could be some dirt cheap seats for this one come the afternoon of February 26. Here a few suggestions on how to score cheap seats like this via the resale market.
Use the #ResaleReport hashtag – Send me a screen shot of best deals you find on hockey tickets or other events. You can do that on Twitter at @mikeholden or through email at brookslaichyear AT gmail DOT com. You can also tag them on Twitter as #ResaleReport.
- Resale Report: A new column on the secondary ticket market (brookslaichyear.com)
- Over 20% of Yankee Stadium’s seats for Game 5 of ALDS are for sale on StubHub (mikeholden.com)
- StubHub before and after Jayson Werth’s Game 4 walk-off home run (mikeholden.com)
Former Washington Capital Mike Knuble didn’t say anything incredibly alarming about DC hockey fans on Philadelphia radio today. According to a transcription from the Washington Post’s constantly-transcribing Dan Steinberg, Knuble was asked what Philadelphia is like as a hockey market and he replied:
“It’s great. You talked about New York and Boston, I mean, it’s just tradition. Being a Flyers fan, being with the Flyers is passed down from generation to generation. Washington, everybody’s a new fan. Nobody’s from there really, they’re kind of just jumping on the bandwagon. But the cities like Boston, New York, Philly, Detroit, it’s like my grandfather was watching, my grandfather was a fan, he passed it to his son, then he passes it to HIS son. It’s all the way down.
That statement’s not the end of the world. And the four cities Knuble mentions are bigger hockey towns than DC; three of them are Original Six teams that date back to the 1920s and all four have won multiple Stanley Cups. There’s a lot of hockey history there.
But I will say this as a lifelong Caps fan and a native of the DC suburbs: My Maryland-born dad, whose parents were also Maryland-born, passed his love of hockey down to me and took my family to Caps games as a kid; to say we became huge fans feels like an understatement (this is a good excuse for me to link to one of my favorite Steinberg posts ever). I then passed my love for the Caps along to my now-five-year-old, hockey-crazy son, who has a Knuble jersey, a puck and stick he got from Knuble (the guy has always struck me as the epitome of class act) and a Knuble autographed picture in his room. I had to take some time to think about how to break it to him that Knuble was no longer a Cap after last season.
That makes three generations rooting madly for the Caps, a team that’s about the same age as I am, the middle of those three. And the DC area absolutely does have a ton of residents who aren’t from the region originally. But my family is far from the only one who can share a story of Caps tradition like the above, so let’s put an end to the untrue, blanket statements like ‘nobody’s from DC’ and ‘everybody’s a new fan.’ While I understand why they exist, these broad generalizations have grown tiresome and just keep creating more of the same talk.
- Flyers bring back veteran winger Mike Knuble (cbc.ca)
- Kentwood’s Mike Knuble Accepts Tryout with Detroit Red Wings (fox17online.com)
First some background on it…
I’m fascinated by the ticket resale market and sites like StubHub and Ticket Exchange. I tweet frequently via my own Twitter account or BrooksLaichyear’s when I see interesting prices on hockey tickets, such as a 99 cent bargain for an NHL game in Ottawa last week.
As I’ve written on my own blog at mikeholden.com in the past, these resale markets are no way to keep your tickets out of the hands of the opposing team’s fans. If you believe in and are looking to protect your team’s home ice advantage or don’t want a bunch of people in the other team’s jerseys cheering or rubbing it in when your team gets scored on in your home rink, sites like StubHub and Ticket Exchange are no way to unload your tickets. However, those sites can be a nice way to score some deals if you’re a buyer.
I’ve blogged here on BrooksLaichyear.com about how you can get some great deals on seats for a game via the resale market, if you’re willing to wait until the day of to purchase them and don’t mind sometimes seeing a potentially less popular opponent or going to a game on a weeknight (some fans will go see any two NHL teams play any night of the week if the tickets are under $10 or $20, for example). But just this past weekend, tickets could be had for less than half of face value to a Penguins-Capitals game in Washington, a match-up that normally comes at a higher cost in the resale market, even when there’s last-minute inventory that people have slashed prices on.
There are times when it make sense to pay face value for a seat or when owning season tickets results in a price break. But there are other times when demand falls and you can do much better on price, if you don’t mind some small sacrifices such as sitting in different seats each game and not knowing if you’re going until just a few days or hours before puck drop. In fact, two and half hours before face-off is when some of the best deals start to fall into place (Note: StubHub cuts off sales two hours before game time).
So, given my own hobby of following the secondary ticket market and knowing others share an interest in it, I’m starting this new column here on BrooksLaichyear.com. Each Wednesday I’ll highlight some of the notable things I’ve come across involving the secondary ticket market. To start, much of what I post will likely be hockey-related but it could grow from there.
Please feel free to pass along tips and other info to me via Twitter at @mikeholden or through email at brookslaichyear AT gmail DOT com. In the meantime, here’s this week’s column:
Resale Report, 1/6/2013
- $9 to see Sid and Malkin play the Islanders? – $34 for an upper level ticket in DC for the Penguins at the Caps this past Sunday via Ticket Exchange seemed like a good deal. Those seats would normally be priced by the Caps at around $80 in the primary market through TicketMaster. But on Tuesday, when Pittsburgh visited the Islanders, the price to see Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin got absurdly low with tickets available through StubHub for $9. Not a bad price for the first place Pens versus a young Islanders team showing a lot of promise
- Stanley Cup Champs for $6 – If any big hockey fans in Columbus were bummed about the NHL lockout forcing the cancellation of this season’s NHL All-Star Game, which would have taken place in their city, they had the opportunity to catch a pretty good hockey team in their town this week. Tickets to see the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings face the Bluejackets last night could be had for $6 on Stub Hub yesterday afternoon.
- Winnipeg seems to like the Jets – On Tuesday, the vast difference in demand for hometown NHL hockey in two Canadian cities was on display. Tickets to see the Winnipeg Jets play at home have typically been the most expensive in the hockey resale market recently, with the least expensive options on StubHub often going for $100-$200+. For their Tuesday game against the Panthers, the cheapest StubHub seat that morning was priced at $129. At the same time, in Ottawa, the lowest priced ticket to see the visiting Buffalo Sabres face the Senators was going for $8.
- Steal of the week – Speaking of Ottawa, the most ridiculous deal in NHL hockey so far this season may have been on January 29, when tickets to see the Washington Capitals face the Senators in Ottawa were available on StubHub for 99 cents the day of the game. #hockeyisback, but the news may not have reached the Canadian capital just yet.
- Cheap seats in Hockeytown – Tickets to see the Calgary Flames visit the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday were going for $8 on StubHub on game day. Perhaps the opponent wasn’t attractive, as the Flames sit near the bottom of the standings. That may have also been the case back on January 29, when you could see the Wings host the Dallas Stars for $9. Yet a look at the rest of Detroit’s home games on StubHub shows many games already hitting the $20-$30 range with 1,000-2,000 tickets available. Even home games against the Central Division rival Blackhawks and Predators start below $50 on StubHub at the moment.
- Nothing for under $50 in NYC – As you might expect, there are few bargains to be had for any upcoming New York Rangers games. The cheapest seat to any Rangers home game through StubHub at the time of this posting is $51 and that’s when they’re visited on February 26 by the team with the most expensive StubHub home tickets in hockey, the previously mentioned Winnipeg Jets. There are currently 2,751 tickets on StubHub for that game. If the inventory for that remains large as game day approaches, those prices could fall a bit.
- Resale market news from Time – In a Time article, one economist says, “arena box offices should consider a buy-back strategy so that they could sell the same ticket not just once, but multiple times.”
- Send me your best deals – Send me a screen shot of the best deals you find on hockey tickets or other events. You can do that on Twitter at @mikeholden or through email at brookslaichyear AT gmail DOT com.
Announcing their return from another lockout, the NHL’s new slogan states, “Hockey is back.” In reality, their brand of hockey is back. Other leagues—from college to juniors to the minors and even recreational and instructional ones—carried on, as did thousands of informal street and pond games. The NHL may be home to the best men’s hockey players in the world, however, the sport exists outside the boundaries of their business.
But the NHL’s new marketing copy goes along with the way the league and the players’ association often appeared to be operating during the latest lockout: as if they are the only thing that matters.
As has been written many times at this point, the two sides turned their back on fans, businesses and arena employees by not getting a deal done in time to for the start of the season in September and then dragging out their work stoppage for four months. The NHL and the NHLPA even released statements in their back-and-forth on the day of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, while many were focused on that tragedy, hammering home the fact that the two parties seemed to be living in a clouded world of their own.
And with their new slogan, the NHL still doesn’t appear to get it. Hockey never left. A bunch of guys who waited too long to start seriously negotiating a deal deserted thousands who were invested in them. The game of hockey itself is more than just a business and goes on, with or without those men.
If the league and the players want to engage fans who are feeling uninspired to watch the NHL brand of hockey, many of them need to rethink the way they’re issuing their post-lockout statements.
Some players and owners have been thanking fans for their patience and some have apologized; I do not question the sincerity of these statements. If this had been the first time the league had shut down on its fans, perhaps words of sorry and thanks would be enough.
But after four work stoppages in the last two decades, more players and owners, as well as Commissioner Gary Bettman, need to not only thank people for their patience and apologize, but show true regret and that they understand they flat-out screwed up by allowing another lockout to occur.
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller came out with some of the more honest talk I’ve seen from a player since the lockout ended, telling ESPN:
“The best thing to do is acknowledge that it was stupid,” Miller said Friday, before turning his attention to Sabres fans. “I appreciate their patience. I know it’s a hard situation. I still don’t even know the right message because it was just a stupid, useless waste of time.”
Miller, who played a role in negotiations, called himself “embarrassed” that it took more than six months of negotiations to reach an agreement.
Roughly worded but honest statements like Miller’s are a good place to start as more in the NHL draft their own messages. NHL hockey may be back, but some fans will be slow to return until more is done by the league and the players to show they truly grasp what they’ve been responsible for.
As my six-year-old daughter likes to say, “Sorry isn’t magic.” To win more people back, the NHL and NHLPA need to show that they understand just how big of a mistake they made and then, like any good team must do, stop making the same ones over and over and over.
- Uninspired to watch: The NHL is back and I don’t care (brookslaichyear.com)
- I’m Sick, I’m Tired, and I’m Done (peerlessprognosticator.blogspot.com)
- Sabres’ Miller calls NHL lockout ‘waste of time’ (espn.com)
The NHL is back and I don’t care.
Strike that. I care because of the innocent businesses and arena employees whose income was affected by the work stoppage. I’m excited for them that the lockout that began in September has finally ended. But other than that, there’s not a bone in my body that’s excited about NHL hockey at the moment.
My current disinterest in the league has nothing to do with protesting. This is not a situation where I’m ignoring a game I enjoy, just to stick it to the NHL and the NHLPA. I’m simply feeling uninspired to watch after sitting through yet another of the league’s work stoppages—the fourth in the last two decades and the third lockout of the Commissioner Gary Bettman era—with this latest version having lasted for well over 100 days.
In the early stages of the lockout, I felt disgust toward Bettman, the owners and the players’ association. I expected that, once NHL play started up again, my skipping games would be part of a personal boycott due to the greedy parties appearing to forget about the fans as they dragged out their back-and-forth.
But at some point in the last few weeks, my frustration gave way to apathy and, eventually, I found myself comfortably thinking I could live without NHL hockey. Now, I’m at a point where I need no convincing; I have no urge to turn on an NHL game as soon as they start-up.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the NHL brand of hockey, I’m very much feeling inspired to watch the sport itself. If I still lived in the DC area, I imagine going without NHL games would be tougher, as there aren’t high quality hockey options in that region other than the Washington Capitals. The AHL’s Hershey Bears are over two hours away and high level college hockey is even further. Perhaps I’d reluctantly go to Caps games, just to see some hockey, until my passion for the NHL eventually returned.
But a few weeks ago, my family and I moved to Connecticut and on Saturday night I attended my first Division I college hockey game in over 10 years, watching the Quinnipiac men’s team defeat Harvard to extend their unbeaten streak to 14. The hockey was exciting, the arena was great and at no point did I find myself feeling like I was watching a lower quality product than I’d see at an NHL game (though obviously there is a difference in the overall skill level). I can’t wait to get back to another college game and I imagine it will be weeks or days before I attend my next, not years like last time.
I’m not sure when I’ll feel the urge to invest time and money in the NHL again. It could be weeks or days or months. I doubt I’m gone for good. But the end of the lockout hardly has me excited to watch. The last of that desire left me weeks ago, drained while witnessing two sides bicker as if they didn’t care much about when NHL hockey started up again either, or for anyone but themselves. The agreement they are finalizing now would have been great news last summer.
Our guide to tonight’s AHL Showcase between the Hershey Bears and the Norfolk Admirals at Verizon Center in Washington, DC is simple. It’s in the tweet below and we hope you’ll spread the word. There are downtown businesses and arena workers affected by the NHL lockout that could use the dollars. Enjoy the hockey! And please pour a little money into the local economy too if you can.
One more thing: As tweeter @Sdunn2984 pointed out today, there is a toy drive for the Salvation Army at tonight’s game. “The Capitals will be accepting donations at the F Street Entrance to Verizon Center starting when doors open at 6 p.m.,” according to the team’s website. “The first 1,500 fans to donate will receive a commemorative Adam Oates Hall of Fame poster. The Capitals, GEICO, Comcast SportsNet and The Salvation Army urge all Caps fans to donate at least one new, unwrapped toy for a deserving child this holiday season.”
- Leaving the NHL off the holiday list (brookslaichyear.com)
- As NHL lockout continues, AHL surges forward as attractive alternative for hockey-starved fans (calgaryherald.com)
- As NHL’s latest lockout lingers on, a basement hockey league goes overseas (brookslaichyear.com)
- Hockey fans find ways to get their ice fix (Gazette.net)
Back in September, I was browsing racks of jerseys at the NHL Store in Manhattan with my kids one morning, when a store employee asked if we could use any help. “Thanks but we’re just wandering, checking it all out. I told them we can’t buy anything until the lockout’s over anyway,” I said, and we both just kind of laughed. I was serious though.
I then asked how the lockout, just a few days old at that point, was affecting business so far and the sales associate said that, to his surprise, it had not yet made a difference. But when I asked if he expected that to change as the league’s October start date got closer, when people might normally purchase merchandise to wear to games, for example, he admitted that’s when they might feel the effects of the work stoppage.
The kids and I looked around a bit more and then walked out of there without buying anything, not even a green, mini hockey stick left over from St. Patrick’s Day that was on sale for just a few bucks.
Two months later and with the lockout still going, I’ve yet to buy anything NHL-related and I’m frustrated enough that I won’t go back to giving the league my money right when the ordeal ends.
Recently, the subject of Washington Capitals merchandise came up when discussing Christmas gifts with my wife. We normally get the kids each at least one piece of Caps gear for the holiday. But not this time. The boycott continues. There are plenty of other things to spend the money on without compromising my belief that the NHL is undeserving of our dollars right now.
This is the fourth NHL work stoppage in the last two decades. It’s tough on the fans, who invest time and money in their favorite teams, but there are also bars, restaurants, cab companies, mass transit systems, parking garages, and many other businesses locally and worldwide that lose revenue as a result of it. Employees lose income in some cases and local economies suffer when the owners and players bicker over issues that should have been worked out months ago, at the latest.
The two sides inability to get a deal done has spread the damage far beyond their own pockets and I can think of better places to put my shopping dollars. Even if the lockout ends before the holidays, there won’t be any gifts given by my family that have an NHL tag on them.
- Are you wearing your NHL gear during the lockout? And other thoughts (brookslaichyear.com)
- Molson Coors sees beer consumption slump amid NHL lockout (macleans.ca)
- Take the 30 second NHL lockout poll (brookslaichyear.com)
- Report: NHL Will Push Season Back to Dec. 15 If No Deal Is Reached in Next Seven Days (nesn.com)
- As NHL’s latest lockout lingers on, a basement hockey league goes overseas (brookslaichyear.com)
- NHL Lockout 2012: Gary Bettman suggest 2 week break in talks (sbnation.com)
Take 30 seconds and answer our one-question poll on the NHL Lockout.
Have more to say on the topic? The comments section is available for that below or jump into the discussion about the lockout poll on reddit.
- As NHL’s latest lockout lingers on, a basement hockey league goes overseas (brookslaichyear.com)
- Past words of lockout wisdom from The Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell (brookslaichyear.com)
- Are you wearing your NHL gear during the lockout? And other thoughts (brookslachyear.com)