Mike Kelly will be providing some guest posts during the playoffs. Here’s his first:
DVR is an amazing invention. Got home late so I figured I’d take my time eating dinner and get to the game later. After fast forwarding through commercials and intermissions, BOOM…only finished about 25 minutes after the actual game ended.
I’m going to try and post the good and the bad in my mind immediately after the game. So here goes from tonight’s big Game 1 win.
1) Braden Holtby. Cool, calm, collected…almost to a fault. He almost got caught cheating across a couple of times (the Nash shot in the 2nd period is the first one that comes to mind) but he seemed 99% in control. Barring a meltdown of some sort, the rest of his team can feel confident with him back there this post-season. And if he does make a mistake, at least his pants will be there to stop the puck (still not sure how that one didn’t go in). 36 shots and 35 saves…that’ll do every time.
2) The Third Line. What a solid game by these guys. Chimera gets the big third goal caused by Perreault’s relentless forechecking. And then there’s Eric Fehr making George McPhee look like a genius again. Fehr is finally using his long reach and big frame to his advantage…and at times seemed to be skating just as fast as Chimera. I can’t recall any time where this line really got bogged down in their own zone. And they were constantly pushing the puck up ice.
3) Mike Ribeiro. He didn’t make it on the score sheet tonight, but he played the kind of game we all criticized him for not playing so often during the regular season. Aside from a couple of silly turnovers during those first few power plays (more on that later), he played a solid team game tonight. Back-checked several times to break up Ranger chances. Dumped the puck in late in the game. And as always he made smart passes. Was very impressed with his game. I’ll also say that his line’s shift with about nine mintues left in the game tonight was the one that may have broken the Rangers. He, Brouwer, and Erat kept the Rangers pinned in their zone for a solid minute after the Rags had been all over the Caps. I thought it really changed the feel of that period and put the Caps back in the driver’s seat.
1) Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. This one started off pretty bad with the first power play…and the next two weren’t all that better. The turnovers at the blue line are especially maddening and one almost led to a Hagelin breakway goal. Fortunately Holtby bailed out Backstrom. But even not on the powerplay, the Caps were turning it over more than usual tonight. Green, Backstrom, and Erat stick out as the worst offenders tonight. Even the normally sure handed Karl Alzner was coughing the puck up. This is clearly something that must be fixed as the series goes along.
2) The Rangers first line played well. This partly goes along with the first point. But it seemed like Nash, Richards, and Zuccarello were all over the Caps tonight (Nash leading the way with eight shots on goal). I actually thought the Caps did well keeping Callahan and Stepan in check, who traditionally seem to be Cap killers. But I thought they gave Nash and Richards too much room tonight. Nash is always going to get his chances, because he’s too good of a player not too, but let’s not make it too easy for him.
3) Martin Erat. Let’s just say this was not his finest performance. A really stupid penalty, some bad turnovers, and just overall seemed lost tonight. Aside from one very good third period shift and his almost goal that Lundqvist got a glove on…i gave his performance a big, Meh.
In the end, they won…by two goals! It’s nice not to have the infamous coin flip game we were so used to last post season. Still, the Rangers had their chances and have to feel relatively good about how they played. The Caps need to clean up in their own end. And both of the Caps top two lines have to be better, especially the second line. Ovechkin and Holtby…just keep doing what you’re doing.
The Washington Capitals caused a stir on Wednesday, trading highly touted 18 year-old prospect Filip Forsberg to the Nashville Predators at the NHL trade deadline for 31 year-old winger Martin Erat and 21 year-old prospect Michael Latta.
Regardless of how these players perform from here, Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee has made a move with guts.
In the Alex Ovechkin era, the Caps have become an organization that often seems be waiting for the future to get here. And something they’ve rarely done is take a risk by dealing young prospects to try to change that.
McPhee has made his fair share of deadline acquisitions in recent years for players such as Sergei Fedorov, Jason Arnott and Cristobal Huet, to name just a few. But these have often been deals to bring in older players or ones in the final year of a contract for a short time, and without having to sacrifice a great deal in return. There’s always been somewhat of a “we’re not trading away the future for today” mentality. The Caps have made their moves in the time of the Young Guns, but they’ve never really been all that bold.
Erat isn’t simply a rental player, acquired for the stretch run. He’s under contract for another two seasons after this one at a very reasonable $4.5 million salary cap hit. The Caps have potentially filled a hole that existed in their top six forwards for the near future and without having to take on a long-term or expensive contract.
Erat has averaged .67 points per game in his 11 year NHL career, playing mostly in a defensive-minded system in Nashville. His numbers could be similar in Washington or they could make a jump now that he’ll be playing in a more offense-driven set up and with higher caliber offensive talent. It could certainly be argued that no forward on Nashville’s current roster has the established playmaking talent of Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom or Mike Ribeiro.
Could Erat end up being a bust and produce less than he has for the Predators? Absolutely. Could Forsberg be a 20-plus goal scorer or better in the league for a decade or more? Sure. But these are the chances the top teams in sports often take, sacrificing some of tomorrow for a better shot now.
The Caps have not suddenly made the leap to serious Cup contenders with this one move, though anything can happen in the playoffs if they make it. But they’ve made a trade to improve their chances at the post-season now and to make themselves better for the next two years, rather than waiting to see if prospects pan out. If Forsberg and others take a season or two to adjust to the NHL, that’s more sand through the hourglass with the current core of Caps.
And the Caps do still have several promising prospects, including forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson. A roster balance must be maintained to remain competitive in the present, yet positioned for the down the road. The Caps have hardly thrown away the future with this one risk.
Except for the once-in-a-generation types, new players can be found via trade, the draft and free agency. Another player of Filip Forsberg’s caliber will come along—there will be several of them available every single NHL draft day, in fact. Barring some huge scouting breakdown, the Caps have not dealt away the next Backstrom or Ovechkin. They traded a still very young player who should not be impossible to replace.
What you can’t get back is time. And unless the Caps want to wake up one day with a 35 year-old Ovechkin on their roster and no Stanley Cups or serious runs at one, they need to take some chances. McPhee just did.
- The issue in the Caps’ top six forwards (brookslaichyear.com)
The following is one half of a point/counterpoint pair of posts. Ryan Boushell, who leans more toward re-signing Ribeiro, has posted his view on his blog, Rocking the Red in Pittsburgh.
If the Washington Capitals can re-sign center Mike Ribeiro, preferably before the April 3 trade deadline, for two years at close to the $5 million he currently makes per season, they should do so with little hesitation. But, with the supply of first and second line centers in the 2013 free agent market already looking thin and Ribeiro putting up the best numbers of his career, the 33 year-old can likely do better in both dollars and years if he waits and tests the market this summer. This could be his last chance at a big, multi-year payday before signing some smaller contracts in his late thirties.
As well as Ribeiro has played this season, this type of ‘big payday’ contract is something the Caps should avoid in this case. Signing Ribeiro for 4+ years at $5 to $6 million per year, for example, could give a Washington team with large financial commitments to Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green even less room to maneuver in the future and would mean they’d have Ribeiro under contract until he’s at least 37.
Chances are Ribeiro won’t continue to put up the numbers he is right now for many more years. He’s posted 1.10 points per game this season through Tuesday’s loss in Pittsburgh, while averaging 0.77 per game since joining the NHL in 1999. Only once before has Ribeiro averaged over a point per game for an entire season, back in 2007-08 with the Dallas Stars, and he’s likely to face a decline in production over the coming years now that he’s reached his mid-thirties.
There is the outside chance that Ribeiro could prove his career averages wrong and continue to produce at his current level for a couple or few more years. But the Caps might also be able to get solid production from a less expensive veteran or a slightly younger player in that role, without having to take on the larger risk of a long-term deal, while also freeing up a million or so in cap space to spend on other needs.
Additionally, toward the end of any long-term deal given to Ribeiro, Caps prospect Filip Forsberg—who will likely join the team for 2014-15 season—could be pushing him for second line center minutes, depending on how quickly Forsberg adjusts to the NHL. By that point, Ribeiro could be tough to move at $5 to $6 million per year if his production has dipped.
So, if the Caps can sign Ribeiro to a reasonable two or perhaps a three-year deal prior to April 3, that’s one thing. Signing him ‘at all costs’ and for several years at around or well above what he makes now is another story.
If the Caps wait until the summer, they’re likely to overpay for Ribeiro, provided they’re able to keep him at all given the competition they’re likely to see from other buyers. And, unless he’s really enjoying Washington and sees a great future for himself with the organization that outweighs money, Ribeiro would be foolish not to play the free agency game before deciding to return to D.C. All of this creates an interesting situation for the Caps as April 3 approaches.
At no other time of year do NHL general managers give up more for players than they do at the annual trade deadline, as teams attempt to bolster their roster for the final stretch of the regular season and the playoffs. A solid second line center having a season like Ribeiro could bring a rather large return, such as a first or second round draft pick and a prospect or roster player, for example.
Another factor to consider is that with other free-agent-to-be centers Ryan Getzlaf now signed to an extension by the Ducks and the Panthers’ Stephen Weiss out for the remainder of the season with an injury, the market for Ribeiro is likely even better now than it was just a few weeks ago. If ever there were an opportunity for the Caps to sell high, this is it.
But, even though getting back big assets for a guy you might need to overpay going forward is attractive, the Caps should have a solid plan in mind to fill the hole that will be left at second line center for 2013-14 before they deal Ribeiro. There are several ways the team can do this.
Given the lack of top-tier, NHL-ready centers in the Caps system and a very young Forsberg still a year away from coming to the U.S., an immediate replacement for Ribeiro will almost certainly need to come from outside the Caps’ system.
One way to do this is through free agency but, as mentioned above, the pool for legitimate, second line centers looks thin this off-season and, just as some general managers tend to overpay in assets at the trade deadline, teams often have to overspend in dollars to land the most in-demand free agents each summer. Unless the Caps can find a veteran with a good year or two left in him, which is certainly a possibility, or come up big in the bargain bin, the best way for the Caps to replace Ribeiro might be the way they brought him to DC: via an off-season trade.
In one of the more ideal scenarios, the Caps could sell high on Ribeiro in the next two weeks to a team looking to make a run at the Cup this year and then trade for a center this summer when they might be able to give up a little less than teams normally do at the deadline. And through a trade, the Caps might find someone toward the end of a deal whose salary is less than what Riberio’s will be next season.
The Caps also might be able to find an offensive-minded center that comes without Ribeiro’s temper and penchant for complaining to the referees, which has resulted in three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in 29 games this season. His latest allowed the New York Islanders to score the game winning goal back on March 9.
Now, don’t get me wrong here as I map out these options for a Caps team without Ribeiro. It would be great to see the Caps keep the best second line center they’ve had in years, provided he cuts back on smashing his stick and yelling at refs when he doesn’t agree with a call. But the conditions under which it make sense to keep him, on a fairly short-term deal at close to the salary he currently makes, appear to be somewhat unlikely. And if the packages being offered for Ribeiro at the trade deadline get so valuable due to a bidding war—for example, two or three solid assets via a combination of picks and players—it might make sense for the Caps to unload him even if re-signing him to a short-term deal at his current salary is possible.
While Ribeiro’s numbers would be great to have again next season, balance between present and future is critical to maintaining a competitive roster season after season. If through smart trades now, the Caps can better set up their team for success the season after next—when Forsberg and highly-touted prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov will likely join a team that might already have prospect Tom Wilson with a year of NHL experience under his belt—they need to seriously consider it.
Next season should in no way be written-off though. The Caps need to find an approach where they can compete and have a shot at a long playoff run next year, but without committing to too many big contracts that could handcuff the franchise three or so years from now. A large, long-term contract for a 33 year-old having a career year like Ribeiro sends up red flags in this department.
But all present vs. future strategy and other complexities aside, if re-signing Ribeiro to a responsible deal isn’t looking likely and the Caps playoff chances appear bleak as April 3 approaches, he must be dealt. There’s simply too much to be gained at the deadline to risk letting Ribeiro just walk this summer while getting nothing in return.
For the counterpoint to this, see Ryan Boushell’s post, “To Trade or Not to Trade…”
- A look at next season’s Washington Capitals defense and Jeff Schultz (brookslaichyear.com)
- Soon might be the time for Caps to trade goaltender Michal Neuvirth (brookslaichyear.com)
- Mike Vogel On Toucher & Rich: Bruins Targeting Mike Ribeiro? (boston.cbslocal.com)
- Video: Mike Ribeiro turns his career around (prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com)
Much of what I’ve written below could go right out the window if the Washington Capitals continue winning because you don’t necessarily want to be an injury away from Phillip Grubauer in net for the playoffs just yet…
Should the Caps decide between now and the April 3 NHL trade deadline to not re-sign soon-to-be free agent center Mike Ribeiro, they have a coveted asset to sell when teams often give up more for players than at any other time. As a club with several holes to fill in its roster, a Ribeiro trade could be an opportunity for the Caps to pick up somewhere between one and three players or draft picks that could help them next season or beyond.
The Caps have another, less-often-discussed player they might be able to move at the deadline for an asset or two as well, provided they’re no longer in the playoff hunt or simply want to take a risk now for possible reward in the future: Goaltender Michal Neuvirth.
There’s no chance that Neuvirth would bring the Caps the same return that the veteran Ribeiro and his more-than-a-point-per-game average would at the deadline but, particularly given the number of injured goalies around the league at the moment, there might be some takers for the soon-to-be 25-year-old netminder.
Nuevirth will be a restricted free agent this July and he could very well be re-signed and back with the Caps for next season. But keeping Neuvirth may not be the best way for the Caps to put the best team on the ice for the next few seasons.
This week on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 980 AM, Yahoo Puck Daddy blogger Greg Wyshynski said that Braden Holtby seems to be the guy the Caps want in net, citing his mental game as one of the reasons.
If Holtby is the guy the Caps want in goal the majority of the time going forward, then it makes some sense to deal Neuvirth now, when teams could use him down the stretch, either as a back-up or as a starter, and to compete for a number one spot next season.
The New Jersey Devils—who have 40-year-old Martin Brodeur dealing with back pain, 39-year-old back-up Johan Hedberg struggling and two AHL goalies without almost no NHL experience—might be one possible trade partner for Washington.
There are other teams in the playoff race that lack experienced goaltending depth or are only an injury away—during a condensed season that has brought many for goaltenders—from having their back-up in net and mostly unproven AHL prospects on the bench. And if an in-conference trade, as a deal with New Jersey would be, isn’t the Caps’ preference, several teams in the Western Conference fit this description. A read through GoalieGuild.com’s March 2013 depth charts provides some good perspective on where each team stands. No one is necessarily desperate enough to make a move just yet, but they could be in the coming weeks.
It’s extremely doubtful that the Caps will find someone willing to give them what the Colorado Avalanche gave them for goaltender Semyon Varlamov back in 2011: a first and a second round pick. But if the playoffs look out of sight for the Caps at some point and they get an offer half as good as what Colorado gave them, they should take it. The Caps could even consider a Neuvirth trade regardless of the playoff picture, provided they’re comfortable enough with Grubauer as a back-up.
Then this off-season, the Caps can sign a veteran back-up for Holtby for close to what it would cost them to re-sign Neuvirth. The team would then have an insurance goalie behind Holtby for next season, with Grubauer getting more time to develop at the AHL level. And the Caps would have the additional asset or two they got for Neuvirth as well.
- Capitals goalie Neuvirth sick; Grubauer recalled (espn.go.com)
- No controversy? Caps to give Neuvirth fourth start in a row (prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com)
- NHL notebook: Oilers place goalie Khabibulin on IR (triblive.com)
Hockey writer Neil Greenberg was a guest today on The Tony Kornheiser Show. Kornheiser has referenced Greenberg’s writing recently on-air, appearing to become somewhat of a fan of the advanced hockey stats expert and Washington Post, ESPN contributor. Here are some highlights from today’s appearance, Greenberg’s first ever on the show:
Greenberg on drinking from the Stanley Cup after the Rangers won it in 1994:
“I was frequenting some of the bars in Nassau County…there were people taking pictures with the Cup outside of one of the bars, so we stood in line. As soon as I turned the corner to enter the bar, someone said, ‘Do you want to drink from the Stanley Cup’ and I said ‘Absolutely.’”
On Alex Ovechkin’s decline:
“He’s getting older. There’s two things that are happening. One is just your general age progression. People have a misconception as to when hockey players, especially goalscorers, peak. It’s typically between the ages of 22 and 24 and then you start to see a down-slope at age 27. Ovechkin has pretty much been in that exact pattern.”
“If you look at how Ovechkin scored his goal early on in his career when he entered the league it was by a volume of shots. It was more quantity than it was quality. He led the league with 425 shots when he came in. He was just a completely dynamic player that tossed rubber at the [net] from ever angle. And as those shots per game decreased, it took the goal scoring along with it. And what we’re seeing now is a player who’s putting up 300 shots on goals as opposed to 500 and 400 shots on goal. So, the goal scoring numbers are going to come down. Now, to his credit those shots on goal have up-ticked a little this year but a lot of goal scoring is also luck. You have a clank of the pipe here, it goes through the wickets there. He hasn’t been seeing a whole lot of puck luck as maybe he’s had in the past. He’s just going to be the 50 goal scorer that he was probably ever again.”
On if Ovechkin is an assist guy, a set-up guy like Gretzky or Lemiuex, with room to elevate his game:
“Ovechkin is a good passer. I think that’s actually one of the most underrated parts of his game. However, he’s not Gretzky, he’s not Lemieux. He’s not going to tally a whole bunch of points from… [Kornheiser jumps in and says, "He's not Crosby."] He’s certainly not Crosby. So, he’s not going to be getting points that way. The switch to right wing was an effort to get him away from that overpowering move he had down the left side where he would go down the left wall and try to cut in and score the goal that way, because that just wasn’t working anymore. The defenses have caught up to that. So, you’re right. His points are going to come from goals and, unless he starts to adapt his game a little bit more on the right wing, we’re going to see some 25 to 30 goal seasons.”
On Ovechkin making “a lot of money”
“That’s where people’s expectations, I think, are coming unglued because they see on paper this 65, 50 goal scorer that’s making $10 million and they think that’s going to happen in perpetuity. But, look, the Ovechkin contract was a bad contract. When they signed Ovechkin to that contract, for that period of time, it was a bad deal. And you can never expect a goal scorer to score 60, 50, 60 goals a year for ten years. It’s just not reality.”
On if the Caps know what Greenberg knows about Ovechkin
“I think so. Hockey analytics has definitely become bigger in the past couple years, however you still have, and I’m not speaking specifically about the Caps, but in the NHL in general, there are some teams that are embracing it. I know that Tampa Bay has a hockey analytics guy on staff, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Calgary, some other teams are embracing it. But, as far as the Capitals are concerned, they seem to trust the coaches more than the numbers. An I’m not saying that that’s a bad thing. However, I think that there’s room for both, especially when you’re looking at player evaluation.
[I'm going to interrupt this transcription, as I've just read on Twitter that Russian Machine has sent out a transcription of the entire interview. So, rather than duplicate work, check the Russian Machine Never Breaks transcript of Neil Greenberg on the Tony Kornheiser Show by Peter Hassett and I'll go write something else.]
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.