17 December, 2005

You done messed up now, son.

David from The Ice Block decided to chime in on my last post--the boy really picked a bad day to get on my bad side.

We now present the STB2 version of Point/Counterpoint:

"I'm not sure why you think the Devils have a free pass. They're criticized constantly about their fan support."

Not lately--once talk about an arena in Newark got serious, all the crap about the Devils' attendance pretty much stopped.

"The Islanders had good attendance for a long time. After years of finishing towards the bottom of the league, people stopped showing. The Islanders finally got ownership that brought in some real players, and the fans returned. The team even made the playoffs for the first time in seven years in 2001-02. People came back the next year too. Once again, just hopes of a playoff spot, no real Cup expectations. After that year though, seeing that fans have returned, the Islanders then hiked up ticket prices hard. 2002-03 average Isles ticket: $38.44; 2003-04 average Isles ticket: $53.14. Attendance fell 1500 per game. That brings us to this season, where attendance is down again, but I can't say it's unexpected and the Islanders just announced discounts next season for those who keep their tickets."

Those are excuses, which I flatly refuse to accept. If that doesn't wash for the Hurricanes or any other team south of the Mason-Dixon Line, then it doesn't wash for the Islanders or any other team north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

"Chicago does get a free pass and they should."

I call bullshit. Being O6 does NOT grant one automatic immunity to criticism--especially from me--bad owner or not.

"The Bruins are another good hockey town that's just got some bad ownership at the moment."

Really? I was not aware of that! And if you seriously believe that, then I have a bridge and some swampland to sell you. Act now, and I'll throw in a nice copper-plated statue.

Sorry, the Bruins having an owner who cares more about profits than winning still doesn't give them a free pass. That's another excuse, and I flatly refuse to accept it--if it were a Southern team that was in the same situation, there would be cries for that team's contraction...and you damn well know it, bubba.

"I liken the Sabres to the Devils - they do take criticism."

Not since they got new ownership and got out of bankruptcy.

"It may not be as much as the Hurricanes, but they're don't get a free pass"

The Hel they don't. I notice that you conveniently ignore my Ottawa example--whyzat?

Most of these teams don't need a first place team or a Cup Finalist to draw a crowd."

The Bruins had a first place team, and still can't draw a crowd.

"The Hurricanes are tops in the Southeast and at 76% capacity. It would probably be called "lockout blues", except the Canes have only drawn big crowds during the Cup Final year, and the year after."

I'm sorry, did you bother reading what I wrote? The team sucked on toast in 03-04, and all that the fans got from the coaches were excuses and more slackitude. That did more than anything else to erase what had been steadily increasing attendance since the end of the disastrous Greensboro years.

If that's what it takes to be successful, then the team just isn't going to work long-term."

Then clearly, you know two things about the Triangle: Jack, and shit. Fans here will reward winning, sure--but they also reward commitment and effort. State draws well lately, even though they haven't made it past the Sweet 16 since 1983, because they actually try.

But what do I know? I've only lived here for a good chunk of my life and know the sports-fan dynamic.

"Anyway, those are my observations and opinions about the criticism regarding Canes attendance."

Thank you for calling!