EL BARIO, BRONX – Your Righteous Deacon Blaber is pitching on one less day’s rest, as MTM Management has once again bumped me up to a Friday. But it’s all good because there was some news that came across my desk that I couldn’t wait to make part of the weekly Sports Bully Pulpit. I was literally foaming at the mouth earlier this week at a shocking bit of news that – thankfully – the MTM World left untouched. With that, we’ll look at NHL Vegas and the Kevin Love deal.
Before we begin, however, I want to shamelessly admit being happy to hear MTM Radio was back on the air after their nice vacation. I wish the boss would spend some of those vacation bucks on your poor old Sports Deacon. In case you missed it, check it out here. About yesterday’s segment, Bobby V deserves to be coaching again and the trivia answer is Turks & Caicos Islander. It will make sense once you hear the segment, which is short.
NHL Expansion: Gary Bettman, the NHL Commissioner or the devil himself, depending on who you ask, has had another brilliant idea wristed into his hockey-puck sized brain. Despite warm-weather cities leading to fair-weather fans (Get it?), Bettman is going to expand the league… and NHL Vegas is on the radar. But before we get to Vegas, let’s look at the other 3 cities. Yeah. Three more cities. That makes 34 total teams, in case you were scoring at home.
First up is Quebec City. This is a return of the team that left for Colorado over not getting a new stadium and for Denver dollars. Bettmen stole that move from his mentor David Stern… If you get the chance, watch Sonicgate: Requiem for a Team, about how the Sonics were stolen from Seattle… Anyway, Canada loves hockey and the Nordiques were a well-supported team. Now they have a new owner and arena and le province can definitely support more than one team, so this gets the thumbs up, or Deacon’s Blessing.
Speaking of Seattle, the peeps up there are on the verge of having a team. How they can play in the same arena the NBA found too small is bit weird but those fans deserve it. Seattle’s soccer team uses the Seahawks’ stadium (Centurylink Field) for their home games – and they sell it out. That’s right, 50,000 people show up to watch soccer! They should have no problem getting a huge turnout for a better sport. On the whole this is a weird call , but it gets the Deacon’s Blessing.
The third city to get a new team will be… Toronto?! Considering the Maple Leafs are Canadian institution and merchandising juggernaut, this is a surprise. And back when I was allowed in Canada, I remember the Road Runners, selling out the 8,500-seat Ricoh Center. Also, Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America, (USA, Can and Mex) so it has the population. New York has multiple teams, so it is possible to succeed. They should have put the team in Hamilton though, since they have a built-in rivalry with minor leagues and the CFL, but that would be like putting a hockey team in New Jersey to challenge the Rangers. No way that would work.
Las Vegas Hockey: The fourth city is going to be Las Vegas. Vegas is America’s gambling capital. Combining that and pro sports has made it dodgy sports destination. There was an XFL team there and USA Rugby hosts the largest (and only professional) rugby tournament in the nation there, but that is about it. The most steady thing they have is the UNLV Football and Basketball teams and those teams seem well-supported, like how SEC cities support their teams because they don’t have a pro team. However, you have got to think of ice conditions and competing with all the entertainment that a tourist town has. How many locals buy season tickets? We have already seen Atlanta become a disaster – before being smartly moved to Winnipeg. Let’s hope Phoenix gets moved to Kitchener, as well…
The Florida teams suffer from poor attendance when they are not winning because people would much rather go to the beach. Good weather towns are usually poor sports towns. This will be an experiment that every other league will watch closely, and just be glad the NHL is the first to try it.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavalier: We called it at least a month ago and it is now official. The specifics of the trade are: “Cleveland Cavaliers acquire forward Kevin Love in a three-team trade that sends guard Andrew Wiggins and forward Anthony Bennett to Minnesota and a protected 2015 first round pick (via Miami) to Philadelphia. Minnesota will also acquire forward Thaddeus Young from the 76ers, while Philadelphia receives forward Luc Mbah a Moute and guard Alexey Shved from the Timberwolves.” Love wanted out of Minnesota in the worst way possible. What he does in Cleveland with King James will make this and interesting NBA season.
That is it for now, hope you enjoyed the article and hope to hear from you below.
P.s… If you want to read more of my ramblings as a Rugby Guy, you can find them on RugbyWrapUp.com and our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp and @JunoirBlaber, respectively.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.