The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!

The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!  The Stanley Cup Will Be at the Independence Events Center on Friday!

Yes, that Stanley Cup.

Mavs' Press Release, and a surprise, after the jump.


Mavericks’ to host the Stanley Cup this Friday, March 2

INDEPENDENCE, Missouri – The Missouri Mavericks of the Central Hockey League (CHL) announced Tuesday the Stanley Cup will be in Independence, Missouri this Friday, March 2 when the Mavericks host the Rapid City Rush at Independence Events Center.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring our fans the Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America,” said Mavericks’ President and General Manager Brent Thiessen.  “The cup is amazing to see up close.  Our fans are in for a special treat and they deserve it.  We are happy to be able to bring this piece of hockey history to our fans and allow them the opportunity to see it up close free of charge.”
Fans will first have the chance to view the cup at Strikerz Entertainment Center from 5-5:45 p.m. on Friday evening.  Strikerz is located at 18900 Valley View Parkway in Independence.
The cup will then head to Independence Events Center where the Mavericks are hosting the Rapid City Rush.  Starting at 6 p.m., the cup will be on display on the concourse for fans to view and take pictures until the end of the second intermission.
The Stanley Cup is the oldest trophy competed for by professional athletes in North America.  It is awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs champion and was first awarded in 1893.  Unlike the trophies awarded by the other three major professional sports leagues of North America, a new cup is not made each year and the winners keep it until the next champion is crowned.  The cup has the names of all of the winning players, coaches, management and club staff engraved on it.  Currently, the Boston Bruins are the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
Missouri Mavericks 2012-13 season tickets are on sale now.  A $50 dollar non-refundable deposit is required for all season tickets. Contact the Mavericks ticket staff Monday-Friday, 9am-5:30pm at (816) 252-7825 if you are interested in season tickets. Every current Mavericks season ticket holder who renews their season tickets before March 23 will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win an $18,000 Harley-Davidson Fatboy motorcycle, a 60-inch HDTV and other prizes.  Tickets for all remaining 2011-12 regular season games are on sale via or by calling (800) 745-3000. For more information on the Missouri Mavericks call (816) 252-7825.


One of my greatest regrets was not going to Crown Center to see the Cup when it was here in, like, 2004.  The entire day I kept saying, "I'll go a little later.  I'll go a little later..."  But, yeah, in all seriousness, I didn't go, and to this day I feel like an idiot.  And you will too if you don't go.  Anyway, yeah, the Cup!

Oh, yeah, and enjoy these:

Hey, When are the Coyotes Moving to Seattle?

Just a timeline of links of things that are going on with the Coyotes and Seattle and a possible new arena and all of that mumbo-jumbo.

NHL Denies Report That the Coyotes Have Been Sold
Despite a report from KING in Seattle (since taken down) saying that the 'Yotes have found an owner.  This means that they are neither staying in Glendale, nor are they moving anywhere.

NHL Denies that Greg Jamison's the Next Phoenix Coyotes Owner
Yes, Puck Daddy again, and yes, I could write another whole post on this article, but I will take the high road on this one.  The only part I will challenge is the final few sentences.
Everything I've heard is that this is the last year in the desert for the Coyotes.
Sources would be fantastic to list here, as Wysh has not given anything more than speculation in his previous articles.  Bettman thinks Seattle would be a fine place for a franchise, just like he thinks that of KC, LV, Glendale, etc., so yeah, he isn't a source.  Also, other like-minded people are not reputable sources if they report the same thing as you do without sources.
But guarantees have really never had a home in this drama, which seems to take a new turn every week.
No, it does not, because most of this "drama" was manufactured out of some guy in Seattle wanting to build an arena, but who is not in the team ownership business.  Plus, we have been talking about the same thing with the Coyotes ownership for a while now.  That is, there is no real front runner.  "Drama" implies an ownership situation has gone from one extreme to another.  If anything, this situation is droll.  So very, very droll.

NHL Denies Phoenix Coyotes Sale Report, Seattle Sports Fans Keeping Watchful Eye
Maybe if the Coyotes do move to Seattle, they can call the team the Watchful Eyes, or Sky Eyes, or Alan Parsons.  If some guy named T.J. Eckleburg purchases the Coyotes and moves them to Seattle, then I quit.

Concerns Raised About New Seattle Arena Plan
Why Seattle's Initiative 91 on sports subsidies may present some obstacles for a new arena.

Initiative 91 Explanation

Seattle Arena Proposal: Deal Contingent on NBA, NHL Franchise First
What a concept...  Article also explains how I-91 may not be a problem anyway.

NHL Relocation: Why the Phoenix Coyotes Won't Move to Seattle This Summer
Don't let the title fool you, this article does not do any of that.

Personally, I don't know why Seattle "is really the best location for (the Coyotes) to land" or makes the most sense than any other potentially interested city.  Seattle, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Quebec City, Hartford, etc. all have a hockey history, all have an interested fan base, all have no real ownership group, and hell, all have geographic rival cities.  What Travis Hughes, the author of the article in the last link, fails to argue is why Seattle is a better location than any other city.  Greg Wyshynski at least claims to have some sort of weird attraction to Seattle hockey.  I don't know, maybe I'm crazy, or just biased or whatever.  I'm not saying the Coyotes won't move to Seattle.  It could very well happen.  But, the reporting on an initial story (Coyotes ownership) and connecting it to a new Seattle arena proposal story does not a relocation make.

Consider this a Kansas City based Coyotes Relocation Open Thread.  Have an opinion on the relocation matter?  Think Seattle is a nice city to get a cup of coffee?  Think Quebec City is kind of cold this time of year?  I certainly do not share your opinion, so tell us your opinions in the comments.  Come on, everyone has a Google account nowadays, so it's really easy to comment.  To borrow and paraphrase a line from blog Jewels From the Crown, it's time to stop lurking and get the dialogue moving.

2012 Champions: Stat-Nerding the Third-ish Quarter of the Season

That's Charlie Effinger.  He just won the Goaltender of the Week Award for the third time this season, ya heard. 
Although there have only been fourteen games since the last time we checked in with the Mavericks, there are only twenty games left in something like forty days.  So this is as good of a time as any to see what the Mavs are doing right, doing wrong, and need to do during the home stretch of the season.  (Note: this review follows a similar format as the second quarter stats post, so in lieu of me repeating stats, please refer any comparisons to that previous post.)

*Just another note before we get started:  Something that hockey leagues do that annoy me are include a shootout winning goal in the overall goal for/goal against team totals, even though this goal does not get counted toward or against an individual goal scorer or goaltender's total, nor does anyone end up with a plus or minus because of that goal being scored.  I don't know, just kind of dumb.  Anyway, for these particular stats, and any previous stat-nerding posts, goals include shootout winning goals, unless otherwise noted*

*The Mavs are currently third in the Turner Conference with 58 points and a 27-15-4 record.  They have 153 goals for and 144 goals against.

*In the past 14 games, the Mavs are 11-2-1 (!).  They have had winning streaks of four, two, and five during this time.  The five game streak is currently in progress, and is their second longest of the season (six game streak to begin the season).  They are also 3-1 in OT games during this stretch, winning one game during the overtime period, and two in the shootout.  They have also lost a shootout.  They have recorded 55 goals for, and have given up 40 with one shutout.

*Vern Cooper is gone, but you knew that already...

*There are eight Mavs who have played at least 40 games through 46 games this season.

Remember when the Mavs were struggling to score?

*The Mavs have moved up to seventh in scoring overall with 153.  They trail league leader Wichita by sixteen, and division leading Fort Wayne by five.

*96 goals (again, total counting SO winners) over the course of the first 32 games (3.0 avg.).  57 goals during the past 14 games (3.93 avg.).

*73 goals over the past twenty games (3.65 avg.).

*In 2010-11, they had 103 goals over the course of the first 32 games (3.22 avg.), and 35 goals during the next fourteen games (2.5 avg.). 138 goals after the first 46 games (3.0 avg.).

*During this fourteen game stretch:
--Goals during four game win streak: 19
--Goals during next five games (2-2-1): 19
--Goals during current five game win streak: 19

Eerie?  Meh.

*Who is carrying the mail on offense?  Well, in the past fourteen games.
Dale Mahovsky: 3 goals, 11 assists
Seabass:  4 goals, 10 assists, plus one shootout winner
Ed McGrane:  10 goals, 11 assists, plus one shootout winner
JS Dickson:  7 goals, 6 assists (one hat trick)
Dave Pszenyczny:  8 goals, 7 assists

*SeaBass Thinel (“SeaBass” officially from now on) still leads the team with 54 points (14+40=54).  But, Ed McGrane is hot on his trail with 50 points, and the team lead in goals with 22.  Thinel has moved up to sixth in the league in points.  He is second in assists with 40, trailing Evansville’s Todd Robinson by ten.  McGrane is tied for fifth in the league in goals, trailing the leaders, Quad City’s Brandon Marino and Evansville’s Brian Bicek, by six.

*Don’t forget JS Dickson, second in goals on the team with 21.

*New acquisition Patrick Schafer has seven goals in sixteen games with the Mavs.

*Ryan Jardine exists (8+10=18, -2).

*So, the offense has improved, which is nice.  The problem there never appeared to be lack of shooting, either.  McGrane is third in the league with 193 shots, and Thinel is 18th with 157.  Maybe the scoring problems can be attributed to shooting percentage.  No Mav has better than JS Dickson’s .154%, which is only good for 19th in the league.

The Mavs still can’t score on the powerplay, right?

*The Mavs are third in the league in powerplay percentage!  Their percentage, 19.89, is over two percentage points below the league leaders (Quad City with 22.09).

*The Mavs are very middle of the pack when it comes to powerplay goals and powerplay opportunities.  Their 36 goals are tied for seventh in the league, and their 181 opportunities are eleventh overall.  That is 16 goals since the last time we left the Mavs.  16 PPG in 14 games!  w00t!

*JS Dickson has 8 PPG (tied for fifth in the CHL), McGrane has 6, and four Mavs are tied with four.  Thinel and McGrane lead the team in PPA with 14 and 13, respectively.

*The three league leaders in PPG all have ten.  Quad City’s Brandon Marino and John Snowden, and Dayton’s Brandon Naurato.

*This Quad City team sounds fairly decent.

*The Mavs are +16 in goal differential during this stretch, having given up 40 goals and lost one shootout (41 GA total, 2.93 avg.).  Throughout the whole season, the Mavs have given up 144 goals in 46 games (3.13 avg.).

*In comparison, the Mavs gave up 40 goals (that includes the one shootout winner) in 2010-11 during games #33-46.  Overall, by game #46, the Mavs had given up 130 goals (2.83 avg.).

*During the current fourteen game stretch:
--GA during four game win streak: 9 (with one shutout)
--GA during next five games: 22 (includes the one shootout “goal”)
--GA during current five game win streak: 10

*The defense is still not up to par with last season’s D.  But, hey, look at all of the defenders in the black!
--Simoes +13
--Wakita +9
--Good +6
--Ruwe +4
--Pszenyczny +1

*There are still no Mavs anywhere near the league leaders in plus/minus.  Three Fort Wayne players are in the top three, one with a +22, and two with +21.

*JS Dickson is a team worst -6, despite, you know, all of the goals he scores.

Here is something to think about as the Mavs get closer to the playoffs.  Penalty minutes.

*Although, the Mavs have moved up to sixth in the league in PIM with 809, no individuals are killing the team.  The Mavs finished with 1197 PIM last season.

*Pszenyczny leads the team with 97 PIM.  Wakita has 92.  Lewis has 91.  The league leader, Quad City’s Jason Kostadine, has 170.  Lewis had 205 all of last season.  This is something to watch, but not something that is seriously killing them.  Well, actually, let’s look at the PK numbers.

*The Mavs were fourth on the penalty kill (82.6%) through the first half of the season.  Since then, the Mavs are twelfth with 80%.  They have given up 13 goals while on the penalty kill in the past fourteen games.

*The league best is Evansville at 86.18% giving up 30 goals, while the league worst is Dayton with a 74.16% success rate and 54 goals given up.

*13 of 40 goals (not counting shootout winners, obviously) were scored on the PK.  Still not terrible... but, the Mavs PK could take a lesson from its improved PP.

In summation, penalties are not killing them, but it definitely could not hurt to avoid taking untimely penalties.

Oh, and thank goodness for Charlie Effinger.

*He has started the past fifteen games (11-3-1) without Szuper (left for KHL) and Festa (traded).

*Gerry Festa finished his season with the Mavs 2-4-2 with 24 GA, a 3.00 GAA, and .904 SV% in eight appearances.

*Szuper was 1-0, with 3 GA, a 3.00 GAA and .930 SV% in one appearance with the Mavs (a 6-3 home victory over Quad City on January 7th).

*Effinger is third in games played for goalies with 33, six behind the leader Nick Boucher of Fort Wayne.

*Effinger has given up 41 goals during the past fifteen games, with one shutout.  He has given up 13 goals (one shootout loss) to Quad City in three games and was chased once during that stretch (0-2-1).

*Eff-bomb is second in the CHL in wins (22), trailing Boucher (27).  He is tied for tenth in GAA with 2.77, and seventh in SV% with .919%.

*And a warm welcome back to Jakub Macek, who has finally found a home with the Mavs.  He relieved Effinger in one of the Quad City loses, giving up 4 goals on 13 shots.

*Also, it must have been pretty cool for those rec league guys that played back up goalie while that position was in transition.  Props to you fine gentlemen.

*Home record during the past fourteen games:
7-1-1 (both losses to Quad City)

*Home record overall:

*Away record during the past fourteen games:

*Away record overall:

*The Mavs remain third in total attendance with 125,650, over 13,000 above Rapid City and 27,000+ below second place Wichita.  The IEC also sees the third most fans on average, up seven to 5,463 since we last checked.

*The Mavs are celebrating 500,000 fans this Friday!  It only took less than three seasons to accomplish what the New York Islanders could not do all of last season. (Joke not intended.  That is a real stat.)

*If the season ended today, the Chicago Wolves would be a five seed in the Western Conference of the AHL playoffs.  But, they trail the division leading Charlotte Checkers by two points with a game in hand with 26 games remaining.  They have 146 GF and 129 GA, and they are an ugly 0-3 in the shootout.  Goalie Matt Climie is among the league leaders in SV% (0.927%).  JP Testwuide has an assist in sixteen games, and fifteen PIM.  Dustin Friesen has a goal and two assists in nineteen games, and is a +6.

*Oh, but what about our dear, sweet Mavericks?  What are their playoff chances you ask?  Well, four teams qualify from each division, so the Mavs would clinch as the third place team in the Turner Conference with 58 points.  They trail second place Fort Wayne by four points, and lead fourth place Quad City by three.  They lead fifth place Rapid City by only four.  They have twenty games remaining, ten at home and ten on the road.  Thirteen of those games are against Berry Conference teams, two are against Rapid City, one against Dayton, two against division leading Evansville, and two against cellar dweller Bloomington.  It should be pretty damn interesting over the next few weeks!

Scoring has picked up, and that’s good.  The defense is still, well, the same defense, but the Mavs have put themselves in the best possible place with a stable roster going into the final month of the season.  Of course, it won’t be easy, but if the offense stays hot, and Effinger plays at the top of his game, this team should skate into the playoffs as a three or four seed.  Without any head-to-head games against Fort Wayne remaining, it may be hard to unseat them as the two seed.  Evansville would have to play uncharacteristically to fall out of the top spot, let alone the top two spots.  Finally, head coach Scott Hillman has a functioning powerplay, so, yeah, hopefully they don't screw it up.  Of course, the Mavs should have clinched a playoff spot by now, but I guess they are just trying to give the other teams some hope, which is pretty damn nice of them.

Please check out the Missouri Mavericks official site for news and updates from your favorite local hockey team, or at the CHL’s official site for league-wide news as we creep closer to the playoffs.  Also, the KC Star and the Pitch have Mavericks news occasionally, so be sure to check those sites.  Be sure to read Mavericks Weekly on the Mavs’ site every week for updates, game previews, and upcoming events at the IEC.  And, for constant Mavs news and recaps, shoot on over to the Missouri Mavericks Blog.  He does interviews and everything, like a real journalist!  I feel like a jerk for not referring you there in the past, so make it up to me by visiting his site.

Because Valentines Day Occurs During Hockey Season

"As soon go kindle fire with snow, as seek to quench the fire of love with words... and hockey."
--William "Gordie" Shakespeare

Ah, Valentines Day is nearly upon us.  Can't us just smell the love in the air...underneath all of the snow? Well, never mind.

Anyway, enough small talk.  I have a confession to make.  During the Kansas-Mizzou Border War hockey game a few weeks ago, a certain someone caught my eye.  No, it wasn't the 'Dave' guy from those Staples commercials, although I swear some guy that either was him or looked like him was chillin' at the IEC dining area in-between periods.  It was a much lovelier beauty, with a name unknown.  She was the equipment girl/towel girl/bench bunny for the Jayhawks squad.  Her beauty unmatched by any other in the arena.  Her flowing golden hair moved with ease with each graceful step she took across the ice to the bench.  You should have seen her, you guys.  Here is a totally unflattering photo:
She is the one in the middle
You can also see a video of me totally not being a creep here.

Her presence was magical, really.  Something you notice, and cannot look away.

But, I have a problem, you guys.  Well, not so much me, but its her.  As a great man once said, "There is no excellent beauty than hath not some strangeness in the proportion."  This is true, for you see, she does not smile.  For three periods of hockey, not once did could you see a dimple in her cheek, or her lips upturn in a show of sudden emotion.  So stoic and unflinching, it makes me sad to think about.  Sure, she could have been "all business," taking a cue from Vince Lombardi's "act like you've been there before" motto, but it still makes me feel helpless.  If she cannot enjoy a hockey game, what can she enjoy?

So, I wrote a poem, you guys.  I wrote it because I think she speaks for all of us as hockey fans.  But, I mainly wrote because she's attractive.

(Note: for the sake of this poem, NHL is one syllable)

Ode to a Blank Faced Bench Beauty

The "Coolest Game on Earth" does not compare,
With thee beauty, much greater than the NHL.
Sweet, sensuous shock straighter than Smyth's hair.
Though your stare is as icy as Smashville.

For some, to kiss the Cup is one great wish,
For others, it is merely to kiss your cheek.
And plus, the Cup does not pucker its lips,
Or smile weak.  Though your smile is what one seeks.

But, longer loveliness than a season,
Somatic seduction.  A souvenir?
Rather, thou give hockey fans a reason
To want its charm and grace for all the year.

Even the cute girl with a face of stone,
Cannot build a Seattle team a home.

(BOOM!  Nailed it!)

EVEN MORE Relocation Super Fun Time

"The building challenges for Seattle, Quebec City as NHL markets"

No longer is what Greg Wyshynski doing with these articles in any way constructive or informative.  Really, this article seemed to be damage control for the one he wrote the other day basically saying how great it would be if Seattle had an NHL team, and then posted a video with Gary Bettman saying nothing about Seattle.  It was some hard-hitting journalism, I tells ya!

Enough is enough, though, and Wysh is not the only one doing it.  Look, no one wants to move a team (the Coyotes) to Seattle right now.  No one (viable owners) wants to move a team to Kansas City right now, although the people that own the local arena (AEG) probably wouldn't mind.  Some people want to move a team to Quebec City, but they are not as forceful as True North and the city is dragging its feet on an NHL-caliber arena.  No one but maybe some guy Gary Bettman goes fishing with wants to move a team to Las Vegas right now.  It is what it is.  If anything, owners are selling teams.  The Blues, Stars, etc. to more or less operate in the same cities.  It's cheaper than moving.  The Devils and Coyotes fit into a category of NHL money hemorrhagers, but it is hard to see an established organization like New Jersey to just pick up and leave town to go to a market with more questions than answers.

The argument against KC and QC are "well they had a team and now it's someone else's turn."  Obviously, those arguments are ineffective and pointless, causing more arguments than actually giving evidence towards solving one.  So what?  Minnesota had their chance with the North Stars, right?  Winnipeg had their chance already?  Didn't Atlanta already get a chance?  What about Northern California?  Just by saying someone had their chance already does not make a city or area's hockey community any smaller or weaker.  Plus, that ignores the whole business-side of things.  If someone sees a good investment (i.e. no lease payments for an arena) with minimal risk, the deal can get done.  This also deflects from the reasons why Seattle has never housed an NHL team.  It's not like there is a pecking order, and Seattle drew the short straw in 1917 and are just now getting a crack at housing an NHL franchise.

What certainly doesn't help is our very own The Pitch's myopic view on things.  Wysh links to Jonathan Bender's article in The Pitch, calling KC "emo" due to the advent of the Seattle issue.  Although Bender's article does raise a good question (when is the Sprint Center too old to attract suitors?) it plays to the whole notion that Seattle is just lying in waiting for Bettman and the NHL to say "ohhh, I'm so sorry Glendale, but time is up.  You lose.  It looks like your team will be moving to Seattle.  But we have some lovely parting gifts..."  I use the term myopic to describe this article, but perhaps that is not fair.  It's not fair, because all Mr. Bender is doing is giving a very broad local reaction to an article from NBC Sports talking about how Seattle is such a great fit for the NHL.  The NBC Sports article is, like the multiple articles on Puck Daddy, PURE SPECULATION.  Observe:
"As we wrote back in December, there are lots of things Seattle's got going for it:
-- Large metro population
-- Plenty of rich people (editors note: BWHAHAHAHAHAA who writes this?!?!)
-- High-profile companies like, Starbucks and Microsoft
-- Close enough to draw from Portland and Vancouver
-- "Let's do something indoors" weather during the winter"
This is what passes for acceptable writing nowadays, folks.  And The Pitch's blog LINKS TO THIS!  So, now, nationally recognized writers (Greg Wyshynski) look at this reaction in KC, believe KC is bitter, and it fuels their argument that has no basis in fact and has taken on a life of its own.  The NBC Sports article even links to a story from the Winnipeg Free Press calling Seattle the "lead horse" when it comes to relocation cities, without giving any other reasons.  It just is, I guess.  It's just as baseless as any other article on the same topic.  It's like a bunch of media outlets got together to write the same story, then linked to each other's stories to generate buzz for something no one has talked about in the history of ever!


But, let's compose ourselves for a moment.  How about a few questions for the pro-NHL to Seattle crowd.  Who will own this team?  Do the citizens even want the NHL?  Are city officials even willing to ponder an NHL team?  Will an arena deal even get traction?  How will they pay for a new arena?  Is "Let's do something indoors" weather like "Rainy day" weather, or more on par with "Let's not go out to eat tonight, I had to work all day and am kind of tired" weather?  Why is Seattle housing many of the nation's rich people?  Aren't Seattleites too laid back to care about hockey?  And maybe the biggest question, will Gary Bettman let the Coyotes out of Glendale?

This is an injustice to actual Journalism, with a capital J.  This is a story for the sake of a story.  No city has ever been the "leader in the clubhouse" for the Coyotes; that is not a real thing that has ever existed.  Words of advice to our hockey loving friends in Seattle:  Don't get your hopes up.

This makes me lightheaded.

(P.S.: Wysh runs a great blog, but I just do not agree with this particular topic.  Read it for the other good work, though.  And Seattleites, I do not intend to be mean with my words of advice, but the citizens of Kansas City have seen this before firsthand.)

Puck Daddy Relocation Super Fun Time (UPDATE)

"NHL relocation to Seattle: Will new arena, Coyotes' plight bring pucks to Pacific Northwest?" (link fixed)

These articles are always fun, because they are pure speculation and basically don't solve anything.  I shall paraphrase:  "There is a guy in Seattle who wants to build a new arena for the NBA.  Also, possibly for the NHL.  A Seattle-Vancouver rivalry would be cool."
The Glendale/Coyote situation is pretty simple to figure out:

  • The Coyotes represent a team in Bettman's southern influence zone.  Taking that team away does not 'spread the influence of the game.'  Bettman does not want to lose another one of those teams (e.g. Atlanta).
  • The NHL also does not want to own the Coyotes anymore.  They lose over $20 million annually.
  • No particular "cities" are interested, meaning none of the current possible ownership groups are looking to move the Coyotes from Glendale.  None of these groups are like a True North for Winnipeg.
  • Thus, no one has said anything about Seattle getting an NHL team.  But, some guy wants to build a new arena for a future NBA team because the Key Arena is junk.
What can Seattle learn from Kansas City?  Well, first, they need an owner to bring a team to Seattle.  Also, they need an hockey (NHL) ready arena, which has caused this speculation.  Third, they need city officials willing to bring in a NHL team.  Plus, a whole bunch of other things to go the right way just to take one team to another city.

So, yeah, do that, and then maybe we have a story.

UPDATE: Yeah, also Bettman never says anything about Seattle in this video that Greg Wyshynski has embedded in his article talking about a possible NHL team in Seattle.  I think the key phrase is "we don't like moving franchises," a point Bettman has harped on before when talking about the stability of the league and continued growth of the game.  If keeping the team in Arizona is the priority, then KC, Seattle, Quebec, etc. are not even being discussed by the "interested buyers."

Vern Cooper and Putting Things In Perspective

“We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings.”
--Albert Einstein

I’ve been mulling this post over for a while, not really wanting to write it for various reasons and not really knowing how to write it.  For me (read: you don’t care), writing is cathartic.  For others, writing is a form of expression or way of conveying messages or making money, etc.  But, I find it to be an outlet to what I’m feeling.  Thus, the blog you see in front of you.  “No NHL in KC, well, by gosh, I will write a blog and that will make me feel better!” (/shakes fist aggressively).  That sort of thing, if that makes any sense.

That being said, I’m not writing this as a precept or profound teaching on life, nor is the epigraph above meant to convey that message (trivia: I’m not a very deep person).  Instead, I want to offer the story of recent-former Missouri Mavericks forward Vern Cooper as a counter example to a blog post I read over the summer by the writer formerly known as Will McDonald over at Royals Review.  Please read his post.  It’s depressing, but kind of true, but kind of not, thus the reason why this is a rebuttal, of sorts.
(Just as a side note, I do not know Vern nor do I have a full understanding of the reasons concerning his departure.  I can only make base inferences through research, prior examples, and personal introspective confusion.  That said, my assumptions about his future are just that, assumptions.)
(Update: If I did not make it clear, one main reason I did not want to write this is because, like Will, I did not want it to sound like a "This is what so-and-so teaches us about life" thing.  That type of thinking is not productive to the main point which I hope is clear.)  

If you haven’t yet heard, or don’t quite care (bear with me if you are of the latter opinion), Vern left the Mavs to pursue his academic opportunities at the ripe old age of twenty.  The reason Vern, an Ontario native, made his way to the friendly environs of the Kansas City metropolitan area is fairly simple.  The Canadian Hockey League (which contains the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Western Hockey League, and Ontario Hockey League), the main major-junior league in Canada which allows players as young as 16 to play, sets a rule that at nineteen a player must leave the league or join a team as an “overage” player (as in, over age; over the age of 19 in this case).  Cooper played five years in the CHL, played last year as an overager, went undrafted, and left Canada to pursue new opportunities in the hockey world.  Thus enter the Mavericks.

Many tough life decisions plague the life of an overager, though.  He doesn’t just get to pick a team and go from there.  A Toronto Sun article on the topic states, “An overage junior hockey player is unlikely to make the NHL. By that point, they should be playing in a mid- to low-level pro league, or considering another career and going back to school.”  I can imagine that is not a very encouraging thing to hear for most twenty year olds looking to make a splash in the hockey world.  In Vern’s case, he tried the semi-pro hockey circuit, but for whatever reason it is just not working out.  His career as a “hockey player” may be effectively over. 

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Vern will not lift Lord Stanley’s Cup above his head at center ice.  Whether or not this is clear to Vern yet does not matter.  He has already moved on for the time being.  But he is only doing what many before him have done, and what many after him will do as well.  Hockey was Plan A, and now it’s time for Plan B.  Luckily for him the CHL gives out plenty of awards in “scholarship”-type money, so it’s presumed money will not be much of an issue for his academic future.

So, is Vern a failure?  We all fail, and most of us never end up getting whatever it is we truly want.  Then again, what do we want?  To echo something Mr. McDonald said, “Our sense of perspective is seriously skewed.”  I agree wholeheartedly.  But, it is not so much our perspective of those who presumably have everything they ever wanted (in this case, professional sports players), which is something along the lines of, “This guy gets to play a children’s game for a living while making bank and livin’ the dream!”  No, it’s our perspective when it comes to self-analysis, which can easily become, “I have failed.  Boo me.”

Yes, we all fail, and at times, we all believe we suck and have nothing to offer the world, ourselves, or even those close to us.  We are but humans.  One could argue that those that are ever truly “successful” (the common definition of what we believe to be successful—wealth, fame, fortune, a great job, umm... a hot spouse...) never get to enjoy their success.  They always want more, or they are burdened with remaining relevant.  Humans want more, or something new, or a fresh start.  True, just by saying that does not make it a catch-all quality, but how often did you want the newest piece of technology, a raise, your lawn to be as well-manicured as your neighbor’s lawn, to go back to school, a better dental plan, and so on and so forth?  Success does not necessarily mean happiness, either.  South Park even teaches us that lesson

So, how often have you “failed” or “succeeded’?  If you are cynical like me, you have failed a lot, and believe you will continue to fail.  But then again, I have succeeded a lot, and I hope to succeed in the future.  Of course, failure does not mean you can just quit, but no one gets out of life alive either.  Yeah, sometimes life gets crappy and you start regretting things.  Without taking a poll, I would say most people regret or wish they could do something differently to some degree at some point in time in their lives.  But, what about the things and the times you would not trade for anything?  Mr. McDonald talks about people who set out to do something risky and failed.  Are they failures?  Yes, but because we all fail.  They just fell on their face harder than some of us.  But, what about the person “who ran away to Vail to be a ski instructor and ended up selling insurance in Pueblo three years and a divorce later”?  What if that person never took that chance?  Would they regret that choice years later?  What if they did not at least try?

I guess my main point is to look at your failures and successes, and then to look at your Plan Bs, like Mr. Cooper is doing. Vern may never be a NHL hockey player.  But, he did total 217 points in five seasons in the OHL.  Some might say that is a pretty awesome achievement before you hit legal drinking age.  Vern may never sign a multi-million dollar endorsement deal with Bauer or Gatorade or Nike or whoever.  But he can become one hell of an investment banker.  Sure, that may not sound as fun, or even be his dream, but hey, at least he can provide food and shelter for his family.  He is just trying to do what is best for his future so that he can put himself in the best possible position in life.  And really, isn’t that what we all want to do?

For hockey fans in KC, our perspective is skewed.  KC does not have a NHL team while smaller American markets do (Nashville, Columbus, Buffalo, Raleigh).  Does this mean that we have failed as a hockey town?  Well, don’t tell me that, because I went to the MU-KU Border War game a few weeks ago and had a blast!  And that’s the point.  We had a NHL team long ago and it failed.  Fine.  Today, though, we have the Mavs, we have college games (and more games on the horizon), we have NHL exhibition games, we have NHLers running camps.  We do have a moderately vibrant hockey community in this city.  Look, I’m not saying to be thankful for what you have or whatever, nor am I trying to blow smoke up your butt and tell you that everything is sunshine and rainbows and we should all sit in a big circle outside of the Sprint Center and sing “Kumbaya.”  Sh*t happens, life gets to you, and you realize you aren’t hot sh*t in overtly painful ways sometimes. Sure, we don’t have what we want, and we may never again get what we truly want as a hockey community.  But, just like Vern, we can always look and hope for the best possible opportunities while supporting all forms of hockey in this city in the absence of our dream.

Feel free to disagree with that assessment in the comments, or show off your own opinions in the comments, if you feel so inclined.  In fact, it is your right to do so.

Here’s a video of Vern fighting Tyler Toffoli in an OHL game, because violence never fails to sustain us: