No NHL Preseason Game in KC Makes Jack a Dull Boy

As NHL training caps are just around the corner, let us remember that Kansas City doesn't have an NHL exhibition game.  Oh, but there is an NBA exhibition game.  So never mind no big deal.  Except IT IS A BIG DEAL.  The last hockey game at the Sprint Center was the October 13th match last year between Notre Dame and Nebraska-Omaha.  And that's the last one for the foreseeable future.  Why?

#1: The NHL lockout
To a small degree, the lockout can be blamed for Kansas City missing out on a hockey game this year.  KC was set to host the Rangers and Avalanche in a preseason game, but it was canceled due to the lockout.  This disrupted a trend of exhibition games at Sprint Center for the past three of four years at the arena.  But, it's not like the NHL's popularity dwindled due to the lockout.  In fact, NBCSN set ratings records, and local ratings were up in many markets. (though it was nice to say we would never watch the NHL again if the whole season was canceled.  Truth is the NHL knows your viewing habits better than you do).

#2: Sly James doesn't understand hockey
You've seen the quote.  Major James doesn't understand the business of bringing a professional sports team to the Sprint Center.  That's AEG's job.  Who brought the Ice Breaker tournament?  NHL exhibition games?  All AEG.  To Mayor James's credit, he has no clue.  But it's not like he's supposed to have a clue.  He's the figurehead, because who do you talk to at AEG about anything happening at the Sprint Center?

#3: Tim Leiweke doesn't work for AEG anymore
Tim Leiweke – KC's AEG representative, former AEG President and CEO, and everyone's favorite anti-hero – left AEG this year to join Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment where he's made a big splash.  Now Dan Beckerman is in charge, a guy with no ties to an arena in the middle of America nor has to throw disgruntled KC constituents a bone now and then because he lied to them over seven years ago.  Kansas City is an afterthought, and though we get the Miami Heat and Charlotte Name Pendings for an NBA exhibition game, this caters to the local college basketball audience around town more than any hope of an NBA team coming to KC.

So, when is the next hockey game in the Sprint Center?  This reiterates that Kansas City does not appear to be in the running for an anchor tenant anytime soon.  Most importantly, though, how long can Sprint Center maintain it's profitability?  With an anchor tenant, the city, arena management, and team ownership all act as checks on the arena, making sure the facilities stay as up to date as possible.  Instead, it's clear the city defers to AEG on all happenings at this arena.  If the arena is no longer profitable and modern, will AEG look to sell it?  If we look at a recent example, it took the city of Kansas City over ten years after the Kings left for Sacramento to give Kemper a much needed renovation.  As we have seen, professional sports ownership typically requests renovations to arenas or stadiums, or threatens to leave.  This is an extreme example, yes, but how long do we really expect this to be a "Top American Arena" or whatever the hell?

Let's look at last year, KC had the highest visibility of hockey in the city since the days of the Blades last year (Ice Breaker, potential Rangers-Avalanche game, the Mavericks).  Instead, we only have the Mavericks to look forward to this year.  A year ago this time the future looked bright.  This year may be a glimpse into our possible future: the Mavericks, and that's it.

Yes, let's enjoy our world class arena with all of it's fun events, and let's enjoy our Missouri Mavericks and the success they have had in just a few short years.  But, it's okay to be cautiously pessimistic of the future of Kansas City hockey.

So, to paraphrase a statement by mayor Sly James, "What would you rather have, events at the Sprint Center or no events.  What do you think would make more money for the city in the long run?"  Maybe shoehorning one hockey event in Sprint Center this year would not have been such a bad idea, and would give the city one more "event" to boast about.

This Quote Deserves Its Own Place in Hell

“Let me ask you this,” (Sly) James said. “Which would you rather have, the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Phoenix Coyotes? Who do you think would make more money for the city in the long run?”
Perhaps the team that wins.  But, if either moves to Kansas City, it's almost a guarantee they will both lose.


For more on this story, click here.

* * *

Also, this article exists, but isn't worth debating.  It's basically every baseless, basic argument put into one editorial.  HOT TAKES like "there aren’t enough pro basketball or hockey fans in this city to support a team even if we got one" obviously lack objectivity and research, and more importantly turn the discussion away from whether or not the P&L District and the city lose money because the Sprint Center doesn't have an anchor tenant (i.e. 40+ guaranteed events for X amount of years).  

And they say print journalism is dying.

(To Yael's credit, this editorial doesn't appear to have the same amount of research and thought as many of his others.  Perhaps the Star just wanted a familiar voice to chime in on the issue.  Not sure why that would be the case, nor what this article was attempting to prove.)

Read more here:

The Curious Case (and Unending Questions) of Kansas City Hockey

"This man just got through talking about what the f--- he ain't
More on this to come, obviously – the city of Glendale wants to lease their own city hall!!!, and Bettman has (supposedly) set a date – but you can be sure that the Coyotes won't end up in Kansas City.  Nope.  Not no way, not no how.  Or they could.  Who knows.  Who knows because Mayor Sly James diverts the truth on the whole issue, for some reason.  As definite as he is in his responses, he also leaves a lot of unanswered questions.  He's like a Pandora's box of dubiousness, always seemingly covering for someone or attempting to save face.  All just to convince someone – anyone – the Coyotes should not come to Kansas City.

Let me point out that James isn't necessarily wrong for doing this, nor refusing to bring the Coyotes to KC a bad idea.  It's an idea.  If the city doesn't want to do it – and if there is no ownership in place – then it does not happen.  Ipso facto.

As you may know, James claims Kansas City and the Sprint Center are not in the running to acquire the Coyotes should the NHL finally put the city of Glendale out of its misery and end their long financial nightmare.  Sly James just spoke to the Kansas City Star on the topic, because these interviews have become an annual tradition so why not.

He says in the KC Star June 20th:
“Several months back, even before that, we put out some feelers and talked to some people we trusted who knew what the situation was … the availability, the costs …” James told The Star on Thursday, “and the basic information was (the Coyotes) need a lot of money from the city in one form or the other. They said, it’s not a great deal for you, like you might hope.
“The question was, ‘What would it take?’ The answer was, ‘A whole hell of a lot. It might take you from a (profit) to a negative.’ It wasn’t something recommended to be done.”

Read more here:
Okay, that's fine, I'll bite.  It's going to be a financial disaster...except maybe not.  The franchise is a financial disaster right now.  By moving, it seemingly avoids being a financial disaster.

It is, and forever will be, a financial disaster for the city of Glendale, who had the owner of their hockey team go bankrupt while running the team – thus sending the organization into bankruptcy.  That left the city to own and operate Arena at all expense to them, because the NHL had to take over the assets of the franchise.  The NHL, in its cunning ways, even had Glendale paying off part of the yearly debt of the franchise.  Over the four year span the organization went through a period of continued financial loss, mostly due to its instability and location within the Phoenix-area, and the city felt the pinch through ticket sales, paying the NHL part of the team's debts, and other lost television and marketing revenue (again, because of the instability – not because there are "no hockey fans in Arizona.").  This has continued for four plus years because no one is able to own the team under the NHL's conditions because they are a) keep the team in Glendale and b) since the team is in Glendale, the city must give that owner a sweetheart deal to keep it there i.e. literally PAY THE OWNER TO RUN THE TEAM IN JOBING.COM ARENA just so the ownership can turn a profit.  Without profit, no one wants to own the team.  Chicken and the egg, except the egg is the city of Glendale leasing out their city hall, taxing out the ass, and diverting what's left of their budget.

The tl:dr to that is the Coyotes (and any potential owner) need a lot of money from the city of Glendale, not necessarily from Kansas City...or Seattle...or Vegas...etc. because those cities don't owe the NHL.

The question here is what money do the Coyotes need from another city?  What is that money doing?  Getting them out of Glendale jail?  Moving costs?  Perhaps I don't understand the deal Kansas City has with AEG for the Sprint Center well enough to ably process what part the city has in owning a franchise.  Yes, it stands to gain or lose financially, but what is the difference between a deal with the Coyotes in 2013 and a deal with the Penguins in 2007?  If memory serves me correctly, AEG was willing to give the Pittsburgh Penguins free rent at Sprint when the team mulled relocation.  That's basically what Glendale has to offer to keep the Coyotes in town – plus several million dollars more, again, just so the team can turn a profit.  Is that what Kansas City would run into, having to eat a share of the rent costs of the arena along with AEG or an AEG approved ownership group?  Really, no one knows, and these "some people" James talked to could be anyone.  They could be your neighbor, your boss, that guy at the grocery store that bought the last bottle of Billy's BBQ sauce.  There is absolutely no reason, though, for these people to go by the nom de guerre of "some people."  Who said it?  Did AEG say that?  Was there a focus group?  With these simple fill-in-the-blanks, Sly, I wouldn't have to blog about how I think you are full of shit, were fed some shit, or a little from Column A and B.  Glendale is losing money on the Coyotes because it's turned into the bad investment for the city, not an owner.  Kansas City does not own the Coyotes, nor would they under the agreement that AEG owns any NBA or NHL franchises at Sprint.  Thus, Sly James, we require more information from you.

That point, for all intents and purpose, is what's at issue.  What does Sly gain from not disclosing these people?  Just tell us who you talked to and what they said.  If your neighbor made up a chart and Power Point presentation that said the city would lose money by acquiring the Coyotes, then fine.  We know the qualified source to direct our questions.


What else...?  Oh yes.

James goes on to say (bold mine):
“We were told, you should continue to look for a team, you’re in a good enough situation, where you have an arena that is working,” James said. “It’s not like we’re desperate or have an arena that is dark and not making money. You don’t have to jump at a deal just because something is out there.”According to Pollstar Magazine’s annual report, Sprint Center was the sixth-busiest arena in the United States in 2012 and No. 22 in the world. Even without an anchor tenant, Sprint Center provided $1.85 million to the city in 2012 through its profit-sharing agreement.
 This is true, and so financially responsible of him.  At issue are the promises made when the Arena opened.  Those promises are seven years and counting.  People get impatient.  And Sprint's not going to be around forever.

Kemper Arena lived to be about thirty before it was absolutely not profitable anymore.  If Kansas City acquires a team TODAY, they could have a lease at Sprint similar to the Chiefs and Royals at the Truman Sports Complex: 25 years (for a frame of reference, Glendale wants a 15-year lease on a nine year old arena).  Of course, any team may not sign that kind of a lease, but who knows how much longer Sprint will be around, or profitable.  The city has to understand people get impatient about a pro sports franchise moving into Sprint because its not "new" anymore.  There are new arenas going up across North America that can attract a franchise – or owner – better than Kansas City can (Seattle, Quebec City, etc.).  Technically before Sprint, Kansas City had an available arena since 1976.  The window closes a little everyday.

But, we're being too nice to Mayor Sly.  Here's where he tells a blatant lie (bold mine, again):
Of course, the other part of the equation to bring a team to Kansas City is identifying ownership. Both the new Phoenix group and prospective Seattle group are from out of the area and if AEG — which operates the Sprint Center — has an ownership group waiting in the wings for Kansas City, it is not saying.
“I’m not aware of a group,” James said. “That was part of the early discussion, whether there was a group that could step up … my understanding was there was not a group.
My mistake.  He might have actually told the lie a year ago around this time:
"I'd say, if anything, we're closer on the hockey front than we are the basketball front.  There's a cohesive hockey interested group."
Later, Sly makes it clear on his Twitter account that "Nothing even close" to a deal exists but then WHY DID YOU SAY THAT?  Anyway, the point is who knows what we can believe.  There has probably never been a "cohesive hockey interested group," and that's fine, because Sly didn't necessarily mislead us, because he totally didn't say that (even though he did).  Again, he's not at fault.  We all are, for assuming that the minds behind downtown revitalization of the mid-2000s had a professional sports team in mind.

Personally, I'd love to have an NHL team in Kansas City.  But, honestly, I could give a shit less if I felt like the mayor or AEG would give us the actual financial risks of why we can't pursue the Coyotes, and quit acting like Sprint Center is some Mecca of entertainment that's evolved past the need to host the competitive gladiator events of the dirty proletariat.  Madison Square Garden and Staples Center are Meccas of entertainment, and they do just fine hosting multiple professional sports teams plus events.  The Sprint Center is a nice arena in the middle of America with a good event booker.  That's it.  But what happens when Sprint Center gets older, and can't support those great musical acts?  What happens when we are back where we started, when those acts bypassed KC to go to Omaha, and St. Louis, and OKC, and Des Moines?  Where is the staying power for Sprint?  Does the downtown revitalization stall in five years when Sprint is twelve years old and not considered "modern" anymore.  Then what?

Oh, and to his credit James does get something unequivocally right in that article: Kansas City does not have a potential hockey ownership group.  At all.  None.  And that's all he really needed to say anyway.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Mayor says luring NHL’s Coyotes would have been bad business deal for Kansas City

(editor's note: this story originally appeared in the Kansas City Star on June 20th.  It is posted here in its entirety for posterity's sake, because The Star's online articles tend to disappear quickly.  This article is not written by anyone associated with Lost City of Bettman.)

June 20


The Kansas City Star
Whether the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes remain in Arizona or move to Seattle, Mayor Sly James does not regret that Kansas City didn’t do more to attract the club to the Sprint Center.

Read more here:

After investigating the possibility of pursuing the Coyotes — who have been losing money while under NHL ownership since 2009 — James was convinced the franchise would have been a bad business deal for Kansas City.
“Several months back, even before that, we put out some feelers and talked to some people we trusted who knew what the situation was … the availability, the costs …” James told The Star on Thursday, “and the basic information was (the Coyotes) need a lot of money from the city in one form or the other. They said, it’s not a great deal for you, like you might hope.
“The question was, ‘What would it take?’ The answer was, ‘A whole hell of a lot. It might take you from a (profit) to a negative.’ It wasn’t something recommended to be done.”

Renaissance Sports Entertainment, a group out of Canada which has been approved to buy the Coyotes from the NHL, is seeking a reported $15 million a year from the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, Ariz., to operate the Arena. Glendale has budgeted $6.5 million per year, according to the Arizona Republic, and if the two sides don’t come to an agreement by July 2, the Coyotes could be sold to interests in Seattle, where the team would play at Key Arena until a new facility was built.
Handing over a multi-million dollar subsidy to the new owners is simply too much, said James, considering the Sprint Center is turning a profit each year for the city. According to the mayor’s office, Kansas City has received nearly $8 million in profit-sharing payments in the Sprint Center’s first five years of operation.
“We were told, you should continue to look for a team, you’re in a good enough situation, where you have an arena that is working,” James said. “It’s not like we’re desperate or have an arena that is dark and not making money. You don’t have to jump at a deal just because something is out there.”
According to Pollstar Magazine’s annual report, Sprint Center was the sixth-busiest arena in the United States in 2012 and No. 22 in the world. Even without an anchor tenant, Sprint Center provided $1.85 million to the city in 2012 through its profit-sharing agreement.
Still, the mayor is not giving up on bringing an NHL or NBA franchise to Kansas City.
“Our position is, if there is a good deal out there, that makes sense, then, yeah, let’s take a serious look at it,” James said. “But if it’s going to be something that is more risk than we possibly want to take on, let’s not do that. Right now, we don’t have an offer, there’s nothing out there.”
Of course, the other part of the equation to bring a team to Kansas City is identifying ownership. Both the new Phoenix group and prospective Seattle group are from out of the area and if AEG — which operates the Sprint Center — has an ownership group waiting in the wings for Kansas City, it is not saying.
“I’m not aware of a group,” James said. “That was part of the early discussion, whether there was a group that could step up … my understanding was there was not a group.
“Doesn’t it seem like if we really want to get in the game, we need some people here who have some money who are willing to get in the game?”
Los Angeles-based AEG has undergone a change in leadership in recent months with Dan Beckerman taking over as president and chief executive officer in place of Tim Leiweke, who now runs the company that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC.
Repeated attempts to reach Beckerman have been unsuccessful, so it is unknown whether AEG — which owns the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings — has an interest in identifying a buyer for the Coyotes if they fail to reach an agreement with Glendale or Seattle.
“We are continuing to follow the lead of the NHL, so we are unable to comment regarding specifics as it relates to the Phoenix deal,” said Shani Tate, the Sprint Center’s director of communications and marketing.
The NHL Board of Governors is scheduled to meet on June 27 and hoped to approve the sale of the Coyotes. The league has yet to release its 2013-14 schedule, and it reportedly has several versions, depending on where the Coyotes are playing.
Sprint Center does not have an NHL preseason game scheduled for this fall, though Tate said that has nothing to do with the Coyotes’ situation. She did say, however, that if the opportunity were to arise, the facility can work with the NHL on scheduling needs.
“We are always making preparations, whether it relates to scheduling and making sure we are involved in the necessary conversations,” Tate said. “However, it needs to be the most responsible thing and making sure our partners at the city are also involved. We are paying close attention to the situation in Phoenix.”
Kansas City’s reluctance to underwrite the cost of the Coyotes or any NHL or NBA franchise could preclude any franchise from moving to the Sprint Center, because most clubs will demand shares of revenue from suites, concessions, parking, signage, sponsorships and other amenities.
AEG offered the Pittsburgh Penguins a favorable lease before the arena even opened in 2007, only to see the team leverage that deal for a new arena in Pittsburgh. James agrees that most clubs would want a favorable lease as well. But not all situations are the same. There’s only one Sidney Crosby.
“Let me ask you this,” James said. “Which would you rather have, the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Phoenix Coyotes? Who do you think would make more money for the city in the long run?”

The Blue Line's New Hockey Commercial: A Step-by-Step Review

The Blue Line hockey bar in the River Market area has carved out a nice little niche.  It's never terribly crowded but seemingly always patronized (from what I've seen), the food doesn't stray from the bar staples but still good, and they have a lot of different beers on tap.  As far as bars go around town, it's a quiet place to just wind down or watch a game.  Oh yeah, and the hockey stuff is cool, too.  But, that's the thing: I've never gotten the sense that anyone in the bar watches hockey, and I don't care.

No one needs to go to a bar for validation that the thing they like is popular with the other people there.  Sure, there are those Steeler Nation bars around the country where Steelers fans meet up or whatever, but the Blue Line doesn't attract just a hockey crowd.  It's great that the Blue Line is a hockey bar and shows hockey games, something a lot of places around town don't do (here is where I say "Thank you!" to Nick & Jakes for their patience and willingness to show hockey when asked), but it also functions as a gathering place for the locals.  So, that's the reason you shouldn't make off-the-cuff comments about obscure hockey players in the 1990s just to show your hockey knowledge prowess to the other true hockey fans at the Blue Line.  Chances are you won't get someone coming up to saying, "Oh dude, are you talking about Wayne McBean?!  Hell yeah!" (*bro and you high five).  Thus, the ambience of the bar might expose hockey to people who don't like it, but may not specifically attract hockey fans.  And that's fine.

Anyway, they have a new TV spot that's pretty amateur, so let's make fun of it.

Please CLICK THE LINK RIGHT HERE for the video.  It's not on YouTube or anything, so, sorry. (Apparently this has been out a while, but I just saw it, so whatever.)

* * *
0:01-0:10 – I'm not sure the Blue Line is "famous" for anything in particular, but the food is good, and there's nothing to joke about there.  I don't know what "Blue Line Brew" is, but they say it's locally crafted.  It kind of looks like Hamms.

0:11– "If you drink enough at the Blue Line, your reaction time will resemble that of Dan Cloutier."

0:12– That is either a beer league hockey jersey, or someone is making counterfeit Michigan State sweaters.

0:20 – I get the fake knocked out teeth, but, ugh, fake knocked out teeth.  This is like saying all baseball players chew tobacco, when they obviously all chew Big League Chew.

0:25– Oh, the big finale, the crescendo of the symphony of bar advertising.  This is what makes this commercial so delightfully local.  First, we see a guy in an orange shirt just chillin on the window.  Possibly checking his phone for hockey scores.  What happens next is akin to aggravated assault with numerous accessories to the crime.

Bro minding his own business is body checked by a helmeted villain, who proceeds to persistently dry hump the victim in such a perverse way that we can only assume it's sexually gratifying.  People stand up and cheer instead of help the victim.  This is not how society should work.

If we are to analyze this as a hockey scene being played out in real life, then we find even more issues.  One, bro in orange shouldn't be hanging out on the boards.  He should keep moving, and open himself up for a pass (a pass of what?).  Two, the offender clearly makes a run at his victim – twenty feet or so – which is clearly defined as Charging.

NHL Rule 42.1:
Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.
Despite this rule's vague wording, I'd say twenty feet constitutes "distance traveled."  This is not boarding, however, because the offender does not hit high, nor is orange bro necessarily defenseless since he isn't turned away from the play.

NHL Rule 41.1:
The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenseless position and if so, he must avoid or minimize the contact. However, in determining wheter such contact could have been avoided, the circumstances of the check, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the check or whether the check was unavoidable can be considered.
Thus, the initial call is Charging.

Three, this clearly develops into a double minor penalty, as orange bro is obstructed from the flow of play.  This is perhaps Holding more than Interference, since progress is stopped instead of impeded.

NHL Rule 54.1:
Holding – Any action by a player that retards the progress of an opposing player whether or not he is in possession of the puck.
Interference refers more to obstruction while in motion, and not while pinned against the boards.

Four, all the people in the bar cheer for this violence.  We should all be ashamed of ourselves.

Greg Wyshynski: Missing the Point

A few things I want to point out about Greg Wyshynski's lack of actual reporting, and why this gives bloggers something of a bad name among those in the dying, though somewhat still prestigious, mainstream print media.  Don't get me wrong, Greg has some fine articles from time to time, and I'm not debating his success as a sports writer/blogger.  I enjoy his site, and I think it's a great place to discover the hundreds of thousands of hockey blogs around the world.  Perhaps you discovered this blog from his site.  But I have to disagree with him on something, just like I've disagreed with him here, here, and here.

Here is the story is question.  Please read it first:

First, here are a few things to keep in mind:

*Greg reaches a large audience with his blog.  This gives him influence among the casual hockey fan blog reader, whether he likes it or not.  What he writes resonates with a community of unique-minded individuals.

*Greg – I don't believe but someone can prove me wrong – does not profess to be a journalist, and is not held to the same Journalistic criteria as those members of the print and broadcast media.  He is a blogger, albeit one of the lucky few who get paid to talk about something they love for a living.

Okay, please jump for the Twitter log of Greg's realization and further understanding of the events as they unfold.  One more thing to keep in mind is that Greg has already written and published his Puck Daddy article at this time.

Greg begins by patronizing a few Kings fans that call him on his quick assessment of the Kings fans booing while a player is injured.  Questioning how Kings fans could know that Giguere would replace the injured goaltender – keep in mind, Giguere is the backup to the once healthy, now injured goaltender – seems a bit disrespectful, does it not?  How are Kings fans to know the goalie will be replaced, although the goalie is, you know, hurt.  Gann Matsuda, a respected Kings blogger – and member of the Staples Center press corps – quickly proves why Greg's statement has little to do with simple goalie changes.  Giguere – an ex-Anaheim Duck, the LA Kings hated rival – is shown on the scoreboard perhaps eliciting a negative reaction from Kings fans who still remember his glory days in Anaheim.  Greg "pops" that into his already written blog post, thus adding an eye witness account and expert testimony to a post he presumably had enough facts to write to begin with.  Remember that when you read it.  Gann then shows this is not just his opinion, but the majority opinion of members of the LA press corps (yes, a biased press corps, but one with knowledge of the situation).

Gann does much to refute the beliefs of Dave Nash, while Greg sticks to his "it wasn't just Giguere they were booing" story without really saying what he believes the Kings fans were indeed booing.

It's at this point we learn Dave Nash is an idiot.  The official Twitter feed of the LA Kings mascot, Bailey, chimes in on another theory of why the fans may have been booing...for what it's worth.  Greg claims that it's just "impossible" to tell who or what the fans were booing without knowing when Giguere appeared on the video board, despite having already written a post on the event.

All of that said, this happens well after the post was originally published.  Gann's input was added later.  Thus, Greg had a need to show the hockey world that the LA Kings were booing while a goalie was injured, though he admits after the fact that many factors could have contributed to why Kings were booing.

Greg makes two big mistakes in publishing this post.  First, the obvious:  He uses random people on Twitter as a source.  It's easy for random Twitter users to use the common Internet tactic of hiding behind their keyboard, thus giving them the power to say whatever they feel.  We know that; we've all been there.  Timothy Burke of Deadspin made this mistake during President Obama's nationally televised speech concerning Sandy Hook that just so happened to occur during NBC's coverage of Sunday Night Football.  It's easy to go on Twitter to find people saying the nastiest, meanest shit in the world at any given time, so I imagine it's easy to find people who need little reason to hate an opposing fan base at any given time.  People hate the Kings – lo, every professional sports franchise – nearly every day publicly on Twitter.  Likewise, if you ever need validation that carrots are great, cite this Twitter account.  This does not necessarily justify an opinion, though, because anonymous Twitter users can be anybody.  They can even be fake.

The second mistake, of course, is that Greg never actually comes out and condemns Kings fans, although this is what people assume to be the point of his article.  "Kings fans boo injured goalie" is the headline, thus the article is about Kings fans actively booing the injury of a person.  The object verbs the subject.  It could easily have read "Group of people react poorly to bad thing."  Insert "human trauma" for "bad thing" and now you add the human element, the true essence of the story.  You should show restraint, run for help, get a doctor, grab some bandages, call the injured man's next of kin – anything but boo and jeer his mangled form.

This isn't tactful journalism by Greg – the reporting of facts as they come in – nor is it a complete lambasting of a group of people.  He just says "Thing Happened," and only gives reactions of Kings detractors "fillet(ing)" the Kings on Twitter.  Nowhere does Greg say, "Kings fans suck," or, "The Kings need to connect with their fans."  One can assume he means this through his Twitter interactions, but that's just an assumption.  It's just that this thing occurred, so what do you think about it?  It's a mess of gray area and hypotheticals.  Perhaps we are supposed to feel something, or have an opinion, but we never know why.  I say this with the belief that 18,000 fans weren't booing an injured goalie.  But we wouldn't know that – or know what else they could possibly be booing – from reading this article.

So, that's leaves us with one question: What's the point?  Why write it if you 1) obviously don't have all of the facts from multiple witnesses or 2) don't have an apparent opinion conveyed within the story.  You have people on Twitter as your source, not reputable people attending the game (which you wouldn't add until later, in a sense giving a dissenting voice to an article not originally written to be a debate), just random people.  You are the Mant'i Teo of hockey bloggers, in this case.

Why does this bother me?  Well, for one, there are too many examples of poor "capital J" Journalism in the American media.  Everyone is a critic (this post included), but it goes back to the base of readers Greg reaches.  What is this telling his readers, and why is it informative?  Why write it?  What is he trying to draw from it.  People hating the Kings on Twitter is nothing new.  Neither is the act of booing at a sport event, or an opposing team or player for that matter.

Also, and yes, I am a Kings fan.  And if Kings fans were booing an injured player, that sucks.  But guess what, how does that change anything?  Will they kick people out of the arena?  Does this make LA a city of sin and debauchery?  In what way does this reflect on the Kings organization?  A few months ago Chiefs fans were believed to be cheering an injury.  So now if fans have any reaction to anything this reflects poorly on anyone other than the people making those decisions.  Will you travel to Los Angeles and  walk around, viewing the citizens as Imps from Doom, as if you are living in a post-Apocalyptic hellscape?  No.  Unless you are an idiot.  

We point out the follies in other teams players – and subsequently the fans of other team's players – because they don't stand for what we stand for.  Thus, bad fans justify your beliefs of a bad team.  Boo bad team, boo.  I hate the Ducks for no other reason other than they are a "rival."  I don't really hate the Ducks, though, which is where there is typically a misconception.  In reality, sports are just a fucking game.  But some people have a difficult time separating themselves from that middle ground, or gray area, of sports fandom and regular lifedom.  For Kings fans, Corey Perry is a dick, but so is your neighbor across the street.  But if you are a normal person, you would still give Corey advice on the right fertilizer to use on his lawn.

That's just my opinion, though.

On the Houston Aeros Departure

A part of hockey history will go away at the end of this season.  The Minnesota Wild will move their AHL affiliate, currently the Houston Aeros, to Des Moines to presumably be closer to the NHL club.  Here at LCOB we find this disappointing for a few reasons because we share a special attachment, even kinship, to the Houston Aeros.

Houston, like Kansas City, is not what you would call a "hockey hotbed."  What it makes up for in being three times bigger in population than the KC Metro, it loses points in location.  Sure, Dallas has seen it's share of successful years with an NHL club, but cities like Atlanta, Phoenix, and at times Miami have not.  Houston, like Kansas City, used to be on the shortlist of cities vying for an NHL team before we all learned how ludicrous it was to field another franchise south of the Mason-Dixon parallel, before the advent of your Seattles, Hamiltons, Winnipegs, and Torontos X 2.  Who would be crazy/bold enough to buy a team from an ice-centric sport and plop them smack on the Gulf Coast.  Houston, for lack of readily available research and a Gary Bettman interview, is not an NHL city.  But for no reason of its own.

Like Kansas City, Houston doesn't fit the demographic.  Who wants to move a team to this city, and why?  How will an NHL team turn a profit in these cities?  KC and Houston share these questions, as the hockey universe uses both as their troll jumping off point in regards to another American franchise.  With thought out quips about the lack of hockey fans in the city, to imaginative yarns of games played before uninhabited arenas, and the lack of understanding or knowledge among the locals of the scientific properties of frozen liquid, it should be easy to see why the NHL would, and should, never consider these cities for hockey, let alone life itself.  A plot so tired and passé that it takes everything in your power not to point out that the entire province of Manitoba has less inhabitants than the urban statistical area of Kansas City and that there is a good chance there are still more hockey fans in Omaha, Des Moines, Mid-Missouri, Wichita, Topeka and the entire Kansas City region combined (i.e. colloquially known as the "Chiefs Kingdom" supporting another single franchise*) than total Manitobans, for arguing with a fool makes one a fool themselves.

We share this pain, because it's easy to point out the flaws.  I do it regularly.  No Gretzky didn't grow up in either of these cities.  They don't play pond hockey in Houston, and if they play it here no one has told me.  But there is historical significance of the sport to fans in both cities.  Kansas City folks enjoy their hockey, as the Mavs hope to break the tenuous presence of the sport in the city.  Houston folks, obviously, enjoy their hockey.  See for yourself.  The Aeros rank near the top of the league in attendance, hovering around the 6,000 fan average per game mark, since 2006.  Plus, the Aeros have given their fans twenty years of uninterrupted hockey, one Turner Cup, and one Calder Cup during that time.  What's not to love?

Honestly, I have never met a Houston hockey fan personally, but like I said, there's a kinship between us tweener hockey cities.  Houston had what Kansas City hockey fans want, and that's a consistent hockey presence in the city's sports landscape.  The Outlaws didn't fill that void, mainly because no one knew they existed.  And as much as I hate to admit it, the Blades struggled to do so, as well.  But, the death of the Blades was like a slap in the face to those diehard hockey fans in KC.  Ten years, down the drain.  Just like the Scouts, just like Blues, just like all the rest.  And now the Houston faithful feel, after twenty years of loyal patronage, some asshole is going to yank away a part of their identity.  That's just business, baby.  Twenty years is just the price of doing business in the modern sports landscape.  Now the next step in the grieving process: uncertainty.  What's next for Houston hockey fans?

I wanted to get whimsical and liken the loss of the Aeros to the loss of a grandparent or older acquaintance, someone you knew, and now they are gone, and that part of your family legacy goes away with it.  Or something.  But that's not really the point.  Personally, for me, the Aeros are one of the few reminders of the existence of the Blades.  Without the Blades, hockey probably is not a part of my life, or many younger generations of Kansas Citians.  The Aeros, the Fort Wayne Komets, the Chicago Wolves, and the Milwaukee Admirals are all a reminders of the past hope of hockey in Kansas City.  The Grand Rapids Griffins are also a reminder of that, though we won't talk about their terrible existence for obvious reasons.  The Aeros bring back good memories, of simpler times, of the Cleveland LumberJacks and Phoenix Roadrunners, and how obtuse the shootout seemed way before the NHL ever thought about implementing it.  Houston fans don't deserve what's going to happen to their team anymore than we did when the Blades went away.

On a side note, seriously, how great is that logo?  The Aeros didn't change it except for a brief time during their transition to the AHL, but changed it back to the original mostly because the new one was dumb and unoriginal.  Great logos are hard to find today, especially some that have a touch of history to them.  Some that stick with a franchise forever.  The winged-wheel.  The Blackhawk head.  Chief Wahoo.  The Chiefs Arrowhead.

I know people in Iowa excited about this impending new team.  Good for them.  They deserve it – the whole city – because they want it.  Their old team got taken away, and now they got a new one.  Sunrise, sunset.  Though, the new team won't be called the Des Moines Aeros.  In fact, if it's called the Des Moines/Iowa Wild, I'm never setting foot in the state of Iowa again just based on their lack of creativity alone.

But don't you worry, the Aeros will return in some form or fashion, though hopefully it doesn't take fifteen years like it did the last time.  Heck, a new Aeros could even join the CHL, much like the new incarnation of the Quad City Mallards, and former IHL and CHL squad the Fort Wayne Komets.  If the Aeros do come to the CHL and the Mavs have another retro Blades jersey night while they are in town, I'll feel like a kid, you guys, falling in love with hockey all over again.  (heavy, wistful sigh)

Until then, here's a video of the Blades' Kevin Evans and the Aeros Steve Jaques dropping the gloves from the old IHL days.

Courtesy of the Department of Redundancy department.

*Yes, I understand the difference between the NHL and NFL.  Merely demonstrating a point.

A Dream: Riding the Bus of Disappointment

What follows after the jump chronicles a dream I had the other day.  Well, dream is such a loose term.  Let's just call it a night terror.  It may not entertain you, but, well, let's just say the brain is an amazingly ambiguous organ.
* * *

Flubber McGee: (gets on a bus) Hello, bus driver person.  I don't remember where I'm going, but drive around and I'll figure it out.

Bus Driver: Alright.

(Flubber sits down in the empty bus.  A hurried man runs up to the bus as it begins to pull away.  The driver stops, and lets the man onboard.  He sits next to Flubber).

Flubber: (nods head upright acknowledging the man's presence) Hey.

Man: (breathing deeply) Hi, how's it going.

Flubber: (turning away towards the window, disinterested) Pretty good.

Man: Say, I hate to prod, but you aren't in the real estate business, are you?  Oh, my name's Jerry, by the way.

(Jerry extends his arm towards Flubber.  Flubber hesitates to shake the man's hand, but does so anyway).

Flubber: Nice to meet you, Jerry, and no, I'm not in the real estate business.

Jerry:  Oh, that's too bad.  Ya see, I'm looking to offload a couple of properties, and hoped someone might be interested.  As of right now I can't seem to find anyone.

Flubber:  Yeah, I don't really make money, so, I'm not really the best person to talk to...

(Jerry interrupts, as tears begin to roll down his face)

Jerry:  See, I'm in way over my head.  I hate these properties.  I want them gone.  Can't you help me?  Why won't you help me?  Why will no one just let me get rid of this burden?

Flubber: Dude...stop crying.


(Jerry runs to the front of the moving bus and out of the retractable doors, rolling away.  Flubber catches a glimpse of Jerry as he rolls by, but he quickly disappears.  A few blocks go by before the bus stops, this time picking up a man in a long brown trench coat.  He walks up to Flubber).

Man 2: Pardon me, but, um, is your name Jerry?

Flubber: Uh, no, actually.  No, why do you ask?

Man 2: Oh, I was supposed to meet a man named Jerry on this bus around this time.

Flubber: Well, to tell you the truth, there was a guy named Jerry here a moment ago.  He mentioned something about real estate...

Man 2: That sounds like him, all right.  Where did he go, do you know?

Flubber:  Um, yeah.  He, uh, well, umm...

Man 2: Oh, I suppose it doesn't matter anyway.  I guess he didn't want to meet after all.  Another missed opportunity for ol' Jimmy.  Oh well.

Flubber: Yeah, you're probably right.  Kind of a weird place to do business, huh?

Jim (apparently): What, on the bus.  Oh yes, not the norm in my line of work.  But this Jerry wanted to keep things private for some reason.

Flubber: What do you do, if I don't mind asking?

Jim: I've been in the States often, recently in Pittsburgh and Nashville working on some projects that fell through.  My line of work can be frustrating at times.

(Jim stares blankly at his wrist watch).

Well, I suppose I should be going.

(Jim gets to the front of the bus and mumbles something incoherent to the bus driver.  The bus slows to a stop, and Jim exits.  At this time Flubber falls asleep for an unknown period of time.  A strong feeling of being watched stirs Flubber from the nap).

Flubber: (groans) uhhhh, wha...?

(A older gentlemen with graying hair and glasses stares back at Flubber, smiling from ear to ear).


Flubber: Why?


Flubber: Why are you shouting?


Flubber: Are you robbing me?


Flubber: Is this a joke?  Am I being punked, or pranked, or stooged or something stupid?


Flubber:  No, go away.


Flubber:  Dude, go away.


(Greg dissolves into a fine mist, which twirls in the air and exits the bus through an open window.  The bus stops once again, picking up another man who finds his way to the seat right next to Flubber).

Man 4: (turning towards Flubber) Hi, my name is Gary Bettman.

Flubber:  Shit.

* * * FIN * * *

Roster Cut: Inside Deano's Office During the Kevin Westgarth Trade

What follows is a new feature called "Roster Cut" which will feature some of my Los Angeles Kings-centric articles that did not make the cut on Jewels From the Crown because they really had nothing to do with anything.  Basically, they were just fun to create, and I'd like to post them, and there is a lack of KC hockey news.  So yeah.  But, be aware of some fun stuff coming to LCOB in the near future.  It's a surprise, so just be patient and deal with it.
This first post places us inside Kings GM Dean Lombardi's office (he of columbs and truth seeking) as he tells seldom used enforcer Kevin Westgarth he will no longer be with the team.

Kevin Westgarth, for obvious blood and violence reasons, was one of my favorite Kings ever since I saw him in an exhibition game a few years ago. That said, it is bittersweet to see him go. We, as Kings fans, know there is no reason to have him on this team anymore. But, as like many of you, I sat in stunned silence watching the Los Angeles Kings players flood the Staples Center ice after having won the franchise's first Stanley Cup trophy...until Westgarth came into frame.
Then I started busting out laughing – a deranged, confused laugh – because seriously, Kevin Westgarth – who is awesome, mind you – was a (small) part of a team that just won a championship in the highest level of hockey competition in the world. No longer could I respirate and be absolutely certain that I was still alive, because science had no basis in this new reality. And that's who Westgarth is in a nutshell: a guy that eliminates any belief in cognitive liberty. He's his own hyperreality, and many of us  Kings fans will miss him in a Kings uniform.
That said, here's how Dean Lombardi probably broke the news to him on Sunday  a couple Sundays ago. (IMPORTANT NOTE: If Westgarth ever stumbles upon this article, I'm so sorry please don't kill me I'm drunk)
* * *
(Kevin Westgarth enters Dean Lombardi's office)
Deano: Glad you could make it Kevin. Have a seat.
Westy: Howdy, Mr. Lombardi! Did you see me in those interviews?! Me and Donny really stuck it too ol' Gary...
Deano: Yeah, that's great...hey, you've been traded to Carolina.
Westy: ...he didn't know what hit h---....wait WHAT?!
Deano: Yeah dude. You have to go.
Westy: But what about everything I did for the players' association? To end the lockout? I'm a hero. I'm a true patriot, or the Canadian equivalent. You can't trade me.
Deano: Hey that's super, but Phil Anschutz still signs my checks. Sooo, yeah... Plus, can you believe this haul? Some guy that's just as big as you with, like, twenty times as many goals. And some draft picks. All in exchange for you! I mean, even Columbus wanted a draft pick for Jeff Carter, stupid babies.
(Deano kicks feet up on desk, folds hands behind his head)
Westy: But, but, I was there everyday in practice. I made this team better! I'm on the Cup. There are guys on the team now that can't even say that!
Deano: But dude, two draft picks. For you. And a former first round pick. For you. Can you believe that?
Westy: I can't believe you would just trade me like that. After all I did for you. I went to Princeton, dammit! I'm married to Bill Cowher's daughter! Look at my sideburns!!!
Deano: Well, I thought you would be happy for me. I'm a freakin' genius, after all.
(Deano swirls a forty year old Cabernet Sauvignon around inside a crystal decanter, then pours it into a tin flask and places it in his suit pocket)
(Westy's nose begins to bleed, a lot)
Deano: Alas, though, I must say good day to you, sir. For I must see a man about horse.
(Deano picks up the latest copy of Guns & Ammo off of his desk, and enters his private washroom)
(Westy sits in Deano's office for five minutes, then leaves and never returns)

A Lockout Poem, by Flubber McGee-Neruda

"Leaning Into the Crack of Dawn"

Leaning into the butt crack of dawn I cast my sad nets
towards your oceanic eyes.

There in the highest blaze my solitude lengthens and flames,
its arms turning like a drowning man's.

I send out red signals across your absent eyes
that move like the sea near a lighthouse.

You keep only darkness, my distant Scot Beckenbaugh
from your regard sometimes the coast of dread emerges.

Leaning into the Sunday morning I fling my sad nets
to that sea that beats on your marine eyes.

The birds of night peck at the first stars
that flash like my soul when I love you.

The night gallops on its shadowy mare
shedding blue tassels over the land.

Gary Bettman is a dick isn't he
I bet you called him a dick to his face.

I love you Scot Beckenbaugh.  Thanks.

The Stanley Cup Goes to Some Weird Places

For some reason, I am on the media mailing list for KC ICE's Northland rink at Burlington Creek.  Yay!(?)

Anyway, the Stanley Cup – or one of the twenty replicas – is coming to the rink this Saturday, January 5th if you would like to see it.  Actually, it's coming to EnChamas restaurant, but, eh...close enough.  So, go see it if you want to see it.  It's worth the price of admission to see Anze Kopitar's name on there, let me tell you buddy.  BONUS: For a small fee, you can get your picture with the Cup AND 1980 USA Gold Medalist and local guy Ken Morrow.  Yay!(?)  Here's the promo flyer.
So, yeah, there's that.  It made me wonder what other random people charged you to take pictures with the Cup at random locations.

Paul Bissonnette – aka BizNasty, and he of the best yoga instructor in this world or any other – at Casa Bonita.  Because what else do you think he does for his birthday?

Sean Avery at Beef O'Brady's.  Can you imagine sitting next to the Stanley Cup, and talking to Sean Avery over an OMG Burger?  I can.

The ghost of Lord Stanley of Preston – namesake of the Cup – at a Chipotle in Arizona.  Because seriously, like the Stanley Cup would be caught dead in Arizona.