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NHL Franchise Notes: Kings See Empty Seats At Staples Center
Published October 20, 2008
|Friday's Hurricanes-Kings Game At Staples
Center Draws Announced Crowd Of 14,194
HOW TO WIN FRIENDS & INFLUENCE PEOPLE: In Nashville, Brad Schrade wrote under the header, “NHL Friends Inflated Del Biaggio’s Clout. Trust Laid Groundwork For His Bid To Buy Preds.” Former Predators investor William "Boots" Del Biaggio III’s friendship with Penguins Chair Mario Lemieux and “other hockey stars, and how those relationships gave him credibility, is an important aspect to his extraordinary rise and fall” in the NHL. Del Biaggio and Lemieux have been “friends, golfing buddies and business associates for years,” investing together in a junior hockey team and co-owning a home in Santa Monica. Former U.S. Olympian Mike Eruzione, who was in the "circle of hockey players Del Biaggio befriended," said, "My gut feeling is he wanted it so bad that he'd do anything to get it" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 10/19).
NOT FEELING THE IMPACT: In Pittsburgh, Dave Molinari wrote the Penguins “don’t seem to be feeling any major effects” of the struggling economy. Penguins President David Morehouse: “We were fortunate enough to have a sold-out season last season and this season will be sold out. We sold out our (luxury) suites. Our sponsorships, if not already sold, we have verbal agreements. We have a (season-ticket) waiting list of 2,500 names. We have 14,000 tickets sold, and a waiting list of almost 5,000 tickets. We’re fortunate that it hasn’t hit us yet." Morehouse added, "We've had all those indicators that we did so well in last year ... that we're watching. We're looking at television ratings, things like that. As far as economic indicators, it's ticket sales and sponsorships. And for this year, there's no way for us to have any indication (because they've already been sold)” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/19).
LOFTY EXPECTATIONS: In Chicago, Rick Morrissey wrote the Blackhawks’ off-season marketing campaign has created “wild expectations, unreasonable expectations, borderline silly expectations. So instead of a 1-2-1 start being what it was, a disappointment, it became a 1-2-1 start, the end of the world.” Fans could not go "to a Cubs or White Sox game over the summer and be Blackhawks-free. You could not open a newspaper or watch TV without seeing a Hawks ad. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were everywhere.” Morrissey: “It’s hard to imagine this team living up to the marketing campaign” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/19).
TIME CHANGE: In Philadelphia, Frank Seravalli reports the Flyers have moved Saturday’s start time of its game against the Devils from 7:00pm ET to 4:00pm to “try to alleviate the congestion in the area with Game 3 of the World Series” being played at Citizens Bank Park that night. The game “could not be moved to 1pm because the two teams play in New Jersey on Friday night, and an NHLPA rule restricts games from being played within a certain time window” (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/20).