The NHL Shift: Numbers and notes, 11/22/2013

A look at the past week in the NHL and a glimpse at what’s ahead.

• The Numbers
$308: The highest price for a non-suite ticket to either of the two Coors Light Stadium Series games at Yankee Stadium during Super Bowl week. The Rangers will play the Devils on Jan. 26 and the Islanders on Jan. 29. Tickets to the general public went on sale yesterday, and seating in the higher-priced sections was still available as of Friday morning. On a side note, the Rangers will be the visiting team for both of the games, therefore keeping their traditional 41 home games this season at Madison Square Garden — where they play to more capacity crowds than the Devils and Islanders combined.

$10,000 - $15,000: The price range for the Boston Bruins’ new Garden Greats experience, a single-game suite offering. Buyers receive 20 tickets for the suite, where they can watch the game with former Bruins stars, such as Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk, Rick Middleton, Mark Recchi and Mike Milbury. The package also includes a pregame tour of TD Garden, parking passes, pucks, food and beverage, and a group photo with an ex-Bruin.

18,234: In an early-season statistical oddity, that’s the average attendance of the Columbus Blue Jackets on the road — third-highest in the league and 98 percent of capacity for those games. At home, the Blue Jackets are averaging 14,023, just 77 percent of capacity at Nationwide Arena. No, we don’t think it’s the presence of Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky attracting fans to see the visiting Blue Jackets. Rather, it’s a matter of Columbus having had road games against some of the more successful teams in the league, in terms of box office sales: Montreal, Washington, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Boston, Calgary and Edmonton — all playing at 100 percent capacity so far this season. The Maple Leafs and Capitals rank one-two in road attendance.

100 Hours: That’s the planned shooting time, over two months, for the NHL’s coming documentary series, “NHL Revealed.” The seven-part program, produced in conjunction with NBC and CBC, will follow players from the Coors Light Stadium Series through the NHL’s participation in the Olympics and back for the re-start of the regular season. “It’s not enough to just feed the core hockey fan,” said NHL COO John Collins. “We want to expose the sport to casual fans and continue to grow the game.” Former HBO President Ross Greenburg is serving as the NHL’s executive producer on the project. The series debuts Jan. 22 on NBCSN and Jan. 23 on CBC.

23 Players: Each roster member of the New York Islanders will visit Long Island schools on Monday to speak with students about the importance of education. Players are visiting nine schools in groups of two or three. One particularly popular assembly figures to be Fayette Elementary School in North Merrick, N.Y., where star center John Tavares will be joined by teammates Travis Hamonic and Colin McDonald.

14 Years Ago Today: On Nov. 22, 1999, Wayne Gretzky was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Arguments may persist for generations over whether The Great One was the greatest player in the first 97 years of the NHL. But one thing is inarguable: Gretzky is the league’s all-time most successful pitchman. Fifteen years after his retirement as a player — he was immediately inducted into the Hall, which skipped its usual three-year waiting process — Gretzky has been a spokesman in Canada for Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch and McDonald’s, among many others.

52 Candles: Happy birthday to NHL COO John Collins, who turns 52 on Wednesday. No need to list all of his accomplishments in his seven years since joining the NHL from the NFL. We can just say this: Good sports executive, good man.

LOOKING AHEAD
Dec. 9: The NHL’s Board of Governors will convene in Pebble Beach, Calif., for the first of two days of meetings. Among the expected agenda items will be the future of fighting in NHL games and the league’s ongoing broadcast rights negotiations with Canadian networks.

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