NHL Franchise Notes
In Phoenix, Dan Bickley writes, "These days, there is a different vibe in Glendale." In the previous two seasons, the Coyotes "were like the Suns are now -- playoff poseurs, a team good enough to flirt with the postseason but with little chance at extended success." Now, the "roles are reversed," as the Suns have missed the playoffs for the third time in four years. This opens a "huge window of opportunity and exposure" for the NHL club. Coyotes President & COO Mike Nealy said, "I would never wish bad on anybody. But maybe that helps us become the darlings of the Valley for a little while." Bickley notes at close of business yesterday, Predators-Coyotes Western Conference Semifinal Game One at Jobing.com Arena "was not a sellout." The venue's "affordable upper deck tickets were gone, but many $114 seats on the far reaches of the lower bowl remained" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/26).
TWITTER FAUX PAS: USA TODAY's Mike Brehm notes Devils fan Laura Rubino on her Twitter account "saw a leap in the number of followers" after her comment to Panthers President & COO Michael Yormark "was dismissed by him because of her lack of followers." Yormark tweeted Tuesday that the Panthers "were no longer selling plastic rats at the arena because visiting fans were tossing them on the ice." Rubino and other Devils fans "objected to Yormark's assertion and challenged him on his Twitter account." His response to Rubino: "You have 70 followers. No one cares what you think." As of 9:00pm ET last night, "she had nearly 4,000 followers" (USA TODAY, 4/26). Panthers announcer Steve Goldstein noted on his Twitter account that Yormark and the team are flying Rubino into tonight's Devils-Panthers Game Seven and will give her a seat in a suite (TWITTER.com, 4/26).
JET STREAM: In Winnipeg, Martin Cash wrote the Jets are "opening doors for the city's economic development agency." At their annual meeting Tuesday, Economic Development Winnipeg CEO Marina James said that "visitor traffic was up seven per cent last year and is forecast to grow by four per cent this year." Cash wrote the team "is certainly helping put Winnipeg on radar screens." Head of EDW's Yes! Winnipeg operation Bill Morrissey said, "The visibility Winnipeg has received as a result of the Jets is very definitely making a difference in name recognition. Increasingly, we are having the opportunity to have the discussion (about the relative merits of doing business in Winnipeg). And when they listen to it, they are impressed" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 4/25).
ISLAND OF ADVENTURE: In New Jersey, John Brennan asked, "If not Brooklyn, where else would the Islanders go in 2015?" The MSG Network TV contract "seemingly binds the Islanders to the region as much as it does the Devils ($10 million plus per team, a gold mine by NHL standards)." Brennan continued, "How can a franchise manage more net revenues elsewhere?" NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "could have added pressure on the Long Island folks by touting Brooklyn as a longterm alternative now -- then backed off, if need be," should the Islanders' scheduled '12-13 preseason game in Brooklyn "lead to the conclusion that a realistic NHL capacity at Barclays Center be even smaller than estimated" (NORTHJERSEY.com, 4/25).