The Bruins postponed their scheduled game against the Senators at TD Garden last night in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, with no make-up date announced, according to Kevin Paul Dupont of the BOSTON GLOBE. The decision was made around 4:30pm ET, less than two hours after the bombings took place, and players were "informed by management once inside the dressing room." It is possible that the game "won't be rescheduled, provided the outcome has no consequence on the NHL's final standings." But given "how tight the standings are, the odds are in favor of a makeup, possibly Sunday, April 28." Both clubs are "off that day, each of them scheduled to wrap up their seasons that weekend" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/16). SI.com's Allan Muir noted while it is an "insignificant concern at the moment, rescheduling the game won't be easy given the already compacted nature of the NHL calendar." The Bruins had their Feb. 9 game against the Lightning postponed "due to a weather related emergency." That game was rescheduled for April 25 (SI.com, 4/15). In Boston, Stephen Harris writes the reasons the game "couldn’t be played were obvious." If one "crowded sports event could be attacked, there was concern a second ... could also be targeted." Additionally, police, EMTs and "other emergency workers were not available for the Garden." Meanwhile, to "carry on with a game after yesterday’s horror devastated so many would have been unconscionable." Shortly before what would have been gametime last night, police were "stopping every person entering North Station and checking bags and outer coats." Harris: "Imagine trying to clear roughly 18,000 people going into the B’s game" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/16). In Ottawa, Bruce Garrioch writes, "Not playing the game was the right thing to do" (OTTAWA SUN, 4/16).
81 IS ENOUGH: USA TODAY reportedthe Celtics' home game tonight against the Pacers was cancelled instead of being rescheduled, as tomorrow is the last day of the NBA regular season and the "outcome of the game would make no difference in the playoff standings" for both teams. This marks the first time the league has "had a situation in which any team played fewer than 82 games in the regular season since adopting that schedule" for the '67-68 season (USATODAY.com, 4/15).
RED SOX CAN HELP HEAL: In DC, Victor Morton notes there was "no immediate word" on the Red Sox' official team site concerning the status of "their next home game," which is Friday against the Royals. The Red Sox are "on the road for the next few days" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/16). FOXSPORTS.com's Jon Paul Morosi notes the Red Sox "could play a unique role in the development of civic resolve." They are "more closely associated with Patriots' Day than the other pro teams, because their early start is designed to allow fans to exit the ballpark and watch the leading runners pass through Kenmore Square" (FOXSPORTS.com, 4/16). Meanwhile, the Red Sox today announced the Fenway Park Open House scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed (Red Sox).
NBA Kings bidder Vivek Ranadivé yesterday "laid out an ambitious vision ... for transforming the woebegone franchise into a 'global brand,'" according to Kasler, Lillis & Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Ranadivé said that Nexus Venture Partners co-Founder Naren Gupta and Leap Motion President & COO Andy Miller have "joined his effort to block the Kings from moving to Seattle." There are "now seven investors in the group." With just "days remaining before the NBA could decide the team's fate," Ranadivé, 24 Hour Fitness co-Founder Mark Mastrov and former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer & General Counsel Chris Kelly "spoke enthusiastically ... about creating a tech-savvy basketball organization capable of engaging fans the world over." But they offered "no details about their actual purchase offer for the team." Ranadivé "wouldn't say whether his group plans to match the increased offer submitted last Friday by" the group from Seattle, which is "now offering to pay" $357M. Nor would he say if the Sacramento group "has yet filed a written purchase offer with the NBA." Ranadivé said that he believes the group "is now set, although additional investors 'are calling.'" Ranadivé: "My vision is that there are a number of forces shaping the 21st century and the group that I have brought together ... reflects my thinking in terms of what those forces are" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/16).
KING DAVID: NBA.com's David Aldridge wrote NBA Commissioner David Stern is "a master manipulator, but he doesn't always step in." A source said that Kings Owner the Maloof family, who have "never changed their minds about preferring to complete their deal" with hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, "believe that Stern has indeed gone above and beyond in helping Sacramento's bid." But they also believe that he is "acting in the way a commissioner is expected to -- to try and keep franchises where they are, while also making the most money he can for the other owners" (NBA.com, 4/15).
FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT: In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin writes, "The Kings are the story this week, but only part of the story. Win, lose, expansion -- Sacramento is the story." The city "didn't stumble meekly into the night." It "didn't cower under the massive weight of the undertaking." The "movers and shakers have been heard." Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson assembled a group that "likely would have crushed the opposition if the Seattle bidders didn't include" Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Stern would be "insane to abandon a proven franchise and walk away from a group that seemingly dropped from the heavens" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/16).
If the Bobcats ask the NBA “for a name change, it would be at least 18 months before such a request was implemented,” according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver yesterday “addressed the possibility the Bobcats might switch their nickname to ‘Hornets’ now that the New Orleans Hornets are switching to ‘Pelicans.’” But the Bobcats “have yet to make a request with the NBA.” Silver said that he is “fine with whatever the Bobcats decide, but that the team’s deliberate approach is the right course.” Silver said it would be a “very expensive process,” adding it is “a weighty process, not just what ‘X’ amount of fans say in an opinion poll.” It is “about whether a rebranding would be lucrative enough to justify spending millions on new uniforms, logos and signage.” Silver noted the Bobcats “wouldn’t owe the Pelicans compensation if they took on that name” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/16). In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg noted Silver "praised the ownership" of Michael Jordan and the "rebuilding efforts led by" team President & COO Fred Whitfield. Silver said that Jordan has had to "learn the ropes of ownership," but is "growing into the role." NBA figures show that the Bobcats "rank second in new season tickets sold for next season." Silver: "Michael has shown incredible aptitude and eagerness to learn. I think they've also acknowledged where they do have steeper learning curves than other areas. When I see Michael, he's still a relatively new owner" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/15).
KICK START?In Charlotte, Scott Fowler noted some fans are “drawing a connection between the fact that some Charlotte Hornet-colored Air Jordan shoes are being re-released [this] week and the fact that the Bobcats are considering whether to change their nickname." Whitfield, who formerly worked for Jordan Brand, said that he “knows how it works in the company.” Whitfield: “They plan the release or re-release dates of shoes way in advance -- about 12-18 months out. We weren’t even seriously considering this name change 12-18 months ago, because the name at the time wasn’t available. These two things are not related.” Whitfield added that he “did not have a date as to when the team’s research will be complete on whether to re-adopt the Hornets’ nickname” (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 4/12).
Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe yesterday introduced Craig MacTavish as GM in a change that had been "coming for a while as the Oilers failed to perform as a legitimate contender," according to a front-page piece by John MacKinnon of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. Also "on board as part of the 'new' leadership group" is former Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson, who will take over as Senior VP/Hockey Operations (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 4/16). In Edmonton, Terry Jones writes the hirings of MacTavish and Howson "certainly have the appearance of a predetermined move by owner Daryl Katz and/or Lowe." MacTavish said, "I don’t think we’re that far off. We’re going to have to make some changes but we are at the point of the cycle where we can expose ourselves to some risks." Jones writes right now "is the time for bold," and MacTavish "certainly sounds like he's seen enough and is determined enough to do what it takes." There was "zero confidence remaining" that fired GM Steve Tambellini "was the man to do that" (EDMONTON SUN, 4/16).
A SLICK SITUATION: USA TODAY's Kevin Allen writes Tambellini was fired "primarily because the team's rebuilding plan has not shown quick enough progress." MacTavish: "I'm an impatient guy. ... We have to do some bold things to move this team forward in rapid fashion." Despite drafting first overall for three straight years, the Oilers "likely will miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season" (USA TODAY, 4/16). The GLOBE & MAIL's Eric Duhatschek writes the "glory days may be just around the corner in Edmonton, given the number of blue-chip, high-end prospects all that losing delivered, but if that happens, it will be the holdovers from the old glory days" -- primarily Lowe and MacTavish -- who will "preside over the turnaround." Tambellini was an "ultraconservative, slow-go sort of a manager and probably didn’t read the tea leaves correctly." The patience had "clearly run out, from the fan base right to the upper reaches of the organization." What is happening in Edmonton "resembles the situation in Pittsburgh during the early 2000s" (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/16).
LOWE BLOW: ESPN.com's Scott Burnside wrote now that Lowe "has replaced one pal with another even older pal in MacTavish, has this team really taken a step anywhere but in a circle?" Burnside: "If you think the Oilers organizational chart looks like one of those in optical illusions where the stairs are both ascending and descending in a perpetual cycle, that's because it is." He asked, "What does Daryl Katz see when he looks at the circle dance being played out in the team's boardrooms?" (ESPN.com, 4/15). YAHOO SPORTS' Nicholas Cotsonika wrote Lowe has "left people wondering whether he had made another mistake, even though ... Tambellini’s firing was overdue and MacTavish generally told Oilers fans what they wanted to hear." But it is "fair to ask if MacTavish was really the best man for the job, if Lowe just went back to a familiar face after Tambellini came out of the Vancouver Canucks organization, if the Oilers shortchanged themselves by returning to the old boys’ network and reshuffling some of the same names" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/15).
Chiefs Chair & CEO Clark Hunt has been "emphasizing a philosophy shift in the franchise" this offseason, and he is "doing everything he can to make sure the hiring of coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey is the end to a brutal four-year run marked by arrogance and detachment," according to Sam Mellinger of the K.C. STAR. Hunt said, "Certainly the football side of the Chiefs the last four years was more guarded in how information was shared externally. There’s still teams in the league that operate like that, but what I’ve seen in the last 12 months, attending ownership meetings and being on the digital committee, is an understanding that, hey, the model is shifting and we have to be more open." When former GM Scott Pioli was hired in '09, "he brought a hyper-secretive and isolated style that -- especially as the losses piled up -- turned off many loyal fans." The Chiefs now are trying to woo fans back with "gifts and technology." The Chiefs were the first NFL team to "use paperless tickets last year, and going forward, this will be their vehicle of choice." Hunt said, "Really, we want the experience with our fan base to be one where they’re an insider. Where they feel like an insider. Where they’re getting to see things, and hear things, and learn things that people generally don’t have an opportunity to do.” Mellinger notes the club is "adding a loyalty program that is part Foursquare, part frequent flier account and the first of its kind in the NFL." Fans can go to team events like next week’s NFL Draft party and "earn points." Those who collect enough points can "'buy' experiences that otherwise aren’t for sale, like pregame sideline passes or dinner with Reid" (K.C. STAR, 4/14).