NHL Franchise Notes: Predators See Attendance Spike Despite Down Season
In Nashville, Josh Cooper notes the Predators "continued to increase attendance" this season, despite the shortened season and a record "among the worst in franchise history." The Predators' 20th sellout of the season is "expected tonight" when the team hosts the Flames in the home finale. Predators CEO Jeff Cogen said, "We had this pot of boiling water, and we threw this big chunk of ice on it. Well eventually the ice dissolved, and the water has started to boil again." Team President & COO Sean Henry said that the Predators are "behind last season’s season-ticket renewal" by about 5%, but are "confident that difference can be made up." He added that there will be a 2% "price increase for season tickets next year," but current season-ticket holders "who renew their plans face no increase" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 4/23).
IN A SNOW DAZE: In Denver, Terry Frei wrote for the Avalanche to improve, it "has to start with a blunt self-assessment from a Kroenke ownership that you'd hope would be determined to combat its image as operating on the cheap ... in all sports endeavors but the NBA." Frei: "If the Kroenkes, especially Josh, can honestly conclude that: a) ownership has not hamstrung the hockey operation, from president Pierre Lacroix and general manager Greg Sherman on down; and, b) that the Avalanche's ineptitude is because of bad management and worse judgments, then, absolutely, the grace period has lapsed." If ownership has been "tying the hands of the hockey operation, cleaning house wouldn't be fair -- not yet -- and it wouldn't help unless that approach changes" (DENVER POST, 4/22).
ON THE SHORES OF LAKE ERIE: In Buffalo, Bucky Gleason wrote of the Sabres under Terry Pegula's ownership, "The real joke is on people, like me, who thought a new regime would be intelligent enough to make obvious changes." Instead, they "kept the wrong person in charge, made weak decisions, threw big money at a problem when it wasn’t necessary and compromised the salary cap." Their reputation is "now worse than it was when Pegula arrived." If a player "signs a big contract in Buffalo now, you have to wonder if it’s little more than a money grab" (BUFFALO NEWS, 4/21).