NHL Franchise Notes: Josh Kroenke Credited With Turning Avalanche Around
In Denver, Benjamin Hochman wrote under the header, "Josh Kroenke's Changes Breathe New Life Into Avs." Kroenke, the President of the Avalanche, has "resuscitated his NHL franchise by changing its culture." That included bringing in former Avs Joe Sakic as Exec VP/Hockey Operations and Patrick Roy as coach. The team was last in the Western Conference last year, but finished this season "atop the Central Division." Kroenke: "We were a team that was going for it every year with guys like Patrick and Joe. It took a few years to adjust, and we had to rebuild a lot of things -- to see it all come to fruition has been rewarding" (DENVER POST, 4/12).
RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB: The Maple Leafs today introduced Brendan Shanahan as the team's new President, and the CBC's Don Cherry called the hire a "great move." While MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke "knows" soccer and basketball, he is "only a fan of hockey" ("HNIC," NHL Network, 4/12). Meanwhile, SPORTSNET.ca's Michael Grange wondered why the Maple Leafs do not have a "single staff member devoted to the emerging field of hockey analytics." Grange: "For that matter, why didn’t the richest organization in hockey invent hockey analytics?" (SPORTSNET.ca, 4/11).
STORMY WEATHER: In Raleigh, Luke DeCock wrote Hurricanes Owner Peter Karmanos Jr.'s interview on FS Carolinas during last Tuesday's loss to the Rangers was "presumably an attempt to placate restless fans." However, he "only managed to infuriate." Karmanos in the interview said, "I need the fans to be even more patient than they have been. Our season-ticket renewals right now aren’t good, and I don’t blame anybody because we’ve missed the playoffs for five years, but when we do go back on the ice next year, we need that fan support." DeCock: "If this rare television appearance Tuesday was supposed to assuage fans’ concerns, all Karmanos did was show how out of touch he is" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 4/13).
THROUGH THICK AND THIN: In Buffalo, Mike Harrington notes the Sabres had "never lost more than 45 games in any season in their history" until they "lost 61 this year." But despite the record-setting futility, fans "still came" to games. The Sabres played to 97.4% of capacity this year in First Niagara Center and are "11th in the league in average attendance." Seven of the teams ahead of them "play in bigger buildings" (BUFFALO NEWS, 4/14).