Monday, June 27, 2005

Tampa Bay Under the New CBA

John Fontana who runs the Boltsmag blog on the Tampa Bay Lightning has been more supportive of the owners throughout the lockout then most members of the hockey blogosphere. He wrote a post here which basically outlines his hopes for how the Tampa Bay Lightning could turn out to be a good team under the new CBA. A discussion followed (I am the Greg involved in the discussion) where I pointed out that it is unfair that Tampa should have to rebuild their fan base and struggle to remain a good team when they have already built a great team that had the potential to be a truly dominant one. I thought this was an interesting discussion and linked to in on Friday here. Tom Benjamin also thought it was interesting and commented on it here. John was very upset at these comments and posted this response.

These facts are clear. Tampa Bay expanded into the NHL in 1992. At first they struggled both on the ice and in terms of attendance. During their time at or near the bottom, they managed to accumulate a lot of good young talent. These players matured and the team exploded to the top of the NHL. They won the Stanley Cup in 2004. The team had attendance around the middle of the pack in the NHL during their Stanley Cup winning season. With the publicity from a successful Stanley Cup run, they looked poised to have a huge peak in attendance and revenues in the future as the team continued to dominate. They had a great core that had a legitimate shot at becoming a dynasty. This could have established Tampa Bay as one of the biggest players in the NHL.

Then the unthinkable happened. The NHL shut itself down the next season. That killed a lot of the momentum from the Stanley Cup. When the NHL finally gets going again, it will be under very different rules. These rules will force the good teams (like Tampa Bay) to be broken up to stay under salary caps. These rules look to make Martin St. Louis, Nikolai Khabibulen, Dave Andreychuk, Jassen Cullimore and others available to the highest bidder. It is possible that Tampa will keep some of these players, but they have no legitimate chance of keeping all of them. There are a handful of teams in similar situations (Ottawa for example is another), but none are in as questionable a market as Tampa (that is NOT to say that Tampa should not be in the NHL. That is to say that any other team that looks to be forced to give up significant players in their prime is in a more traditional hockey market that has consistently had a stronger fanbase than Tampa has). Tampa has gone from a great team (poised to dominate for years) to a team that will likely remain good (though that is not a given) and had the momentum of their Stanley Cup victory killed. Instead of establishing Tampa as a top hockey market where fans became hooked on the game during the years Tampa dominated the NHL, Tampa hopes to remain a decent team with no shot at true dominance (and likely a poor shot at repeating as champion).

In a worst case scenario, Tampa Bay will struggle after the lockout. This could kill the Tampa Bay fanbase. It will look to them like the NHL conspired to wreck the Tampa Bay team (and that will be at least partially true). A similar situation happened in another sport with the Montreal Expos. They had the best record in baseball and mid-level attendance in 1994 when the baseball strike killed the World Series that they had a very good chance at winning. Montreal fans never really came back and the team moved to Washington, D.C. Even if the situation is not quite that extreme, it could be like the Toronto Blue Jays who won the World Series in 1992 and 1993 and were pulling down a league leading attendance. Now the team has approximately half the attendance and is struggling to keep up with the "big boys" in the AL East. The Tampa Bay fanbase is very likely to be seriously hurt by the lockout. Likely, they will be hurt more seriously than any other market in the NHL (disagree? who will be hurt worse?).

This situation is a bit different, there will be a salary cap in the new NHL. That will help Tampa won't it? Maybe. However if Tampa's attendance struggles, they may have a hard time meeting the NHL salary floor. They certainly won't be able to pay anywhere near the cap in salaries (there are several teams in this situation right now). If Tampa is a forgotten market it will be hard to draw any elite free agents. There won't be significant advertising money for superstar players in a market like that. Players won't be drawn to play because they think the team is going to give them a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

Will this happen? Its hard to say. It is extremely likely that Tampa will instantly go from a great team to a hopefully good (not bad) team through the lockout. The difference between great and not bad is huge. It will make a huge difference to the revenues and attendance of the Tampa Bay team. Tampa Bay will be adversely affected. Tampa Bay will likely be the team that suffers the most from this lockout. Their chance at dominace is gone. That fact will likely turn off a significant portion of the Tampa Bay fans that had been won with their Stanley Cup run.

Hopefully, Tampa Bay will remain a good team after the lockout. Being a good team is a far cry from the great team they had in 2004.

من منا لا يدرك أهمية الغاز!!؛ فتواجده في المؤسسات والمصانع والمنازل؛
أمر لابد منه بلا منازع؛ وذلك لأهمية تواجده القصوى؛ فمعظم المؤسسات والمصانع تستخدم الغاز المركزي
؛ لتلبية كافة حاجياتها الضرورية واليومية لاستخدامات الغاز؛
ونظرا لأهمية الغاز؛ فهناك العديد من شركات تمديد الغاز المركزى؛ أخذت على عاتقها تقديم خدمات تمديد خطوط الغاز المركزى؛ وصيانه خطوط الغاز
؛ وكشف تسربات الغاز؛ بالإضافة إلى إصلاح خطوط الغاز؛
ولكن معظم شركات تمديد الغاز المركزى بالرياض؛ لا تقدم كل هذه الخدمات بجودة عالية؛ وبأسعار خيالية
؛ مما يجعلك تطلب خدمة صيانه خطوط الغاز؛ أو كشف تسربات الغاز
؛ وإصلاح خطوط الغاز؛ من شركة تمديد الغاز أخرى؛ تضمن لك تقديم خدمات عالية الجودة؛ وذلك لتفادي مخاطر الغاز.

شركة تمديد الغاز المركزى بالرياض
تمديد الغاز المركزى بالرياض
تمديد الغاز المركزى
شركة تمديد الغاز
اصلاح خطوط الغاز
كشف تسربات الغاز
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