Official Hockey discussion thread

GuineaPig

Ancient Mariner
Sens beat Tampa 7-1 last night.  Hope they're playoff bound, this year.  They look much improved, with a much more balanced offense.
 

Genghis Khan

Ancient Mariner
:)  It's unprecedented.

That's the only thing I need to say.

Is hottest ticket in town cooling off?

Once upon a time, fans would pay anything to watch the Leafs lose. Those days may be gone

The legendary willingness of Leafs-loving Torontonians to dish out mortgage-payment-like sums to witness a perennial loser may have reached its breaking point.

Tickets to Maple Leafs games are being sold for unprecedented low prices on the open market – in what ticket brokers and resellers say is an early sign of a backlash against the club's league-topping ticket prices and basement-dwelling performance.

For the first time ticket sellers can remember, Leafs tickets with face values of $100 to $300 each are routinely selling for as little as half that amount.

"In the past, they always said it didn't matter what the Leafs produced on the ice because people will still pay top dollar," said Shawn Brookes, director of operations with FanXchange, a website that connects buyers with sellers. "This is the first time I've seen customers finally getting fed up with these astronomical prices."

Most of the Leafs tickets sold on FanXchange this season were snapped up for below face value, says Brookes.

For a home game against the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 13, "there were tickets – dead centre golds – selling for $90 or $100 instead of the $203 face price."

There are other signs Toronto's hottest ticket has become tepid.

A search of eBay and Craigslist, popular websites for reselling seats, turns up dozens of below-face-value tickets along with such creative, bargain-basement inducements as, "Buy tickets for this Saturday's game vs. the New York Rangers and if (the Leafs) lose, the next game is FREE."

Experts say the availability of tickets at the box office, even for big games, is evidence Leaf Nation is hitting the wall.

As of Friday night, tickets were still available for Saturday's game against the New York Rangers.

"Sellers will bleed money this weekend," said one scalper, who asked to remain anonymous. "It's the taste people have in their mouths – losing, losing, losing."

While the club must hold some tickets until game day for league officials and players, says Rajani Kamath, a spokesperson for Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Leafs, the team's first four home games this season were sold out.

Not so, say many ticket sellers whose ability to charge premium prices is undermined when seats remain available at the box office.

Eric Lange, president of www.etorontotickets.com, says about 70 per cent of its inventory is selling for below face value.

"Four years ago, I was able to pick my customers," says Lange. "What's happening now is the exact opposite. The consumer is naming their price, they can pick from all kinds of inventory and, for the first time, you can get a Saturday night game. There's all kinds of seats everywhere. That's why we're selling cheap."

Lange sold tickets last year for up to $70 below face value, he says, but only after the Leafs were officially eliminated from the playoffs.

"Now, right from the get go, we were selling pre-season games at half-price that used to go for face value. It's unprecedented."

Another reason for the fire sale?

"This all goes back to March when the Leafs had the audacity to raise face-value prices," says Lange. "A lot of long-term season ticket holders contacted us and told us to sell their season tickets ... These are longtime season ticket holders saying, `I've had enough of the incompetence. Sell my tickets.'"

One Toronto broker says he is "significantly" in the hole only six games into this season, having sold 60 per cent of his inventory for below face value – including some tickets for less than the price marked.

"There's an unwillingness to pay I haven't seen before," said the man, who did not want to be identified. "A lot of clients are saying, `I want to go to a game but I'm not going to pay good money to watch the Leafs lose.'"

A recent survey by Chicago-based Team Marketing Report found that a ticket for a Leafs game at the Air Canada Centre costs an average of $117.49 (all figures U.S. dollars ) – more than double the National Hockey League average of $51.41.

The "Fan Cost Index" – Team Marketing Report's calculation of the cost of taking a family of four to a Leafs game – comes in at a chart-topping $585.57, an 8.4 per cent jump from last year.

Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment figures show individual seat prices increased 3.5 per cent over last season.

Graham Scully, a frequent Leafs ticket buyer and owner of Don Cherry's Sports Grill in Brampton, says "something crazy is going on."

"I've never seen this," Scully says. "Last year, if I had a couple of clients coming into town, I'd spend $500 on a couple of tickets. This year I'm getting them for $250. People just aren't putting up with it anymore."

These days, Scully has been finding cut-rate tickets online, often offering up to half the face value for good seats.

"I'll get it 75 per cent of the time. For the home opener (against Montreal), where you'd expect to pay double the face price, I offered $200 for a $265 centre ice, row 12 seat and got it. My whole entire life that's not happened."

Another measure of fan interest – traffic in Scully's sports-themed restaurant on game nights – serves up more bad news. "We used to be absolutely slammed and now its just a little better than an average night. I used to have to double my staff; now I put on an extra two servers instead of four."

Ask ticket sellers for a solution and you won't get many answers.

The Leafs can't just pick another player from the farm system, says Lange.

"There's nothing better back there. There's nothing to say that changing coaches will make it any better. There's just so many things wrong with this collection of players, no one knows where to start."
 

GuineaPig

Ancient Mariner
Kovalev got some cheers upon scoring tonight in MTL.  I'm tentatively approving of this deal Ottawa made.  I was initially skeptical of the value Kovalev would bring, mostly because of his occasional bouts of indifference, but he's done well so far and broadened Ottawa's offense.
 

LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
I know Montreal is garbage right now, but at least we have won 2 games.  Toronto has 1 point in 8 games.  That's 1 out of 16 possible points.
 

Genghis Khan

Ancient Mariner
Random thoughts:

1. Leafs have hit rock bottom.  If they lose one more game (against Vancouver) they'll tie their bad start of the season record from 1990-1991.  Personally, I think this is good for the fans if it will lower ticket prices in the long run.  But I'm not overly hopeful there.

2.  I'm very disappointed in Montreal.

3.  Hamilton mayor is asking all local politicians to stay hushed on their continued hunt for an NHL team, as he feels that any publicity will compromise the chance of settling a deal. 

4.  Quebec City is building an arena to hold a hopeful NHL team.
 

LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
If Toronto really does this bad all year....it'll be amazing.  I thought they were a better team.  But imagine...what Boston can do with that #1 overall draft pick.
 
The leafs played pretty good tonight, if anyone else was in net other then luongo they would of had there first win lol. They out worked the Canucks for most of the second and third but couldn't get it past Luongo. The thing that lost them this game was there power play, no surprise there... Ahhh I love Hockey Night in Canada, and this new HD T.V.. Nothing like having a few beers and watching  Hockey all night.

These gave me a good laugh....
What do the Leafs and the Titanic have in common?                              They both look great until they hit the ice

What's the difference between the Leafs and a triangle?                         A triangle has 3 points.

Why are the Toronto Maple Leafs like Canada Post?                               They both wear uniforms and fail to deliver!
 

Genghis Khan

Ancient Mariner
Prisoner Of Maiden said:
The leafs played pretty good tonight, if anyone else was in net other then luongo they would of had there first win lol. They out worked the Canucks for most of the second and third but couldn't get it past Luongo. The thing that lost them this game was there power play, no surprise there... Ahhh I love Hockey Night in Canada, and this new HD T.V.. Nothing like having a few beers and watching  Hockey all night.

These gave me a good laugh....
What do the Leafs and the Titanic have in common?                              They both look great until they hit the ice

What's the difference between the Leafs and a triangle?                         A triangle has 3 points.

Why are the Toronto Maple Leafs like Canada Post?                               They both wear uniforms and fail to deliver!
Sorry the Leafs suck so much.  Now I can go back to bashing them since you gave implicit permission with your jokes.  To see more go here.  My favourite joke going around town --- Hamilton may not have an NHL team, but they're only one point behind the Leafs.

On the bright side, for you at least, Montreal is not playing much better.

By the way, Moyes officially sold the Coyotes to the NHL today.
 
Its alright, I grew up with my dad and two cousins being huge leafs fans so I have a soft spot for them. They are by no means my team (that would be the Caps, although Ovechkin is starting to piss me off slightly) so you can bash your heart away. Got a question for you guys. Have you been to a NHL game, if so who'd you see play and when?
 

Cornfed Hick

Ancient Mariner
Prisoner Of Maiden said:
Got a question for you guys. Have you been to a NHL game, if so who'd you see play and when?
I've been to a number of LA Kings games.  I saw them play the Red Wings once, the Ducks once, and I can't remember the others.  Also went to a Blackhawks game a lifetime ago, back in the old Chicago Stadium (which no longer exists) when Roenick, Chelios and Probert played there.  That was a lot of fun, as Chicago was once a great hockey town, before Bill Wirtz, the team's owner, totally alienated the fan base.  Probert might be my favorite player ever -- he was a complete madman, on and off the ice. 
 

Genghis Khan

Ancient Mariner
Darn.  I came from a pub after watching the Habs get slaughtered.  I spent money on beer, poker with nothing to show for it.  :)
Even the Leafs got a point tonight.
 
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