OT: NHL Shortened Season

Submitted by Jmilan on April 27th, 2013 at 1:31 PM
With the Red Wings playing their last regular season game tonight and the season as a whole ending Sunday, my question to the board is what was your thoughts on the season? When the lockout ended I was skeptical and told myself I would not be watching that much until the playoffs began and would drop in from time to time to catch a Wings game. However, this year I found myself following much closer than I usually do and even just watching other games despite not caring about either team. My thoughts and reasoning for my more attentitive following was in fact the shortened season. The year prior when the NBA locked out they saw some of their best regular season ratings by having a shorter season. Now I don't know about how the NHL ratings did this year, but I personally think they should lower the games of te regular season to a number like 60 games. In an effort to just get some different opinions and start discussion my question is what did you think of the shortened season and did you watch more or less than usual. And sorry for the long and wordy post.



April 27th, 2013 at 1:39 PM ^

The ratings have in fact gone up, according to an article I read on ESPN a few days ago. Average attendance is up too, I think the number they gave was 97.9% average capacity across the league for each game. I would link to the article but I'm in the car about to hit the links.


April 27th, 2013 at 5:59 PM ^

I didn't see the article, but to this point, ESPN did have a fairly currently table of this year's NHL attendance figures (HERE - hopefully the sort by percentage holds in the link). The lowest is Columbus at 87.6%, which is slightly lower than their previous season average of 88% (data going several seasons back is available on the page). Detroit's went up from last year - 98.7% to 100.6% this year. Phoenix actually experienced about a 5% increase, which is fairly substantial, I would think. 


April 27th, 2013 at 6:40 PM ^

Good point actually - with fewer games, individual outliers can have more of an impact on attendance averages.  The Coyotes had the luxury of two home games against the Wings this year, out of only 24 total home games.  In a 41-game home schedule, the impact of those visits on the season attendance average would be considerably diluted.


Dilithium Wings

April 27th, 2013 at 1:41 PM ^

This season had to be tough on players. So many games to play in a shortened period of time. Hats off to them. It's been tough watching the wings all year though. Inconsistent play from your usual suspects (Franzen, filppula, zetterberg, cleary, kronwall). Hoping the wings get the seventh spot because they match up much better with the ducks than the Blackhawks.

Going to be interesting to see how this team moves forward in the offseason. Don't recall of Weber signed with Nashville of not yet but he should be the top free agent the wings go after. Detroit needs a sharpshooter on this team. An offensive minded PF.

All that matters is we beat the Stars right now. Go Wings


April 27th, 2013 at 1:54 PM ^

Weber did resign with Nashville, but the rumor is that he was upset about how bad the Preds played this year and possibly wants a trade. I think the development of our D has promise the next few years with Kindl, Lashoff, and Smith. It will be interesting to see where things go from here.


April 27th, 2013 at 1:56 PM ^

I think fewer games would make sense, just from a wear-and-tear perspective provided that the games are spaced out appropriately.  I also think a couple of teams either need to move or be contracted, but that's true for basically every sport save football and (maybe) baseball.

Overall, though, I think it has been an interesting season given the constraints the Blackhawks dominating out of the gate gave the league a nice story.

Picktown GoBlue

April 27th, 2013 at 2:40 PM ^

but that's due to there being a competitive team in town...  Should be an exciting last evening of the season.

It is very strange for Detroit and Columbus, who will only see an Eastern Conference team for at most one series in a year (if one of them makes the finals), then they'll be in the East next year.  The Jets won't see their future West-mates at all for a year before they go West.  Will be interesting to see if familiarity helps or hinders each of these teams going into the new alignment next year.


April 27th, 2013 at 2:41 PM ^

I bought the Center Ice package this year because it was only $60.  I found myself watching games almost everynight.  As a Blackhawks fan, I didnt miss a game all season (It helped that they had a pretty damn good year).  The short season made all the games a little more meaningful.  The NHL should kick off the season on new years day every year with a few out door games and keep the 48 game schedule.  It will never happen, but 82 games is just too long. 



April 27th, 2013 at 3:28 PM ^

Injuries ravaged the Wings this year and they got inconsistent play from most of the team as a result. It was fun to see some of the younger guys get a shot to prove themselves. Let's hope that they can put it together Sunday and then into the playoffs. If they get the 7th seed they might even have a chance to advance a round.


April 27th, 2013 at 3:52 PM ^

As a Wings fan, I think this shortened season has been a blessing in disguise. With all their injuries and the loss of Stuart and Lidstrom, they were able to see if a lot of their young prospects can swim in the NHL. And for the most part, the answer has been yes. Nyquist, Brunner, DeKeyser, , Kindl, Andersson, and even Tatar have shown they can produce. Hopefully this combined with Filpula, Cleary, and Samuelsson not doing much will convince them to not resign Fil (apparently Holland was shopping him at the trade deadline) and trade the other two to provide more room and playing time for these young guys. Remember, Detroit has a lot of cap space as well, and I would hope they could add a big time scorer (is Bobby Ryan gonna be available?). There were too many times were the Wings outplayed their opponents but couldn't put the puck in the net. 

This short season has allowed Detroit to retool on the fly and I think put them in a good position going into the East next year. I'll consider this season a success if they win tonight and get into the playoffs, anything past that is a bonus.


April 27th, 2013 at 4:05 PM ^

I'd definitely say shorten it.  I already tend to ignore hockey early on the season, the games don't mean squat in terms of the play off picture and I'm still watching CFB/NFL.  Plus others are watching the baseball season finish off.  

I also have to wonder how many teams loss money early in the season when attendance is down and the arena is half full, even Detroit has trouble selling those games out.  I'd much rather see a schedule starting in late Nov and really hitting its stride around New Years.  Drop the puck on Black Friday for an all day slate of hockey, have the Winter Classic on New Years, and then have the playoffs right after March Madness is over.  


April 27th, 2013 at 4:55 PM ^

Attendance is probably lower in general for early-season games but still, people do come, buy tickets and parking, get things at the concessions, etc.  

The reason why you won't see a shortened season is that NHL franchises have mostly fixed annual costs - salaries are per year, not per game, as are (I presume) arena leases.  So if you've got to pay X amount of dollars no matter what to your players and to whomever owns your arena, it's in your interests to have as many games as possible to bring in revenue to meet those costs.  41 home games a year at 80% capacity is almost always going to mean a lot more revenue in the owner's pocket than 24 games at 95% capacity.


April 27th, 2013 at 4:13 PM ^

Shorter regular season was good although it did provide less leniency. If you fell in too big a hole, you were done. Teams like Toronto and New York Islanders managed to make the playoffs for the first time in approximately a decade, which is good. 


April 27th, 2013 at 7:20 PM ^

A shorter regular season will never happen. Assuming teams are profitable (most are), each game means everybody gets paid more--the owners, the players, the arena operators, even the bars and restaurants around the arenas that rely on hockey (and baseball, basketball, and football too, obviously). They all want to maximize the number of games, until the point that it's too much wear on the players and/or the fans check out because it costs too much. 

I too liked the short season and high frequency of games. I think I did watch more than usual because I got into the habit of checking the schedule and knowing there was about a 50/50 chance a game was going to be on. I think ratings go up after lockouts is because the fans who are any more than casual have built up demand and want to show the world that they still care about the sport. 

Now, whatever happened in the shorter regular season doesn't matter. The playoffs aren't any shorter, it still takes 16 wins to get the Cup. 

BOX House

April 27th, 2013 at 8:24 PM ^

I'll treat this as the de facto Red Wings open thread:

Predators up 1-0 on CBJ.

Detroit up 1-0 on Dallas.

Early on, but things are looking promising for the Octopi.

The Geek

April 27th, 2013 at 9:51 PM ^

and grew up in the 80's watching horrible teams that were fun to watch because they had some real bruisers. I've also paid for NHL Center Ice in the past. This year I did not subscribe (actually, you have to call DirecTV and cancel it). I watched a few games at the beginning of the season (there is always a free week or so inticement) and the team looked horrible. 

I haven't watched a game since, until tonight. They look good. The playoffs could be interesting. If there's one thing we know as long-time Wings' fans, you never know what will happen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Even if Detroit faces Chicago (eventually), I think Detroit matches up with the 'Hawks fairly well.