| Will we ever see the Sharks play
The clock is ticking
1/13/05 - By Paul Krill
Get out your shoe leather,
Novocain, or whatever you have to deaden the pain, folks. I'm going to ponder a
painful question that I have no inside information on, but will speculate on
anyway. Might the San Jose Sharks be done for good, or is this just foolish
banter on my part? I certainly hope it's the latter. But let's examine the
If owners cannot get their "cost certainty" and are
again forced to lose money to stay competitive on the ice, owners throughout
the league might just throw their hands up in the air and turn their franchises
back into the league. The NHL would then have a hard time selling these
guaranteed-to-lose-millions-annually outfits. Remember - Disney has been trying
to sell the Mighty Ducks for years, with no takers. The Predators were said to
be up for sale at a bargain-basement price. Other stories of NHL teams not
exactly being sought-after commodities also can be found.
look at the Sharks. We're always hearing that the Sharks lose money, for
starters. Isolated in the Bay Area with no other teams within hundreds of
miles, they have one of the worst travel schedules in the league. This makes
travel expensive for both the Sharks and visiting teams coming to San Jose, and
players undoubtedly don't relish the extra time on planes. (The Sharks and
visiting teams also must deal with the pesky local airport curfew, so that
airport neighbors - like myself - don't have our sleep disturbed by these
millionaires flying in and out late at night). With dreams of a big TV deal in
shambles, does the NHL really need the Bay Area for the league's so-called "TV
Even The Hockey News magazine is predicting that the NHL in
10 years will be primarily limited to markets in Canada, the Midwest and
Northeast. San Jose, California, is not exactly in the mix here.
With all these factors in mind, I'm concerned that if
the current mess does not get resolved soon enough and teams start dying out,
the Sharks might wind up on that endangered species list.
We do have
the owners throughout the league vowing to stay out as long as it takes to get
"cost certainty." Players, at least a few who speak on the record, in turn say
they'll stay out for years to avoid cost certainty.
Most likely, the
Sharks will play again in San Jose, some day. Who is on the ice by then remains
to be seen. Leaguewide, some third- and fourth-liners from last season may
already have played their last NHL game and earned their last fat NHL paycheck.
Fresher, higher-skilled youngsters are waiting in the wings to take their spots
away when play resumes.
I'm still getting nice emails and the like
from the Sharks. They just sent me a nice pen and a key ring, and let me skate
around the arena ice with coaches Tim Hunter and Rob Zettler and other season
ticket holders. The organization always has been open in noting that the
current deadlock might last a long time.
But I, for one, will not take
for granted that future Sharks games are a given.
Contact Paul at
|What did you think of
this article? Post your comments on the