Follow me on Twitter
Thomas Greiss posted a
.931 sv% yesterday in a 2-1 loss. I openly lamented that today the guys could score a few goals for whoever not named Greiss was in net. I was half right. The boys put up a 5 spot to reward an under appreciated goalie, and he gave them a .964 save %, stopping 27 of 28. In two days he’s stopped 54 of 57 shots of the much dreaded Tampa Bay Lightning, garnering Detroit’s first win in the Bolt’s building since 2010! That is impressive.
Gergeswillems made a comment yesterday that really stuck with me (he often does). Essentially, he noted that Tampa didn’t play hard for 50 minutes and still won the game. Today, however, Vasilevsky wasn’t there to be an absolute wall. Christopher Gibson, a friend and of Greiss and former Islander as well, gave up three goals in the second period (in about 3 or 4 minutes) and Detroit weathered the third period surge.
Ironically, on Easter Sunday, Detroit came back to life and gave a few scattered Red Wings faithful (awesome that they still come out with limited seating options) a huge win. My favorite goal, for whatever reason, was Rasmussen’s tally. I love watching the big guy celebrate, and it was a beautiful shot.
It hit me that, Erne’s tally yesterday has him ahead of Larkin in goals. It speaks to how bizarre things really are right now. Today is a reward for two straight games of hard work by Detroit. They deserved a better fate yesterday, and you could see the frustration from the Bolts players and coaches. This was a “mail it in” 2 game stretch for Tampa. Detroit has played 8 games in 14 days, including back to back games in 24 hours vs Columbus and now Tampa. The guys have to be exhausted. The scheduling this year is absolutely brutal.
A huge raise of the coffee mug (decaf at that) to this team for showing up again and again, knowing that there are long odds of success. It has to be draining, and I hope they get to enjoy it a bit today.
The broadcast made several mentions of Glendening’s faceoff prowess. This late in the adjusted season, he’s still first overall (ahead of Bergeron) and there were continued remarks to how this is the type of player that championship teams need in their depth. Attention was also drawn to the fact that TB, along with many of the contenders, have absolutely no cap space. With a week left, it’s clear that the GMs who want to make some additions are waiting and watching. More players seem to hit the waiver wire each day so GMs can scrape together a few extra dollars in adjusted cap space.
The talk today, in part due to Vancouver’s COVID outbreak, is in regards to creating another playoff bubble. If they go that route again, the losses are going to go up even more than the estimated 5 billion. Last year’s playoffs were a fiscal nightmare with no ticket revenue, reduced viewership, and limited advertising. There are still owners lamenting both the past post season as well as this abbreviated season. I remember someone had asked if I thought the outdoor game could make up a bunch of the revenue that was lost. Well, we saw it and save for the lunatic in a speedo, there weren’t really any on site spectators (boats in the water didn’t buy tickets) and so the entire thing was another loss.
As we close in on the end of this season, listen carefully. Bettman broke character with letting people know early in the year that the losses would be in the billions this season. My best guess is 3+. The reason I find the 5 billion dollar loss mark so disturbing? Players would have to pay 100% escrow for 2 straight seasons to pay back the revenue sharing model. And that is based on the high water mark of 5 billion. The league is now at between 2 and 3 billion. And, based on the MOU, the players will pay a locked 20% escrow for one more year and then it drops down to 6%. That is a disaster for the CBA model. Owners could do a lockout legally and cite the failure of the NHLPA to adhere to its terms.
I love hockey, and I loved having the ability to watch this year. The cost is what concerns me. Players are playing 68% of a season but getting 80% of their salary (72% yes, but 8% will be refunded next year). The ad revenues and tv revenues are way down (even with the nice helmet stickers) and the gate is non existent for most of the league. NYR is letting 5k or so fans in, but that means that 10k or more in season tickets had to be refunded. The players insisted that they would find an additional billion dollars in attendance revenue, which was why they refused to renegotiate the MOU. It’s not happening.
Yes, this is a little tinkle in the cheerios, but it would be wise to keep an ear open. Something has to give at some point. As soon as the season is over for non contending teams, I expect a lot of office layoffs. At some point, we have to pay the piper on this one. And all of this undercurrent is affecting how teams are operating. Even with the reduced Canadian quarantine, deals are slow going. Let’s hope it turns a corner soon.