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Tilting at Windmills

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June 7, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

DUCKS WIN!....Congratulations to the Anaheim Ducks, who just won the Stanley Cup to bring home Orange County's second ever major pro sports championship. That may not be as many as Los Angeles, but it's more than San Diego. Hooray!

Kevin Drum 1:46 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (53)

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You know, Kevin, that's three years in a row a Canadian team has lost to a warm-weather American team. And that surely isn't just (although there are more Canadians on the Ducks than on the Sens). There was an effort up here to get Canadians to rally behind the Sens, but it didn't seem to get very far. We were behind the Oilers last year and the Flames three years ago, but this year was different. I live in Toronto, where, of course, the Sens are seen as a bitter rival, and as a Habs fan I had a tough time rooting for Ottawa -- even Buffalo seemed more appealing. And of course we'll be rooting for Pronger and Niedermayer next time Canada plays at the national level.

Anyway, enjoy it. There's nothing quite like the Cup.

Posted by: Michael Stickings on June 7, 2007 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

Congrats to Orange County, and please note that it was an OC team that won the world series recently, not a Los Angeles team, even if it is coached by Mike Sciosa.

Bob G (LA native and current LA resident)

Posted by: Bob G on June 7, 2007 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, it's still a franchise inspired by a Disney movie. A bad Disney movie. Starring Emilio Estevez, for god's sake. Entertainment synergy does not need any more encouragement.

Posted by: Royko on June 7, 2007 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

You mentioned that this is the second ever major pro sports championship in Orange County. As a Canadian on the West Coast, a more impressive statistic is the fact that Anaheim is the first ever West Coast team to win the Stanley Cup. Nothing for the Kings, or Sharks, or (sob) the Vancouver Canucks either.

Congrats to teh Ducks! and also to Kevin for bringing this up! Always good to bring more attention to hockey.

Posted by: msmackle on June 7, 2007 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

> You know, Kevin, that's three years in a row a
> Canadian team has lost to a warm-weather American
> team.


Another fascinating aspect is that the "small market" teams seem to be on a roll. I know Anaheim isn't exactly small, but as a hockey market it certainly is. And the previous winners (Raleigh/Durham,Carolina; Tampa Bay) are considered fairly minor markets too, as are the most recent losing finalists (Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa). Seems there is finally parity in the NHL.

MARCU$

Posted by: MARCU$ on June 7, 2007 at 2:37 AM | PERMALINK

Hockey is not a major sport.

Posted by: Epson on June 7, 2007 at 5:04 AM | PERMALINK

A tip of the hat to the former "Mighty Ducks of Anaheim". Does that mean that they'll now also add "Los Angeles" to the name to avail a greater marketing opportunity?

The Anaheim Ducks of Los Angeles -- I like it as a t-shirt slogan.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 7, 2007 at 5:06 AM | PERMALINK

Epson: "Hockey is not a major sport."

That's strictly your opinion -- and probably not a very well-informed one, at that.

Hockey's certainly been around a lot longer than NASCAR, and the players don't need a tank of gasoline and a pit crew in order to compete.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 7, 2007 at 5:17 AM | PERMALINK

Donald driving in Anaheim is more difficult than NASCAR. Even when there is an accident on the 405, I still actually end up in a different place after 3 hours in the car.

Posted by: go back to runnin' shine on June 7, 2007 at 6:36 AM | PERMALINK

...Anaheim is the first ever West Coast team to win the Stanley Cup.
msmackle on June 7, 2007 at 2:34 AM

Actually the Vancouver Millionaires won the Stanley cup in 1915. They beat the Ottawa Senators - the original team, not the modern ressurected one.

Posted by: Joe Canuck on June 7, 2007 at 7:22 AM | PERMALINK

Anaheim is in Orange County? Jeez, now I feel even worse.

Posted by: richard on June 7, 2007 at 7:51 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Joe and let's not forget the Victoria Cougars victory of 1925.

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 7, 2007 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

and sorry Kev, but another I-couldn't-give-a-shit-about-hockey city team winning really, really sucks. Bring all the teams home to the places of snow and forget about American network TV's demands.

(I'd way, way rather see an NHL with teams in Prague, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Stockholm. Goodbye Dallas, Tampa, Carolina... and no team should ever, ever be called the Ducks!!!)

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 7, 2007 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Hooray! It's the first week of June and finally the NHL playoffs are over.

Posted by: gorillagogo on June 7, 2007 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

A Red Wing fan says "congrats"...the Ducks play very well, despite having a cheesy Disney team name and home ice in a place that doesn't see snow...

Hockey isn't a major sport.

That's like saying soccer isn't a major sport because it's not popular in your neck of the woods...

Posted by: grape_crush on June 7, 2007 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

I've been waiting for this since 2003, when the Ducks should have won (sorry...as good of a team as the Devils were/are, I just can't stand them).

And I never heard grumbles about non-'market' teams until the Lightning won the cup. Why no grumbles about teams like San Jose or LA before? Or the Dallas Stars (especially considering they moved from a major hockey market in Minnesota)? At least, grumbling on the level I've seen lately.

Good teams are good teams. If the 'market' isn't there....create it. Push it. The dwindling profile of the NHL isn't due to these strange markets...it's due to crap marketing, like the NHL crapping out games on Versus rather than a REAL channel.

Posted by: Kryptik on June 7, 2007 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Hockey is not a major sport"

Well, that depends on whether or not one watches the Cubs dugout.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 7, 2007 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Have to agree with the intrepid snicker-snack - Those non-snow cities should have to play for the Livingston Cup.

Posted by: stupid git on June 7, 2007 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Joe and let's not forget the Victoria Cougars victory of 1925.
Posted by: snicker-snack on June 7, 2007 at 8:40 AM

Right you are, snicker-snack. Amd let's also acknowledge the Seattle Metropolitans of 1917. Both the Cougers and the Metropolitans beat the Montreal Canadiens to win Lord Stanley's mug.

Posted by: Al on June 7, 2007 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

I don't even consider Anaheim to be a real city at all let alone a hockey city.

Posted by: DRS on June 7, 2007 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Epson: "Hockey is not a major sport."
That's strictly your opinion -- and probably not a very well-informed one, at that.
Hockey's certainly been around a lot longer than NASCAR, and the players don't need a tank of gasoline and a pit crew in order to compete.
Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 7, 2007 at 5:17 AM | PERMALINK

From an American TV point of view he is 100% correct and sports writers have been commenting on it for years. There are also questions about how big the "gate" really is in the smaller American markets like Anaheim, Columbus, Colorado, Tampa, etc.... seems like some owners maybe over reporting. See move of Florida Panthers to Hamilton Ontario Canada for mounting evidence.

It's a major sport in Canada, Russia, Scandanavia and the Czech Republic.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
In the USA there is too much competition from Football, Baseball and Basketball. The rise of soccer among America's youth will make things even harder for the NHL. 20 years forward I see hockey in the USA as an exotic niche sport.

Posted by: Northern Observer on June 7, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, it's still a franchise inspired by a Disney movie. A bad Disney movie. Starring Emilio Estevez, for god's sake. Entertainment synergy does not need any more encouragement.

Posted by: Royko on June 7, 2007 at 2:32 AM

But note that the franchise never won the Cup until it was sold by Disney and ditched the "Mighty" in its name. Currently, it's preferable to the Oregon Ducks, as the latter have uglier uniforms and ridiculous Nike tie-ins.

As someone who lived in New Jersey in 1995, 2000 and 2003 and recalled what happiness the Devils gave the area and the state, enjoy having the Cup in Orange County -- maybe it will make the trek down to Anteater country (Irvine) this summer.

Posted by: Vincent on June 7, 2007 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

As a Flyers fan, I congratulate the Ducks on a phenomenal season.

Two years ago, I thought the Flyers were going to sign Scott Niedermyer; instead we ended up with Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje.

Posted by: Paula on June 7, 2007 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

I'm assuming you're not counting all the MISL and NASL titles by the San Diego Soccers? Hopefully you are counting the AFL title by the Chargers.

Gotta love Commissioner Bettman. Nimrod stated that the Ducks were the first West Coast Team to win. They are the first "NHL" West coast team to win, but apparently he doesn't actually know squat about hockey, as we already knew.

After watching that nonsense, I'm convinced that he is indeed "Fredo Corleone", that Commisisoner Stern feigned not wanting to let him go, knowing full well that Bettman was a dope and would drive the main competition for eyeballs, the NHL, into the ground.

Posted by: old time hockey on June 7, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Donald driving in Anaheim is more difficult than NASCAR. Even when there is an accident on the 405, I still actually end up in a different place after 3 hours in the car.
Posted by: go back to runnin' shine on June 7, 2007 at 6:36 AM | PERMALINK

I live in Orange County, I've driven through a lot of traffic. I have never, ever, ever in my life driven through Anaheim on the 405. The 5, sure. 22? Just this week. 57, 55? Certainly 57, 55 not so much (more Santa Ana-ish, though it may touch the city limits).

So maybe that's why traffic seems so bad in Anaheim on the 405--because you're in Fountain Valley.

Posted by: JB on June 7, 2007 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

As a fellow Orange Countian, it's often painfully obvious to me how scrupulously Kevin avoids giving an Orange County focus to this blog. He practically avoids covering Orange County stories like the plague.

So it is with much amusement that I see him choose to cover this one -- a story I could not possibly care less about. Heck, even the situation with Paris Hilton being released from jail is more interesting than this.

Posted by: G.Jones on June 7, 2007 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Kevin should cover Repug fundraisers from the Balboa Bay Yacht Club - or at least more testimonials to Walter Knott. Doc Mikey would be soooo proud, if he did.

However, I believe Robert Ferrigno has covered Orange County the best, as it was his beat before moving to the Pacific Northwest.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 7, 2007 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Great way to forget about the Lakers, that's for sure.

Ducks!

Posted by: Jimm on June 7, 2007 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

G.Jones on June 7, 2007 at 10:45 AM:

He practically avoids covering Orange County stories like the plague.

The plague is in Orange County? You'd think that, considering the general pricey-ness of the area code, they'd be able to cut down on the rat-flea-human disease thing.

Posted by: grape_crush on June 7, 2007 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

San Diego may not have any major sports championships, but at least we have Camp Pendleton.

Posted by: the fake fake al on June 7, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

NBC moved from a playoff hockey game in overtime to a horse race........and the horse race got higher ratings.

Hockey is not a major sport.
This is from a longtime Boston Bruins fanatic who while happy for Anaheim, is having a hard time watching every other team have success, especially insta-franchises like Anaheim, Tampa SJ, Ottawa and Carolina. Don't even get me started on the brand of 'hockey' NJ plays. Its very sad that the only hockey event I can look bad on happily in the last fifteen years is watching Ray Bourque win a cup with a different team than the one he should have won with.

Posted by: jg on June 7, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, I heard the disease is carried by the drivers of elephantine white SUVs.

Posted by: JB on June 7, 2007 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Unless hockey is played only where there is real winter weather, and until the season ends in March, hockey is dead to me.

"Toe" Blake, where are you when we need you?

"He'd get deliberate penalties. Then he'd get in the penalty box, and damned if he wouldn't . . ."

"The Hansons."

Posted by: JeffII on June 7, 2007 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

And the real winner is...NBC! They got this over in less than seven and can go back to "America's Got Talent" or whatever.

I wish U.S. viewers would accept hockey, but they never will.

Posted by: howie on June 7, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe if Hockey were actually interesting to watch...

Emilio!!

Posted by: MNPundit on June 7, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe if Hockey were actually interesting to watch...

I think hockey is fascinating to watch live but it stinks on TV. Live you can really see the plays developing and hear the boards shake from a good check.

Posted by: gorillagogo on June 7, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

As Tony Bennett croons over at CBC Radio Two, the "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" in tribute to the "Sens Mile" of Ottawa.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 7, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Er, Uncle Paul, you forgot that Sting sung along with Tony regarding the guys from Elgin Street.

Posted by: stupid git on June 7, 2007 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

I honestly fail to see how hockey is somehow less exciting of a TV sport than Baseball.

Hell, IMO, it's one of the most exciting TV sports available.

Posted by: Kryptik on June 7, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hello All,

This point was brought to my attention the other day. It is common to bring up the decline of the NHL on expansion to the West and Southern US. However, it appears that for the 2006-2007, the six teams with the lowest attendance figures are all "snow teams."

25. Boston
26. New Jersey
27. Washington
28. NY Islanders
29. Chicago
30. St. Louis

The information was retrieved here:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/attendance?year=2007

Now, this can be due to several factors such as: stadium capacity, how poorly a team is doing, etc. But it seems that West Coast and Sun Belt teams, while below the median in attendance figures (Los Angeles is #16, Anaheim is #20, and Phoenix is #26), are not doing as poorly in attendance as one would assume.

Of course, this has nothing to do with television revenue.

Posted by: adlsad on June 7, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, West Coast and Sunbelt Teams - Now, where are the Immigration people? - Must check on the green cards of all of those Canadian Sun Birds.

For freakin' once, can we pay homage to a winning team in any sport without having all of the "Well, this or that is not really a sport, or who should care when this does not relate to politics."

If you don't like whatever sport is mentioned, shut the fuck up.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 7, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

I just want to make a qualifier to my previous statement. I am not trying to suggest that fans from one particular region are better than others. I am happy that the Ducks, and Teemu Selanne, won the cup. I just thought that it was interesting that attendance in some of the expansion teams are not as poor as I thought.

Posted by: adlsad on June 7, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Booooooo!!!!

/dejected Sens fan.

Posted by: IanY77 on June 7, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

One additional comment . . . One professional sportswriter made the point that Olympic hockey is superior to NHL hockey in a couple of ways. One had something to do wih the size of the rink. The other had to do with the fact that Olympic hockey does not tolerate the fighting that seems to be a chronic feature of the NHL. I went to a couple of Long Beach Ice Dogs games and found that the hockey was entertaining enough, but I was turned off by the fisticuffs aspect. As a longtime (former) rugby player, I am not horrified of hitting and the natural violence of the game, but the fighting stuff seemed unnatural and frankly irritating -- as if its main function was to suppress the athleticism of the better players through acts of intimidation by the otherwise weaker players. It also came across as a little staged, sort of like professional wrestling, in that the crowd seemed to anticipate it.

Posted by: Bob G on June 7, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Gentle reminder to Kevin: "Anaheim" owns the NHL title, not "OC". Just as "Anaheim" owns the 2002 MLB title, not "OC".

If you people down there in the Assessment District of Irvine want to be a part of the success of us northern county residents, you can start by giving back that massive economic opportunity we had banked back in the 50's, formerly known as El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

Posted by: SoCalAnon on June 7, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Hell, IMO, it's one of the most exciting TV sports available."

No doubt. It's one of the fastest and most intense sports around. Everyone should check out a game up-close some time and then they will realize just how fast these guys are flying and how hard they're hitting.

I play myself now as an adult, and really wish that they would have had hockey as a sport where I grew up instead of baseball.

Posted by: OhNoNotAgain on June 7, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

That may not be as many as Los Angeles, but it's more than San Diego.

On the other hand, the surfing is better in San Diego.

The people who are badmouthing ice hockey need to see a game in person, and not on TV. It is the fastest and most intense game. Period.

Posted by: oofda on June 7, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

"This point was brought to my attention the other day. It is common to bring up the decline of the NHL on expansion to the West and Southern US. However, it appears that for the 2006-2007, the six teams with the lowest attendance figures are all "snow teams."

25. Boston
26. New Jersey
27. Washington
28. NY Islanders
29. Chicago
30. St. Louis"

Fair point, but let's note the following about this list:

1. Withing the exception of NJ, and somewhat NYI, these teams are all terrible (I should know, I'm a Caps season ticket holder). New Jersey and NYI are both secondary, suburban teams, and NJ is hampered further by playing (up through this year) in the god-awful Continenal Arena.

Posted by: old time hockey on June 7, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

If somebody wins the Stanley Cup and nobody is around to watch it, did the Stanley Cup actually take place?

I'm a die-hard hockey fan, but the NHL has to do something to shorten the length of its season. Once baseball season starts, people pretty much forget about hockey (unless your team is in the playoffs). It's ridiculous to have a 10-game preseason, followed by an 82-game regular season, followed by another potential 28 playoff games, with the season ending in June.

Knock the regular season back to 60-70 games so that the playoffs start at the beginning of March and are over by the end of April. And get rid of the useless all-star game!

Posted by: mfw13 on June 7, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Is hockey a major sport in the U.S. or not? Depends on what yardstick is used when measuring "popularity". The TV ratings are pretty awful, true, but most U.S. NHL teams draw good crowds; average attendance is on par with that of the NBA although tickets tend to be very expensive.

Regarding European expansion, I can't see how Helsinki, Stockholm, Prague or Moscow could possibly average 14,000+ spectators 40 times a year unless ticket prices are a *lot* lower than overseas... I think the best one could hope for is a World Hockey Association type setup with mostly minor league players and maybe the odd marquee name or two. If the best non-NHL players were signed, I still think the standard of play would be fairly high since there is lots of talent available even with 30 NHL clubs signing the best Europeans to lucrative contracts. But a European NHL franchise would never be economically competitive.

MARCU$

Posted by: MARCU$ on June 7, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck-a-duck.

Posted by: sens fan on June 7, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

West Side Anaheim! Old stompin grounds of Jeff Buckley, Gwen Stefani and Trevor Hoffman.
Congrats!

Posted by: WSA F troop on June 7, 2007 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

This point was brought to my attention the other day. It is common to bring up the decline of the NHL on expansion to the West and Southern US. However, it appears that for the 2006-2007, the six teams with the lowest attendance figures are all "snow teams."

25. Boston
26. New Jersey
27. Washington
28. NY Islanders
29. Chicago
30. St. Louis

Hard to believe -- Boston and Chicago are "original six" (pre-1967 expansion) franchises, and Boston is a solid college hockey market (not just the Beanpot with BC, BU, Northeastern and Harvard, but some suburban colleges too). But the Bruins have been run poorly of late, and the Blackhawks may have the most inept sports ownership this side of the Arizona Cardinals (no home games are carried on cable, and the Hawks have blocked an NHL team in Milwaukee for decades). The Capitals have Ovechkin, but they're like the Penguins of the mid-'80s before Lemieux got a supporting cast. St. Louis, once a playoff perennial (albeit without a Cup to show for it), has fallen on hard times, and the Devils and Islanders suffer from suburban support in aging, hard-to-reach arenas. Next year, the Devs will play in a new arena in Newark next to Penn Station with its easy mass transit access; as long as they stay competitive, that should give them a boost for a few years.

Posted by: Vincent on June 8, 2007 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK
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