BBG&CS: $$$, Concussions, Dryden, Indy Fuel, Goalie Equipment, Backups, Brulé & Commodore

Photo: Brett “Stretch” Leonhardt in his backup goalie gear while working his usual job as the Capitals Video Coach. (Photo courtesy of the Capitals)

Thanksgiving is now over and for the past three days we have turned to that great post-Thanksgiving tradition of creative ways to make use of all of the leftovers. Today, Sunday’s brunch will be turkey hash! (I love hash and yes, it works well with turkey believe it or not! Comfort food at its best.) Meanwhile, in the hockey world a great deal has been happening the past week — team valuations, concussion lawsuits, Canadian TV deals, a new ECHL team, more on goalie gear changes, interviews and lots of talk about Gilbert Brulé’s recent signing(s)!

| Forbes has released their annual list of NHL’s Most Valuable Teams, and if you are wondering, yes, the lockout was very good to the NHL!

“The average NHL team now has an enterprise value (equity plus net debt) of $413 million, 46% more than a year ago.” via Mike Ozanian, Forbes.com and the full coverage of Forbes The Business of Hockey, and the NHL’s Richest Local Television Deals.

| Add to that the NHL’s most recent Canadian television deal with Rogers Communications:

“The 12-year agreement, announced jointly by the NHL and Rogers in a Tuesday morning press conference, is for $5.232 billion (Canadian). It’s the largest media rights deal in NHL history and one of the largest media rights deals in Canadian history. It is also Canada’s largest sports-media rights agreement.” via NHL.com.

| And what exactly does this all mean for the NHL, including U.S. teams you ask? Oh, a great deal!! And if you think the owners did not realize this prior to the lockout, you’ve been hiding under a bush:

“Total HRR had grown from $2.2 billion to $3.3 billion in the seven years between lockouts. The league expected to generate $1 billion more in national revenue over the next three years, with things like outdoor games and, oh, let’s see, a new Canadian TV contract. The owners would split that 30 ways.” via Nicholas J. Cotsonika, Yahoo Sports.

“It means your team will get an infusion of cash, with the Canadian clubs getting a little extra to make up for regional games that will no longer have blackout protection. [...] While there is nothing firm for 2014-15, a couple of NHL general managers said they expect the cap to be close to the $70.2-million figure from the lockout-shortened 2013 season (Don’t forget there is a clause in the new CBA allowing for a five per cent “escalator” on the initial figure and only once in the previous deal did it go unused). Last summer, those same GMs said they’d been told to expect an $80-million limit in the not-too-distant future. Now, depending on outdoor games, a World Cup and the fact the annual media rights fee grows toward $500 million per season, I can’t help but wonder if we’re looking at an even higher number very soon. That’s really something.” via Elliotte Friedman, CBC.ca.

| Also this week, a group of former NHL players filed a class-action lawsuit against the NHL over concussions. Regardless what you might think, pro or con, I hope that this will be the much needed push for more precautions against concussion injuries in the NHL:

“Three years ago, Hockey Canada held a concussion seminar in Montreal. The participants received a packet that included a welcome letter from Ken Dryden, the Hall of Fame goalie and member of parliament. Dryden wrote about how we think back on the past and wonder why we could have been so wrong. He went from slavery to smoking to sports. Why did football and hockey players go so long without helmets? Why did hockey goalies go so long without masks? He wondered what people would think in 50 years about how we have handled head injuries.” — via Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo Sports.

| Stu Hackel’s brilliant interview with Ken Dryden, talking about the 30th anniversary of the greatest hockey book ever written. If you have never read it, buy a copy NOW!

The Game, by Ken Dryden, has never gone out of print for good reason. It connects the reader with professional hockey players as few books have ever done by revealing that which is universally human in them, showing their strengths alongside their vulnerabilities and placing them within the context of a superior but sputtering team striving in a common effort to maximize their potential.” via Stu Hackel, Sports on Earth.

| Welcome a new team, the Indianapolis Fuel to the ECHL!

“Indianapolis will play its home games at the Fairgrounds Coliseum, a 6,145-seat building located on the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The Coliseum was originally constructed in 1939, and is currently in the midst of a major renovation which began on Oct. 29, 2012.” — via ECHL.com

| And how’s the new goalie equipment changes working out?

“They were trying to get more goals, but maybe goalies are faster now,” said Jonathan Bernier, the Leafs netminder, flashing a devious grin. James Reimer, Bernier’s co-worker in Toronto, is certainly of the belief that he’s faster in his shaved-down gear, although he’s not particularly convinced the change has anything to do with his being on pace for a career-best season. “As much as it makes you quicker, it makes you less big, too,” Reimer said.”  – via Dave Feschuk, theStar.com.

|Speaking of goalies, how about this backup goalie for the Washington Capitals?

“Caps video coach Brett “Stretch” Leonhardt has served many roles with the team. He’s been the video-web guy, back-up goalie, DJ, video coach, crash-test-dummy, and during Friday’s 3-2 win against Montreal, back-up goaltender at the same time as being video coach.” – via Ben Summer, Capitals Outsider.

| Gilbert Brulé — KHL, Coyotes, KHL, Coyotes — you decide!

“2005 6th overall pick Gilbert Brule agreed to terms on a 1-year deal with Mike Keenan’s Magnitogorsk #Metallurg of #KHL” — via Igor Eronko (Sports.ru) (November 25th)

“Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have signed forward Gilbert Brule to a one-year, two-way contract. As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.” — via Coyotes.NHL.com (November 30th)

| Fascinating interview with Mike Commodore who is now playing for KHL’s Admiral Vladivostok, a million miles away from Canada. He talks about everything from growing up a Flames fan, to his problems with the Blue Jackets, playing in the AHL, and hockey in Russia:

“Scott Arniel played pro hockey a long time at the NHL and AHL level. Scott Arniel didn’t think he was paid enough for the time he put in. He didn’t like guys that weren’t married. Because in his words “I wish you guys had a wife and kids when you came to the NHL so you know how much they cost”. He actually said that in a meeting. So needless to say if you were single with no kids (which I was and am) and you were making good money (I was the highest paid defenseman in the organization) you were in trouble. Big trouble.” — via Hermy11, The Breakdown.

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– You know that place in The Daily Oklahoman? The one between Big Game & Club Soccer? That’s where you may find some Barons coverage. For the rest of the news, check out BBG&CS every weekend.  –

Written By - Patricia Teter

A longtime NHL fan relocated to AHL territory who found herself surprisingly enchanted with the OKC Barons. Most of the time you will find her writing about the team and hockey in general at ArtfulPuck - Exploring the Quirky Side of Hockey.