Monday, 6 February 2012

Habs poor start traced to pre-season

Pat Hickey of The Gazette explains that corporate greed made no favors for the Canadiens poor start.

Hickey: Habs suffered from busy preseason

Just this weekend I was thinking the same thing.  If you recall the Canadiens had a poor training camp record and it continued during the preseason.
I always wondered how could a team gel and work out the kinks on Power Play without Markov in the lineup, and with new faces on defense all together (Emelin, Diaz, Campoli), and how would Erik Cole fit in.

Instead, they play so many home games at the Bell Centre during preseason because they can.  The players aren't paid during pre-season, and 15,000 people flock to the Bell Centre regardless.  Easy money right?

Sure.  But short sighted because their poor start of the start of the season compromised their entire season and now they won't be generating any revenues during the playoffs (each home game brings in $1.5M-$2M of revenues) because most likely, they won't make the playoffs this season.

A few facts about Habs' preseason schedule. Canadiens played 8 pre-season games of which 6 were designated home games (they played 5 at Bell Centre and 1 in Halifax).  And they played two road games (Ottawa and Quebec City).  The 5 home games, fans and season-ticket holders were charged for the games at regular season prices (season and mini-season ticket holders were forced to buy these tickets as part of their package).  Oh yes why the disproportion home vs road during preseason?   Well the Canadiens entice visiting teams to play at the Bell Centre paying for their trip and accommodation.  Otherwise some of these visiting teams would be playing in front of crowds of less than 5,000 in their own rinks during the preseason.  Having the games at the Bell Centre, Habs get to keep the gate revenue and this revenue helps pay for revenue sharing. 

Incidentally, the Canadiens record during the preseason this past season? 1-6-1.  They have yet to recover since.

Mario Perrazzino
Twitter:  @GOHABSdotCOM

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