Greetings Canes Country readers. This is my first post here and while I admit hockey isn't my strong suit (I tend to focus more on the dealings with football) I have been a Hurricanes fan since they left Hartford and moved to Raleigh several years ago. I doubt I would be a hockey fan in any capacity if it werent for the Whalers moving to the Carolinas. One thing I have been reading about lately is the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers that will move them to Winnipeg.
I just finished reading the some thoughts at the Thrashers blog site: Bird Watchers Anonymous and the general consensus is what most people would expect. Everyone is upset. I think such a transaction just killed the sport of hockey in Atlanta forever and it has made me wonder what effects that would have on the rest of the small market teams, especially those in the south. Many people think that the Phoenix Coyotes should have been sent packing since they are owned by the NHL but it seems the almighty dollar suggests otherwise. The fans in Atlanta are hurting and if anything I would imagine some of you can relate (the departure of the Hornets to New Orleans).
So...what does this mean for other teams in the small market arena? Do they need to get serious about winning and increasing their revenue or do they just stand by and let everything play itself out. From what I read, the entire Atlanta front office and the league officials could care less about the aftermath of relocating a team. They just say little sweet nothings to make the fans feel warm and fuzzy inside until they make the moves that work for their agenda.
Finally...how does this affect the league? Obviously, you cannot have a Canadian team in the Southeast divison and with this team moving out west, they will need to switch conferences. So who gets bumped from the west to the east? I wouldn't be surprised to see the NHL make a move that MLB and the NFL did with assigning teams and placing them in a division that went against its actual location (Atlanta Braves-old NL west; Carolina Panthers-old NFC West).
I look forward to future postings and hopefully we will see the Canes back in the playoffs next year.