Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Coyotes In Trouble?

There's been a lot of vague rumblings about financial trouble for the Phoenix Coyotes, but this column by Scott Burnside has interesting details:

"The NHL hasn't taken over control of the Phoenix Coyotes, but it is taking an active role in trying to find new investors or ownership for the financially strapped franchise and is being kept apprised of any 'significant' financial decisions the team makes...

The league also is trying to help broker changes to the existing lease with the city of Glendale in the hopes of making the situation more attractive to new investors or owners."

Adam Proteau has a dramatically named article on the tenuous situation of the Coyotes in the December 29th issue of The Hockey News: "A Slow Death In The Desert." Pertinent quotes:

"Depending who is talking about them, the Phoenix Coyotes are either (a) in the direst of financial straits, hemorrhaging money like a North American auto company and on the verge of either bankruptcy, relocation, or both; or (b) cautiously tiptoeing their way through a corporate minefield laid out by the unprecedented global economic crisis..."

"...it isn't as if the Coyotes are the only NHL team hurting for money. ...in addition to Phoenix, franchises in Atlanta, Florida, Nashville, Long Island, N.Y., New Jersey and Carolina each will lose at least $5 million this season, barring lengthy and lucrative playoff runs."

" 'It wouldn't be hyperbole if I told you Phoenix is front and center among the NHL's top concerns these days,' said one league executive. ...'I just don't see how (owner Jerry Moyes) holds onto that club...the only question to answer will be, does he manage to find a taker - I don't think it matters whether the (new owner) would keep the team in Phoenix - or does he throw up his hands and turn it over to the league to run. If I had to bet on it, I'd bet against (Moyes) finding (a buyer). Too many 'cons' and not enough 'pros' to make it work in Phoenix.' "

" '...There's not a chance the NHL comes out the other side (of the economic crisis) without some serious bumps and bruises,' one source said. 'That may mean moving a franchise or two. Or more.' "

Monday, December 22, 2008

Finally, The Home Opener

After a long, long stretch that I have documented below, the Scouts finally got to play in front of friendly fans; on Saturday, November 2nd, 1974, NHL hockey arrived in Kansas City for the first time. Kemper Arena was barely ready in time. The Scouts didn't get to test the ice or the boards until the day before the game.

Their foes, the Chicago Black Hawks, were intimidating, having gone 41-14-23 the previous year, and led by future hall of famers Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito. Hawks coach Billy Reay said he might have gone with his backup goalie against the Scouts, but started Esposito due to it being the franchise's home opener. Michel Plasse got the nod for the home squad.

14,758 souls showed up, though Kemper could have held 16,200. According to the Star, it was a lively, appreciative crowd. Speeches were made, anthems were sung, and the puck was finally dropped. Ivan Boldirev of the Black Hawks scored the first goal in arena history just 3:06 into the game. Wilf Paiement, in the midst of a six game goal scoring streak, earned the distinction of scoring the first Scouts goal in Kemper Arena. Jay Greenberg described the goal: "Lynn Powis dislodged the puck from J.P. Bordeleau of the Black Hawks along the left boards, and sent it back to Jim McElmury at the point. McElmury put a blast from the left point on Esposito, who saved, but the rebound skidded to Wilf all alone at the right pipe. He fired it into the top of the goal." William D. Tammeus wrote, "...when he scored, why, you would have thought the Royals had won a pennant or the Chiefs a Super Bowl..." Many years later, Bill Grigsby told Joe Posnanski, "You could look in the crowd then, and you would see the excitement and you would think, 'Hey, this is going to work.'"

Unfortunately not. But for that one night, the NHL in Kansas City was looking pretty good. The Scouts outshot the Hawks 35-29, but couldn't pull off a win, and fell 4-3. The crowd cheered them anyway.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Excitement Builds For Home Debut

It's a little sad looking back on the build up and excitement surrounding the birth of the Scouts, knowing how quickly it all crashed and burned.

On October 27, 1974, The Kansas City Star devoted an entire 18 page section to hockey and the Scouts. There are diagrams of hockey basics, a hockey glossary, profiles of coach Bep Guidolin, GM Sid Abel, owner/president Ed Thompson, and each player, a look back at how the Scouts came to be, and coverage of the brand new Kemper Arena.

Here are the player profiles from the special section:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

October '74: The Torture Test

After dropping the first game in franchise history in Toronto, the Scouts traveled to Long Island to lose 6-2. The next night found them in Philadelphia to face the defending and eventual repeat Stanley Cup champion Flyers. The lowly Scouts put quite a scare into the Flyers, but couldn't come away with a point, losing 3-2.

The game marked ex-Flyer Simon Nolet's return to Philadelphia. At the time, Nolet was the third leading scorer in Flyers history, and the fans gave him a warm reception when he stepped on the ice for the first time. The warm reception turned into a standing ovation after Nolet potted a shorthanded goal.

Nolet was obviously a gifted player and a fan favorite, which again begs the question, why on earth did the Flyers let him get away in the expansion draft? Star writer Jay Greenberg offered this explanation: "...the Flyers had remade their image on the way to the Stanley Cup. Simon, the whippet, didn't fit in with the ruffians, and he played in only 35 of the Flyers 78 regular-season games last year." (10/14/74 Star)

Looking at Nolet's stats with the Flyers, his point totals dropped fairly dramatically once the post season began. He scored 201 points in 358 regular season games for .56 points per game, but only 9 points in 31 playoff games, or .29 points per game. In addition to not fitting in with the "Broad Street Bullies," perhaps the Flyers felt he was a liability once the post-season began.

The Scouts continued the long road trip by losing in Atlanta and Los Angeles, before finally earning their first point in the standings by tying the California Golden Seals 4-4 in their sixth game. As big of a relief as that was, it was also bittersweet. The Scouts blew a 4-1 lead before just barely hanging on for the tie. But, as Robin Burns said, "We're in the league now."

Here is Jay Greenberg's game wrap:

It was to be the only point they would earn on the "8 game road torture test to start the season." They dropped games in Vancouver and Boston before finally getting to play a home game on November 2nd.

Don't be left out:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Expansion Year Standings

Not sure what the point of this is, but I was curious to compare the records of all expansion teams in their first year since the big expansion of '67-'68. As bad as the Scouts were, five teams have had worse debut years:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Kansas City, Here We Come?" article by Jay Greenberg

I was surprised to recognize the name of the beat reporter who has done the majority of the Scouts coverage so far in the couple of weeks I've read at the library; I was pretty sure I knew the name Jay Greenberg as a current-day writer for The Hockey News. Sure enough, he's listed in the masthead as a "contributor." Digging a little deeper, I see he authored an article that hits the sweet spot for this blog--it covers a little Scouts history as well as talking about the potential for a new team for KC. He's not too keen about the NHL coming back to KC, but he also calls it "inevitable"! While I like the sound of that, it sure sounds like an overstatement to me. Click the pic to check out the article:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Not One But Two Comments On The Scouts First Game From Joe McGuff

First Game

I made it back to the library this afternoon to continue perusing the KC Times and Star coverage of the first days of the Scouts. (Is reading 35 year old sports pages a strange hobby?) It is slooooow going looking through microfilm. Luckily, the papers gave a lot of coverage to the Scouts. There was at least one article in both editions during the preseason and the first month of the season. Here's some of what I found:

...Due to a combination of construction delays with Kemper Arena (the Scouts' home) and the annual American Royal rodeo, the Scouts were homeless for a very long time before their home debut on November 2nd, 1974. Their three week training camp took place in Port Huron, Michigan. No preseason games were played in KC. Then they had to start the year with a brutal 8-game, 16-day road trip. They started with three games on the east coast, then south to Atlanta for a game, then to the west coast for three games, and all the way back to the east coast for one more game before finally getting to break in their new home.

...Love this line about the captain's role on the team:

"The Scouts yesterday named Simon Nolet, the club's ranking member in N.H.L. experience with seven years, as the team's first captain. Nolet, the Scouts' first choice in the expansion draft, will have a myriad of duties, including everything from being a designated spokesman to make sure all are present on the team bus, to gathering contributions for soap and toothpaste for the lockerroom. Brent Hughes, Butch Deadmarsh and Randy Rota will be the alternates." - Jay Greenberg

..."I understand that we've got problems, but I'm not going to be satisfied with a losing team. I'm not going to say I hope we win 15 games, that's not good. Why not 30? That's better." - Scouts coach Bep Guidolin

They went on to win exactly 15 games. Sadly, Guidolin died just a couple of weeks ago, November 24.

10/9/74 - THE FIRST GAME

Hm, what could be the most pressure-packed, intimidating way for this rag-tag, inexperienced group to start? How about in the hockey capital of the world, Toronto, in one of hockey's sacred temples, Maple Leaf Gardens, against the storied Maple Leafs? Not enough? OK, we'll put the game on Hockey Night in Canada so that the entire Canadian continent will be watching.

By all accounts, the Scouts acquitted themselves fairly well in their first game. It was apparently a tight game through two periods, with the Scouts down just 2-1 after two. Things came apart in the third, and the Scouts went down 6-2.

Captain Simon Nolet recorded the first goal in club history 56 seconds into the second. Jay Greenberg described the goal:

"(It) finished off a pretty piece of puck carrying by center Dave Hudson. Hudson took a pass from Jim McElmury and started out to center, then fed Nolet down the right wing. Nolet waited until he was only 25 feet away, then ripped a sizzler between the legs of Doug Pavell."

Nolet himself didn't seem to get too caught up in his historic goal: "We lost the game. It didn't really hit me yet. Somebody had to get it, I guess. I imagine in the future maybe it will mean something." (And here I am in the future, writing about it on the internets.)

Here is Greenberg's game wrap in full (click to enlarge):

Saturday, December 6, 2008

17th Best

One of the most interesting things I learned from Joe Posnanski's below article was that NHL teams were allowed to protect sixteen players from the 1974 entry draft. Sixteen! As Bill Grigsby says in the article, "Do you know what one 17th player on a team has in common with all the other 17th players? They are not very good."

Four goalies were selected in a separate, mini-draft. A quick look at those four goalies' previous seasons reveals that they were all basically third stringers, which, since teams carry two goalies, is to say they were not really NHL goaltenders.

The Scouts were lucky to get Simon Nolet with the first pick in the non-goalie draft. Why the Flyers left him unprotected after scoring 36 points in 52 games in '73-'74 I don't know (perhaps they were bitter after he scored only 2 points in 15 playoff games). Nolet led the Scouts in goals (26) and points (58) in their debut season, but was traded to Pittsburgh in the middle of the following season, having put up a respectable 25 points in 41 games.

With their next pick, the Scouts selected Butch Deadmarsh, who had 12 points in 94 career games at the time. He went on to play 20 games for the Scouts before jumping to the World Hockey Association for the rest of his career.

The 11th pick of the draft never played another game in the NHL.

The player to put up the most points in the NHL after the draft was Gary Croteau, who had to tally all of 188 points for that honor.

Point being, the Capitals and Scouts were not set up to have a chance to succeed. They were set up so that the other owners could collect the expansion fees. (Fingers crossed that similar greed will score Kansas City a second expansion team in the near future.)

Assuming teams protected two goalies, that leaves 14 skaters to protect. And while points are certainly not the full measure of a player, for argument's sake, let's look at who some of the 15th "top" scorers were by team for the '07-'08 season:

Atlanta: Ken Klee 10 pts
Boston: Petteri Nokelainen 10 pts
Buffalo: Adam Mair 17 pts
Calgary: Wayne Primeau/Eric Nystrom 10 pts
Carolina: Andrew Ladd/Trevor Letowski 18 pts
Chicago: Dave Bolland 17 pts
Colorado: Ian Laperriere 19 pts
Columbus: Kris Russell 10 pts

Alright, you get the point. These are the type of players the Scouts and Capitals were forced to build a team with.

How long did it take the two teams to dig out of that hole? Well, the Scouts of course moved after only two years, and then again after six losing seasons in Denver. The franchise, now in New Jersey, finally posted a winning season in 1987-'88, their 14th year overall and sixth in New Jersey, and won their first Stanley Cup in 1995.

The Capitals managed a winning season for the first time in 1982-'83, their ninth year, and have still never won the Cup.

Could the Scouts have stuck in Kansas City had they been given a fairer shake to start with? Not necessarily, but unfortunately they weren't given the chance to find out.

The Ice Age Cometh!

I spent a quick hour at the library this afternoon, checking out microfilm of the Kansas City Times and Star from October 1st - 8th, 1974, the week leading up to the Scouts' debut regular season game. Turns out the Scouts had their training camp in Port Huron, Michigan that year for some reason (perhaps because Kemper Arena was in use by the American Royal?). They started the preseason off at 2-1-1, which of course led to some optimism from beat writer Jay Greenberg, coaches and players. Sad to say that may have been the last time there was much optimism around the Scouts. The final two games of the preseason were against the Washington Capitals, fellow expansionees, so the Scouts had every possibility of finishing strong and having an excellent preseason. Instead, they dropped both contests to the Caps (one in London, Ontario and one in Port Huron), and would go on to start the regular season 0-8-1.

One of my favorite finds was this ad from the October 6th Star:

From an NHL preview article by Ken Rudnick:

"KANSAS CITY - The Scouts could avoid the cellar in their first season but only because of the muddled picture in St. Louis. Right wing Simon Nolet, who scored 19 goals for Philadelphia last season, was the closest thing to a star made available to Kansas City or Washington in the latest expansion draft. The Scouts hope to get solid performances from goalies Michel Plasse and Peter McDuffe and defenseman Brent Hughes. Wilf Paiement, reportedly the highest paid rookie in the history of the N.H.L., will get every opportunity to live up to his salary."

Hopefully more microfilm reports to come, from, you know, actual regular season games.

"Scouts Were A Disaster" by Joe Posnanski

The following article by Joe Posnanski appeared in the July 8, 2007 Kansas City Star. Posnanski is far and away the best sportswriter going, and incredibly prolific. You can check out his recent articles from the Star here, his amazing blog here, and his wonderful book The Soul of Baseball here.

Kansas City has had more than its share of natural sports disasters. The Kansas City Athletics were in town for 13 seasons and never had a winning record. The Chiefs, after early glory, went 14 consecutive seasons without even making the playoffs. The Royals have lost 100 games four of the last five seasons and have not made the playoffs since 1985. The Kansas City Kings, not exactly the model franchise to begin with, once had to move their home games because the roof collapsed at Kemper Arena.

None of that comes close, though, to the two-year disaster film that was called The Kansas City Scouts.

** ** **

Even the naming process was a disaster. You have to remember those were heady days in Kansas City, 1974, the year when an NHL hockey team came to town.

The hockey team completed the cycle. Kansas City now had the best of all four major American sports. Only eight other cities had the complete set -- baseball, football, basketball and hockey -- and those were America's great cities: New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Detroit, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Now, Kansas City was one of them.

So the people decided to name the hockey team the MO-Hawks to celebrate the area (MO for Missouri, Hawks for Kansas, you probably already got that, though).

There were a couple of small problems with the name MO-Hawks. One, it was awful. Even if you could get beyond the bizarre capitalization issues, the name didn't make much sense. Two, and more to the point, the Chicago hockey team was already named the Blackhawks. This might have served as a note of caution. You can't have two hockey teams named the Hawks playing 400 or so miles apart.

But those were heady days, as we said, and Kansas City entered the name MO-Hawks to the league and seemed quite surprised that it was rejected in about 3.2 seconds. Kansas City came back with the nickname "Scouts," inspired by "The Scout" statue in Penn Valley Park that overlooks the city. It is a statue of a Sioux on horseback peering out, shielding the sun from his eyes. If anything says "hockey," it's that statue.

They became the Scouts. The logo for the team was a sketch of the statue with a lemon yellow "KC" next to it. And Kansas City, after years as a thriving minor-league hockey town, was finally ready for some major-league hockey.

Unfortunately, Kansas City would get the Scouts instead.

** ** **

It was, to be fair, an unfair time to get an expansion hockey team. There was a talent war going on then between the National Hockey League and the World Hockey Association, and there just wasn't much talent to fight over. In 1967, there were only six major professional hockey teams. Six. By 1974, between the two leagues, there were 30.

According to Eddie Thompson, the team president, the average NHL salary when the Scouts were awarded the team in 1972 was $33,000. By the time they got the team two years later, the average salary was three times that.

"We had a little cash-flow problem because of that," Thompson says.

Cash-flow problems or not, on June 12, 1974, the Kansas City Scouts and the Washington Capitals took part in an NHL expansion draft that would pretty much seal their doom.

"What happened, really, is that the National Hockey League hurt us," says Bill Grigsby, who was part owner, assistant to the president and broadcaster for the Scouts. "Some of those old-timers didn't really want the new teams around. They didn't want any newcomers making inroads into their game. So, they set it up so each team was able to protect 16 players for the expansion draft. That means we were starting with the 17th squad member.

"Do you know what one 17th player on a team has in common with all the other 17th players? They are not very good."

The Scouts' general manager at the time was one of the great hockey players ever, Sid Abel, who was the center for the famed Production Line in Detroit (along with fellow Hall of Famers Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay). But there wasn't much talent scouting for Abel to do. With the first pick in the draft, the Scouts took goaltender Michel Plasse, who had gained a moment of fame when he scored a goal for the Oklahoma City Blazers -- he was the first professional goaltender to score a goal.

With the fifth pick, the Scouts took Simon Nolet (pronounced "SEE-mon, No-LAY") in large part because they thought his name sounded good. Many of the players -- it's obvious in retrospect -- were taken for their names. Butch Deadmarsh. Lynn Powis. Norm Dube. In one hockey history book, the Kansas City Scouts are mentioned once and only once -- and that is to praise the name of defenseman Bart Crashley.

** ** **

Then the hockey began. And things started off badly for the Scouts. They had to play their first eight games on the road because of the American Royal -- so they were 0-7-1 before they even played their first home game. Tough to build up much excitement.

Still, the first home game was a magical night. There were almost 15,000 people in the stands. Before the game, the winless Scouts were given a long standing ovation.

And they played their guts out that game and outshot a star-studded Chicago Blackhawks team (that team had Hall of Famers Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita and star goaltender Tony Esposito). The Scouts lost 4-3, but when it ended there was another standing ovation for the Kansas City players.

"What an amazing crowd," Scouts coach Bep Guidolin said. He was called Bep because his mother spoke English with a thick accent, and she called her youngest son "Beppy" instead of "Baby." The nickname was shortened to Bep. He, too, may have been hired for his name.

"We have to start winning now," Bep said. The very next day, the Scouts beat the Washington Capitals, who (and this is astonishing) actually got even less talent out of the expansion draft. And things got even better. The Scouts won twice the next week, both victories at home, one of those over the cross-state St. Louis Blues.

"You could look in the crowd then," Grigsby says, "and you would see the excitement and you would think, 'Hey, this is going to work.' "

Well, no. The Scouts won one game in the month of December, a month that started off with a humiliating 10-0 loss at Philadelphia. "They'll be all right in a few years," Philadelphia right winger Gary Dornhoeffer said after the game.

"Gotta go," was Bep's summation.

In January and February, the Scouts played more reasonable hockey. It was bad hockey -- they went 9-14-4 -- but it was more reasonably bad. Then in March, they did not win a game. The Scouts won 15 games all year. At least Simon Nolet, the gracefully named captain of the team, led the team in scoring.

"We had a group of really good young men," Grigsby would say. "The only bad thing is that they were just not very good hockey players."

** ** **

The second season began in a whole different way. The Scouts started off by tying the New York Islanders and then beating Vancouver. And then, on Oct. 23, 1975, they had the greatest moment in franchise history -- perhaps the greatest moment in Kansas City hockey history. They went into the Boston Garden and beat the mighty Bruins 3-2. Guy Charron -- another wonderfully named hockey player acquired in a trade -- scored the game-winner.

"This was a good game," Bep said. The Bepper apparently was not much for colorful quotes. The Scouts were 3-2-1 after six games. They could not keep up that sort of pace, of course. They lost the next five, the last of those losses was another 10-0 loss at Philadelphia, which is pretty unbelievable.

"They had a couple of good shots," Philadelphia goalie Wayne Stephenson said after this blowout.

"I don't want to talk to (reporters)," Bep told the guard standing outside the locker room.

Still, the Scouts were playing much better. On Dec. 28, the Scouts beat the California Seals, improving their record to 11-21-3. That may not sound like much, but it actually put Kansas City one game back in the playoff chase. That's one great thing about hockey -- the playoffs are almost always within reach.

Little did anyone know then that the Scouts would win one of their last 44 games. Yes. One victory (a 4-1 victory over those beloved Washington Capitals), 35 losses, 9 ties.

"Has this been a nightmare?" someone asked Bep during that season.

"You gotta sleep before you can have nightmares," he said.

OK, we take back our colorful quote criticism of Bep. Anyway, he was fired. Sid Abel himself coached the team for a short while. He then hired Eddie Bush. None of it mattered. The Scouts did not win a single one of their last 27 games.

"You wake up in the morning and think that this is the day it breaks," Scouts winger Randy Rota said. "Only it never does."

All the while, the team was falling apart financially. Ownership issues were flaring, the Scouts were losing money, fans were losing interest. Thompson, president of the Scouts, said the team needed to sell 8,000 season tickets to stay in Kansas City. The actual number sold was about 2,000. The Scouts left for Denver after only two seasons.

Now, it's more than 30 years later. There isn't much left of the old Scouts legacy. They became the Colorado Rockies, but only for six seasons, and then they went to New Jersey and became the Devils. They didn't have any great players. They didn't set any records -- not even records for futility. Washington was somehow worse.

The only imprint they left on the NHL books belonged to Steve Durbano, one of hockey's great bad guys. Durbano was picked up in a trade, and in the team's second year had 209 penalty minutes. You can still see his name under "Most penalty minutes, 1975-76 season."

Durbano later was thrown in jail for his role in importing more than a half-million dollars in cocaine. He was arrested again later for trying to hire an undercover police officer as a prostitute. The man who perhaps most clearly represented the Kansas City Scouts' desperate two years of hockey died at age 51 in Yellowknife, a small Canadian town that the chamber of commerce proudly says is "in the heart of the wilderness."

** ** **

Eddie Thompson lives in Phoenix now. He says it's a great sports town. "They support everything here," he says. "Of course, there are four and a half million people living here. That's what makes it a great sports town. That's the whole problem with Kansas City. It has good sports fans. But it doesn't have the population."

Thompson says he knew during the Scouts' second home game that they were doomed. He had wanted the team to play in Johnson County -- they had land set aside at the intersection of Interstate 435 and Switzer Road -- but an arena down south never materialized.

"It might have worked out there," he says. "We would have had a chance anyway."

He does not know if Kansas City could support NHL hockey now -- he doesn't follow things here that closely -- but he frankly doubts it. I tell him about the new arena, the more stable ownership possibilities, the downtown resurgence. He still doubts it. He still wears a few scars from his Scouts days. When he's asked if the Scouts might have made it in Kansas City had they won some games, he says plainly and sadly: "No."

When he's asked if he has any good memories from his days with the Scouts, he says, "I'm sorry, I don't understand the question."

"Oh, we had a lot of fun," he says finally, but he doesn't expand on the thought. The simple truth is: It really wasn't much fun. The timing was bad. The team was bad. The attendance was bad. The ownership situation was bad.

"The Scouts never had a chance," Thompson says. I wait for him to finish the thought, but he is finished. There isn't anything else to say.

Friday, December 5, 2008


This is the first of what I hope will be many looks at the brief history of the Kansas City Scouts.

On December 28, 1975, the Kansas City Scouts defeated the California Golden Seals by a score of 3-1. This improved the Scouts' record to 11-21-4. Not a record worth writing home about perhaps, but respectable enough for a second year expansion team trying to establish itself.

They would finish the season with a record of 12-56-12.

Let that sink in for a moment: From 11-21-4 to 12-56-12.

I'll do the math for you: After that victory in the bay, they went 1-35-8.

That's one victory. And 35 defeats.

Immediately following that abysmal streak, the Kansas City Scouts became the Colorado Rockies, and Kansas City's ride as an NHL town was over after only two seasons. I don't have attendance numbers handy, but it seems a pretty safe bet that a slide like that led to a dramatic decrease in attendance, which contributed to an untenable financial situation for Scouts ownership, which led to the move to Denver.

As for that one final victory, it came on February 7, 1976 at home against the Scouts' doppelganger, the Washington Capitals (also a second year expansion team) by a score of 5-1. Beating the Capitals in 1975-'76 was nothing to be too proud of; they were even worse than the Scouts that year, finishing 11-59-10 (32 points compared to the Scouts' 36).

See the game-by-game ugliness that was the '75-'76 Scouts here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Islanders In Trouble?

Article from Newsday's Jim Baumbach: "Wang should speak up about Islanders' dire situation."

"In order for the Islanders to get a new home, for the Islanders to remain on Long Island and not wind up as a relocated franchise to Kansas City or Seattle or some other city, (Islanders owner Charles) Wang needs to...speak honestly about how grave this situation is."

First off, I try not to root for the failure of a current NHL franchise. I really do. That said, the New York metropolitan area has three teams, separated by roughly 42 miles. And the Islanders are drawing the fewest fans in the league so far this year and losing money.

Hopefully we're not in for a repeat of the Penguins saga, where KC becomes a pawn for Islanders ownership to use in scaring up a new arena on Long Island.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Hello and welcome to The NHL In Kansas City.

I hope to use this space to disseminate information and opinions about the potential for Kansas City to gain an NHL franchise, as well as to look back at the brief history of the Kansas City Scouts. (Someone ran a similar blog called Hockey in Kansas City for most of 2006, while KC was (supposedly) in the running to become the new home of the Penguins, but that space seems to have been abandoned.)

Among my plans:
  • Reporting any mentions of the NHL coming to KC I can find in the media, and offering my take
  • Historical research on the Scouts and why they didn't last in KC
  • A look back at the first NHL game played in the Sprint Center (a preseason tilt between the Kings and Blues on September 22, 2008)
  • Some lighthearted fun such as conjecture and suggestions about possible team names/colors/uniforms
For now, I'll leave you with this YouTube gem that features game action between the North Stars and Scouts from the 1975-76 season. (Skip ahead to 4:10 of the video to see the Scouts.)