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Bourne’s Gambling Update: Ain’t Pretty, But There’s Hope



New Puck Daddy: I attempted some real reportery type stuff on the overall mood in Phoenix. I’m just not great at this type of writing yet, but practice, practice, practice.


Bet one: Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes will play MORE than 5.5 games

Okay, bet one looks pretty bleak.

The Coyotes are a team that needs to operate as a unit to succeed – they aren’t star-studded, they aren’t going to win a run-and-gun game, they just need to play shut down defense and hope to get a big game from random players throughout the lineup to win.

That said, they have one star who has to be a star: Ilya Bryzgalov.  In short, he hasn’t been, so they’re down three nothing.

Would I make this bet again today? — Fuck no.

Wager: $10 to profit $5.71 ($15.71)


Bet two: Jordan Staal will tally more than 3.5 points

I tweeted this earlier today because it blew my mind: the Pens are up 2-1 in this series against a good Tampa Bay Lightning team, yet only three humans have more than one point (all have three points).  Who, you ask?  I answer: Brooks Orpik (huh?), Aaron Asham (saywhatnow?) and Kris Letang (sure, but still, another d-man).

Staal has one assist with another 3 or 4 games to go.

Would I make this bet again today? — Would totally depends on the odds I got, but I think it’s a winnable bet.  Lots of ice time available to him as usual, and the series should go long.

Wager: $10 to profit $8.70 ($18.70)


Bet three: The Montreal Canadiens will lose in the first round

The Bruins are down 2-1 to the Habs, but honestly, I’m still fine with this bet.  They didn’t make me pick in how many games, so I can use the whole series to get this one done.

Would I make this bet again today? — Yes I would.  Again, I’d need improved odds, but if my life depended on picking the winner of this series, I’d still take the Bruins.

Wager: $10 to profit $4.55 ($14.55)


Bet four: Of the eight 5 through 8 seeds, LESS than 2.5 will advance

This was the bigger of my bets (while still being small), so I really want this one.  As of today, only two lower seeds are leading their series: Nashville, who I predicted, and Montreal, who I think is going to lose.  The only one that’s tied is Los Angeles, and I have no doubt that San Jose is going to win that series.  The rest of the favourites are winning.

So things are about as good as they could be on this one.  The bet is a long way from won, but at least no underdog blindsided me and won in a walk or anything.

Would I make this bet again today? — In a heartbeat, if they’d give me the same odds.

Wager: $10 to profit $12 ($22.00)


Bet five: Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins will play MORE than 5.5 games

Two very evenly matched teams that have played close games.  Pitt isn’t winning this series in five (are they?), so I like where it’s sitting.

Would I make this bet again today? — Is there anyone out there who wouldn’t?

Wager: $10 to profit $5.26 ($15.26)

Total wager: $50

To profit: $36.22 (and end with $86.22)


The way I see things:  I’m probably losing the first bet (down $10).  The Staal one we’ll call a push right now, lots of time left.  We’ll do the same for the Habs/Bruins.  I’m calling the underdogs losing a win (jinx, but 22 dollars back), and the last one a win ($15.26).

According to that math, I could end up in the black $17.26, which would leave me at $67.26.  I’d take that, but I’d have to get more aggressive in the next round (and of course, the pushes aren’t a possibility, so lots to be decided there).

Only two games on the schedule tonight.  I’ll be rooting for San Jose – die, underdogs, die! (Just kidding, I like LA, I just like winning money more!)


13 Responses to “Bourne’s Gambling Update: Ain’t Pretty, But There’s Hope”
  1. wmsheppa says:

    I enjoyed the Puck Daddy piece… well, maybe enjoyed isn’t the right word. I thought it was well written. It definitely made me remember how it felt to be a Penguins fan circa the Kansas City/Las Vegas Penguins rumor era – a definite air of desperation, depression, and an insane thought that somehow, if x, y, and z, all happen, your team is staying. Luckily for me mine did, but the mix of tension/worry/hope in the air was palpable every night.

  2. Sherry says:

    I liked the PD piece too – that situation is so sad, and annoying. I *so* want the Yotes to stay in Phx.

    And I was right there with you wmsheppa (out here on the west coast), living and dying by that damn casino license decision. I was out shopping the day they granted the Casino license to Don whathisname and not Isle of Capri. My housemate (inexplicably) called me to tell me the news and I felt sick to my stomach (not to mention no longer interested in errand running). Not that I was sure the Pens would leave the Burgh, but it was a hard blow and it meant even more waiting and worrying. Awful times.

    I’m praying for a miracle in the desert…

  3. KForbes says:

    I’m really glad(?) you wrote that Puck Daddy piece. I was really hoping you’d address it sometime soon, if only because it seems like things are moving superquick right now.
    I really feel for the fans, as there’s just not enough info on what exactly is going on. The whole uncertainty has got to be killer.
    If anything, I haven’t been a fan of how the media up here north of the border has been covering it. They’ve all pretty much resorted to cheerleading for a new Jets team (hell TSN has a Winnipeg-o-meter on their website) as opposed to anything fair and balanced to talk about the other side of the story.
    I respect the reasoning of some fans in Phoenix to stay away over the past few years, because…with all this crap happening, I can’t blame them. I hate to see this story continuously slanted as saying that the fans somehow let the Coyotes down or there wasn’t enough fan support. If anything, it just seems like the opposite. If the NHL fails in Phoenix, it’s because they failed the fans. From the arena in Glendale to stretching this debacle out far too long, it just makes me feel bad.
    I respect how excited people in Winnipeg must feel, but in the same breath, I would hope that they are among the most understanding of people to what fans in Phoenix are going through, because after all, it happened to them.

    It’s just a bad situation all over.

  4. Derek says:

    I was all for the Coyotes staying in Phoenix before I actually went to a game about a month ago. The announced attendance was over 11,000 but there couldn’t have been more than 6,000 people there. I counted 8 lower bowl sections with less than 50 people in them. There were over a hundred empty rows, and many others with just a couple of people in a row. And I was in the press box, so I could only see one side of the rink and the ends. While the game was against the Blue Jackets, they were in the thick of battling for the Division title and the playoffs were coming up. That kind of turn out, for that good of a team, at that time of year is unacceptable. I feel for the die hard Coyotes fans, I really do. But there simply are not nearly enough of them and the Coyotes have been there far too long for that to be acceptable. However, I do not think Winnipeg is the right location (nor Quebec City). Right now there isn’t an acceptable long term solution. Seattle is the ideal market, but KeyArena isn’t the ideal arena.

  5. wmsheppa says:

    Sherry, I still remember the crushing feeling when Barden got awarded that license instead of Isle of Capris, it looked like the best hope for a new building had gone up in smoke. I ended up living in Vegas briefly after that, and when it broke that Lemieux was just using them as a smoke screen, the local politicians flipped their shit.

    Southwestern hockey fans are a really interesting bunch. I was a season ticket holder with the Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL) when I lived there, and they drew a lot of super devoted/knowledgable hockey fans. Attendance overall probably isn’t as good as traditional markets, but the people who actually bother showing up are some of the most passionate and hockey smart fans out there. I really think the sport could stick in the Southwest if it was given enough time and there was actually a consistently successful team.

  6. Cassie says:

    @Derek – Don’t judge the Coyotes fan base without considering the impact of constant relocation rumors on the average fan. It’s really hard for any fan to emotionally invest in a team with relocation rumors swirling around it for years on end. If you’d heard your home team was going to go elsewhere, would you keep going to games? Probably not. Instead, you’d be thinking, “What’s the point if they’re not staying?” If the fans knew that the team was staying – and if they kept winning, which is a big thing in most sports markets – then the fans would likely turn out in force.

    So the fact that they’re still getting any support at all is pretty amazing, really. Most teams would love to have a solid 6,000 local diehard fans to build their fan base around. And I’m completely serious about that. The majority of people who attend games are typically average fans who show up 1-10 times a year.

  7. KForbes says:

    Like Cassie, I can’t blame the Coyote fans for what’s happened.
    As I said before, the whole situation failed the fans (or potential fans) in Phoenix, rather than the other way around.

  8. Richie says:

    As Phoenix fan for the last 14 years I’m pretty fed up with the dismissive and bias views being spouted by many media sources, mostly Canadian. Being Irish, I haven’t had any opportunity to go to a game so I can’t speak offer an opinion on the local fanbase but I’m so frustrated with the suggestion that because there aren’t sellouts every night, Phoenix hates hockey. The Coyote fans didn’t sneak up north in 1996 and steal the Jets franchise, the NHL did.
    It’s such an emotive issue and I think you really captured in your PD piece (what I suspect) is the mood among fans locally that other fanbases and much of the media are against them.

    I just wish the pro-Winnipeg lobby could remember what it was like in 1996 for them and show a little empathy for the Coyotes fans instead of circling over the franchise like vultures hoping for collapse.

  9. minnesotagirl71 says:

    RE: financially unsuccessful hockey teams – Isn’t a big part of the problem lack of corporate sponsors, advertising and suite revenue? This season I don’t think there were ever fewer than 16,000 fans per Wild game and the owner lost money. The Wild sold out every game in 2009-2010 and the owner still lost money.

    From my understanding, teams need the fan support, but they also need the corporations to purchase suites and advertising, as well as access to revenue from concessions, merchandise, tv/radio contracts, etc. It’s the die hard hockey fans who suffer if all of those things don’t come together!

    I do know that if my team were in danger of being moved, I would go to every game possible before they left!

  10. KForbes says:

    I guess what it boils down to is that the failure of hockey in Phoenix is a failure of the NHL as a league. The past 10 years have been surprisingly stable for the league, which if you look at the history books, is an abnormality. The last time the league went this long with absolutely no moves, additions, relocation, etc. there were six teams playing, not 30. It really interests me to see how the league is and will continue to respond to this situation and what long-term implications it could have. Will this begin another round of instability in the league, like in the mid-90s when four teams relocated? These are all larger questions that I think aren’t being asked or addressed enough and that’s a failure of the media with this story.
    Here we have a prominent professional sports franchise failing, with multiple public and private interests involved and most of the media are simply being drawn like a moth to the flame of the whole “storybook” ending of hockey returning to Winnipeg.

    Man this frustrates me.

  11. Andrew says:

    Full disclosure, I’m a Winnipegger.
    I’ll try to keep this concise (note: it’s not concise).

    If, as some have suggested, the fans really wanted to keep the team in Phoenix, why haven’t they been supporting the team all along? I’ve never been to a game there, but the attendance figures are terrible. This season they were 29th in the league with an average of just of 12,000 fans a night. The anecdotal evidence that this figure is inflated is overwhelming. Now, buying a ticket and not showing up still supports the team financially, but it’s not the same as a packed house.

    @Cassie, If Phoenix truly does have 6,000 diehard fans, as you say, then that is great. I don’t doubt that they do. However, you still need to fill the building. If all you are getting are the diehards, you can’t support a team. The most profitable teams have waiting lists for season tickets.

    As for those saying the situation in Phoenix failed the fans, that might be true for those that are true fans. The economic collapse which hit Arizona hard obviously has been a major factor. However, the fact is they haven’t sold enough tickets to make the team anything other than an investment that loses money. I am empathetic towards those fans that love hockey and want the team to stay. But the city has failed in supporting the team. There is no doubt about that.

    Some people on here have suggested that the Canadian media have been biasing the story. That couldn’t be further from the truth. TSN, and the local Winnipeg paper has been very cautious with what they report. The reason is, being too positive about the situation in the past had led to major disappointment in Winnipeg. TSN’s reporting in particular has been very fair.

    About a week or two ago, Sportsnet reported that the deal in Phoenix was dead and that the team was coming back to Winnipeg. Perhaps that’s what you’re referring to, Richie. That report was probably a bit biased, but Sportsnet isn’t exactly our leading sports media station. Other outlets were very quick to caution against that as it had not been confirmed by the NHL.

    Now, as for Winnipeg as the new/old home of the team. It didn’t work in the 90s and I’m not exactly optimistic that it’ll work now simply because we’re a small market and going to a game can be incredibly expensive. However, you’d have a much strong per-capita fanbase than a lot of cities that have NHL teams. Winnipeggers are crazy about hockey. I know that’s anecdotal, but just trust me.

    For the team to work here though, the economics would have to have improved since the mid 90s. The city has grown, and the cost of the team has probably become relatively more affordable, but it’s certainly no slam-dunk.

    As for Richie’s pro-Winnipeg lobby, I’m not sure what you’re referring to. There is certainly no shortage of people that want the team to come back here, but they don’t exactly have any kind of say in that happening. And the fans aren’t “circling like vultures”. They are, however, hopeful that the team will return here. And there is no way in hell you’re going to have many of them feeling empathetic. The magnitude of Phoenix losing it’s team doesn’t compare to how many people in this city felt when we lost the Jets. People here have grown up with hockey as part of their life. Most people in Phoenix haven’t been life-long fans.

    It would be the equivalent of the Phoenix Suns reloacting to a city that seemingly didn’t care about basketball, like say, Anchorage, Alaska (maybe Justin could speak to the popularity of basketball up there). That’s not a shot at true Phoenix Coyotes fans, but the city as a whole certainly doesn’t have much interest in hockey.

    There are defintely some people here that “hate Phoenix” for “stealing” “our” team. Note the quotation marks because I think those people are angry and misguided. Phoenix didn’t steal the team and the city certainly isn’t entitled to it. The fact is, we couldn’t support the team in the mid 90s because people didn’t buy enough tickets. However, I don’t think the situation here was ever as bad as it is in Phoenix (with the NHL floating the team). The NHL wanted southern expansion in the 90s and we were an easy target.

    Now, as I said, the city has grown and has a much stronger national corporate presence. Also there are two very wealthy individuals interested in owning the team. The circumstances have certainly changed. I’m sure more research will be done before a purchase decision is made.

    That’s all, thanks for reading, if you made it all the way to the end.

  12. Derek says:

    I wasn’t judging the Phoenix fans for not showing up. I understand why they wouldn’t. But the reality is that there is such a low base of fans in Phoenix now that even if the team is locked up there long term, they will have to rebuild the fanbase.

  13. St. Cloud Gopher says:

    @minnesotagirl71: Right.

    Season ticket holders basically pay for the building, kind of like newspaper subscribers paying for the physical production, like the paper and ink. Profit margins here a smaller than anything else.

    Walk-up sales are generally good for directing people to the pro shop as they are people that may come only once or twice a season. Kind of like selling from a newsstand, it’s all about spontaneous sales and drawing a new audience. Larger profit margin than season tickets, but still not much.

    The suites are usually a pure profit maker. Think about the price and the experience. I’ve been in suites at the X, the experience is awesome, but does not directly correlate to the increase in price. The rooms take up more space than seats, and there is usually beer/soda/food included, but it would take a lot of each to equal the money invested.

    The money to pay staff, coaches, players, etc. almost exclusively comes from concessions/TV/radio/advertising and such. What does a beer cost at the X $7, $8, $9? What does a case of beer cost? $20 at most. And if you are selling Bud, and Anheuser-Busch is your sponsor, then maybe that case cost you $10.

    Anyway, you see where this is going. 16,000 fans is great. A 19,000+ sellout is awesome. But if they’re not buying a beer, dog, foam finger and sweatshirt, there might be just enough money to pay the employees, but the bottom line (and return on the hundreds of millions in investments made purchasing the team) will suffer.

    (A side note about the Coyotes: I feel bad for the hockey fans there, but something I have noticed being said/written a lot is that the team just needs a winner to succeed. In a salary cap-driven sport, there are no sure things. The Lakers will slump post-Kobe. The NFL has a new champ seemingly every year. Counting on a consistent winner is not a good plan. Ask Geno Auriemma about that.)

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