Bulls of the week
It’s little surprise that the defending Stanley Cup-champion Vegas Golden Knights are off to such a great start — 10-0-1 for 21 points at the top of the Pacific Division, Western Conference and the NHL overall. It’s also not a stretch to see the Boston Bruins at 9-0-1 and the New York Rangers at 8-2.
What is one of the hottest talking points in the league, however, is that the Rick Tocchet-coached Vancouver Canucks are in the top five in the NHL at 7-2-1 for 15 of a possible 20 points. It makes Rogers Arena a bull market this week, especially with the 7-1-1 Dallas Stars in town for a Hockey Night In Canada matchup Saturday.
Bragging rights don’t mean too much so early in the regular season, but don’t tell Canucks’ Francesco Aquilini or Stars’ Tom Gaglardi that; their ownership rivalry is one of the more intriguing hockey business storylines this weekend.
Meanwhile, the 7-1 Philadelphia Eagles continue to be the pacesetter in the NFL, just ahead of five clubs at 6-2 (the surprising Detroit Lions in the NFC and the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC.
The featured matchup this weekend pits the Dolphins against the Chiefs early Sunday at Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt, home of Eintracht Frankfurt of the Bundesliga. It’s the first American football in Frankfurt since NFL Europe shut down in 2007 and it’s the first of two consecutive games there this month. It’s also part of an increasingly aggressive approach to global marketing by the NFL, especially in Germany and the U.K.
Yet nobody had a better week in the business of sport than Corey Seager and the Texas Rangers, who took out the Arizona Diamondbacks in five games to win their first World Series in 62 years of franchise history. Seager joined the exclusive company of Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson as the only players to win two World Series MVP titles.
Bears of the week
Despite Seagers’ heroics, Series TV audiences were at an all-time low, but there was plenty of losing to go around this past week.
Sharp logo and jersey kit aside, the San Jose Sharks continue to look embarrassingly bad in the early going of this NHL season. After 10 games, they’ve lost every time, with only one of those going to overtime.
Not only are the Sharks holders of the worst record in the NHL at this point, they’re also looking like one of the weakest teams in league history.
Yet the Ottawa Senators and owner Michael Andlauer have arguably suffered even more pain during the transition from October into November. Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion was fired for his sloppiness on the Evgenii Dadonov trade last year but the loss of a first-round draft pick for violating disclosure protocols sure seemed out of whack. That’s particularly so given that the NHL itself failed to disclose this case and its potential outcome when Andlauer was doing his final due diligence on buying the Sens last spring. That’s clearly poor form for the NHL on such an important transaction.
It’s yet another case where the league’s own sloppiness, foot-dragging and lack of transparency are at the root cause of a questionable and badly handled administration of punishment.
Tom Mayenknecht is the host of The Sport Market on Sportsnet 650 on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Vancouver-based sport business commentator and principal in Emblematica Brand Builders provides a behind-the-scenes look at the sport business stories that matter most to fans. Follow Mayenknecht at: twitter.com/TheSportMarket.
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