Devils goalie Martin Brodeur knows the importance of casual hockey fans to markets like New Jersey, and he’s worried that the lockout will drive that demographic away.
“We brought a lot of attention to our sport and to our league in this area (during last year’s playoffs),” Brodeur told ESPN.com Monday. “But slowly you just see how people start asking me less about hockey around here. You have to worry about that a little bit. I know in Canada that’s not the case, but in smaller markets, you have to be concerned. I’m not talking about the hard-core hockey fans, but the general sports fans, those on the bubble who come to some hockey games. Those are the fans that help us fill things out on a Tuesday night. That’s who we might lose.”
The Devils finished 24th in NHL attendance in 2011-12, averaging a modest 15,396 per game at the Prudential Center.
The team’s run to the Stanley Cup finals – its first foray past the second round since 2003 – should’ve meant more fans in the seats this season, but according to Brodeur, the lockout will cause many fans to abandon hockey for other forms of entertainment.
In a sadly ironic twist, both the NHL and NHLPA are trying to help small markets; they just have different ideas on how to do it. The league wants to cut the share of revenue going towards the players; the players want more revenue sharing between rich and poor franchises.
Meanwhile, the lockout is only hurting that shared goal.
Ken Appleby never got drafted, but his efforts during the New Jersey Devils’ training camp have earned him an entry-level contract, per the Bergen Record.
Although no team saw it fit to take him before the preseason, the 20-year-old is coming off of a very strong season. He had a 2.08 GAA and .924 save percentage in 50 games with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He went on to lead them to a Memorial Cup championship and earned the the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s top goalie.
Appleby is the fifth goaltender the Devils have under contract after Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, and Yann Danis. He’ll likely begin the season in the ECHL.
Alexandre Goulet and Jacob Sweeney also participated in the Devils’ training camp on an amateur tryout basis, but both of them have been released.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Some of the NHL’s top players discuss Connor McDavid‘s potential and the hype surrounding him. (Toronto Sun)
While we’re on the subject, Wayne Gretzky recalls what it was like for him going into the NHL and what’s in store for McDavid. (Edmonton Sun)
Sam Gagner is about to start a key season in his career. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
It’s time for the Washington Capitals to make some tough calls, particularly when it comes to Derek Roy. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
With Raffi Torres hearing scheduled for today, here’s a look back at his suspension history. (San Jose Mercury News)
The Chicago Blackhawks have gotten their championship rings. (NHL.com)