Garrison and Campbell

How the Panthers make money despite, er, losing money

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If you’ve ever wondered why anyone would want to own a money-losing NHL team in South Florida, Panthers president Michael Yormark puts it this way:

“I often tell people, we’re in the entertainment business and we happen to own a hockey team. For us, it’s just about providing as much entertainment as we possibly can for our community.”

The “we” Yormark refers to is actually the Panthers’ parent company Sunrise Sports & Entertainment (SSE), which owns both the NHL club as well as an entity called Arena Operating Company (AOC), which as you may have guessed, operates the Sunrise arena in which the Panthers play, the BB&T Center.

The Panthers, as a standalone NHL franchise, aren’t profitable, according to estimates.

But AOC is.

Without the Panthers, however, there wouldn’t be an AOC. That’s because, back in the ‘90s, Broward County built the arena to lure the NHL franchise out of Miami. As part of the deal, the team’s ownership company was granted a 30-year license to operate the arena.

The hockey team, in other words, was the foot in the door.

“We’ve got a niche in the marketplace with our hockey team and a very loyal fanbase,” Yormark tells Forbes, “but our value proposition is all about the entertainment. It’s 170-200 events a year, almost two million people in this building on an annual basis, and we have been successful.”

This Friday, for example, the BB&T Center will host Beatdown 2012, a boxing competition with musical performances by Flo Rida, Fabolous, Waka Flocka, DMX, Travis Porter and Fat Joe. (Tickets are still available!)

Without the Panthers, there’s no rent from Beatdown 2012.

SSE also recently partnered with a Las Vegas gaming company in an attempt to build a casino on land around the arena.

“We are beginning to make a shift into the real estate business with this new venture,” said Yormark.

Without the Panthers, there’s no real estate business.

All of which is surely frustrating for the players, who are being asked to accept a smaller share of hockey-related revenues to offset owners’ losses that are, in some cases, being made up in other areas.

*****The Cult of Hockey and Defending Big D also wrote extensively on this.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.