Dallas Stars fan

Stars, Jackets among major-league teams with worst attendance drops


Of the 10 major-league teams that saw the largest drop in attendance over the last 10 years, two of them were from the NHL, according to analysis by 24/7 Wall St.

The Dallas Stars (-23.2%) and Columbus Blue Jackets (-19.2%) rank fifth and 10th, respectively, in the rankings.

The Seattle Mariners (-51.4%) top the list, followed by three other MLB teams (Cleveland, Houston, and Arizona).

Not surprisingly, the common theme among all teams is losing.* The Stars have missed the playoffs the last four seasons, while the Blue Jackets have made the postseason just once since coming into the league in 2000.

Obviously, not every city is willing to support a perennial loser like Toronto supports the Maple Leafs.

That said, a team like Dallas, which has at least been competitive the past couple of seasons and made it all the way to the conference finals in 2008, might not have suffered such a precipitous drop in attendance in a more traditional NHL market.

* The Mariners, Astros and Diamondbacks also moved into new stadiums in the last 15 years, and a new stadium is only a novelty for so long.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.