Small Ads Make big Money

Contrary to public opinion, the hockey world won't come to an end in 2021-22 when players skate out on the ice with small ads on their sweaters.

Contrary to public opinion, the hockey world won't come to an end in 2021-22 when Nathan MacKinnon, Mitch Marner, Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane skate out on the ice with small ads on their sweaters.

As in : There will be shrieking protests from the purists; and that should be expected. Also there'll be a heap of denunciations from the Six Team League Marching and Chowder Society. But all those naysayers will be ignored.

Of course there's that inevitable Purist Brigade which will denounce the NHL's new small-ad moneymaker just as it did when ads originally were placed on the sideboards, or "the wall," if you will.

As we all know -- especially agents -- hockey is a business. That means if a guy like Seth Jones gets paid about twice as much as he's really worth, the paymaster must have the moolah to sign Seth's checks.

One new, improved, creative way of doing that is with small ads on sweaters. It's necessary these days to relieve the revenue crunch brought on by the pandemic.

This, by the way, is not a Bettman, Inc. invention. 

The NBA does it. The WABA does it and even the educated MLS does it.

Advertisers line up to do it because they get lots of exposure when a Patrice Bergeron scores a goal and the cameras zero in on him -- and his distinguishable ad.

Wasn't it back in the 1920's when President Calvin Coolidge made his deathless comment that "The Business of America is Business."

Ole Cal meant it, too.

Only for our purposes it goes like this: The Business of the NHL is Business!

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THE JIVE: Predators general manager David Poile has kept his job since Nashville entered the NHL. And for good reason; Dauntless Dave has what we in Brooklyn used to call "a good head on his shoulders." One might rightly also say that Prince Poile also is the man chiefly responsible for Music City becoming a successful hockey metropolis.

To reach such an arresting height, The David has had to surmount many obstacles as he has done when it comes to Preds goaltending. While, a few years ago it was prudent to think that Pekka Rinne could play until the cows came home. Well, the cows did come home and Rinne is retired.

Poile knew that the only hockey person who goes on forever is himself so the Preds boss had to find a future replacement. That happened to be the pride of Forssa, Finland, Juuse Saros. After the Arizona series, two years ago, brought an end to Rinne's reign as Nashville's No. 1 netminder, Saros stepped up and, after a shaky start, earned the right to be the Preds starter.

His reward is a $20 million contract extension which some critics believe will give Juuse the heebie-jeebies,. I not only doubt it, I'm convinced that this fine Finn will prove himself as capable as the Redoubtable Rinne. Which is another way of saying that Saros will prove a lot while making a lot of moolah in the process.


THE JIVE: I can't imagine any National Hockey League team being so deeply buried in a preseason article than Buffalo's beleaguered franchise.

The verbal undertaker in this case is Adam Proteau, writing in The Hockey News. Take your pick, Audacious Adam is either exquisitely honest or deserves a foul for kicking a team when it's subterannean.

Proteau's point is that the Sabres are soooooo bad that, well, not even ten Jack Eichels could save them. But, then again that would mean ten guys with sore necks who can't play anyway.

The Sabres' number one, overall, draft pick, Owen Power, won't prove to be a catalyst since he's taking his power back to the University of Michigan; so there goes a potential Calder Trophy candidate back to Ann Arbor.

Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you that Buffalo is going to make the playoffs. But what I will tell you is that if you can find a bookie, you'll get immense odds if you bet that they will. Hey, that could happen if goalie Craig Anderson becomes a latter-day Johnny Bower; or, for that matter, a latter-day Terry Sawchuk!


THE JIVE: At age 44, Zdeno Chara plays defense as if he's 34; which ain't bad any way you look at it. As a matter of fact, St.Louis g.m. Doug Armstrong is looking at The Big Z for his blue line corps. At least that's the word from The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford.

Back in his native Slovakia, Chara is singing a chorus of "I'm Bidin' My Time -- That's The Kind of Guy I'm." in between counting his kronas. His agent, Matt Keator, says that Z is working out and that can mean only one thing. He'll return to the Bigs; and very likely the Blues.