All of the attention the NHL has earned during the offseason is nothing short of a public relations dream. Has it been good publicity? No. Not entirely.
But as the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity.
Take Jim Balsillie, who’s been no stranger to headlines this off-season. He’s spent the entire summer trying to convince Gary Bettman that he can turn the Phoenix Coyotes into a profitable franchise.
Aside from the legal drama, Wayne Gretzky made more headlines in Phoenix retiring from his head coaching position with the Coyotes.
The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) also got a bit of a face lift, firing Paul Kelly as executive director, with his assistant stepping down thereafter.
Then there’s Dany Heatley, who demand to be traded from the Ottawa Senators, refusing a trade to Edmonton only to end up with the San Jose Sharks.
In other trading news, two of the Montreal Canadiens’ best, Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev, got traded to Anaheim and Ottawa respectively. The Habs in turn picked up a big name in Mike Cammalleri. Other top players were also traded, Rob Neidermeyer went to New Jersey, and Jay Bouwmeester went to Calgary.
Additionally Tomas Kopecky and Marian Hossa went to the Chicago Black Hawks, who seemed to have been plagued with one too many negative headlines this summer.
It was rather embarrassing when eight of the team’s restricted free agents failed to receive their qualifying offers as a result of improper document filing.
Shortly after, the team fired their experienced general manger Dale Tallon he was replaced by Scotty Bowman’s son Stan.
It’s hard to say whether or not he was let go simply because of his inadequacies or if it had anything to do with Mr. Bowman’s status.
Then there’s the Patrick Kane beating up a cab driver incident, where apparently he and his cousin beat up the driver over an alleged $0.20 fare dispute. The 2007 number-one overall draft pick pled guilty to the charges and went on to apologize to the world, giving the team unprecedented media attention.
And who could forget the Toronto Maple Leafs?
After a dismal 2008-09 season the Leafs’ front office seems to be more than confident in their team this year.
New general manager Brian Burke has made competitive moves to bring together a team of gritty players.
With all of the news the league has developed off the ice, the season is shaping up to be an exciting one. And the attention of the public is nothing to shy away from.