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The cheapest Stadium Series tickets left; TJ Sochi T-Shirt

February 27, 2014 Leave a comment

With the puck about to drop on the final 2 games of the 2014 NHL Stadium Series, TiqIQ.com has passed along some interesting data on average secondary market ticket prices for the March 1st Blackhawks/Penguins game in Chicago at Soldier Field. If you were planning on attending, but haven’t bought a ticket yet, here’s what you should expect to have to shell out:

-Current average ticket price for Saturday’s game: $230.77 (down 18% this week and 67% since its peak on 9/23/13)

-Cheapest ticket currently listed: $91 (originally $139), Section 432

-Most expensive ticket currently listed: $845 (originally $325), Section 308

Soldier Field Stadium Series seating

All I know is, if I’m gonna cough up $825 to sit in a seat in the farthest section away from the ice in the stadium, my seat better come with an open mini bar, and the NHL Network installed into the back of the seat in front of me.

Comparatively, here are the average prices for the previous four Stadium Series games of 2014, as well as the upcoming Heritage Classic, ranked from most expensive to least:

-Yankee Stadium – Rangers/Devils – $244 ($89)

-Yankee Stadium – Rangers/Islanders – $206 ($43)

-Winter Classic – Red Wings/Maple Leafs – $156 ($57)

-Dodger Stadium – Kings/Ducks – $199 ($117)

-Heritage Classic – Canucks/Senators – $182 ($74)

For more on this data, visit TiqIQ.com, follow TiqIQ on Twitter, or contact TiqIQ’s Director of Marketing, Stefan Mersch, at stefan@tiqiq.com.

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Speaking of buying things hockey related, I know a t-shirt worthy catchphrase when I hear one, and thusly I put one on one. After TJ Oshie’s unfathomable shootout performance against Russia, “TJ Sochi” was one of the best nicknames to emerge from the Sochi 2014 Olympics, so here’s what I did with it:

TJ Sochi shirt

 Visit my Etsy store and make this shirt yours before everyone forgets about that fateful night in Sochi! It may even help to cover the American shame of losing the bronze medal game 5-0 and finishing fourth, after posting a video like this:

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Canada needs gold to regain No. 1 world ranking

February 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Hi folks! The following post was a guest blog I did for www.larry-fisher.com, and was posted there on February 13, 2014. Enjoy! ~SDC

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We call ourselves the best in the world at this sport but, the truth is, Canada is ranked two places outside of a bronze medal in the world. Fifth place, that is.

toewsAs Canada only rounds out the top five in IIHF World Rankings with 2,940 points, an Olympic gold medal would give them an additional 1,200, and vault them to the head of the class with 4,140. That point injection would leapfrog them well past Sweden (first – 3,105), Finland (second – 3,065), Russia (third – 3,040) and the Czech Republic (fourth – 2,975), and reassert Canada’s hockey dominance — not only in the Olympic tournament, but on the world stage.

Canada needs those 1,200 points because, quite frankly, they only send their national best to compete as an intact unit against the world every four years. The IIHF’s other major measuring stick in international competition and rankings is the World Championships. It’s a well-known fact that NHL content is limited every year at that tournament, with the showdown conflicting with Stanley Cup playoff scheduling every year. Many players who are invited to play in the World Championships after their NHL team either does not make the playoffs or is eliminated early from them still opt not to attend, opting to stay home to either heal injuries, or just because they know the tournament does not truly reflect any participating country’s full capacity. While that is entirely their prerogative, it also means Canada misses out on 1,200 points every year, instead of just quadrennially. When the 2014 World Championships are hosted by Belarus from May 9-25 – only three months removed from the Olympic tournament – you can bet that the rosters will again be compromised, and the results will be contentious at best. But though that affects all competing teams, it generally means Canada does not win, and thus plummets further down the ranking ladder.

One intriguing scenario would be for Canada to win both the Olympic and World Championship tournaments, and induce a 2,400-point swing on their standing status. An extraordinary possibility, albeit an unlikely one. The last time the Olympics were held and Canada won the men’s hockey tournament, the only player to reprise his role as a Canadian representative at the 2010 World Championships was Corey Perry. Canada did not medal that year. Further, they have not medaled at the tournament since 2009, nor won since 2007. They did, however, pull off a dual Olympic and World Championship once — 20 years ago in 1994.

Further, both tournaments are held on internationally-sized ice this year. While Canada’s winning percentage on North American-sized ice is impeccable, it would be generous to say they traditionally struggle on the bigger sheet. In fact, Canada has not won an Olympic gold medal in men’s ice hockey outside of North America since 1952, when they struck gold in Oslo, Norway.

While every NHL player transitioning from the smaller sheet is on the same learning curve when it comes to adjusting to the additional 15 feet of rink width, it will be the European club-based players from the KHL and Elite Leagues that will have the advantage over the their visiting teammates and opponents. The question will be whether that factor will be advantageous enough to those already familiar, or whether a week of practice prior to games is enough time to adjust and catch up.

Russia is not projected to win, but a team nearly full of KHL players used to big ice — and competing in their home country — may do better than people expect.

And further still, from Hockey Canada’s standpoint, it would be a crushing blow for Canada’s international rankings for the NHL not to send its players back to the Olympics in 2018. Their world seeding would suffer tremendously after likely dropping their best chance at a quadrennial point spike, while instead likely being represented by amateur players.

So considering that Canada needs to win in order to prove that: 1) 2010 was no fluke; 2) they’re better than fifth; and 3) they can indeed win on big ice, I am picking Canada to win gold.

If we really want to walk around calling ourselves the best hockey nation in the world, and if we want it to actually be true, we have to do more than just want to win — we have to win. That’s a game-changer.

Additionally, silver to Sweden and bronze to Russia. The Swedes are just too good to ignore, and Russia’s home-ice advantage and desire to win at home should not be overlooked.

Dave Cunning is a freelance writer from Kelowna, B.C., Canada, currently residing in Jeju, South Korea. Read his blog: https://davecunning.wordpress.com, follow him on Twitter @davecunning and listen to his podcast: http://xppsp.podbean.com.

XP PSP episodes 11 & 6

February 14, 2014 Leave a comment

Two new episodes of XP PSP to update you on:

In episode 11, Sachin and Harold return for panel discussion on the Superbowl, cast their Superbowl predictions, discuss how to choose a team to cheer for if you don’t have one in your hometown and whether geography or national pride should play into your decision; Harold says the CFL isn’t real football and discusses why he turned down an opportunity to play in the league; Sachin plays the race card concerning the Richard Sherman issue and rips Erin Andrews; and we all decide whether we’d let our kids play hockey or football knowing how what we now do about injuries, and how prevalent the risks of concussions and other injuries now are in sports.

Click here to listen to episode 11

In episode 6, I went 1-on-1 with 19 year NHL veteran Bernie Nicholls to talk all things LA Kings, their current slump and how he’d cure it, where he keeps his Stanley Cup ring, why he declines his invites to the New Jersey Devils’ alumni game every year, who should be allowed to touch the Stanley Cup, and a whole bunch more.

Click here to listen to episode 6

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Click here to download or listen to any past episode on iTunes

Feel free to email the show at xppsp@yahoo.com with any comments, guest requests, or discussion topic suggestions!

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