All hail the Phoenix Coyotes.
OK, let me be a little more specific. All hail the ticketing department of Jobing.com Arena, which is experimenting with paperless ticket entry for hockey games and other events such as concerts.
Instead of the usual paper stubs, season ticket holders in Glendale (stop making that face) can be issued scannable cards (like a credit card), which are swiped by ushers. For fans worried about forgetting their tickets, they now have a plastic card that fits in their wallets nicely and apparently the practice can even save the ticket issuer money (OK, now you can make jokes about Phoenix). Season ticket holders who want to pass a game onto their friends and family simply forward the tickets to their name through their account online.
But here’s the oh-so-awesome part: Scalpers are freaking out. StubHub.com has already unleashed a slithery statement claiming these paperless tickets “limit consumer choice and restrict supply of tickets to events,” (as quoted in the Arizona Republic). Which is to say, only people who buy their tickets straight from the primary ticket seller, for the face value of the ducat instead of a gross markup, can get tickets.
Maybe that’s unfair. StubHub’s statement went on to say: “StubHub has successfully innovated around new technologies and welcomes new means of enabling fans to easily enter and attend events but not at the expense of a competitive marketplace and reduced fan choice.” Which, again, is to say, we’ve found ways to get tickets before, we’ll do it again.
Y’all know how I feel about the “secondary ticket market.” If paperless ticketing makes scalping harder and the hockey-going experience a little easier for all involved, then I can’t wait for it to become a 30-team affair.
I can only imagine the sheer terror and anxiety felt by opposing fans when their squad is trailing the Detroit Red Wings late in a game.
True, the boys from Motown got out of the gate slowly this year, but you can tell they're getting their sea legs back. In a statement 3-2 win over Washington on the weekend, Detroit executed its patented puck-possession game in style once they had taken the lead on a late Tomas Holmstrom power play goal.
The evil genius of Detroit's system: at the precise time you need to be charging towards the Wings net with the puck, you can’t get the disc back, because they have it and won't give it up. Patience is the antidote against the Red Wings, but most mortal beings don't have that kind of perseverance when they look up at the dwindling clock. This leads to turnovers, frustration, and eventually 'L's' in your morning newspaper.
Confident breakouts, poise with the puck, that safe first pass out of the defensive zone (made easier by blueline maestros such as Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski); these are all hallmarks of a team comprised of players who have been there and, in the process, done that.
Ironically, you can see that confidence in players who have left the team, too. Mikael Samuelsson, now plying his trade with the Vancouver Canucks, had a very nice shorthanded pick against Dallas Sunday night (he and Henrik Sedin were foiled on the ensuing 2-on-1 by Marty Turco, but nonetheless) and you could tell he knew exactly how much time and space he had around him – nothing was rushed.
Despite gamebreaker Alex Ovechkin being on the prowl, the Caps rarely threatened in the last three minutes of the match, a testament to the boys wearing the winged wheel.
Ryan Kennedy is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog will appear regularly throughout the off-season, his column - The Straight Edge - on Fridays, and his prospect feature - The Hot List - on Tuesdays.
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