The New Jersey Devils Sign Dainus Zubrus

The New Jersey Devils had big news today: the team agreed to terms with Dainus Zubrus on a new contract. The news was broken by and the deal according to their report, is a 3 year deal worth $3 million per year.

On a personal level, I am very excited about this move because Zubrus is a fan favorite on the Devils roster. I really enjoy watching him play, and I am glad he did not leave via free agency. He has played for 6 years for the Devils and his original deal paid him at a rate of $3.4 million per year (

A Pay Cut – no big deal

The media has spun the fact that Zubrus took a pay cut today, but he had played overseas for years before joining the Devils. So he is now 35 years old and coming off a bad season in 2013. He had 2 goals and 9 total points in 22 games in 2013 ( and he also had wrist surgery last season, which I think contributed to the poor performance. A player like Zubrus gets a lot of velocity on his shot and the torque on his passes from his wrists. When that area is injured, then a player can have difficulty adjusting their game.

However, I think Zubrus is going to bounce back and have a very solid year for the Devils in 2013-14. I think he is capable of producing goals for this offensively starved team. I think he wanted to come back to the Devils, and he also knew that other teams probably would not offer him more than a 1 year deal coming off that poor season in 2013. He has been loyal to the Devils, and they showed faith in him by giving him a 3 year deal at 35 years old.

I also do not think it is a big deal that he took a pay cut, he is also thinking about the entire team concept. The Devils have to negotiate with several free agents this offseason including Patrick Elias and David Clarkson.

The NBC article I read also mentioned that the timing on the Zubrus deal was deliberate to help persuade David Clarkson that the Devils were willing to bring back veteran players to make a serious playoff run. I also think the timing was deliberate with the Draft approaching this weekend, the Devils wanted to make sure that they had one of their top forwards signed in case they do not get the player they want in the first round.

Impact on the Draft

I still think that the Devils can obtain a top offensive prospect in the Draft, but this pick is a big one for the organization because the Devils do not have a 1st round pick next year. They are forfeiting their first round selection next year as part of the penalty for the Ilya Kovalchuk contract, where the NHL charged the Devils with attempting to circumvent the salary cap.

The signing of Zubrus I think takes the pressure off the Devils front office of having to get an “NHL ready” player in the first round. They could take a guy like Bo Horvat, who is a center that needs more minor league preparation time before making the jump to the NHL.

Fan Favorite – Zubrus

The Devils fan base is loyal to their players, especially guys who came into the league with the team. Zubrus is one of those guys who endeared himself to Devils fans because he is a grinder, he gets in there as a forward and is not afraid to do the dirty work. He can make hits along the boards, and he forechecks well. He is a hard nosed, tough player and Devils fans love that because it embodies New Jersey: strong, tough, resilient, and hard working people.

That is why myself and the many fans in the Devils Army are so happy today. I am thrilled to be able to watch Dainus Zubrus continue his Devils career and I wish him all the success in the world in his new contract.


The NHL in Seattle – the Future of the Coyotes Franchise

I have been reading reports all over the internet sports news sites this week regarding the future of the Phoenix Coyotes franchise. In order to fill in any gaps for readers who are not familiar with the saga of the hockey team in Phoenix let me summarize:

  • The NHL took over ownership of the Coyotes in 2009 when the ownership group of the team basically went bankrupt. The league took over the franchise which essentially was on the verge of collapsing into insolvency.
  • The NHL has poured millions of dollars into keeping the team in the desert and is still in financial ownership of the team today
  • The NHL has tried with obviously no success to sell the team to a number of investors, most of them from outside Phoenix who stipulated that they would keep the team in Phoenix as a contingency of the sale.
  • Those deals have all fallen through because the franchise is in such bad financial shape that in order for the operation of the Coyotes from a business perspective to have a chance at “breaking even” the potential future owners need a favorable lease on the arena in Glendale, AZ known as the Arena.
  • The Arena deal essentially consists of the City of Glendale (which owns the arena and used tax money to construct it) to make payments to the future owners of the Coyotes for “arena operational costs”. So the owners of the Coyotes would run all the day to day operations of the arena and manage the upkeep on the arena using payments from the City of Glendale.
  • The NHL had an offer back a couple of years ago from an investment group to buy the team and relocate it to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The NHL offices blocked the move because they wanted to keep the team in Phoenix.
  • The NHL has now made it clear that it no longer can afford to dump money into the Coyotes and that they must sell the team as soon as possible. The NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has stated that if a deal cannot be reached they would even consider the highly unusual step of suspending the operations of the team and putting the Coyotes “on hiatus” for the upcoming NHL season.
  • The current group interested in buying the team has a deal to keep the team in Phoenix for 4 years, if at the end of that time period the team is still losing money, then the group is allowed to relocate the team or to sell the team to a group which will relocate the team to another city.
  • This current potential ownership group has asked the City of Glendale for $15 million per year to operate the Glendale Arena. The City Council has until next Friday, June 28th to decide whether those terms are agreeable.


The Current Issue in Glendale


The current issue in Glendale, according to media reports, is that the city is broke. Now, they have to decide whether they can afford to pay the new ownership of the Coyotes the money to operate the arena.


In the event that they decide that they cannot afford to pay the Coyotes group then they risk losing the main tenant of the arena: the hockey team. The arena was built in Glendale right across the street from where the Arizona Cardinals NFL team plays football.


The arena in downtown Phoenix, the US Airways Center, which is home to the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, had an odd configuration for ice hockey, and the fans disliked it because the sight lines were terrible.


The arena in Glendale was built specifically for hockey and for the Coyotes to call their home. However, the distance from the downtown center of Phoenix to Glendale made for a brutal trip with traffic patterns in the now bustling and ever expanding Phoenix metro area. So it took fans over an hour in traffic to go a short distance and that turned many people off from going to the games in Glendale.


The Coyotes have one of the worst attendance figures in the league. That unfortunate statistic puts greater emphasis on the arena deal than in other sports franchise purchases because the compensation from the city (in this case from Glendale) is needed to offset the loss in attendance revenues.


The Coyotes are a good solid playoff caliber team which went deep into the playoffs in 2012 and they still did not sell out the arena in Glendale for those playoff games. The rest of the NHL teams’ average very high in person attendance figures with arenas averaging about 90% of capacity for the season.


It has been widely reported that the City of Glendale has some reservations about the potential new ownership group. In particular, the fact that they put down a very low percentage of the actual purchase price to buy the team from the NHL, and are borrowing the rest of the money involved in the transaction. The City Council may think the $15 million per year is too steep a price, and they may risk losing the Coyotes and move forward with a different arena management company to hold other events at the arena.


The Backup Plan – Seattle


Earlier this week, according to CBS who broke the story, the NHL league offices leaked the backup plan in case the Glendale City Council does not agree to the terms of the arena management deal and lease.


This same report states that the NHL has been in constant back channel communications with an ownership group that is prepared to pay $220 million for the Coyotes to relocate them to Seattle in time for the upcoming 2013-14 season (  The Mayor of Seattle also confirmed having a conversation with the NHL Commissioner about this relocation of the Coyotes.


Seattle is an intriguing market for hockey. In fact this story gained traction when the Vancouver Canucks inquired about relocating their minor league affiliate to Seattle. The Canucks officials were told that the Key Arena in Seattle was already reserved and was not available for the duration of the hockey season.


That response prompted media inquiries into what the Key Arena was going to be used for during that time. The Key Arena, as most sports fans know, is a very small venue by today’s professional sports standards. The lack of the city to commit to a new arena was the chief reason that the Supersonics NBA team moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City in 2008.


The issue with Key Arena for ice hockey is that the configuration is going to be very odd, and will force some sections of the lower level to be closed off to spectators. The arena in that layout will seat only 10,000 fans, which will be the smallest building in the league.


The league sources who leaked the story to CBS state that the discussions between Seattle and the NHL office are for the team to be relocated immediately if the Glendale council votes down the arena management deal. The team would play in Key Arena for 3 seasons before moving into a new arena.


Now, other people on the sports blogs in Seattle, which I read recently, feel that the NHL is using Seattle and leaked the story to apply pressure to Glendale to approve the deal for the Coyotes to stay in Phoenix because the NHL has spent millions of dollars trying to keep the team in the desert. That could be true, but I think the NHL realizes it is not tenable to continue to own and fund a team which inherently loses money and is ready to “cut bait” on Phoenix.


The new arena is of course the project that the other investment group in Seattle has spearheaded to get an NBA team back in the city to be the second version of the Supersonics. They almost had a deal to purchase the Sacramento Kings but the deal fell apart and the team remained in Northern California. The NBA has said it would consider expansion to Seattle once the new TV contracts are negotiated and they have a better idea of the revenue structure moving forward.


Seattle and the NHL a good potential fit


I think that the move to Seattle would be a good fit for the NHL, it is a big media market they are not yet in, and the people there love sports. The weather there favors indoor activities, so that is a good fit. The team also would have an immediate regional rival with the Vancouver Canucks, which would be great for the NHL.


In the case of the Phoenix Coyotes, if the City of Glendale approves the arena deal and the sale moves forward and they remain in the desert, I think the NHL should consider Seattle as an expansion destination in the near future.  The NHL is in need of markets in the West, as I have written about in the past with realignment next year and the unequal balance of the two conferences.


In the end, the only component of this messy situation that has any clarity is that the NHL is going to sell the Coyotes franchise to someone in the next two weeks. It will either remain in Phoenix or be relocating to Seattle, either way it will be resolved, and hockey fans will have to stay tuned to see how this unbelievable saga finally concludes.

Poetry Anthologies: A Guide to Young & New Writers

The process of compiling poetry collections, or anthologies, as they are known in the writing world, can be an overwhelming task for a young or new writer. I know the challenges that accompany this task because I have arranged several poetry anthologies over the course of the past 15 years. This article will serve as a guide to the young and new writers out there in order to help overcome the initial hurdles in compiling an interesting and comprehensive poetry anthology.


The first steps of developing an anthology, the importance of theme selection, common mistakes, and proper format will all be detailed in this guide for young and new writers. The most common questions I had during the process will be answered and I will provide some other tips as well.


Starting Out


The initial steps for young or new writers in order to develop a cohesive anthology to give as a gift to your parents or another relative is to make sure you have enough of your own original material. I have very frequently seen anthologies put together that have a few original poems and then are supplemented with work from the classic poets.


This type of an approach has a few problems: it can seem too thin in content, it can read like a reprint of a classic poetry book, and it can disrupt the continuity and flow of the whole collection. I also must add, even though it may seem obvious, that if you are developing an anthology that does not entirely consist of your own original content, then you must take all the proper steps to credit the original poet.


If you plan to submit a collection of poetry for publication, I suggest that it should not contain any unoriginal work, such as quoting an entire poem by Walt Whitman. It will most likely get rejected, even if you take the appropriate steps to cite the source material. I also want to touch on excerpts, if you take short pieces or excerpts of a poem; that in some collections is permissible.


However, you must obtain the proper permissions or citations to use the material. The most frequent use of the excerpt is to introduce a completely original work of your own poetry. So please keep all that in mind as you begin the process of gathering a collection of poetry together. I personally never liked excerpting from other work, even the classics; I prefer to use my own material.


Theme Selection – A critical step


The selection of the theme for your poetry anthology is critical. The theme is central to how most poets will select the poems they want included in the anthology. The theme also could serve as the inspiration for completely new works of poetry that you develop specifically for that collection.


In my personal experience, I have done both, I have developed anthologies based on all new material and I have also compiled anthologies with some new and some older poems that fit the theme of the collection. That is very important though, any older poems you use must fit the theme of the anthology.


The theme of the anthology also will set the selection process for the title of the entire anthology. I have come up with some creative titles in the past, and some other titles which looking back, could have been stronger. The title really sets the tone for the anthology, and I usually also write a poem within the collection that is based on the main title of the collection.


Some common themes are: nature, love, seasons (winter, summer), family, sports, school, or hobbies. I have dabbled with a few of these common theme categories in my experience. The theme of love is a good one if you are writing the anthology as a gift for a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or significant other.


The nature theme is also one where you have many different directions you can take the collection, so that can be liberating. However, it must have some sort of direction to be successful and to have strong continuity.


Proper Format


The proper format for the anthology is to have the following elements present:

Title, introduction, main poems, and epilogue


Now, it is also permissible after the main poems to include either a work of prose or a short story of about 300 to 500 words, and then finish with the epilogue.

The introduction, as obvious as it might sound, must present the anthology and explain the title and theme selection. In my experience, I explain the background behind my selection of the title, and then I usually provide an explanation of the poems and why they were selected.


The main poetry section must have order, flow, and continuity. In my experience I usually start with a very short but intense poem and then use the longer poems such as sonnets or long rhyming verse poems in the middle of the anthology.


I often will break up the intensity by inserting some funny poems or lighter poems that tie in with the theme of the collection. Then, I usually save the poem I think best sums up the thought process behind the anthology for the end.


I have also on many occasions used a short story in the anthology. I have given it as a gift to my wife or relative, and in those cases I feel like the short story can explain the entire idea behind an anthology without the constraints of the poetic form used. It is totally optional though, and does not work well for other writers I know.


Common Mistakes


Some common mistakes in creating a poetry anthology are: continuity lapses, drift from theme, poor overall flow, and an ending that lacks punch or emotion.


The continuity is very important: think of the poems all working together to tell a story. In a story you have a beginning, middle, and end. The continuity of the anthology is the same concept, the poems all need to build toward the end of the collection where the ideas presented will be resolved.


The drift from the theme is a very common mistake in young or new writers in putting together an anthology. Once a commitment to a theme is made, then the creative process must flow from that theme. The poems must all relate to that theme in some capacity. I have read anthologies that tie the theme back to very abstract concepts, but it still relates to the theme.


In the beginning, new writers can drift from the theme and include some other poems they have done which they feel are better than the work they can put in the collection. Please resist the urge to do that and stick with the theme.


Poor flow is another common mistake of a young or new writer in developing poetry collections. This happens for much of the same way the drift from theme occurs. The poor flow is usually caused by a writer not having enough original work to develop a well rounded anthology. I suggest creating all new material if you must, but the flow of the anthology is very important to the reader, and if you are attempting to publish, it is critical.


The final mistake that is very prevalent in the creation of poetry anthologies is an ending that lacks “punch” or emotion. I know this full well because I have made this mistake in an early anthology that was a gift for my wife.


When I was recently pouring through my old material looking for some ideas, I found the notes, the outline, and the storyboard for the collection. I saw that my ending was really flat compared to the rest of the anthology.


The ending poem or if you end on a work of short prose or a short story type of “flash fiction” piece, it must create emotion for the reader or provide what I call “punch”. The lack of a strong ending will leave the reader wanting more, or leave the reader feeling flat, which is not the goal of any good poet. Any good poet or writer wants the reader to be blown away, wants to leave the reader inspired. The rest of my early anthology to my wife was my own work and it was pretty strong and emotionally charged, but the end was flat, and that is what I remember about that piece of work.


Know Your Audience


In summing up the article, it is important to know your audience. I wrote earlier that if you are developing an anthology of poetry to send to a publisher, you must research that publisher. If you are writing it for a friend or relative, know their preferences for how they comprehend information.


It is important to have a very strong and well written, yet concise introduction. That will set the tone for the rest of the anthology, and if it is not done well, it could be all the editor will read before discarding your work.


The sequence of the poems must also be correct, that is crucial to the success of developing an anthology. I mentioned earlier if the sequence or the flow is off balance then the reader will know, and the anthology will not be as well received as you would have intended it to be initially.


Finally, a good solid epilogue is a nice way to tie everything together. I have used the epilogue and have seen it done by other poets where they explain where their lives are now in contrast to when they wrote the collection. That may be relevant material to the reader to understand the full creative picture. The epilogue can also be used to reinforce the overall theme of the collection and to tie together any loose ends that may be left.


I wish all the young and new writers and poets out there the best of luck as you collectively tackle the task of assembling an anthology. It is my sincere hope that this article will guide you through the process to a successful finished product.





My Recently Published Articles

I was speaking with some people recently who have been checking my website and this blog for samples of my work, and it brought about a conversation about my other published writing. The synopsis of those conversations being that instead of having to go to multiple websites to find my other published articles it should be a more streamlined process.

So I came up with an idea: rather than cut and paste all of those articles into multiple posts on this blog site, or copy and paste a few links to the material at one time and feature them on my website at I have opted to paste the links into this post.

Therefore it is one post on this blog, which is linked to my website and it provides a “one stop shopping” approach to providing the links to some of my other published work. The one issue with it is that a lot of this writing does not mesh with the themes of this blog, most of it is news stories on Hurricane Sandy and other local or national events. However, it is a part of who I am and what I have done and I am proud of the work ; as I wrote when I started this blog that I had to choose several themes because no single theme defines who I am. So this post is being executed with that thought process supporting it.

I will provide the link to the content below with a brief synopsis of what the article pertains to:

The above link is to a story I wrote for Yahoo! regarding the recent visit of Prince Harry to the NJ Shore to see the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. I then tied the event to a memory I had of meeting a British royal family member, Prince Andrew, 15 years ago.

The above link is a reflection on meeting the late Senator Frank Lautenberg

The link above is to an article I did for Yahoo! on the horrible effects mold can cause in flooded homes or work places.

A story I did for Yahoo! on the boardwalk rebuilding process in NJ after Hurricane Sandy

The conclusion of that story on the boardwalks

Patch article on AP records intrusion

The above article is to a Patch story on clean up Post- storm Sandy

The above article is on a U2 concert I attended in New York City

The above link will take you to an article on the issues of getting war veterans a VA mortgage approved.

That is enough for now, I hope you enjoy all of this work and it raises your awareness to the issues of the day. Thank you for reading!


Copyright 2013 – Frank J. Maduri – all rights reserved no reprinting or redistribution without written consent of the author.