Ultimate Standings: High costs push Chicago Blackhawks out of top 10

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Chicago Blackhawks

Overall: 17
Title track: 1
Ownership: 5
Coaching: 4
Players: 2
Fan relations: 5
Affordability: 102
Stadium experience: 12
Bang for the buck: 64
Change from last year: -7

Three Stanley Cups in six years have been good for the hearts and minds of Chicago Blackhawks fans but not for their wallets. While the Blackhawks rank near the top in every category related to on-ice performance, the franchise dropped outside the overall top 10 this year because of rising costs to attend games at the United Center.

What's good

The Blackhawks are doing nearly everything right on the ice. They rank first in title track, second in players, fourth in coaching and fifth in ownership. They're the only franchise in all of sports to rank in the top five in all four categories (the San Antonio Spurs had three top-five rankings). The Blackhawks' success has been due to a consistent core group. For seven players on this year's team, headlined by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, this year's title was the third Stanley Cup won together. GM Stan Bowman has tried to emulate what he saw growing up with the Detroit Red Wings, a team his father, Scotty Bowman, coached. "The same elements that made [Detroit] good, I wanted to try to bring to the Blackhawks -- which is stability," Bowman said during last season's playoffs. "They've had a lot of stability in their ownership down to management down to coaches, and then they found players and they've sort of perfected that mentoring system there."

What's bad

Winning in a major market does often come with a costly ticket as Blackhawks' fans have discovered in recent years (affordability, 102). During the 2010-11 season, the Blackhawks' average ticket was $55.39, just the 13th-most expensive in the NHL, according to statistics from Team Marketing Report. As of last season, the average cost is up to $78.80, fifth highest -- and up 6 percent since the year before. With ticket prices increasing and the Blackhawks already charging at the high end for concessions and parking (beer, soda, hot dogs and parking are all above the league average), the Blackhawks were one of just five teams with an average cost of game above $110 per person.

What's new

Fans are still filling the United Center -- the Blackhawks have had 329 consecutive sellouts -- but they're not exactly pleased with the prices. While stadium experience and fan relations still receive high marks, the Blackhawks dropped 17 spots in affordability. They also fell 26 spots in bang for the buck to 64th overall. Those two drops cost the Blackhawks their top-10 overall position. But if they can keep up their NHL-high scores in player likability, commitment to winning, commitment to their community and leadership from the coach, they won't be falling much lower any time soon.

Next: Columbus Blue Jackets | Full rankings