Lifestyle

Winners & Losers: Who's up, who's down

The NHL, Coke, chicken wings and more.

?The NHL
Sports

If recent weeks were a hockey game, the NHL’s image would have taken a few head shots to its visorless face. In a season where hits to players’ heads and concussions have garnered almost weekly headlines, the issue reached a tipping point when Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara wasn’t suspended for a hit that put the Montreal Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty in hospital with a fractured vertebra and severe concussion. The incident renewed public calls for league action on player safety by several team owners, league sponsors and star players, such as Sidney Crosby, himself out since Jan. 5 due to concussion. General managers emerged from meetings in Florida with professed concern but little else of substance. Commissioner Gary Bettman did institute a new in-game concussion-evaluation protocol for players who get their bell rung, largely met by teams with more skepticism than enthusiasm. There’s also the small matter of Arizona’s Goldwater Institute threatening the Phoenix Coyotes sale with court proceedings and (to the delight of Winnipeggers everywhere) spiralling the NHL’s long-fought battle to keep the team in the desert out of control. Bring on the playoffs.

?Greengate Power
Energy

The Calgary-based company received approval to build what will ultimately be Canada’s largest wind farm. Located southeast of Calgary, the wind project will have a generating capacity of 300 megawatts when completed in 2013.

?Sherry Cooper
Awards

BMO executive vice-president and noted economist Sherry Cooper was recognized for her work in the financial industry with a YWCA Woman of Distinction award for corporate leadership.

?Uranium
Energy

With the spot price of uranium tumbling in the wake of the crisis at Japan’s nuclear plants, most uranium companies are getting pummelled in the markets. A number of uranium mining interests trying to raise financing — among them, Toronto-based companies Energy Fuels and Macusani Yellowcake — now face a daunting task.

?Microsoft
Technology

Microsoft’s motion-sensing controller for its Xbox 360 gaming system has become the fastest-selling consumer electronics device in history. With more than 10 million units sold since its debut in November, Kinect has outstripped Nintendo’s Wii gaming system, and far surpassed Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

?Kirin Brewery
Alcohol

The Japanese brewing giant topped Fortune‘s list of least-admired companies. The magazine awarded Kirin rock-bottom scores in innovation, management, use of assets, social responsibility, financial soundness, long-term investment, product quality and global competitiveness. Fellow brewers Carlsberg, Asahi and Heineken were similarly esteemed.

?Renault
Automakers

The French government, which owns 15% of Renault, fired three executives in January after wrongly concluding they were leaking electric car secrets to foreign interests. The affair strained French relations with China, which was linked to the case before Paris prosecutors discovered the allegations were unfounded. Renault has issued an apology, cancelled management bonuses and offered to reinstate and compensate the falsely accused, who are suing the company.

?Coke
Food & Beverage

Diet Coke has ousted Pepsi as the second-most-popular soft drink in the United States, delivering a victory in the seemingly never-ending cola wars to the Coca-Cola Co., which now holds the top two spots.

?Chicken wings
Food

Spare a thought for the real victims of a potential National Football League work stoppage: producers of chicken wings. “It would kill wings,” Joe Sanderson, the head of Sanderson Farms Inc., declared at a recent global food and agriculture summit. The wing industry is already struggling with price pressures due to oversupply.

?Plane makers
Transportation

Plane makers are getting a lift from rising oil prices, as airlines scramble to cut costs with more fuel-efficient aircrafts. During a single week in March, aircraft orders across three continents topped out at $31 billion, as major airlines inked deals with aircraft manufacturing giants Boeing and Airbus.

?Shale producers
Energy

The Quebec government put the brakes on its nascent shale gas industry, sending companies reeling. A provincial committee recommended development and exploration stop until a thorough environmental assessment is completed. Shares of shale gas firms in the province fell between 16% and 23% on the news.

?AT&T
Telecom

AT&T agreed to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion, putting the company in position to control 43% of the American wireless market with a combined customer base of about 130 million. Pending regulatory approval, the new AT&T will be the largest carrier in the U.S., and many see the move improving the company’s network reliability and control on pricing.

?NASA
Aerospace

The agency’s Taurus XL rocket failed to properly separate three minutes after its launch from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on March 4. Consequently its cargo, the Glory satellite that was to study the impact of aerosol particles and solar activity on global climate change, failed to reach orbit and instead plunged into the southern Pacific Ocean, making the $424-million mission a complete write-off.

?Hudson’s Bay Co.
Retail

HBC is basking in the fashion spotlight upon snagging exclusive franchise rights to bring trendy U.K. clothier Topshop to Canada. The agreement, which allows HBC to open both stand-alone shops and shops within its Bay stores, was announced after months of speculation. The first location is slated to open in Toronto this fall.