NEW YORK—Sales figures from the NHL's headquarters indicate that hockey ticket sales are down almost 8 percent since the beginning of the year, independent analysts commissioned to survey the league's bookkeeping announced Monday. "We haven't yet found a reason that would explain the dip—all we have is total sales numbers—but it seems that the league sold almost 2,000 fewer tickets last week than it did in January," said accountant Harvey Sloman. "I wouldn't call it a disturbing trend, however, as the league seems to have cut its expenditures for travel, accommodations, payroll, and other expenses by almost 95 percent. Unorthodox business model, but it seems to be working for them." Commissioner Gary Bettman hastened to point out that their television audience had grown by almost 10 percent in the same time.