Kukla's Korner

A Lot Of Us Feel Like Gary In The Versus/Directv Dispute

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from pucksandbooks of On Frozen Blog,

Gary, like a lot of other hockey fans, has made a lot of furious phone calls to DirecTV about the situation, but the impasse remains. It’s a brutal one, from my vantage, because of DirecTV’s seemingly incongruous negotiating position. On the one hand, the provider has quite publicly alleged that Versus is little more than an elaborate infomercial outlet, the provider of esoteric outdoor broadcast coverage like game hunting and such. Simultaneously, however, DirecTV is attempting to bundle Versus in a costlier sports package for all of its subscribers.

No doubt DirecTV this offseason acknowledged the NHL’s increased television popularity—fueled to no small degree by the wide array of the league’s likable young guns—and is seeking to profit from the enthusiasm surge. From its vantage Versus understandably doesn’t want a dramatic alteration in the way it is offered by providers, as specialty bundling packages as opposed to basic plan inclusion necessarily decrease overall viewership numbers. Until the impasse is resolved, millions of hockey fans across the country are denied access to the league’s national network provider. 

Gary noted that changing providers, in addition to being a general nuissance, seems impractical for a service he’s otherwise pleased with, and particularly when only about a half dozen Caps’ regular season games are broadcast on Versus. Potentially more, however, could run there in the postseason.


Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: directv

On The Other Side Of The Glass

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Justin Bourne at The Hockey News,

It’s a weird feeling walking into a hockey rink these days.

It’s like walking into your old apartment and remembering the person you used to be.

There’s where we had some laughs. There’s where I felt some pain. There’s where I made decisions that affected my life.

I went to the Coyotes-Kings exhibition game, the first game I’d been to since a puck hit my jaw in December – a puck that forced my teeth wired shut for almost seven weeks, resigned me to the couch for months, and incidentally launched my writing career.

But being at this game hurts in a different way. For the first time I’m watching a hockey season start without me, with uncertainty, excitement and potential buzzing throughout the rink like a skate sharpener. And just then, the questions started creeping up on me: am I really on this side of the glass?

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

A Test For Kane

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,

Patrick Kane has been getting time on the penalty-killing unit. Yes, the most offensively magical Blackhawk is hopping over the boards on the most thankless unit.

What gives?

Here’s what gives: This is Kane’s career at a crossroads.

I don’t care if it’s early in the professional life for the kid who’s still not old enough to drink (even if he’s old enough to allegedly beat up a senior cabbie). And I don’t care if Hawks coach Joel Quenneville is underplaying the move by saying it’s just a “way of getting him a little bit more ice time in the course of games.’’ This is a career-defining opportunity that Kane needs to master. Adult skate, kid.

At least, it has been that way with players Kane grew up watching, if not idolizing: Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman, Mike Modano and Joe Sakic. The greatest offensive forces took shifts on the most defensive unit.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: patrick+kane

Call Me Now

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Want to talk hockey?  Check out my NHL.com blog today.

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHL Media, Hockey Bloggers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Meaning Of The ‘C’

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,

The NHL alphabet used to begin with the letter C.

There was no role on a team as sacrosanct as captain. There was no responsibility, on the ice and off, that carried so much honor or weight. Compared to most other sports, the significance of the hockey captaincy still resonates—certainly it has greater heft than the letter on Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek’s jersey, guys meeting at midfield for a coin flip or the arm band of a soccer player who casually flips it to a replacement if he is coming out for a substitute—but the institution of the NHL captaincy has eroded as it has evolved in recent years.

The hockey C-word used to be pretty straightforward: the captain was selected or sometimes elected and, well, that was pretty much it. The letter would stick, maybe forever as it did for Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic or maybe temporarily as it did Mike Modano in Dallas and a young Vincent Lecavalier in Tampa Bay….

Now under the guise of underlining the significance of the position, some NHL teams actually have undermined the position.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Celebrate A Division Title?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Feinstein of the Washington Post,

It wasn’t giving up three late goals to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a game that was over after 14 minutes. That’s something a good coach such as Bruce Boudreau can harp on in practice for a couple of days, but in the course of an 82-game season, letting up with a 6-1 lead in the third period isn’t something to really worry about.

The mistake actually came before the puck was dropped: Rather than slowly raising its 2009 Southeast Division championship banner to the rafters, the team decided to merely unfurl it. It was almost as if the Caps were saying, “This isn’t good enough, so we’ll just unfurl it fast and move on.”...

The Caps will win a lot of games this season, and they will have quite a few 6-1 leads. None of it will really matter though until April, May and perhaps June. Ted Leonsis, Boudreau, Ovechkin and company have good reason to believe the banner they raise next October will be the one they want to raise. In the meantime though, downplaying progress—as in back-to-back division titles—isn’t the way to go.

Most important, it could lead to bad karma.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Wayne Gretzky- 30 For 30 On ESPN

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Peter Berg at ESPN,

My relationship with Wayne goes back to the 1990s when he invited me to play in his softball tournament in Brantford, Ontario. He wanted to get some actors in the game and I was a big hockey fan, having played it growing up in Chicago. I thought it would be a small game, but there were about 20,000 people there. First play of the game, I got a grounder at shortstop and threw out the runner and the crowd started booing me. Turns out it was Gordie Howe. I was humiliated. That began my personal relationship with Wayne.

continued and the video below is an expert of Kings Ransom which debuts on ESPN tonight at 8:00pm ET.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: wayne+gretzky

Not The Way The Canucks Planned To Start

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,

Do we have to take another dozen years of this? Does Roberto Luongo?

In the first home start since his 12-year contract extension, Roberto Luongo was beaten on four straight shots and hooked after 25 minutes and 51 seconds. His goals-against average this season is 4.55, his save percentage .820 and his record 0-3.

Other than that, nothing is fine.

The Canucks lost 5-3 Monday to the Columbus Blue Jackets and are getting worse defensively by the game. Makes you wonder how bad things might be after four or five games.


added 10:05am, from Ray Ferraro of TSN,

My guess with the Canucks is that they expected a smooth start, and when they fell behind in all three games games, disbelief crippled their effort. A kick in the tail like this can quickly shock the system and help a slightly complacent group get back to work. The key is not to panic and try to do your own job and not everyone elses.

more plus other NHL topics as Ray begins blogging at TSN…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Talking Hockey In The War Room

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I will be on NHL Home Ice XM204 and in the War Room with Mick Kern at 11am ET today.

I always enjoy these segments and I am looking forward to the hockey talk.

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Media, Hockey Bloggers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: xm

Saku Koivu In A Different Place

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The he NHL’s schedule maker occasionally shows a keen sense of timing – and nowhere is that more evident than in the first full week of the 2009-10 regular season.

We get to see Koivu v. Koivu right off the top and the chance to revisit the decision made by the former Montreal Canadiens captain to seek his fortune in sunny California….

Even with a game against younger brother Mikko’s Minnesota Wild next up on the schedule, Koivu’s inquisitors amounted to exactly two reporters. It is just one of the many culture changes for the 34-year-old, who was told by the Canadiens last June that after nine years as team captain, they were going down a different path.

Koivu pondered the Wild as an option, but ultimately chose to join old friend and Finnish countryman Teemu Selanne with the Ducks – about as radical a move as possible within the geography and culture of the NHL. Even though they’ve played together on national teams in the past, it so far hasn’t exactly been a match made in hockey heaven.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: saku+koivu

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