Kukla's Korner

Watching Versus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Downey of Media Life,

Versus has been posting sizable year-over-year ratings increases for NHL semifinal games….

In the timeslot, Versus ranked No. 2 among all cable networks, trailing only TNT in key male demographic groups, according to Versus.

Last week, Versus ranked an impressive No. 21 among all cable networks in primetime with an average audience of 813,000 people, according to a Turner Research analysis of Nielsen ratings.

Among 18-49s, Versus was in the top 10, a huge feat for a tiny network. It had an audience of 517,000 people in the demographic.

By comparison, in April, Versus had an audience of 319,000 people, down 17 percent from April 2008. Among 18-49s, it had 190,000 viewers, also down 17 percent.


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

Missing Out On A Great Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sean Gregory of Time,

What a dream series for the NHL. The league’s two best players, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are going goal for goal, assist for assist, in an Eastern Conference semifinal series headed for a deciding Game 7 Wednesday night. In Game 2, a captivating 4-3 Capitals win, both guys scored hat tricks. Five of the games have been decided by one goal, and three have gone into overtime.

It’s a once-in-a-decade duel — the kind of rare treat that somehow exceeds the hype. So tonight, tune into channel 603, and catch the last game of an instant classic.

That’s right: channel 603, square in television’s Yukon Territory. Since the hockey playoffs are on Versus, formerly known as the Outdoor Life Network, viewers in many markets will have to search the hinterland of channel listings in order to watch the games….

Due to Versus’ limited carriage and penalty box position on many channel lineups, what should be a transcendent series for hockey in America is barely cracking mainstream consciousness. Versus has carried all of the Penguins-Caps series except for Game 1, which NBC broadcast on May 2, and has averaged 1.04 million viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The series is drawing a smaller audience than last year’s College Baseball World Series, on ESPN, when it averaged 1.4 million viewers.


As I have mentioned in the past, hockey fans will watch, casual sports fans, those that click the remote trying to find a game, will not watch.  Not many people have Versus in their ‘favorites’ list and it is too bad, they will be missing a great game tonight.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Bowman Behind Blackhawks Success

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,

Where does it begin with the Blackhawks, who have turned it around in one season? Was it when they replaced head coach Denis Savard with Joel Quenneville only four games into the season? The only thing wrong with that decision was that it should have been made during the offseason to avoid embarrassing Savard, one of Chicago’s truly great stars as a player.

How much did the hiring of a chap named Scotty Bowman as a consultant help? My guess is his counsel contributed greatly.

Scotty always has been very good at avoiding the spotlight when he isn’t the guy in charge, but he’s a wise old bird who always has been free with his opinion on all matters, even when it isn’t sought. The camera caught him often during the series with Vancouver sitting in a private box alongside Chicago GM Dale Tallon, and you can be sure the latter’s ears were left ringing after every game.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Ongoing Phoenix Situation

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damine Cox of the Toronto Star,

It was not a good day for Jim Balsillie’s public relations offensive.

First, sources indicated yesterday that Wayne Gretzky is “supportive” of the plan presented by Chicago sports czar Jerry Reinsdorf to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and keep them in Arizona. Gretzky would stay with the team as head coach under the ownership of a group of investors headed by Reinsdorf that would conditionally offer an estimated $130 million (U.S.) for the troubled Phoenix club.

Second, despite North American economic conditions some suggest are the worst since the Great Depression, Balsillie is reportedly seeking more than $120 million (Cdn.) in federal and provincial handouts to renovate Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum if he can purchase the Coyotes out of bankruptcy and bring them north.


Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Bruins Up Against History

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe,

Claude Julien’s skaters are attempting to do what no Bruins team has done in 20 previous tries: come back to win a series after trailing, three games to one. Milt Schmidt’s Bruins couldn’t do it in 1947 against the Canadiens. Bobby Orr and Friends couldn’t do it against the Rangers in ‘73. Cam Neely and Ray Bourque couldn’t make it happen in ‘95 against the Devils.

So it’s up to Chara and Tim Thomas to boldly go where no Bruins have gone.

“From the time we fell behind, three games to one, our goal was to create Game 7,” said Julien (who enjoyed one of those Bill Belichick nights in which everything he touched turned to gold). “We’re there now. We need to decide what we’re going to do with it.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Boys Being Boys After Wings/Ducks Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The elbow from Scott Niedermayer on Pavel Datsyuk can bee seen around the 1:35 minute mark.

added 6:32am, from Ansar Khan Mlive,

Datsyuk shrugged it off as just a part of hockey.

“I don’t want to talk about that,” Datsyuk said. “It’s not my priority.”

Said Niedermayer: “There was a lot going on, I don’t know how it all started. The next thing you know my gloves are off. That doesn’t happen too often. I didn’t even know who it was at first. I took a couple of punches to the face. I guess after a couple, I figured I’d try a couple.”


added 6:48am, from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,

NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell will have some video to watch after Scott Niedermayer elbowed Datsyuk in the final seconds of the game, which led to a fight between the two at the buzzer. But given the fact a precedent has been set allowing players to cold-cock unsuspecting opponents in the face in this year’s playoff tournament, don’t count on anything coming down.

more on game 6…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pavel+datsyuj, scott+niedermayer

Ducks Beat Detroit 2-1 To Setup A Game 7

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Ducks were the more desperate team to force game 7 on Thursday in Detroit.

added 6:39am, from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

“It’s going to be awesome. It’s exciting. This is what we play for,” said Getzlaf, who scored the Ducks’ first goal, during a power play, and took the shot that was redirected by Corey Perry past Chris Osgood for their second goal, both during the second period. “We’re excited to go into Detroit and try and get a win.”

They wouldn’t have had that chance if not for his stellar effort, a 38-save performance by a well-protected Jonas Hiller and a focused effort by the Ducks that fractured occasionally but never broke….

“I think they were more desperate tonight than we were,” Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We had too many turnovers that created more time in our zone than we wanted to.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Playoff MVP So Far

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Earlier in the second round, I picked Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks as the playoff MVP.  At the time he was leading the playoffs in points.  He has been passed by Alexander Ovechkin, who has a significant lead in goals (10 to 4 right now with Anaheim still playing in the third period of game six).  Ovechkin leads the playoffs in points with 20 and is tied for leads in goals (with 10) and +/- (+11).  This comes after a regular season where he has likely won his second straight Hart Trophy.  Ovechkin has established himself as the best player in the NHL today.  He is likely the most dominant player the NHL has seen since Mario Lemieux.  Enjoy watching him in in his prime; it will be something hockey fans talk about for a long time.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

A Great Day For Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail (Thursday edition),

“I just wish it was for the final,” Washington coach Bruce Boudreau, his face red from the excitement, said after Game 6.

So all of hockey wishes, for this has already been a series for the ages: Ovechkin, the world’s most exciting player, against Sidney Crosby, perhaps the world’s best player and certainly Canada’s best; a series that has already had three games go into overtime; a series in which five games were decided by a single goal, one by two; a series where the lead can change quicker than Ovechkin’s early-game and late-game stick curves.

It is hard to believe Crosby, the remarkable 21-year-old captain of the Penguins, has never before played in a Game 7, never before experienced the very thing he says he dreamed of as a little kid in the basement, in the driveway, in the backyard rinks when he was growing up in Nova Scotia.

Ovechkin, 23, had his own dreams growing up in Russia, and it has come true and even beyond true in recent years. “My dream,” he said Tuesday, “was to be one of the best.”


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

Scoring Is Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Z. Klein of SlapShot at the NY Times,

In the 44 games that made up the first round of this year’s playoffs, the average number of goals per 60 minutes of play was 5.0 — a level of constriction that fans have had to deal with in the N.H.L. post-season for close to 15 years.

But the average for the 22 games of the second round played through Monday has risen. It’s at 5.75 goals per game. (That figure includes the 41 extra minutes of overtime Anaheim needed to beat Detroit on May 3; without that OT the average is 5.9.) That is a big jump, and a heartening one for fans of more wide-open, creative play. It includes Monday’s 5-4 overtime gem in which the Capitals beat the Penguins to force Wednesday’s Game 7, as well as the 7-5 festival of goals through which Chicago eliminated Vancouver on Monday.

read on

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

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