Kukla's Korner

Avalanche Sign Budaj & Koci

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed goaltender Peter Budaj and forward David Koci each to a one-year contract for the 2010-11 season.

Budaj appeared in 15 games (11 starts) for the Avalanche this past season, compiling a 5-5-2 record with a 2.64 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and one shutout.  He also saw action in one game during the Stanley Cup playoffs against San Jose. 

Budaj, 27, was Colorado’s first selection (second round, 63rd overall) in the 2001 Entry Draft.  He has spent each of his five NHL seasons with the Avalanche, compiling an 86-70-23 career record with eight shutouts, a 2.74 GAA and .903 Sv% in 197 appearances.  He ranks third in franchise history in games, shutouts and minutes (10874), and is fourth in wins.  Budaj led the Avalanche with 31 victories in 2006-07 and 20 wins in 2008-09, and also paced Colorado in goals-against average (2.86) and save percentage (.900) as a rookie in 2005-06.

“Peter has been a valuable goaltender for our franchise over the last five seasons,” said Avalanche General Manager/Executive Vice President Greg Sherman.  “He’s had success at the NHL level and we look forward to having him back for another year.”

Koci, 29, appeared in a career-high 43 games in his first season with the Avalanche in 2009-10.  The 6-foot-6, 238-pound left wing tallied one goal and no assists while finishing second on the team with 84 penalty minutes.

“David brings grit and toughness to our lineup,” added Sherman.  “He was a good fit for our team last year.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Watching Game 3 SCF On Versus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK, N.Y. (June 3, 2010)- VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, garnered a 3.1 national HH rating and averaged 3.6 million viewers for last night’s Stanley Cup Final Game 3 telecast.  The game made VERSUS the most-watched cable network in the country among total viewers, all key male demos and among Adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. 

It was the most-watched Final game on cable since 2002 and the highest-rated and most-watched telecast ever in network history, surpassing the net’s previous high set by Game 4 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final (2.8 HH rating and 3.448 million viewers).  The game peaked at a 4.3 HH rating and 5.051 million viewers between 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET. 

Locally, VERSUS garnered a 17.7 HH rating and averaged 1.099 million viewers in Chicago and a 17.4 HH rating and 801,000 viewers in Philadelphia, making VERSUS the top-rated network overall-among both broadcast and cable-in both markets.  The local market ratings were the best ever for a Blackhawks or Flyers game on cable in both cities. 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Watching The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (June 3, 2010) – The 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been a success by every measure with record TV ratings locally and nationally, huge gains across all digital platforms and surging measurable buzz on Google’s official blogspot. That success has been mirrored with impressive results for NHL merchandise sales, online, at retail and in-arena, with total sales volume for the first three games of the Final having already surpassed the entire seven game Final last year. Some highlights:

•      Total sales volume for the first three games is already up four percent over the entire seven game Final last year
•      In-arena sales volume for the first three games have shown a 137 percent increase over last year and a 96 percent increase over 2008
•      Among the Top selling items were: Stanley Cup commemorative program (PSP/NHL), Dueling Pucks (Sherwood), Official Game pucks (Sherwood) , Stanley Cup patches (National Emblem), Reebok “Draft Cap” with Final logo on the side and Ticket holder lanyards by Wincraft
•      The NHL saw a 75 percent increase in sales over the same week last year on Shop.NHL.com driven by sales of Conference Champion merchandise
•      Apparel sales for Stanley Cup Playoffs are up approximately 40 percent.
•      Year to date playoff sales are up 26 percent on Shop.NHL.com
•      The NHL Powered By Reebok Store sales from April 1 to present are up 15 percent over last year
•      There has been huge demand for Reebok player identified Stanley Cup apparel

“The very devoted fans in both of these markets have shown tremendous support of their teams,” said Bryan Nosal, Senior Buyer, JC Penney. “Our hot market results have been beyond our expectations thus far and we anticipate exceptional results for whichever team wins.”

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Thumbs Up To Ron MacLean

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from a Jeff Marek tweet,

True Story: Ron MacLean jumped into the Delaware River to save a man who was taking his own life this afternoon.

added 5:50pm, from Fan590,

MacLean says he was having lunch on a patio by the Delaware River with Don Cherry when a panicky woman came up saying there was someone in the water.

MacLean and a few others sprung into action — he grabbed a velvet rope, jumped a wrought-iron railing and ran down to the water.

When he arrived he saw another man had already jumped into the river and pulled the man to a raft.


added 7:06pm, from Kristina Rutherford of CBC,

And what was Cherry doing at the time?

“Supervising,” MacLean said. “He was just overseeing to make sure everything was OK. We knew this guy wasn’t going to drown at this point.

“I kind of hop over the rail and jump down to help this guy that’s already in the water with the man who is taking his life, as it turns out.”


Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ron+maclean

More Puck Questions For Pronger

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

A few answers then exit stage right.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+pronger

IS A Hockey Summit Needed?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,

My question though is a relatively simple one: who needs it?

In releasing the agenda this week with a press conference worthy of an event on par with the selection of a national Olympic team or at least the rosters of the World Championships, the first thing that caught my eye was that this was a sponsored event, by a brewery no less. It didn’t have nubile young women in skin tight spandex to enhance an aspect of implied sexual blackmail and girl-on-girl attractions like a brewery that gives new meaning to the term ‘Blue’. However, the good folks at the more staid Molson brewery seem to have hitched their wagon to something akin to one of those made for publicity events: an agenda that features the possibility of a lot of talk but very little action.


High on the agenda list is the future of women’s hockey, especially in regards to the level of competition at the Olympics. It’s a worthy topic, but exactly what can one expect from this gathering, the majority of whom have little to no impact on what can be done.

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Will Spezza Stay In Ottawa?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

Does Jason Spezza want to be traded?

That was the question posed to the Ottawa Senators forward on Thursday after reports had surfaced that he was unhappy with his current hockey team. Spezza, who was booed by Ottawa fans at the end of this season, has five more years remaining on a US$7-million annual contract.

But the 26-year-old said the decision is not up to him.

“I don’t have a no-trade now, so if they trade you, then you get traded,” Spezza said at a charity event in Toronto. “If not, obviously I’ve spent some time there so I’m happy to be there and we’re looking forward to the future.”

When asked again if he wanted to go back to Ottawa, Spezza responded: “Yeah.”


added 2:58pm, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

Here is everything you need to know about the Jason Spezza situation in Ottawa.

The Senators, in a perfect world and for the right price, would not be opposed to trading Spezza, although that won’t be easily done with another five years left with a cap hit of $7 million per year on his contract and with Spezza coming off a sub-par playoff performance.

Spezza, all things being equal, would likely appreciate a fresh start, somewhere where he’s not the poster boy for playoff failure or the guy who gets booed every time he turns over the puck.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jason+spezza

Game Three Thoughts

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The Stanley Cup finals continued last night.  The Philadelphia Flyers won.  The story is that now we will have a series.  Chicago is not going to win in four straight (it may take them five or more games).  This is a forgettable Stanley Cup finals series played between teams that are not historically elite (and in Philadelphia’s case arguably the worst team to make the Stanley Cup finals ever).  In lieu of quality hockey, we have had close games.  Every game so far has been a one goal game and game three was decided in overtime.

Why did Philadelphia win game three?  I think the biggest reason is a coaching mistake made by Chicago coach Joel Quenneville.  Quenneville has been trying to match lines with the Flyers throughout the series.  At home where he has the last change, this has been a possibility, but but on the road where the Flyers have the last change this is much more difficult.  Immediately after a faceoff, win or lose, the Blackhawks were attempting to change lines in game three.  That is a good way to give up momentum after a faceoff win and to distract the team from playing their game of hockey.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

All Bettman Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,

This may come as a shock, but there are some feats Gary Bettman is simply incapable of.

Connecting to the average hockey fan on a base emotional level is one of them. So is conducting a press conference in which he doesn’t either attempt to con attendees – my all-time favorite example is when he called speculation on the financial disarray of the Phoenix Coyotes “irresponsible reporting” – or condescend to them.

However, in the name of responsible reporting, you have to give the NHL commissioner credit when he gets stuff right. And last Friday afternoon, when Bettman conducted his annual state-of-the-league address, he came correct on a couple matters.


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

Two Finnish Players Stand Out

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

There always has been this connection between the now budding and surprising stars, Antti Niemi and Ville Leino, but it wasn’t supposed to be about playing for championships.

They were just hoping to get an opportunity to play.

Leino was confident enough in his own abilities to figure he was going to make something of himself with the Detroit Red Wings. But he’ll be honest and tell you: “I wasn’t sure about Antti. I thought he was pretty good, but it’s a lot harder for goalies. There’s only so many jobs.”

Turns out he was wrong and he was wrong.

Leino didn’t factor much with the Red Wings, who tried to turn him into something he wasn’t and Niemi is a very good reason why the Chicago Blackhawks are this close to their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi, ville+leino

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