Kukla's Korner

Versus/Directv Negotiations Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News,

More than two months after their contract ended, Versus and DirecTV remain at distribution loggerheads, their impasse showing no signs of subsiding.

However, a pair of external factors - negotiations toward a long-term expanded distribution package with Dish Network and the potential union of Comcast with NBC Universal - could exert pressures that facilitate a resolution.

Comcast’s national sports service has been off the No. 1 DBS provider’s air since their contract expired on Sept. 1. In the meantime, the parties have continued to negotiate a four-year deal, but remained locked in their stances over price and positioning, while Versus continues to ring up Nielsen advances.

The ratings amelioration has come without DirecTV’s 14 million-plus homes, as much of that subscriber loss has been made up by sneak previews on a number of cable operators and Dish Network, which has provided Versus a full berth of its homes. As such, Versus’ sub count has only declined to 71 million homes from 75 million, before the DirecTV drop.

The Dish free preview, though, is slated to end on Nov. 30. However, sources familiar with the negotiations indicate that Versus and Dish are moving toward a more permanent, expanded placement for the network.

continued

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

2010 HHOF Class?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun discuss next year’s possible HHOF class.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: hhof

The Mystery Man For The NHLPA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,

What they need is someone with a hockey background who has played on both sides of the street. The best-case scenario is that he’s a lawyer, has worked in the NHL front office, must have held an executive position with an NHL team to understand the players’ needs, and has to be strong enough and knows enough about what goes on within league ranks to play on a level field with Bettman.

He has to know what is needed by the players, know what the game itself needs to grow.

The man I have in mind who is eminently qualified for the post is out there. Trouble is, nobody associated with the NHLPA’s search committee is aware of it.

Don’t ask me who I would go after. If I told you, I’d have to kill you.

more

Filed in: NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

No Longer The Favorite

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

Even Holland conceded that for the first time since he has been in Detroit, the Red Wings are no longer thought of as championship contenders.

“It’s a long-term plan,” Holland said prior to tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. “If you just hang onto the old guys, eventually everyone’s play falls off at the same time and it’s a long way back. What we’re trying to do is put a team on the ice that we think is going to be capable of being a playoff team. At the same time, we’re trying to get some younger people going.

“Obviously, we’ve played at a high level for a long time. We lost all the offence in the offseason. And some of our key guys are getting older. Nick Lidstrom is 39 and turning 40 in May. The expectations are at some point in time we’re going to decline.”

It has been a while since “decline” has been in the Red Wings’ vocabulary.

more

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

Wild Owner Says Effort Is There, Wins Will Come

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press,

Craig Leipold admits he often isn’t thrilled with what he sees when he watches the Wild from the owner’s box at the Xcel Energy Center.

Leipold’s team has won just five of 15 games this season and, as it did during the first period of a 5-2 home loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night, there are times when it seems no one is in sync.

“I’m thinking just like every other fan was,” Leipold said Friday, shaking his head.

But Leipold, who purchased the Wild in January 2008, said that with new general manager Chuck Fletcher and new coach Todd Richards running the show, things “don’t change overnight.”

When Leipold hired Fletcher last summer, he said he expected the Wild to become a contender for a playoff spot. With the team instead contending for the basement of the NHL in points, you wonder if he’s becoming impatient.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Bartender, Statesman, Instigator…Voox

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

JJ from Kansas is gonna be in Toronto this weekend because he won the right to go.  Knowing him, he probably would have gone anyway.

Voox, from what the interns have discovered, lives there and pushes the 19’s agenda at every opportunity.  How?  Thank you for asking.  He just posted this comment a few minutes ago.  Great stuff.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

No Way To Treat A Star

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,

Lafleur and Roy were the last two of what could be called the iconic players of the most legendary franchise in the game. While the Canadiens have had whole buckets full of stars and Hall of Famers, there have been no more than five towering figures who made the team what it is today.

Howie Morenz. Rocket Richard. Jean Béliveau. Guy Lafleur. Patrick Roy. They were the players who in their day electrified an entire province and reached such status that it was possible, with a straight face, to call the Forum St. Patrick’s Cathedral. If hockey is a religion in Quebec, these men are its high priests.

And three of them – Richard, Lafleur and Roy – saw their careers ended in a sad, bungled fashion.

The Rocket left at a desk without a job, until he walked out to make his living selling fishing line and heating oil.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Being Cautious With Hedman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,

Tampa Bay Lightning rookie defenseman Victor Hedman will not play in Saturday’s game with the Canadiens because of a concussion sustained in Thursday’s game with the Senators on a brutal hit by Ottawa’s Chris Neil.

Hedman’s next chance to play will be Thursday at home against the Wild, but coach Rick Tocchet said he could not say for sure if Hedman will be ready, and that the team will be very cautious.

“Back in the day you’d throw water on your back and go out,” Tocchet said. “But now, with those lingering effects you just have to be very careful. You got to make sure. Lucky that’s his first one, and hopefully it’s just a mild concussion. It’s one of those things you’ve got to go through the whole process and when they say he’s ready, we’ll play him.”...

“I feel good, very good,” Hedman said. “It was a big hit. it was a clean hit. ... I was trying to pass the puck to (defensive partner Mattias Ohlund). I tried to reach for it and he just came and run over me. I was a little shaky there, so day to day, you can’t rush things just take it slow.”

Opinions, however, were still divided in the locker room over if the hit was clean.

more & if you missed the hit, watch it here...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: victor+hedman

Would A Minor League Team Do Better In Phoenix?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Sunnucks of Phoenix Business Journal,

Some sports business experts and Coyotes fans believe Phoenix is less of an NHL market and more of a minor-league hockey market in terms of fans’ demand for tickets and interest in the sport.

The American Hockey League is hockey’s equivalent to AAA baseball. AHL teams serves as feeders to NHL parents. The league has teams in some larger cities such as Houston, Toronto and Milwaukee, and in some smaller markets including Syracuse, N.Y., Hershey, Pa., and Austin.

AHL ticket prices are lower than the NHL’s. Coyotes tickets run from $15 to $100. Lower-level seats with extra perks, including club and suite benefits, run $180 to $330.

By comparison, tickets for the San Antonio Rampage (the Coyotes’ AHL feeder) range from $10 to $40. The AHL’s Houston Aeros price their tickets between $13 and $70, and the Texas Stars charge $9 to $65.

Rich Ettenson, a business professor and sports marketing expert at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, said AHL teams do not have the cost pressures of player salaries that hit NHL team’s bottom lines.

“They don’t need to fill a stadium of 15,000 or so to make it a go,” said Ettenson, adding there can be enough loyal hockey fans to support a AAA team.

more

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

They Just Keep Hanging Around

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

So when top center Jason Arnott misses six games or agitator Jordan Tootoo misses the opening month of the season, yeah, the Preds feel that. But they survived the opening month of the season, winning their last three games in October to get back to the .500 mark.

Somehow, the scrappy Preds are hanging in there.

“We’re actually hanging in there quite well,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz told ESPN.com this week. “We’ve learned to be really resilient. You can get it done, but it’s got to be a group effort.”

Having one of the best coaches in the game in Trotz helps, too; year after year, his staff squeezes juice out of a rock. And veteran GM David Poile has a keen eye for talent and maximizes the pennies afforded to him.

“Could we be a team that was top level if we added an extra $12 million to our payroll? Yeah, absolutely,” said Trotz. “We could add a brand new lineup front. But that’s not reality for us. We’ve got to do it by drafting and developing players, by finding the next Joel Ward or the next Dan Ellis or Chris Mason, those types of guys.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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