Kukla's Korner

Montgomery’s over and underrated

Blog: KK Hockey By IwoCPO

Via USA Today,

Let's take our annual look at the NHL's most underrated and overrated players. (Under) Eric Brewer, St. Louis Blues: Brewer's a horse. He plays a lot of tough minutes and is really difficult to handle in front of his own net. He'll never score a ton of goals, but he'll play 25 solid minutes a night, every night. There are 29 other teams in the league who would take him in a minute.
On the money again Ted. Any Blues fans out there actually feel Brewer is underrated? More from Montgomery

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Meet The New “Captain Video”

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From Richard Blackwell of the Globe and Mail:

When National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman gave Keith Ritter his assignment last year, the mission was clear: Figure out how to increase the popularity of the game by making use of the NHL's vast store of digital assets. Mr. Ritter, president of the league's digital arm, NHL Interactive Cyber Enterprises, said he and two other executives were essentially asked "to have a good think, based on the changing landscape, where the opportunities would be down the road." While the storehouse of game videos was clearly the biggest asset, the NHL also has game audio, reams of data, photographs, and lots of text, said Mr. Ritter, who works out of the league's New York head office. Mr. Ritter said he and his colleagues have come up with a plan to manage and make money from that vast store of information, and the first element was unveiled this week when the league announced a deal with Google Inc. to make full-length games available on Google Video.
continued

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Hockey City, USA?

Blog: KK Hockey By IwoCPO

According to Fox, that would be Nashville, TN.

Watch out, Red Wings. Detroit isn't the only Hockeytown in the NHL. Nashville has quietly become not only one of the best places in North America to visit, but also to take in a hockey game — and play, if you've been blessed with the skills. Long before being awarded an NHL expansion team in 1997, Nashville was known as Music City, USA and the Athens of the South for its musical heritage and dedication to the fine arts, but nowadays the capital of Tennessee is also known for its winning hockey thanks to Predators head coach Barry Trotz.
More Popular in Nashville? You bet. But here's where the Preds have their work cut out for them: introducing the rest of the state to the idea that there is (1) a sport called hockey and (2) a team in Nashville. As a west TN resident I can tell you that the remainder of the state has no clue what or where the Predators are.

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Classic Chelios

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Chris Chelios was on just on Detroit radio... NHL attendance is down, it needs to be addressed. Cheli compared the spin the league is putting on to "Wag the Dog's Tail"! Fans were supposed to benefit from the lockout, instead ticket prices are back up to an all time high. Rules committee was great, lead by Shanahan, but now the rules are being tweaked without input from the players on the committee. Fighting has been taken out of the game, this decision rests on a person who never understood the North American game and fans are losing interest. The game needs a level of toughness in it and it is being taken out. No flow to the game and fans are being turned off.

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The Interview Process

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kelly Hrudey at the Vancouver Province,

So with a partnership that can help everyone involved, including the teams and players, occasionally I'm disappointed with the lack of effort by a handful of teams to help us promote both the game and the players. If there ever was an easier show for a player to be on than After Hours, I certainly haven't seen it. Basically, we give a free, half-hour infomercial for the team and its players by raving about their talent. As well, we always show the player in the best possible manner, and from the comments I get from people I meet, most really enjoy seeing the players in a more relaxed, even casual, manner. I respect the situation when a player declines a request because he has family at the game, and we clearly would delay him leaving. What I don't fully understand are times when we ask for a certain player, and the communications person working for the team doesn't even ask the player if he's interested.
more

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Snider Panicked

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

Two weeks later, one thing's pretty clear: Snider, normally a very smart cookie, panicked along with team president Peter Lukko and tied the can to Hitchcock in the wake of a 9-2 humiliating loss to the Buffalo Sabres rather than try to make a few trades first. Stevens may have a better feel for the young players on the Flyers because he coached many of them on their farm club, but are they any better with Stevens coaching? No. Are they playing any harder, any smarter, with any more character? No.
more..plus a tour around the NHL...even more here...

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Walkom On McGeough

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

Might McGeough be disciplined for whistling a non-existent hand pass by Shawn Horcoff, disallowing Ryan Smyth's apparent tying goal in the dying seconds of Edmonton's 3-2 loss to Dallas on Friday night? "Well, I'll tell you, he's not getting a raise," Walkom said with a wry chuckle. "In all seriousness, he feels terrible right now. I think Mick answered it best. He didn't use good judgment. NHL referee Mick McGeough admits he made a bad call during the dying seconds of Friday's Oilers game against Dallas at Rexall Place.View Larger Image View Larger Image "It would be very difficult for me, running a team of officials, to criticize my own guy. I actually want to praise him for taking ownership about making a mistake. It created a lot of controversy and may have cost a team a point or a game. I think it's big news because it rarely happens. And maybe that's a good thing."
more

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Rumor Break Down

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Spector breaks down the rumors today, including this one from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Vince Lecavalier could be the most likely member of the Tampa Bay Lightning to be dealt. Dupont quotes "a longtime top decision-maker of an NHL franchise" claiming Lightning GM Jay Feaster was listening to offers for Lecavalier last summer and teams could be lining up for Lecavalier as they did for Joe Thornton last year at this time. "Yeah, maybe," said the source. "But he's no Joe Thornton."
much more

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Afinogenov Suffers Upper Body Injury

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Buffalo News,

While the Buffalo Sabres were feeling the pain of their first regulation loss, Maxim Afinogenov was just in pain. Afinogenov, the Sabres' leading scorer, suffered what is believed to be a separated shoulder early in the first period Saturday night against Toronto. He could be out two to three weeks. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said only that Afinogenov suffered an "upper body" injury and would be out "for a while." "Are we going to miss him? Damn right, you're going to miss him," Ruff said. "But it's somebody else's opportunity."
continued

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The Financial Side

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News & Observer,

Winning the Stanley Cup last June didn't just put a smile on Karmanos' face. It put money in his pocket. After losses exceeding $145 million since he moved the team here from Hartford, Conn., in 1997, the Hurricanes turned a profit of about $10 million last season. The bottom line wasn't settled until Friday, when the NHL distributed last season's revenue-sharing money, but Karmanos isn't expecting chief financial officer Mike Amendola to send him a check this week. He just knows, for the first time, he won't have to write one.
more on the financial side of the NHL...

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