Kukla's Korner

Make Or Break Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News & Observer,

The grace period is over. The NHL can make all the happy talk it wants, but no one legitimately can argue that the first year of the league's agreement with Versus, nee OLN, wasn't a disaster last season. The best games on OLN were the "bonus" games when the network would carry the CBC feed. The Canadian camera work and announcers were so superior it only made it even more clear how bad OLN really was. Many around the league were willing to limit their grumbling because of the short run-up time OLN had to get ready after the lockout, but there are no excuses this time around. The network has had an entire summer to revamp both its game and studio product (with a new corps of announcers, we can hope progress was made) and, in theory, should have learned from its mistakes.
more

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Family Matters

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Robet Tychkowski at the Edmonton Sun,

In the wake of defenceman Chris Pronger's sudden exit from Edmonton this summer, are GMs concerned hockey wives will start hen-pecking their husbands into trade demands? Do managers have to be more careful who they sign to long-term deals? Do they have to clear it with The Mrs. before offering Joe Allstar that four-year, $20-million contract? In a word: No. In three words: Are you kidding?
continued

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The Next CBA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks at the NY Post,

The league, already hearing complaints from small-market GMs about the ability of larger-revenue franchises to absorb mistakes by sending high-priced players to the minors and thus eliminating them from their season cap charge - e.g., New Jersey's Dan McGillis ($2.2M); potentially the Rangers' Sandis Ozolinsh ($2.75M) - is sure to insist that the waiver-relief route be closed off entirely. So much, therefore, for the Islanders' safety-net on the Rick DiPietro lifetime contract thing for the final 10 years of the 15-year deal.
more...including arbitration talk...

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Rangers Win In 13th Shootout Round

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via MSG Network,

Marcel Hossa beat Antero Niittymaki in the 13th round of a shootout to give the New York Rangers a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night. After 12 Rangers failed to come close to scoring, Hossa finally finished off one of the longest shootouts in NHL history. The Rangers, of course, know a little something about winning long shootouts. They went 15 rounds to beat Washington last season.
more....Sort of brings back memories of the Malik (video) goal from last year...

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Smart Move

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From the Toronto Star's Saturday roundup:

[Guillaume] Latendresse cracked the Canadiens' lineup and signed the maximum allowable contract for first-round draft picks, a three-year deal at $850,000 per season. Latendresse, though, is a second-round pick. Montreal was able to legitimize the deal by excluding all bonus clauses, which if achieved, could have doubled the money.
continued

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Big Boys’ Toys, Casinos, And Equity

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

By George Malik: If you've ever wondered why billionaire businessmen purchase sports teams despite the fact that the vast majority of sports teams sustain operating losses, the CBC provides a few answers:

[E]ven though many teams themselves may lose money on an annual basis — and the financial state of sports teams is something that owners and player unions seldom agree on — most clubs do tend to grow in value over time. For instance, Forbes magazine now values the New York Yankees at just over $1-billion US, with George Steinbrenner and his family owning 80 per cent of the franchise. Not a bad return on investment when you consider he bought the team for $10-million US in 1973. Annual operating losses just don't seem as important in those circumstances. Sometimes, the owners have other business interests that invite tie-ins. The Mavericks' Cuban also founded HDNet, which calls itself the first television network to broadcast exclusively in high definition. It will come as no surprise that it also carries Mavericks games. And some owners have built sports conglomerates that begin with the team but grow to include the stadium (often subsidized or with some kind of a tax deal), extensive retail operations and broadcast stations that together, build value.

Continue Reading »

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Tucker, Peca Bury The Hip-Check

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Globe and Mail:

When the Toronto Maple Leafs gathered in the dressing room at the Air Canada Centre for their preseason opener a few weeks ago, Darcy Tucker motioned to his new teammate, Michael Peca, to occupy the locker stall to his left. "Right here," said Tucker, slapping his hand on the seat next to him. The other players in the dressing room gave the kind gesture a double-take, considering what happened on April 26, 2002, when Tucker delivered a low-bridge hit on the then New York Islanders forward, resulting in reconstructive surgery for Peca. Tucker's overture was part of the healing process that the two have undertaken since they became teammates last summer.
continued

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Doing It The Right Way

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

DCSportsChick...

I like this for a number of reasons. First, Ted and the Caps have already shown that they really mean it, via the links to "hockey-friendly blogs" and invitations to events. Second, he's right- there isn't much media coverage on the Caps in the Washington area, so if the fans want more, they have to do it themselves (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). And don't get me started on the stupid statement I heard Amy Lawrence on ESPN Radio make yesterday about hockey not being exciting and people not wanting to watch it (Fred has more on it at his blog, so I won't go into detail here). Anyway, I'm glad to see that Ted recognizes the blogosphere and realizes the influence it can have. We're fortunate to support a team whose owner gets it; I feel bad for the hockey bloggers in say, Chicago, who will likely never have the possibilities that we do.
DCSportsChick points to some interesting links. The web landscape, when it comes to hockey, is changing and a few teams have jumped aboard. Those teams that have not are facing some serious issues if they continue their stodgy, old fashioned ways.

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Dealing With Change

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the OC Register,

The once-recognizable Disney-movie-born Mighty Duck with the goalie mask bent into a bill joined the endangered species list, given that the new team logo includes just the left-turned webbed foot - forming the "D" in Ducks - of our feathered friend. All the merchandise bearing popular but 13-year-old color palettes of jade, eggplant and white or black and purple is now part of a Mighty heritage that many longtime fans aren't likely to forget soon. About a third of Friday night's sellout crowd of 17,174 arrived in the Ducks gear that merchandisers can now classify as retro or throwback. Some said they hadn't had the time or money - a $220 pricetag hung from the black (home) Reebok uniform sweater and a $95 tag from the white CCM replica sweater in the Team Store front window - to update their Ducks wardrobe. Other longtime Ducks fans said going retro was a conscious decision, a statement of disapproval of the cosmetic changes that owners Henry and Susan Samueli have made in their first offseason.
read on

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Keep An Eye On Vegas

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Darren Dreger at TSN,

Now I'm sure you've heard of Jerry Bruckheimer. He's produced mega movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and Top Gun and he's also the mastermind behind the famed CSI series. Bruckheimer has been waiting patiently with his pockets full of cash, eager to gamble on the success of hockey in Las Vegas. Bruckheimer put in a bid to buy the Anaheim Ducks a few years back, and most recently kicked the tires on the Penguins. But this movie mogul isn't interested in propping up a troubled franchise - he wants an NHL team in Vegas, be it through re-location or expansion. NHL sources suggest a fee north of $250 million could be what its going to take.

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