Kukla's Korner

The NHL Cannot Afford A Mistake

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

A year after returning from a labor dispute and a canceled season, the NHL is fighting the perception that it is a niche sport. Saddled with TV ratings lower than those for NASCAR and poker, and selling a sport whose players are overwhelmingly white to countries that are increasingly diverse, the NHL must find new ways to win fans' hearts and sponsors' dollars. Its past efforts have failed spectacularly, particularly at clarifying its rules and dispelling the myth that its players are toothless Canadian lumberjacks. After allowing the game to stagnate for a decade, the NHL last season introduced rules that sped up play and boosted scoring, giving it a good product to sell. Its sales methods, however, have had all the impact of a whisper at a rock concert. Television drives every league, and the NHL's vehicle is a go-kart carrying it on the road to ruin.
continued (reg. req.)

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Looking At Shanahan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the New York Times,

“He’s a winner,” Jagr said. “That’s what we were kind of missing last year. We didn’t have many guys on the team who won the Stanley Cup, who have been in the finals. You have to go through it, to learn how to play the tough games.” Jagr predicts that Shanahan’s influence will be felt over the long haul, but many of the younger Rangers are already paying attention. “He’s very calm,” Lundqvist said. “I like seeing him. There is a lot of respect. With a guy like that, you know all he has accomplished. So you watch him.” On the ice at practice, Shanahan has spent his time diligently trying to learn Jagr’s idiosyncrasies. He finds his new role challenging, but he is trying to embrace all that it brings.
more

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Behind The Glass

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from William Houston at the Globe and Mail,

They may seem like unwanted guests, but Pierre McGuire and Glenn Healy are on the cutting edge of hockey broadcasts because of a new role they have created. It's the bench-side commentator, a hybrid of reporter and colour analyst that had its debut in the National Hockey League last season. McGuire, with NBC, and Healy, on Toronto Maple Leafs regional telecasts, set up at ice level between the two benches as part of the play-by-play team. They quickly produced results. In addition to providing quick information on strategies and injuries, they had a front-row seat to the drama and conflict of coaches and players working together under game conditions.
continued

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Pressure On Dallas

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,

The Stars named Brenden Morrow team captain last week. He has earned the position, coach Dave Tippett said, and many who have watched Morrow said he was born to be a captain. But to pull this switch off, the Stars had to take the "C" away from Mike Modano. And that's a horrible thing to do. Bottom line, it just doesn't happen much in the NHL unless there is a change of coaching staff or a battle within the team. Brett Hull was stripped in St. Louis in his battle with Mike Keenan. Vincent Lecavalier had it taken away in Tampa Bay when they decided it was given to him at too young an age. But to just take the "C" away from the face of the franchise? That's harsh.
read on

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Balsillie Buys Pens

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from Sportsnet:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been sold, Sportsnet has learned. It is believed the team was bought by Jim Balsillie, owner of Research In Motion (RIM), the Waterloo, Ont.-based company that manufactures Blackberry devices, for a price of $175 million, according to KDKA in Pittsburgh. Balsillie had wanted to move the team to Hamilton at one point but more recently indicated he will keep the team in Pittsburgh.
continued added 8:04pm, from the Globe and Mail,
A spokesperson for Mr. Balsillie declined comment last night. However, a source said Mr. Balsillie is expected to be in Pittsburgh Thursday night for the team's opening game against the Philadelphia Flyers. While a deal is expected to be announced shortly before the game, other sources cautioned that last minute details still needed to be worked out and that the agreement could fall apart.
more

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Talking Versus & Versus HD

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Post your comments about the first game of the NHL season. One thing I noticed right off the bat, even though the introduction was in SD, it was stretched to fit the 16:9 format. Last year, we had the sidebars. By the way, I am watching on INHD via Comcast.

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Q & A With Saskin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of the CP via Yahoo,

Question: What are your expectations for league revenues this year, in other words, where do you think the salary cap is headed? Saskin: Well I think we're still going to see growth. I don't think we can expect that tremendous, one-year boost above the projected number that we had last year. Last year we exceeded by the projections by over $350 million, which is fantastic but also unusual because there was a lot of uncertainty in the projection.
read on

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Frei’s Ouija Board

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,

After a long session with the Ouija board, here are predictions for the 2006-07 NHL season: The Avalanche sellout streak will officially end, prompting many scribes and other media members to opine that it proves this wasn't "a hockey town," after all - just a bandwagon tied to a successful franchise.... After last season's increase, NHL scoring will flatten or slightly decrease.... NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's greatest accomplishment would be to convince the Wirtz family to sell the Blackhawks, but he again won't have the nerve to try it this season....
more

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Attention NHL Teams

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Hire an NHL HOCKEY Fan. Purchase is for 1 fan for 1 Game. Multiple purchases are allowed. Buyer to pay in advance and will receive the following within 24 hours of the completion of the game. -A digital photo of the fan you hired cheering for your team. -A brief summary of the game as written by your hired fan. read on...you can also get paid to be a fan...

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Abel To Yzerman Update

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Many bloggers and Red Wings fans have been interested in what happened to the Abel to Yzerman blog. I just heard from Bill's wife and all is well. Bill has been on assignment but should be back in action in a couple of weeks. His internet access is very limited and wanted to pass along that everything is OK. That is good news for the hockey fans and bloggers.

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