Kukla's Korner

NHL Has The Media Attention

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Journal Inquirer (Manchester, CT),

The first NHL opening night in two years just happens to be fighting for publicity with the major league baseball playoffs, and that's always going to be a losing battle for the puck brigade. So when the NHL season begins Wednesday, will the fans come back in droves? That's an easy one. Sure they will. In the most recent Sports Illustrated issue, there's an NHL preview section that asks the following question: After a year off and a frenzy of player movement, can a faster, more explosive NHL win back fans? First of all, the NHL doesn't have to win back the fans. Hockey fans are hockey fans are hockey fans. What, you think hockey fans are suddenly going to turn their attention to ice fishing? If the NHL decided its players would have to use golf clubs instead of hockey sticks, the fans would still remain loyal to the game. Fans in all sports are loyal. The World Series wasn't played in 1994, and the health of major league baseball wasn't affected one bit. The game is bigger and better than ever, particularly in New York and Boston.

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Players Extending Their Stay

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

John McGourty of NHL.com points out in his article titled "Players Adjusting To Rules Changes" it is possible the new rules may extend the career of veteran players.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Glen Wesley told the Raleigh News-Observer the new NHL rules could extend his career. "The clutching and grabbing that used to take place, obviously, that puts a lot of wear and tear on your body," Wesley said. "I don't think there will be as much of that."

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Marouelli Plans To Enforce The Rules

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

Dan Marouelli attended another training camp last month as a National Hockey League official. This one was of far greater importance to his profession. As one of the league's senior referees, he's anxious to show why the NHL's emphasis on improving the game will indeed work. Referees and linesmen watched video and had on-ice demonstrations in camp at Fort Erie, Ont. They vividly illustrated what the NHL has in mind with its comprehensive changes. "It was the best camp we've had in 25 years," Marouelli said. "I think the league's going in the right direction. It's hard to believe after 25 years that a guy can still get excited, but I am. It's going to be a good year."

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‘Darryl’?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via ESPN,

Less than two days before making his NHL debut, Penguins phenom Sidney Crosby was able to joke a little with the media. Crosby has already donned the nicknames Sid The Kid and The Next One, but he revealed to reporters his true nickname Monday. Darryl? "Not too many guys know about it now, but when I was in junior, my first exhibition game I got eight points, and [Hall of Famer] Darryl Sittler got 10 in the NHL [in a game in 1976], so they just said 'Darryl' and it kind of stuck the last couple of years," Crosby told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "That's how nicknames come, in funny ways like that." Apparently, teammates have noticed "Darryl" on the cuff of Crosby's gloves, a space where some players inscribe their nicknames.

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Can Isles Contend For The Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alan Hahn of Newsday,

Islanders owner Charles Wang recently mentioned "some magic" about his Islanders team this season. Alexei Yashin said after three straight playoff berths, "expectations are higher" for the Islanders. But newcomer Brad Lukowich, a defenseman who has two Stanley Cup rings with Dallas (1999) and Tampa Bay (2004) and grew up a fan of the Islanders dynasty teams, is making a bolder statement he hopes catches on among his teammates. On a blog he wrote for the Islanders team Web site during training camp, Lukowich referred to a conversation he had with fellow newcomer, defenseman Alexei Zhitnik. In it he said, "I was talking to Zhitnik about this a few days ago and I know he felt the same way. I came here because I think this team will contend for a Stanley Cup."

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Crackdown On Obstruction Is Essential

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun via Slam,

On the eve of the new National Hockey League season, fans everywhere are pondering the impact of the new rules and the crackdown on obstruction. The coach of the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, John Tortorella, says the latter is much more important than the former. He sees the crackdown as essential to the league's success, and believes that if the standards slide, the game will suffer. His Lightning won the Cup with a fundamental style change -- away from the trap to a game built on speed. Tortorella feels this is the style of game fans want to see. "I think the key for the league getting faster is to allow the best players to be the best players," he said. "It doesn't come into any of the rule changes that are going on. It comes into the interference, the enforcement. It comes into the new standard."

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50 Goal Scorer

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Obstruction as we know it is now a thing of the past. The game will open up which means more offense and more scoring. Power plays will be abundant. How many 50 goal scorers will we see this year? How about a 60 goal scorer? Remember, shootout goals will not count for personal stats. I feel at least one player (Iginla) will reach the 60 goal plateau, and at least seven players will reach 50 goals. Your thoughts?

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OLN-HD Feed Detroit Area News

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I just received confirmation that tomorrow's OLN High Definition feed of the game between the Rangers and Flyers will be on INHD, channel 206 for Comcast customers in the Detroit area. update 8:57am, penguinsfan, a frequent reader of Kukla's Korner, has just pointed out upcoming games are now listed on the INHD website. So it looks like anyone with INHD will get the games in high definition. See the comments section of this post for more information. update 12:56pm, I have had a few emails asking about Center Ice on Directv. It appears it will be offered.

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Around The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

-Mogilny to miss season opener with hip flexor problem. -Yzerman skated in practice yesterday, surprising Babcock who thought he would only skate 10-15 minutes. -Get a piece of the Big M, Frank Mahovlich is the latest former NHL star to put his hockey memorabilia up for auction. Classic Collectibles, which has auctioned off jerseys, trophies and other items for greats such as Maurice Richard and Jean Beliveau, announced Monday that a collection is on the block from Mahovlich, who starred for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens from 1956-74. His 1961-62 Maple Leafs and 1972-73 Canadiens Stanley Cup trophies have already drawn bids of $3,000 US each and a 1960s game-worn wool jersey drew $13,310, according to Classic Collectibles' Marc Juteau. Other items include Mahovlich's red uniform from the 1972 Canada-Soviet series, which had a bid of $4,026, and his 1981 Hockey Hall of Fame ring ($1,815). update 3:21pm, Defenseman Andy Delmore will try his luck with another expansion franchise. On Tuesday, the Columbus Blue Jackets claimed Delmore off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings, who signed him as a free agent over the summer.

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It All Depends On Jagr

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the New York Times,

The issue with Jaromir Jagr has never been his talent. Jagr's nine All-Star Game selections and five Art Ross Trophies, given to the N.H.L.'s scoring champion, attest to his talent. The question has always been Jagr's state of mind. His ultimate unhappiness in Pittsburgh and Washington led to his being traded from both cities. But as Jagr, a 33-year-old right wing, enters his 15th N.H.L. season - his first full season as the only truly recognizable face of the rebuilding Rangers - he insists he is more than happy.

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