Kukla's Korner

OLN & NBC Plan To Enhance Coverage

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Penguins,

All parties agree that hockey is a difficult game to translate from arena to television and Clement points out that trying to follow the puck is the No. 1 complaint from viewers. “Our coverage, at times, will be closer to the action so the puck is looks closer. If the puck was the size of a basketball or football, we wouldn’t have a problem. High-Definition TV is the answer for hockey.” OLN will broadcast some games in HD, but it also helps to solve puck visibility issues with tighter shots on the ice. “Our philosophy is going to be back to the future, so to speak,” said Mike Baker, OLN’s coordinating producer. “With the way graphics and wider scoreboards have evolved over the past year, you get anywhere from four to 12 rows of stands and fans in your picture. I have measured TV screens and nearly 40 percent of screens was fans. We’re going to reduce that and focus our cameras closer to the ice. If the puck is 40 percent bigger because we have zoomed in, that means it’s 40 percent easier to see and 40 percent better.” In addition, OLN’s studio will be outfitted with a special “Demonstration Zone” where Clement and Keith Jones, OLN’s other studio host, can demonstrate on-ice maneuvers and happenings – much like the field-simulation sets found on baseball or NFL shows.

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NHL Needs Shootout

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Duff of MSNBC,

When Czech Republic goaltender Dominik Hasek erected a stone wall in front of his net and stymied Canadian shooters Joe Sakic, Ray Bourque, Theoren Fleury, Eric Lindros and Brendan Shanahan to win their semifinal contest at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, the reaction of hockey-mad Canada was predictable. "It’s a ridiculous way to settle a game," Fleury said afterward. "Why don’t we just play Scrabble instead?" We won’t argue with Theo on this one. Settling a playoff game of any sort with a shootout is foolhardy. But a regular-season game?

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Looking In The Future

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Kevin Allen makes 12 predictions for the upcoming season. The first and last are interesting as are the others. from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

1. This season will mark the return of the 50-goal scorer. If enforcement of the new rules initiative holds, the league might boast its most impressive collection of 50-goal guys since 1995-96, when five of the top 10 scorers netted 50 or more. 12. In a season of change there will still be constants. Injuries will undermine the progress of a handful of teams. Detroit is still Hockeytown. Gordie Howe is still Mr. Hockey. Montreal is still a hockey Mecca. The waiting list for tickets in Toronto will continue to be decades long. The Rangers will miss the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season. Some traditions simply can't be changed.

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Martha Answers A Few Questions

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Burk talks to Media Life about sports marketing, violent video games and of course, the Masters. from Media Life Magazine,

Why is this one something that’s worth making a fuss about, then? Well, one would hope they would be sensitive to the concerns of women and families. What they’re trying to do is market sex and violence. At the end, there’s the image of the boy, and its clearly intended audience is young boys. I think it’s offensive to parents, both women and men.

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NHL Responds To Avery

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly today released the following statement regarding recent comments made by Los Angeles Kings forward Sean Avery: "Mr. Avery's recent comments were insensitive and inappropriate. The National Hockey League takes great pride in the diversity of its player base and repeatedly has made it clear to the players and Member Clubs that comments of this type are not acceptable. In a communication sent to all Clubs yesterday afternoon, the League expressly reiterated its position in this regard and indicated that similar misconduct in the future would result in the imposition of League discipline."

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‘Walt’ Is Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the AP,

St. Louis Blues forward Keith Tkachuk, who was suspended at the start of training camp after failing his physical, joined the team for practice on Thursday. Tkachuk was suspended last Friday. He had been working with a personal trainer since then, and had done some skating at area rinks. Last week, the NHL Players' Association filed a grievance on behalf of Tkachuk, who had 33 goals and 38 assists in 2003-04. Tkachuk, 33, is the second-highest paid player in the NHL at $7.6 million.

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Preseason Stats

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Who is leading the NHL in preseason goals (Guerin), how about points (Spezza). The NHL has listed your favorite stats leaders thru the preseason. Not sortable, but hey, it is a start.

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Blackhawks Open Checkbook

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Somehow, open checkbook and Blackhawks just doesn't seem right. from Sports Ticker via allsports,

One of the NHL's "Original Six" franchises, the Blackhawks have stumbled badly of late, missing the playoffs six of the last seven seasons after making them in 28 consecutive campaigns. They also have not won the Stanley Cup since 1961, the longest drought in the NHL. A major reason why the Blackhawks had become a laughingstock around the NHL was the club's management, which drew the label of being "cheap." However, after the 2004-05 season was wiped out by the lockout, the NHL implemented in the new collective bargaining agreement a $39 million salary cap, something the Blackhawks were more than ready for. Owner Bill Wirtz and first-year general manager Dale Tallon suddenly took an aggressive approach. "We are changing, you have to, with the times," Tallon said. "It's a different era than it was. This is the direction we want to go in now and how we handle things." "Going into this, Dale, Pully (senior vice president Bob Pulford) and Mr. Wirtz had a plan and said they would spend money, and they did," assistant coach Denis Savard said. Yes, spend money they did.

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NHL & STATS

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The National Hockey League and STATS LLC, the world's leading sports information provider, today announced an in-depth partnership involving the NHL's statistical data and video highlights. In this new alliance, STATS will operate as the exclusive third-party licensor of the league's real-time data feed as well as a licensor of the NHL's video highlights. STATS will provide data and player statistics for use on the nhl.com website as both parties work to explore fan-friendly complements to the site. In addition, STATS will provide its flexible XML data feed to each NHL arena for scoreboard and press box use. "NHL fans are always looking for more and better information about our game. We can imagine no better resource for them than STATS and the wealth of NHL information they'll provide to NHL.com and other outlets," said Keith Ritter, President of NHL ICE. "STATS is extremely pleased to help spearhead the NHL's effort to provide deeper and more accessible statistical information and highlights to its fans all around the world," said STATS CEO, Gary Walrath. "STATS is eager to bring to the NHL its powerful reach into multimedia platforms such wireless, internet and broadcast and interactive television." STATS will enjoy worldwide rights to market, license and distribute NHL data, along with rights to market, license and distribute video highlights via the internet. Further, STATS will have the right to market, license and distribute video highlights via wireless applications outside of North America. Plans also exist for STATS to create, in conjunction with the NHL, an expanded, state-of-the art, in-game graphics solution for use during television broadcasts of NHL games.

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Leafs In Transition

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Phil Coffey of NHL.com weighs in with his Leafs preview,

Saying the Toronto Maple Leafs are the most scrutinized team in the NHL is like saying it gets cold in the winter outside the Air Canada Centre. Leafs Nation extends well beyond Toronto, so wins, losses, and player movements spark a hue and cry all over the landscape. So it wasn't surprising to hear Leafs Nation vent its collective spleen when veterans Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk split for Florida, followed by Brian Leetch's departure for Boston and Alexander Mogilny's return to New Jersey. Toss in the turmoil of Owen Nolan's departure from the Toronto scene and fans were hitting the panic button early and often.

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