Kukla's Korner

All-Time Enforcers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from ESPN,

These players are as old as the game itself, the kind of players whose very presence on the ice changes the demeanor of an opposing team. Sometimes that change comes in the form of a ripple of hesitation, maybe flat-out fear. Sometimes the change comes in the form of a blood-boiling rage. And even in the new, wide-open NHL, there will always be room for a strong, physical presence.

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New Goalie Jerseys

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

The new National Hockey League is considering yet another major change in time for the start of this regular season. TSN has learned that all 30 NHL franchises received new jerseys Friday for their goaltenders and while it's a longshot, fans could see them in game action on opening night. The shirts are streamlined in a continued effort to reduce the amount of net they cover, and maybe even more significantly, they are different in colour and pattern like goalkeeper jerseys in soccer and would not match the rest of the team.

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The New NHL- Sort Of

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via CJAD,

The biggest misconception about the new-look NHL is that it returns with a bevy of "new rules" this season. That's not totally accurate. "The only thing that really changed is the elimination of the red line, other than that, the old rules have now been enforced more," said Colorado Avalanche defenceman Rob Blake. Well, not exactly. Let's face it, it's all about the crackdown. The rulebook is now being enforced. The NHL's latest attack on obstruction seems to have more teeth to it, with players, coaches and GMs all involved in wanting to make it work. "This is going to be great for the game in general, it's going to increase scoring and increase the excitement and open the game up for sure," said Los Angeles Kings centre Jeremy Roenick, who figures the crackdown will add an "extra year or two" to his career.

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Hockey Heating Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from CNN/Money,

Can the NHL go from being No Hockey League for the past 15 months to being the Now Hot League? The question isn't as ridiculous as it seems. When the puck drops next week for the first National Hockey League regular-season game in more than a year, the league will be playing before sell-out crowds, with strong ticket sales in the bank and a new cable network partner that actually values the sport as a key property, rather than an afterthought. Susan Cohig, the league's vice president of strategic development, says 23 of the 30 teams have had 90 percent or more of their 2003-04 season ticket holders renew their ticket packages. Two years ago, only eight clubs had that renewal rate heading into the season. In addition, a third of the teams are reporting at least 2,000 new season tickets, and single-game ticket sales are also well ahead of this point two years ago. "We thought very much we would come back very strong," said Cohig. "Did we think we'd come back this strong? No."

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What Would Martha Say

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Hopefully this is in the past, for UK's sake! update 3:11pm, Thanks to Phil, a reader of Kukla's Korner for pointing out more "schedules" for the UK hockey team.

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Can The South Survive

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via The Dispatch,

When it comes to sports in the South, the tradition and history run thick: Football is akin to an autumn religion passed down through the generations, and NASCAR was born of good ol' boy moonshiners racing through the backwoods. But hockey? Pucks and sticks and big-league blue lines have been in the region little more than a decade, and the emotional ties to home ice may not be strong enough to overcome the bitterness of a labor battle that wiped out the entire 2004-05 NHL season. So it's in the South, where plenty of season-ticket holders are first-generation fans and few natives have played the game, that the NHL potentially faces its biggest battle reconnecting with fans.

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NHL Carnival 10th Edition- It Is About To Begin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Where do I start? The anticipation of the NHL opening next week is building, so sit back, relax and enjoy the 10th Edition of the NHL Carnival (will open wmp audio). The teams are shaping up, hockey is in the air, last night the temperature dropped to 42 in Detroit, perfect for the start of the NHL season. How is your team shaping up, is the NHL ready for prime time, is everyone involved with the game on the same page, or at least reading the same book. How do bloggers feel about the state of the game, be it on the team level or beyond. Is the "My NHL" campaign the right fit for the game, let's find out. Tom at Sabre Rattling hasn't really felt the buzz yet, but he is living in Florida disguised as a Sabre fan. He also wonders if the uncertain economic times will be an issue with drawing new fans to the game. People now have other choices for the entertainment dollar, will the NHL get a piece of that pie. Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first Ratt reference of the day, and I am not talking about ex-NHLer Ken Linseman. Blogger brushback at Sidearm Delivery makes the comparison of the NHL ads looking like a Ratt music video and also points out a very interesting URL. Bryant a Preds fans believes the media is on board with the re-birth of the NHL. He points out at the Global Hockey Project even espn.com has never had so many nhl stories and features. But like many others, Bryant doesn't understand the direction the "My NHL" ads are headed. Stop the presses, this just in, Dave Keon is a Bitter Old Crank, now we continue on... Chris at Hockey Country recently gave his 2 cents worth (more like $10) on a myriad of NHL topics. He also discovered the Sens new ball girl. I know David at Hockey Analysis must have planned this, he commented yesterday on the 5 teams that have lost and improved the most. Why five of each, 5+5=10th NHL Carnival. J.J of Canucks Hockey Blog fame has me convinced the team from the perfect North American City will skate directly to the Stanley Cup finals. Of course, that all depends on how the NHL officials will call the games. One of my favorite bloggers, Jes at Hockey Rants recently captured what hockey players do best, either that or they are bored with this post. Jes will also be hosting the next addition of the NHL Carnival and will bring it strong and hard. The Acid Queen is a Hurricanes-loving writer of pulp science fiction who lives in North Carolina with her husband and three cats. She's blunt to the point of pain, sometimes vulgar, usually controversial, and definitely opinionated. Jes pointed me to her blog and it will soon be added to my sidebar. Oh, by the way, she is not a happy camper these days when it comes to the NHL TV schedule. What is the outlook for the boys who wear the Winged Wheel this year. Matt, who has the best RW blog around, gives an honest and very realistic view of the Wings. Let's stick with the Norris Division and look at the Columbus team. Charles, who runs a great gaming website, also is a fan of the NHL and especially the Blue Jackets. He specifically asked me to include his article in the "Carnival" and I was very happy to oblige. At the award winning Sharks Page, Jon points out the recent improvements to NHL.com. In my opinion, it is so important for the NHL website to keep us fans up-to-date with all of the current news from the game we all follow with a passion. The partnership the NHL has established with STATS is a very smart move. Have you ever wondered about the origin of the "three star selection" after every hockey game? Well, wonder no more, Eric at Off Wing Opinion gives us the scoop and it sure brings back some wonderful memories of seeing a sweaty Johnny Bower toweling off and being interviewed by Ward Cornell after being named the 1st star of the game. A Win, Win, Win view of the NHL that only Tom Benjamin can deliver. I sure hope that Tom's tongue-in-cheek view is just that. Mr. Singer at the re-emerging Ice Block wants his HD, me too. Will we soon find out the complete game plan of HD broadcasts or will we be forced to depend on our cable or satellite subscriber to keep us informed? Phil Coffey of NHL.com has tried his hand at blogging too. He provided us with numerous updates from the NHL Draft and will continue some blogging in the future. As a matter of fact, Phil wanted to blog from every NHL game on opening night, but could not find a fast jet to get him to 15 NHL cities in a five hour time period. Phil sent me a great column he put together on the upcoming season. Since it does not appear anywhere else but here, you can read "For The Good Of The Game" in the comment section of this post. Thanks Phil. Only a few more days before the games really begin, hopefully this will get you prepared (will open wmp audio).

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NHL PR Machine

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Mercury News,

A breakdown of NBC's NHL preview show airing Saturday: 2-2:01 p.m. Introduction and cloying apology to fans. 2:01-2:02 p.m. That Ad Everyone's Talking About. 2:02-2:29 p.m. Profile of 18-year-old Sidney Crosby, likely to focus on his Ph.D. studies and his humanitarian work in sub-Saharan Africa. 2:29-2:30 p.m. Credits. Speaking of Crosby . . . The Boy Wonder appears in GQ with his shirt off. (Ha! Take that, Martha!)

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Good News For Owners

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Toronto Star,

In a development that may buttress the spirits of NHL team owners, the St. Louis Blues are set to be sold for about $150 million (all figures U.S.), roughly $50 million more than the team's current owners paid for the team in 1999. Since player costs are the largest expense for a team — they represented 66 per cent of team revenues in 2003-04 — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman pledged to owners that by reversing the trend of rising salaries, team values would climb. The purchase price for the Blues is particularly noteworthy since the club lost a league-high $47 million in 2003-04, its last year of operation. Forbes in 2003 estimated that the Blues were then worth $147 million. The team lost about $30 million on revenue of $67 million, the magazine reported.

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NHL Carnival Update

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The 10th Edition of the NHL Carnival will appear near the noon hour on Friday. Get ready "boys" (hockey expression), the puck drops soon.

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