Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Leader-Post,
YELLOW GRASS—Decorating the rink: $50. Buying food and drinks: $500. Big screen TV: $3,000. Watching Peter Schaefer play for the Cup: Priceless!
The gathering is appropriately dubbed “Hockey Night in Yellow Grass”. Game 3 of the series on Saturday night attracted a crowd of about 80 people—or roughly 20 per cent of the town’s population.
This humble farming community came to a virtual halt during the game, which Ottawa won 5-3. The only sign of life outside the rink on this evening was one solemn figure who took advantage of the pleasant weather to cut his grass.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
They call it playing on the edge.
But it’s getting awfully close to slitting their own throats.
The Ducks have now received three suspensions in these playoffs – two to Pronger and one to winger Brad May. They’ve had to defend against 5-on-3 situations on 13 occasions, including three in this series, and have had only one such advantage themselves. They’ve been short-handed 18 times in the Cup final while enjoying 11 power plays.
If the Ducks don’t win the Stanley Cup it won’t be because they weren’t good enough.
It will be because they threw it all away to prove they’re the meanest SOBs on the block.
from the LA Times,
Down by Chinatown, a plump woman dresses her two dogs in miniature Ottawa Senators shirts for their morning walk.
Farther along the boulevard, at an open-air market, a vendor sticks a red-and-gold flag among baskets of fresh strawberries.
Try walking two blocks in this capital without finding some reminder that the home team has reached the Stanley Cup finals. Try ignoring giant banners hung from office buildings near the highway and placards taped in windshields of taxicabs.
continued (reg. req.)
from the Tennessean,
Balsillie’s vow of silence has not immediately affected the number of current season-ticket holders, whose renewal rate of 66.5 percent is near even to the 66 percent last year at this point. But it certainly is having an adverse effect on the mental state of an anxious Predators fan base.
“I always say fear of the unknown is the worst,” said Joy Kimbrell, who has owned two lower-bowl season tickets since the team’s inception in 1998. “If we knew one way or another what to expect, we could deal with it. Not knowing leaves us in limbo.
“It makes most loyal fans feel like we are a tradable asset. I would say we are disenfranchised, worried and bitter.”
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
When it comes to televising a hockey game, NBC can’t match the experience and reputation of the CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.
But the U.S. network compensates with a big effort and an aggressive up-close approach.
It paid off handsomely on Saturday. NBC, producing its first Stanley Cup final telecast of the postseason, equalled and, at few key points, bettered the CBC.
The big miss for the Canadian network was failing to note that the Anaheim Ducks had been caught on a late line change and had only four skaters on the ice when Anton Volchenkov scored the Ottawa Senators’ second goal.
added 7:54am, from the Insiders blog at Media Week via avsforum...
The NHL Stanley Cup Finals on NBC with just 1.73 million viewers and a 0.5/ 2 among adults 18-49 in prime time.
added 8:56am, via the LA Times (reg. req.),
NBC got only a 1.5 national overnight rating for Game 3. That’s down 12% from the 1.7 NBC got for Game 3 of last year’s Stanley Cup finals between Carolina and Edmonton.
from the News & Observer,
The top priority on Carolina’s list is third-line center, which was a serious problem spot last season when first Eric Belanger and then Vasicek failed to fill the void left by Matt Cullen’s free-agent departure last summer. Vasicek, an unrestricted free agent, may not be re-signed.
“We need more production from that position,” Rutherford said. “That’s not to say Joe couldn’t do it, because he’s done it in the past.”
Stars such as Chris Drury, Daniel Briere and Scott Gomez will be far out of Carolina’s price range, but Michael Peca or Todd White might fit. Michal Handzus, who missed the entire season with a torn knee ligament, would be ideal but may be too expensive despite the injury.
from the LA Times,
North of the border, he’s been called bigger than Oprah and sexier than The Rolling Stones. He’s also been described as racially insensitive and a xenophobic clown.
“He’s the most recognized face in Canada,” says his boss, Joel Darling, executive producer of CBC’s venerable “Hockey Night in Canada” telecast.
In Southern California last week for the CBC broadcast of the Stanley Cup finals between the Ducks and the Ottawa Senators, Cherry now comes to NBC, if only for tonight’s Game 4, appearing with ex-NHL star Brett Hull as a between-periods analyst. An NBC spokeswoman cautiously calls Cherry’s segment “an experiment.”
“A lot of bars across Canada go silent when he comes on TV,” says Hull. “It’s going to be an honor to be on with Don.”
more (reg. req.)
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Kudos to the NHL for finding and hiring the most legendary van drivers in sporting history - those befuddled souls at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta who stranded hundreds of journalists or kept them from their assignments at various venues.
I say this because the fellow driving our media van after the Sens-Ducks game on Saturday night was so awful he could only have come from the ranks of the Atlanta imbeciles. He managed to turn an eight-minute drive from Scotiabank Place to the journey from hell, committing the most unpardonable sin in the eyes of the sporting media - clipping almost an hour from our time in the hospitality suite. I had not eaten since gulping down a sandwich a couple of hours before the game and I was also longing for the usual post-game restorative ale, so you can understand how my thoughts turned murderous.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
No one in the Anaheim Ducks dressing room will utter a disparaging word against Pronger. The man, on many nights, is a machine. He is averaging more than 30 minutes of ice time a game in these playoffs. He is second among NHL defensemen with 14 playoff points.
And yet for the second time in recent days, he has put his team in the unenviable position of having to play without him because he seems to have switched off that common-sense detector most humans rely on to prevent them from crossing “the line.”
On some level in that dressing room, players must be asking where Pronger’s selflessness is. Having been suspended once, Pronger surely had to know any other transgression was going to be viewed with disapproval by the league regardless whether it was as serious as the Holmstrom hit.
from Ken Campbell at the Hockey News,
“We’ve been talking about this for a year,” said one GM. “I don’t think (Saturday) night will have a lot to do with the discussions. It will be discussed. We know the players want it discussed and it’s something we’ll have continue to work through.”
“We’re in a contact sport and people are going to get hurt,” said Ducks GM Brian Burke. “The notion we’re going to take away hitting in the game because a big guy is going to hit a little guy…we can’t take that out.”
read on... and I remember Chelios stating a few weeks ago the NHLPA will do something about head hits this summer…
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