Kukla's Korner

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Watching The Playoffs

from Bill Beacon of the CP via the Globe and Mail,

There were fears the economic recession would leave swaths of empty seats in NHL arenas during the playoffs, but the league says both attendance and U.S. Television ratings are up through the first round.

With fans flocking back to see good teams with star players in Chicago and Boston, the NHL says its rinks were full to 100.9 per cent capacity through the 44 first-round games, its highest figure in 16 years.

Only four games — two in Carolina and two in Anaheim — failed to sell out.

It also reports a 22 per cent increase in viewers on the Versus network in the U.S., which averaged a 0.44 cable rating, or 333,163 households and 442,301 viewers.


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Wings Have Healthy Relationship With Their Fans

from Jo-Ann Barnas of the Detroit Free Press,

Other professional athletes on other teams—perhaps even in this town—might not have appreciated the gesture.

But to the players and coaches—many of whom reside in the Detroit area year-round—they underscore the unique relationship the Wings enjoy with their fans.

Imagine coming home after scoring a hat trick—as Franzen did in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals last year against Colorado—and discovering your driveway covered with hats.

Franzen won’t forget the moment.

Not in the least, according to Franzen.

“I still have them in my garage,” the 29-year-old Swedish forward said with a smile. “It’s a good healthy relationship between us and the fans here.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Masterton Finalists

from John McGourty of NHL.com,

The problem every year with the Bill Masterton Trophy is that when you read the supporting material for each candidate, you come away thinking he ought to win. Then you read the qualifications of the next candidate and think he ought to win. And so on.

So, the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association has a very difficult annual task in determining the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.”

Once again, three deserving finalists are in the running in 2009, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios, Florida Panthers right winger Richard Zednik and Nashville Predators left winger Steve Sullivan.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Afternoon Line

I saw enough of Roberto Luongo in the opening round sweep of St. Louis to determine that no conference opponent will defeat the Canucks four times in seven games. That task will be left to the Boston Bruins during the Stanley Cup final, and the Beantowners will prevail.

-Howard Berger of Fan590.  Read more from Howard…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Practice Went Well

I stopped by the Ducks practice this morning- Watched them skate in circles, do some drills, shoot some pucks, etc.

Team looks healthy, ready to go, although the majority of the team does not have any playoff growth on their faces.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

It Could Be Luongo’s Time

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Roberto Luongo has centre stage virtually to himself.

This is his chance to deliver a grand soliloquy, to explain through the art of goaltending why he matters while his country listens intently.

At 30, it’s remarkable that despite all the laurels tossed Luongo’s way, his accomplishments in the sport up until now have been minimal.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: roberto+luongo

Intriguing Times

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Overall, there is collective sense of digging in for the long haul and fans — especially in markets where they no longer have a rooting interest — tuning out for a time. This year, however, looks vastly different, and far more intriguing.

Thanks to the Carolina Hurricanes’ miracle comeback against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday in the seventh game of their series, the NHL lucked into two outstanding second-round matchups that should keep the playoff momentum going and the TV ratings up.

read on and predictions are included…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Story Lines Everywhere

from Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post,

It’s a stunningly talented group of players for one series, each of them young and still evolving. And in the middle of it we find Crosby and Ovechkin, not yet combatants but perhaps moving in that direction. The league should hope so. Last we saw them on the ice together, the two were trash-talking each other, bumping along the boards.

There’s nothing quite like a rivalry where the lines are clearly drawn. Folks with an appreciation for showmanship identify with Ovechkin, with his celebrations and exultations. Those who revel in the notion of “tradition” and play their cards a little closer to the vest not only love Crosby, but tend to express a real distaste for Ovechkin. It’s wonderful, really.

On top of that, you’ve got back story. These two franchises have played seven times in the playoffs, and the Penguins have won six of the series. The Capitals would call it a rivalry, but the Penguins must figure the Caps are like a mosquito that keeps showing up at a certain time every year.


added 9:39am, A few of the Washington Post columnists gather to talk hockey- watch below….

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Make The Call Columbus

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

Those calls are still in my ear as the Blue Jackets contemplate a housecleaning in their broadcast booths. The contracts of television play-by-play man Jeff Rimer and analyst Danny Gare, and of radio play-by-play man George Matthews and analyst Bill Davidge, will expire July 1. As of this writing, these men do not know whether they will be retained. They are in limbo, and they oughtn’t to be….

It is a slap in the face, in their industry, to be left hanging. And it has to change. So does the front-office meddling. No broadcaster should have his or her thoughts policed to the degree that Jackets broadcasters have been shackled.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Versus Got It Wrong

from Bob DiCesare of the Buffalo News,

Versus appeared to realize its embarrassing predicament. The studio show ran late, into other programming, just so the network could at least provide viewers with the final score. And when the ’Canes scored twice in the final two minutes, winning, 4-3, I just had to shake my head at the ineptitude of the NHL operation.

The league’s television ratings have never been great, which is why the NHL finds itself on an outpost such as Versus (although, to be honest, the network has come a long way.) What could be better for cultivating or maintaining interest than to shift viewers from one Game Seven to another, stirring appetites for the next series? What other sport diverts fans from its product when its product’s in full bloom? Imagine settling in for the second game of an NFL playoff doubleheader only to find out the game won’t be shown because the league’s granted exclusivity to a regional sports network in, say, Indianapolis.

Someone who answered the phone at Versus on Wednesday said the network has received numerous calls on the issue. He then gave me a phone number for the programming department. A recording informed me the number was not in service. I left a message at another Versus number. Still waiting.


Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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