Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Different Directions

from Newsday,

Two players enjoying stellar seasons have different approaches to a few days away from the grind of the NHL.
On the morning of his first day at an All-Star celebration, Jason Blake found himself singing “Happy Birthday” to a 5-year-old patient in the bone marrow transplant unit at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

continued... Shanny prefers to stay in his room and catch a movie…

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The New Tint

Notice the blue tint in AO’s visor!
Pic via the AP

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NHL Salute To A Generation of Stars

Suit up boys!!!

(L-R) Larry Murphy, Luc Robitaille, Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey, Adam Oates, Raymond Bourque, Al MacInnis, Phil Housley and Mark Messier. (click pic to enlarge)

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How Much Is That Sweater In The Window

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

As the parent of a 15-year-old hockey player who loves everything new that finds its way into the stores, my first question for Matthew O’Toole, president and CEO of Reebok-CCM, involved the price point of these new NHL uniforms, launched Monday as part of the All-Star Game celebrations.
O’Toole hedged a little in his response, suggesting that the price wouldn’t be a whole lot different from what a replica jersey costs now – despite the time and effort his firm put into researching and developing the new sweater, pants and sock system.
“At this point, we haven’t spent a lot of time on retail pricing,” answered O’Toole. “We’re really focused on getting the performance right for these guys (NHL players) now. At some point soon, we’ll talk about the marketing plan.” When I pressed him for something more definitive, he suggested: “It won’t be as much different as you would perceive from the top-end stuff.”

continued

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NHL Must Cultivate Truly Constructive Criticism

By George James Malik

Last weekend, Brett Hull reignited the cry for bigger nets. On Tuesday, Mark Cuban discussed combining U.S. and Canadian TV ratings to promote the league. Wednesday and Thursday, the hype about the NHL’s “Uniform System” gave way to a “first look. At the All-Star game, the GM’s and Board of Governors will probably agree to disagree on scheduling adjustments—and they’ll talk about a few topics that will undoubtedly be “leaked” to the press to gauge public opinion.

Wednesday, Bettman will deliver his once-traditional All-Star break “State of the Game” speech, and all, undoubtedly, will be well in the commissioner’s opinion. The league will be declared healthy, though Bettman will grouse about so many teams pushing the upper limit of the salary cap.  He’ll claim that the dismal TV ratings both north and south of the 49th parallel aren’t worrisome, and we’ll hear a classic case of denial; Bettman will claim that he never told fans that ticket prices and salaries were irrevocably intertwined before the lockout. Bettman’s a believer in pushing the game forward; empty seats, horrible TV ratings, and a league-wide malaise are just “details.”

With all due respect to the NHL’s more fan-friendly policies, Chairman Mao seems to forget that you can’t make a Great Leap Forward when your foundation’s sagging.

Continue Reading »

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It’s Not Working Gary

from Mark Spector of the National Post via Canada.com,

What really tips the scales, though, is what Bettman set out to acquire right from the start. Under his guidance, the NHL has gone through Fox, ABC, and ESPN, and now NBC and Versus in ever-decreasing rights deals. Hockey has reached rock bottom on the television front: a network deal that is worth nothing until NBC sees a highly unlikely profit; a cable deal with a channel that is carried scarcely throughout the States, and has returned national numbers in the 195,000-viewers range.
It was a helluva try, Gary. But it’s just not working.

more

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Forsberg Watch

from John Buccigross of ESPN,

Other than the Flyers, let’s assume that that Columbus, Chicago and Los Angeles have no shot at the postseason. Let’s look at the other teams’ chances of landing Forsberg, starting with the highest points total.
1. Nashville Predators
This is intriguing. In a market that is teetering on failing, a name like Forsberg clearly would break through some of the hockey ignorance and sell tickets. Paul Kariya was a similar sign, but Forsberg takes it to another level.

read on

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On The Right Track

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

This has been Brendan Shanahan’s baby, ever since its conception a year-and-a-half ago. He has seen it wobble and toddle and stumble over some issues, such as officiating and diving.
He has also seen it straighten up and make small, but decisive steps forward, as speed and flow were restored to the game.
It was Shanahan’s efforts, in the darkest days of the National Hockey League lockout that, for better or worse, gave us a competition committee and a raft of changes that put the new in the new NHL.

continued

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Player & Trade Talk

via Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Edmonton W Ryan Smyth said he’s had no discussions with the Oilers on a new contract since before the season. It’s believed Smyth, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, is seeking a deal worth more than $5.25 million US a season. “Nothing has come about,” said Smyth. “I’m going to leave that up to (agent Don Meehan) to discuss. I’m out of it. I just hope that Donnie and (Oilers GM) Kevin (Lowe) can work something out.”

What are they waiting for?

Spector has all the latest player movement talk…

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Hockey Heaven

Don’t forget to check out the NHL.com writers at NHL Connect…

For the hockey nut, it is a scene that rivals what heaven must be like, minus the golf courses and endless sushi buffet. Where else can you stand in one spot, and in a matter of 30 seconds, have legends like Mario Limoux, Brett Hull, Gordie Howe, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque breeze past you.

read on

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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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