Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP via CBC,
Peter Forsberg’s future with the Philadelphia Flyers didn’t become any clearer Monday despite a meeting with GM Paul Holmgren.
With trade rumours swirling around the veteran star centre, Forsberg and Holmgren agreed the only thing that matters right now is figuring out the player’s foot/skate problems which have plagued him all season long.
“We said that we have to figure out the foot before we talk about anything else,” Forsberg told reporters after the meeting. “And that’s what we’re going to focus on.”
from Ad Age,
After a lockout canceled its entire 2004-2005 season, Gary Bettman’s NHL returned last year to record attendance and record revenue. The commissioner credits the strength of the brand, and cites efforts to reconnect with the league’s tech-savvy fans via new media such as NHL.com, where traffic is up 100% over last year.
Ad Age: Now that we’re a year removed from the canceled season, can you talk about how you kept everybody onboard? You didn’t lose a single sponsor.
Mr. Bettman: Last season was about relaunching our game under extraordinary circumstances. There are few, if any, businesses—not just professional sports—that could endure not operating for a year and then come back to record attendance and record revenue. It’s testament to our great fans and the strength of the brand. We had to use all of our assets to re-engage our fans.
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Nearly all the fathers of the players and some staff members accompanied the team for its recent two-game roadtrip to Dallas and Phoenix in the organization’s first fathers trip.
The result – two crucial wins and some unforgettable memories.
“It was so nice of the Penguins to have it,” said Dan Whitney, the father of Ryan Whitney. “It was so much fun just getting to meet some of the other fathers. It was neat putting a face with a name.”
via the LA Kings,
The Los Angeles Kings have traded center Craig Conroy to the Calgary Flames in exchange for center Jamie Lundmark, a fourth-round draft choice in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and a second-round draft choice in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today
from Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports,
The Bettman era has been an unmitigated disaster for the league in virtually every possible way, one outrageously terrible initiative after another.
I could write a book about Bettman’s insulting and imbecilic moves through the years (Chapter 9, “The Glowing Puck”) but the main problem has always been the same. He has shown no respect for the game, for its history, for its fans, for its unique qualities.
Bettman might consider himself an astute sports marketer, but in practice he is arguably the worst of all-time. He has never figured out how to change his marketing plans to fit the product of hockey. Instead he changed the product to fit his marketing plans.
The league is now overexpanded and overpriced, misplaced and misdirected. It is less exciting, less interesting, less traditional and more difficult to follow for the non-obsessive fan.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
...Just don’t expect that whatever they decide, they necessarily share that information with the hockey public at large. What if, for example, the Flyers convince Forsberg that his greatest contribution to the long-term future of the organization is to go to a contender for the final six weeks of the season and playoffs and then re-sign with Philadelphia when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1? That way, Forsberg can do something for the Flyers today (help them land a prospect and/or draft choices) and then something for tomorrow (coming right back to the City Of Brotherly Love to prove this year was an aberration and they really aren’t as bad as their record in the overall standings indicates).
The Flyers should not be saying anything on the status of Forsberg, the less known the better- for the Flyers.
from Kara Yorio of the Sporting News,
Kasparaitis was sent to AHL Hartford after clearing waivers. He’ll use his time there to get back into game shape, but his demotion is indefinite.
If the Rangers decide they need a little veteran leadership and an irritating physical presence at the blue line, they will not hesitate to bring back Kasparaitis. Until then, the team hopes a little youth will give it a spark in the second half. ...
more NHL talk…
from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
With the All-Star Game in the rearview mirror, it’s time to turn full attention to the players who are potential difference-makers over the final 30 games or so. That’s of particular importance to the teams that are hovering around the NHL’s Mendoza line—the coveted eighth and final playoff spot—which this year consists of at least a half dozen squads in each conference.
With that in mind, here are three guys who can truly impact their teams’ fortunes in the Eastern Conference with a strong finish.
Sergei Samsonov, Canadiens
Brad Richards, Lightning
Matt Cullen, Rangers
NEW YORK (Jan. 29, 2007)—Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Mark Recchi, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Fredrik Norrena and Edmonton Oilers left wing Ryan Smyth have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Jan. 28.
Each Monday, the NHL will recognize three players who delivered the League’s top performances over the past week.
from Neil F. Abbott of Sports Business Journal (paid sub.),
However, there are flaws in the CBA that are causing many GMs significant problems.
For example, teams make decisions in July and August on player contracts. Once decided, a contract under this system becomes inviolate. The warm and fuzzy joy of July signings become the chill of December when you are in 14th place in an eight-team playoff race. Restructuring or altering existing deals is prohibited. It is all or none and the built-in inflexibility of the CBA hinders a GM’s ability to make needed changes that are apparent in December but hidden in July.
Teams are also prevented from rewarding a player who has exceeded expectations and is on a multiyear deal. For example, a 26-year-old on a two-year deal cannot earn any incentive bonuses. If he is successful in year one, the team cannot redo his deal or award him a bonus. While the team could grant him an extension for a third year he must play for the salary set in year two. The absence of a bonus pool for every team prevents a GM from rewarding success and developing continuity in his lineup. A team cannot tear up an existing deal and reward a player who had proved his mettle. This CBA makes it more likely than not that good players will be forced to a new team to achieve the market value they earn by performance with their old team.
Neil F. Abbott has been a sports business lawyer in Boston for 25 years and has represented professional hockey players since 1981.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org