Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Ulmer of the Toronto Sun,
Backlash? What backlash? NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said there has been no cold shoulder from fans after a lockout aborted the 2004-2005 season. "Actually based on all the indications we have so far, season ticket sales are up 3% and individual game sales are up pretty significantly as well," said Bettman. "We think attendance should be comparable if not better than in 2003-04." Raise your hand if you read comments from players, owners, marketers, writers, coaches and msytics of all denominations who predicted it would take years to recover from the nuclear winter of a last season. Yeah, me too.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
NHL to New York television market: Drop dead! Despite a contractual right to instruct OLN to televise all of its NHL exclusives over all cable systems regardless of whether the network is carried on a basic or subscription tier, the league is abdicating. Thus, tonight's Penguins-Sabres game in Buffalo will apparently be blacked out in all Cablevision homes because of OLN's position on a subscription tier. If the league does not intervene within the next week, then next Monday's Rangers-Panthers game at the Garden may also be blacked out by OLN. As first reported by The Post on Aug. 28, the league's contract with OLN states: "Unless the NHL otherwise approves, the right to exhibit OLN games . . . may not be granted on a going-forward basis by OLN/Comcast to any . . . distributor [that carries the games] on a sports tier." When questioned in a series of e-mails whether the league would exercise its right to instruct OLN to allow its games to be seen by the three million Cablevision subscribers in the New York market (and over other affected systems in Buffalo, Phoenix and Dallas), league deputy commissioner Bill Daly repeatedly evaded the subject. Instead, Daly suggested that the issue centered around blackout language that might possibly be contained in the prior contract between Cablevision and Comcast, which owns OLN.
I have paid close attention to goaltender interference while watching the NHL games this year, and I must say I have not seen much of it, but when it has occurred, it has been called. What I have seen is how difficult it is for a defenseman to move a player out from in front of the net. I wondered how a player like Holmstrom would do in the new NHL, and if the first few games are any indication, he will do just fine. Pre new NHL, Holmstrom would take an awful lot of abuse in front of the net, now he just skates to a spot a few inches in front of the crease, and basically sits there. from the Washington Post,
Late in Saturday's defeat, Kolzig had seen enough. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound goalie shoved Thrashers left wing Brad Larsen into the goal post after Larsen bumped him. Kolzig was assessed a minor penalty for roughing. "I was frustrated at that point," Kolzig said. "It was 5-1 or something. Five, six years ago, you couldn't put a skate lace in the crease. Now it's no holds barred. [Peter] Bondra was on top of me, Larsen ran into me, [Marc] Savard ran into me." Kolzig stopped short of saying the league has singled out goalies, but said he wants referees to crackdown on goalie interference with the same vigor as abolishing the game of obstruction.
When I watched the first televised NHL game on OLN last week, I commented the cameras where in too close. Now I find out OLN did it purposely, they feel zooming in is the way to show the game. from the Ottawa Sun,
In respect to the coverage itself, OLN believes that it has learned from ESPN's mistakes. Co-ordinating producer Mike Baker told USA Today that his network had reviewed TV hockey coverage on ESPN and was unhappy with the amount of seats that were being displayed, as opposed to the actual ice. Baker added, "You'll see 37% more of the rink, so our games will be 37% better because the screen will be 37% bigger." But after viewing their new format, it is obvious that this concept does not work. Shots of the net from the main cameras are not visible until the play is beyond the top of the circle. The angle remains closely focused on the action in the immediate vicinity of the puck. But what about the play that is taking place away from the puck? Pardon the sarcasm, but it's slightly relevant in situations like these. This zoomed-in effect also does not allow for television viewers to see the boards, which must thrill the advertisers. Throw in an ironic obstructing banner at the bottom of the screen, and you have a recipe for disaster.
While we celebrate Columbus Day in the USA, I'd like to wish all the Canadian readers of Kukla's Korner a very peaceful and safe Holiday. Thanksgiving in Canada has generally thought to come from three traditions. European farmers in Europe held celebrations at harvest time to give thanks for their good fortune of a good harvest and abundance of food. They would often fill a curved goat's horn with fruits and grains. This was known as a cornucopia or horn of good plenty. When Europeans came to Canada it is thought to have become an influence on the Canadian Thanksgiving tradition. Around 1578 English navigator Martin Frobisher held a ceremony, in what is now called the province of Newfoundland to give thanks for surviving his journey there. Other settlers later arrived and continued these "thankful" ceremonies. This was also thought to be an influence on the Canadian Thanksgiving tradition. The third influence happened in 1621 in what was to become the United States. Pilgrims celebrated their first harvest in the "New World". Around 1750 this celebration of harvest was brought to Nova Scotia by American settlers from the south. At the same time, French settlers arriving were also holding feasts of "thanksgiving". These celebrations and offerings of "Thanks" influenced the Canadian Thanksgiving. In 1879 Canadian Parliament declared November 6th a day of Thanksgiving and a national holiday. Over the years the date of Thanksgiving changed several times until on January 31st, 1957 Parliament proclaimed....."that the 2nd Monday in October"........"be a Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.".
I am heading to Ford Field to catch the Lions play Baltimore, then off to the Joe to take in the Wings and Flames game. No laptop with me, but carrying my Pocket PC, will do some blogging from JLA. update 4:34pm, The Flames have had 5 minor penalties and the game is only 13 minutes old. All the penalties have been deserved but they look unorganized when at full strength. Wings up 2-0 with 2 pp goals. update 6:16pm, Wings up 6-2 with seven minutes left in the 3rd period. Flames miss Regehr big time. They don't have a puck moving defeseman at all. Amonte is invisible and Iginla always dangerous but that is about it. The line of Lang, Zetterberg and Holmstrom looks like a keeper, as long as Homer can do the job defensively. update 6:55pm, Yzerman will make his first appearance of the year against the LA Kings on Thursday of this week. He could go tomorrow but Wings are holding off until Thursday.
from the Buffalo News,
Rob Ray made a career out of brawling in Buffalo. Marty McSorley was chief of security for Wayne Gretzky, Dave "The Hammer" Schultz spent years protecting Bobby Clarke. There's a long list of other players with similar roles, but they could become dinosaurs in the new National Hockey League. "There will be none," Ray said. "That player is going to have to be able to play. Most guys are going to be regular players. They're going to be your fourth-line guys who give other guys a rest. The one-dimensional player is going to be gone." We pause for a moment of silence for Tony Twist.
from the Phillyburbs,
The lockout convinced the NHL to unlock the offense. As the new NHL opens after its one-year Armageddon, Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock foresees the opening of Pandora's Box, with the penalty box less of an option. "It's a radical look right now," he said. "It's not going back to the way it was. There's a long adjustment phase that players are going to have to go through. This is a game of chaos, and now nothing is going to feel comfortable. You're leading 5-1 going into the third, it's not comfortable. I think you're going to be on edge all the time."
from the Toronto Sun,
It's the melody of a nation. Sure the game's the thing, but its return just wouldn't have been the same without Hockey Night in Canada. A Saturday night hockey match without the bombastic tirades and eye-numbing outfits of Don Cherry? An intermission without the calm, incisive tones of host Ron MacLean? It would have been like the hotdog without the bun, the greasy pizza without the cheese. Hey, it would have been as sacrilegious as Tim Hortons without the coffee.
-Perhaps it was just an isolated incident starring a clueless chap, but an eye-rolling moment after the Pittsburgh Penguins played the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night in Raleigh, N.C. might give a glimpse into how off the radar hockey is in most of the southern U.S. After the game, reporters were interviewing Penguins captain and owner Mario Lemieux in the visiting locker room. A local scribe wandered into the room, glanced at the hockey legend and puzzled, said not quietly and to no one in particular: "Who's that guy?" Er, just likely the second most recognizable hockey player ever. Wonder if he'd recognize Gretzky if he saw him? (via the Globe and Mail) -Mark Messier on HNIC last night, "A big part of me felt like I had had enough, achieved as much as I could achieve, and I didn't feel there was a lot more for me to play for," he said. "When I did play, the most important thing for me was to win. And maybe winning just wasn't as important as it once was, and I think once I really came to terms with that, that was kind of the deciding factor for me." -The return of the NHL wasn't exactly a splash. It was more like feathers hitting the water. (Arizona Republic)
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.
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