Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Going into Wednesday's 15 openers, it is difficult to separate about 24 of the NHL's 30 teams and place them in an order that you could confidently predict, this is how the year will unfold. Take, for example, a team that many predict could win the Stanley Cup, the Philadelphia Flyers. In a best-case scenario, the Flyers will win because they've added arguably the most complete player in the game (Peter Forsberg), to a line-up that includes an emerging star (Simon Gagne), an exceptional leader (Keith Primeau), two of the best prospects (Jeff Carter, Mike Richards) plus a defence corps that blends toughness and experience (Derian Hatcher, Mike Rathje) with skill and puck-handling (Kim Johnsson, Joni Pitkanen).
They were longshots to hang around this long, but Dan Cleary and Brett Lebda bucked the odds. They played well enough during the preseason to earn their place on the Detroit Red Wings' season-opening roster. Cleary, 26, beat out three other forwards invited to camp on a tryout -- Rem Murray, Dan LaCouture and Blake Sloan, who were released. Lebda, 23, outplayed veteran defenseman Andy Delmore, who will be assigned to AHL affiliate Grand Rapids, if he clears waivers. Wings coach Mike Babcock said Lebda's skating and decision-making earned him a spot. He's ahead of veteran Jamie Rivers on the depth chart and could be paired with Chris Chelios on opening night. "He didn't turn the puck over; he was confident," Babcock said. "In today's NHL, if you can move the puck, you got a chance. Can he keep it going? I'm going to watch."
With the NHL season around the corner, OLN is launching an aggressive tune-in campaign centered around one central tagline: We Believe in Hockey. The campaign was developed to convey the commitment and passion of hockey fans, while igniting excitement for the new season. In the series of 30-second television spots, clips of memorable hockey footage are accompanied by a voiceover of thousands of fans declaring statements like: “we believe we can score on the opening face-off” and “we believe in the unbelievable.” Through the creative executions, the spots demonstrate OLN's passion for the sport and excitement at being its new national cable home. “We wanted to make an emotional connection with hockey fans,” said Wendy McCoy, Vice President of Marketing at OLN. “There is so much to look forward to when hockey returns to the ice, between the new players, the new rules and the unprecedented access the league is allowing. Hockey is a huge priority for OLN and we can’t wait to show fans a new game when the puck drops on the fifth.” “’We Believe in Hockey’ is such a pure statement that we plan on using it for all promotional material throughout the season,” said Michael Magnotta, Vice President and Creative Director at OLN. “The tagline speaks to every true fan of this game – from the league to the players, and from the guy who won't wash his lucky hat to the kid who gets his first hockey stick at age three.” McCoy and Magnotta were responsible for the campaign development, which was created by Fort Franklin, a Boston-based advertising agency. “We Believe in Hockey” also includes a print component, firmly establishing the NHL on OLN. The campaign’s full-page ads will run in newspapers, consumer and trade magazines including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Outside Magazine and Advertising Age. There will be a large internet component, as well as local market promotion in markets where OLN is featuring a game to include TV, radio, print and internet placements. “‘We Believe in Hockey’ is an expression of the dedication and passion for the sport in the voice (literally) of core hockey fans. Featuring actual game footage instantly connects with the core and is the most honest way to show OLN’s commitment to the sport and its fans,” said Marc Gallucci, CEO and Creative Director of Fort Franklin. “As an agency, we were meant for this assignment, not only due to our past campaigns for the NHL and ESPN, but because we are religious hockey fans who truly believe in the game.” If you haven't seen the 30-second spot from OLN, you can view (will open wmp video) it now and here is an advertising poster they are using.
from Hockey Refs,
Terry Gregson is back with the NHL after a short retirement from hockey officiating. The 51-year-old former referee and likely future Hall of Fame member is now the league’s senior officiating manager. “While Terry will be instrumental in assisting the NHL management team in instituting the new rules standard, his experience and expertise will also be of great benefit as we focus on the long-term development of our referees and linesmen,” said Stephen Walkom, the league’s director of officiating.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
As part of the National Hockey League's ongoing attempt to win back fans, the league is planning to give away miniature replica Stanley Cups to everyone who attends an opening night game in their 30 member cities. The massive giveaway — which will begin on 15 fronts, including Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver during Wednesday's opening night of play — was the brainchild of the league's marketing department. "The notion here is, one, to thank the fans and two, to reinforce that we are in a new era and the opportunity for everyone to compete for the Stanley Cup is very real," said Ed Horne, the president of NHL Enterprises.
from Stan Fischler of MSG Network,
-Although the Goaltenders’ Union won’t agree, it’s already evident that too little has been taken off goalie equipment to make a scintilla of difference. You can bet your bottom puck that the enlarged nets will be introduced next NHL season. -The new rule that stands the best chance of being killed by next season is the goalie-trapezoid. Lots of folks agree with our point that the liberty of goalie-roaming should be accompanied by letting them be fair-game for legal bodychecks. -Amazing, isn’t it, that one year Chris Chelios is scabbing for the Motor City (UHL) Mechanics and now he’s heading the bloc trying to block Ted Saskin’s NHLPA leadership. Next Chelios will be running for head of the AFL-CIO!
Anyone remember TSN's Power Rankings. It has been a long time but they are back!
Finally, after nearly a year-and-a-half on the sidelines, TSN.ca's NHL Power Rankings are back. A seemingly endless barrage of changes -- both rule and player transactions -- makes uncertainty the order of the day. Will the NHL stick to their guns on the penalty crackdown? Will the new rules result in more goals? Is this game going to be better than ever or the same old thing? If the league sticks to its guns, the skilled teams will be able to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack, and that bodes well for Canadian teams, most of which are strong skating squads.
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Sports Illustrated, USA Today, NBC, OLN, ESPN, ESPN The Magazine, The New York Times, among others, are scheduled to make Crosby the center of their NHL coverage Wednesday even though he has yet to take a shift in a regular season NHL game. All the attention doesn’t bother Crosby, who is more than accommodating to any interview requests. “No, this is part of it,” he said. “I understand that.”read on
from the CP via TSN,
Referees will wear microphones and announce penalties to spectators and to viewers watching at home when the NHL restarts with all 30 teams playing Wednesday night. It's the latest innovation for a league eager to attract attention and lure fans after the setback losing the 2004-2005 season to a collective bargaining impasse. The new set-up might not be in place in all arenas opening night but it will be there for each team's second home game, league officials promised Monday. Referees will announce single and offsetting penalties in English. If there are multiple penalties at the same time, to avoid delaying games announcements will be left to arena public address systems. In every instance, the in-house announcer will repeat the referee's call, which will enable penalty calls in Montreal to continue to be relayed to spectators in French. Also, every fan entering the 15 arenas in which openers are to be played will receive a mini Stanley Cup replica courtesy of the NHL. Individual teams also have their own giveaways.
Scott Burnside of ESPN lists players who can make a difference for their team and players who may not. He has this to say about Dominik Hasek,
Too old, too brittle and too long away from it all. Unless Hasek has found the goaltending equivalent of the fountain of youth, the Senators might be in the market for a proven NHL netminder before Christmas.
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 email@example.com