Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Specifically, don’t expect the Research in Motion czar to divulge even the tiniest detail of his intentions towards the struggling Nashville Predators, at least not until his agreement to buy the team closes June 30.
And when Balsillie is grilled by league commissioner Gary Bettman and various owners, insiders guess his approach will be different than when he was trying to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“He’ll have to lie through his teeth,” said one NHL source.
That’s because most believe the NHL won’t take kindly to Balsillie boldly outlining plans to get the Preds out of Music City as soon as possible, even though many NHL governors undoubtedly won’t miss a team that has been drinking deeply from the league’s revenue-sharing trough the past two seasons.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
When the Stanley Cup final starts Monday in Anaheim, most of the leading newspapers in the United States will be busy doing something else.
They certainly won’t be sending reporters to Canada to cover the games in Ottawa, where connections are difficult and fares expensive.
“It’s Disneyland against Parliament,” one U.S. sportswriter said about the Senators-Ducks series. “Not only is it impossible to get directly from one place to another, but it takes a great deal of time and money.
“If I’m a sports editor, I say forget about it. I can spend my money on something better.”
continued... Even both Detroit newspapers are taking a pass…
from Greg Johnson of the LA Times,
The Stanley Cup finals are approaching and hockey couldn’t be in better shape.
A late-season NHL television broadcast drew almost 10% of the country’s residents, no matter that neither team was playoff-bound. First-round playoff TV ratings dipped but rebounded nicely for subsequent rounds. And Sidney Crosby, who’s been touted by the nation’s media since he was a boy, was named NHL rookie of the year.
Wait a minute, that’s the hockey story in Canada….
South of the border, where 24 of 30 NHL teams are based, hockey remains mired in problems.
read on (reg. req.)
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
This is a league that does not share its attendance revenues. So a Canadian team might draw well at home, but an American owner couldn’t care less. He’s not going to see any of it. What he does know is that Canadian teams are traditionaly the NHL’s worst road draws. An owner in a major American city doesn’t want to try to sell tickets for games against teams from places like Winnipeg, Quebec and Waterloo — or even Calgary and Edmonton for that matter. He wants visits from New York, Boston, Los Angeles and so on.
Now, once Balsillie purchases the Predators, the battle will be on. He will want to move that team out of Nashville and into Canada. Perhaps, down the road, some other entrepeneur will try to follow a similar pattern with the Atlanta Thrashers or the Florida Panthers, and some of the other cities that Bettman brought into the NHL.
And while Canada is a nice place, it’s not the place to be if you’re trying to establish your sports league as a major league in the United States.
This is what Bettman has wrought.
Mike Stone of WDFN in Detroit wants the Predators to move to Windsor!
Mike thinks it would be cool and can just imagine the rivalry that would be created.
What do you think? Be kind to Stoney, a good guy and the best radio sports guy in Detroit.
Wojo, his sidekick says the only way for this to happen is to call the team the Windsor Ballets (Detroit area residents can explain if it comes up).
from the Florida Panthers,
Panther captain Olli Jokinen won’t be holding anything back tonight at 7 p.m., when he discusses the past season, wrist surgery, and the promise of the future during the first live chat on FloridaPanthers.com.
Jokinen, the team’s leading scorer the past two seasons, will answer fan questions for approximately one hour. Log on to www.floridapanthers.com tonight at 7 p.m.
from Kevin Allen at USA TODAY,
Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s ability to make crucial saves at the right time this postseason could end up helping his bank account as much as his Anaheim Ducks team.
Giguere, 30, will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and his stellar performance this spring puts him in position to ask for a contract worth more than $5 million a season. Nashville Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun received a four-year extension worth $5.7 million a season, and his playoff resume isn’t as impressive as Giguere’s.
• Emery never has faced the Ducks, marking the second consecutive year that a starting goaltender in the Stanley Cup Final faced his opponent for the first time. In the 2006 Final, Carolina Hurricanes rookie goaltender Cam Ward had not previously faced the Edmonton Oilers.
• Brothers In Arms: The Ducks’ Rob and Scott Niedermayer will be the first brothers to appear in the Final as teammates since the Philadelphia Flyers’ Rich and Ron Sutter in the 1985 Final against Edmonton. The last brother combination to win the Stanley Cup was Brent and Duane Sutter, who captured their second consecutive title together with the New York Islanders in 1983. The Niedermayers became the first set of brothers on opposing clubs in the Stanley Cup Final since 1946 when Scott’s New Jersey Devils defeated Rob’s Ducks in 2003.
STAMFORD, Conn. (May 24, 2007)—On Monday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 30, VERSUS, the national cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), will air exclusive coverage of the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final when the Western Conference Champion Anaheim Ducks face-off against the Eastern Conference Champion Ottawa Senators. VERSUS’ coverage of the Stanley Cup Final games will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET with the pre-game Hockey Central studio show LIVE from the Honda Center in Anaheim and will be hosted by broadcast veteran Bill Clement, who will be joined by VERSUS analysts Keith Jones and Brian Engblom. Mark Messier, who won five Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers and then led the Rangers to Stanley Cup victory in 1994, will join the studio team on-site as a celebrity guest analyst. Mike “Doc” Emrick is the series’ play-by-play voice and will be joined in the booth by analyst Eddie Olczyk. Bob Harwood and Christine Simpson will serve as on-site reporters and will have unprecedented access to coaches and players allowing for all of the exclusive interviews during the game.
from the NashvillePost.com,
In a letter to Nashville Predators season ticket holders, suite owners and sponsors, team owner Craig Leipold explained why he is selling the team and confirms that it is being sold to Jim Balsillie, co-chief executive officer of Blackberry maker Research in Motion.
In his letter, Leipold stated that the team will have a $27-million real cash loss over the past two seasons because of below average attendance even though the team tallying up a total of 216 points, the fifth best in the NHL.
added 12:58pm, via Bloomberg,
The price ($220M) may show that Balsillie is considering moving the team from Nashville, where its average home crowd of 15,260 ranked eighth from last in the 30-team NHL in attendance this year, said Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp Ltd., a Chicago- based sports industry consulting firm.
“This is a very big number for a team in Nashville,’’ Ganis said. “There might be something more here.’‘
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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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