Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

More Entertainment Needed

from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,

For all the attention-grabbing, cost-handling, fan-pandering changes that came with the underwear model and her Warrior Hockey marketing campaign last season, the game made only incremental steps in regards to entertainment value and considering how long it had languished in its no-offense mode, the changes did little more than bring the game back into a focus it had well over a decade ago. As a rule, the NHL still isn't a scoring league in line with say the National Football League, the National Basketball Association or even the seemingly still-juiced Major League Baseball product. On any given night last season it was long periods of up and down action with no real increase in scoring until one of the countless power plays came into being. If that didn't resolve anything, at least a four-on-four overtime and then a shootout sent the fans home happy.
more

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Versus Game 1 Ratings

via the Globe and Mail,

For its NHL opener (Buffalo Sabres-Carolina Hurricanes), the U.S. cable channel Versus, formerly called OLN, had a rating of 0.32 (percentage of U.S. cable households watching the game). That's an increase of 14 per cent over last year's Philadelphia Flyers-New York Rangers opener.

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Bettman Talks Arbitration

from the Buffalo News,

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is sympathetic to the Sabres' situation, but warns arbitration could become more of an inconvenience to the players. As long as the salary cap is tied to a percentage of league revenues, teams can't be hurt financially - although they might be forced to say goodbye to valued players. "Not a big fan of arbitration. Never have been," Bettman said Wednesday night during the Sabres' season-opening victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the RBC Center. "Because we have the hard cap it wasn't something that we felt we had to go to the mat over, but I think over time . . . if the awards are excessive in a hard-cap system, you've got to take a good, hard look as to whether or not the monies are being fairly allocated in a sensible way."
read on...and Bettman sees the cap increasing for next season...

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Changes Taking Place

from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press,

Embracing change is like taking cough medicine. You can mask it in something that you hope hides the bitterness, but inevitably, there comes a time when there's no other option but to open your mouth, close your eyes and take it. I doubt the Wings will employ that motto as a marketing strategy. But change has placed the Wings in the unrecognizable position of competing for the public's attention. They can dance around it all they wish, but when the music stops, the truth still stares them in the face. The Wings are in transition, writing the first chapters of a new era. And nobody is certain where it'll lead.
continued

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‘Direct’ Marketing

from the LA Daily News,

For the first time, the Kings will significantly cut back their advertising, particularly in terms of newspaper ads and billboards, and divert their resources to more hands-on endeavors, including clinics at local rinks and donation of equipment. The goal is simple: To make hockey fans out of the area's youth, and by extension get their parents involved in the sport and make all of them into Kings fans. "Some teams create a fan-development program but they simply dip their toe in, and don't invest enough to make it work," Hunter said. "This is a great sport, but there aren't enough kids playing it. "What we're trying to do, in terms of marketing, is shoot with a laser. It's a more measured return. You get more out of your marketing dollars if you reach out directly to people, and that's what we're trying to do. It's more effective, in the long run, than running an ad every day in the newspaper."
read on

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All Eyes On The Cup

from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,

Not make the playoffs? Why on earth would anybody believe such a preposterous notion? The Blue Jackets have the best team they have ever had — that seems absolutely certain — and on the eve of the first game of the season, their locker room was brimming with confidence. This is it, folks. All those devastating injuries, those heartbreaking lastminute breakdowns, those broken promises … gone. These Blue Jackets have talent. They’ve got experience. They know they’re going to win. "Everyone starts the year like that," winger Jody Shelley said. Huh?
read on

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Bad First Home Impression

from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,

Today, Ottawa fans are nodding their heads in agreement about Gerber's lack of "spectacular." And they can only hope they don't see many more nights like the one that just passed from their new 'tender. For on a home opener that saw the Senators lay a big fat egg, Gerber wore the yolk on his face. He gave them something they haven't had here in a long time, all right. At least not since Patrick Lalime played his way out of Ottawa on April 20, 2004 -- in Game 7 of a first round playoff series loss to (almost) these very same Leafs.... The Senators were a bad lot in this embarrassing, 6-0 home opening loss to a team that will have its hands full making the playoffs. And a very inconsistent Gerber -- in two periods before being mercifully replaced -- was the worst of it.
more

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Ref Injured

via the AP,

Referee Rob Martell left the San Jose Sharks' game against the St. Louis Blues in the third period Thursday night after getting hit in the left eye by an errant puck. He was taken to a hospital for evaluation. When struck, Martell fell face-first on the ice. He stayed down for several moments before being helped to the dressing room, leaving a pool of blood on the ice behind the Blues' net.
If any of the KK readers have an update, please feel free to leave a comment.

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So True

I knew it was going to be a bad night when I opened the candy package before the Wings game last night. image image

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The Favorite- Ducks

from the OC Register,

Buoyed by the addition of superstar defenseman Chris Pronger in a summer trade with Edmonton, the Ducks enter tonight's regular-season opener against the Kings at Honda Center as trendy and popular picks to skate off with the most revered and famous championship trophy in all of sports. Supposed experts on both sides of the border, impressed primarily by the presence of Pronger and fellow Norris Trophy winner Scott Niedermayer, are lining up to cast their respective lots with the Ducks, a team that has reached the playoffs four times in its 12 seasons.
more

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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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