Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Will The Fans Follow The Devils

from the NY Times,

While the words "If you build it, they will come" once inspired an Iowa corn farmer to create his own field of dreams, these — "If you build it, who will come?" — should have inspired Newark's mayor, Sharpe James, and Devils officials to toss their blueprints under the wheels of the first passing Zamboni. Despite winning 3 Stanley Cups in the last 11 seasons, the Devils have the misfortune of possessing one of the most disloyal fan bases in the history of sports. Are these same fair-weather Meadowlanders who regularly left thousands of seats empty during the best of Stanley Cup times now going to drive — at night — to a more-menacing area to storm the gates of their new palace? At the other end of the move, how many new fans will the Devils find in Newark, a predominantly black and Hispanic city that has no cultural or ethnic ties to a game in which just about everything is white except for the puck and a few puffy eyes? Neither Jeffrey Vanderbeek, the Devils' chairman, nor Mayor James responded to repeated calls to discuss these issues.
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Marketing Gone Bad

from Yahoo,

From Crosby to Ovechkin to Eric Staal in Carolina and Dion Pfaneuf in Calgary, the game is enjoying an unprecedented infusion of young talent. And with rule changes the product is better. It's just a matter of getting that product in front of more faces. But the NHL can't be trusted to market its own product. Back in October, to celebrate the return of the sport after a year on ice, the league launched a "My NHL" ad campaign that succeeded in insulting the sensibility of diehard fans, offending women and bringing an unscientifically estimated zero new fans to the game. The best-case scenario for the league, from a marketing perspective, would be a New York-Detroit matchup in the Stanley Cup finals. The Rangers were eliminated Saturday. The Red Wings are on the brink of elimination. Now by all accounts Calgary is a fantastic hockey town. But commissioner Gary Bettman has to be sweating more profusely than usual over the prospect of another Calgary appearance in the Stanley Cup finals, even if such an appearance is an endorsement of sound team hockey and fiscal responsibility. Like it or not, television viewers in the United States aren't going to embrace a Calgary-Ottawa final, and it's that audience the league desperately needs.
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Stars Can’t Get It Done

from the Dallas Stars,

"In overtime, we pushed for the win," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "I thought we had a great chance to win. The effort was there. We had five or six scoring chances to their one or two. The bottom line is you've got to find a way to get it done. We'll all have to answer the critics for that, coaches, players, everybody." "All that matters is how you finish up and we are obviously disappointed right now," Modano said. "There were a couple of games that could have gone either way and we dug ourselves an early hole. We had some bad bounces and scrambly play. We had tons of chances late in the game and in OT."
more added 7:57pm, from the Rocky Mountain News,
Jose Theodore played only five games for Colorado in the regular season. Now, after five postseason games he's already won over his new teammates. "He's the reason we're standing here with smiles on our face, really. He was unbelievable today," said Colorado captain Joe Sakic, who scored his 81st career playoff goal and had the shot that led to the winner. "I mean, they could've ended it so many times — not only in overtime, but in the third. He kept us in and gave us a chance." read on

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Superstar Time

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

In the world according to Calgary Flames' coach Darryl Sutter, a player's place in the hockey world order is defined by how he performs on the biggest stage, at the most critical time of the season. By that measure, his captain, Jarome Iginla is winning the battle of the National Hockey League superstars.
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Excitement Builds

from the CP via TSN,

Teams in the NHL playoffs have pulled out all the stops for raucous pre-game shows in their buildings. TV viewers see only brief segments, missing out for the most part on the most colourful promotional aspect of playoff hockey. In Montreal, the Canadiens beam a video onto the Bell Centre ice before games covering moments from their 24 Stanley cup victories and ending with images of the current players. The San Jose Sharks' pre-game has a dynamic build-up to the players' arrival onto the ice. It begins with the walk from the dressing room to classical music. There is lighting behind each player's head, casting huge silhouettes, and there is extra lighting during the playoffs to further highlight the massive shark's head through which the players reach the ice.
read on

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Why

from Fox Sports,

The Red Wings are one loss away from taking an early exit from the NHL playoffs for a third straight time. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2002, the Dead Things #&151; I mean Red Wings #&151; were eliminated within the first two rounds in 2003 and 2004 postseason tournaments. And if trouble comes in three, the Red Wings are up the creek without a paddle. Detroit is one loss away from another crash-and-burn postseason. The vital signs are not good if you are a fan of the Red Wings. Detroit may have outshot Edmonton and only lost by a goal in Game 5, but the 3-2 outcome flattered the Red Wings. The Oilers were the better team by a proverbial country mile.
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Panthers Plan Payroll Increase

from the Sun-Sentinel,

After a season under the NHL's new economic system, Panthers owner Alan Cohen says he is confident the team will be able to sign goalie Roberto Luongo long-term and will raise payroll by as much as $10 million to keep the team together and add defensemen. "I would like Roberto to be our goalie till he retires," Cohen said. "Hopefully with a few Stanley Cups in hand and a load of banners in the rafters that he backstopped. Plus his jersey.
continued

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Important To Beat The Rangers

from Alan Hahn of Newsday,

Brodeur, who again lost to the Rangers in 1994 and '97, talked about it from the start of the series, how he wanted to go through them. He talked about it during the series, how despite their eight-year run of futility in the midst of the Devils' dynamic run of success (and two Stanley Cups since 2000), the Rangers were still the metropolitan area's trademark for hockey. "We live with Rangers fans," he said. "All my neighbors are Rangers fans, my kid's coach is a Rangers fan. Anyone who says it's not sweet shouldn't be in here." Yes, it means that much to him, even after all he has accomplished.
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Can’t Think Of A Story- Bash Detroit

from Jeremy Loome of the Edmonton Sun,

This week, Networth explores that nasty strip of urban blight known as Detroit, home to the Soon-to-be-DeadThings. Y'know, we were just kidding around when we went Google-ing for reasons to dislike the Motor City as the Oilers joust with the Wings in the first round of the NHL playoffs. But it turns out there are so many reasons to think Detroit sucks, the average resident there would probably rather live .... well, anywhere else, really. And most of these come from Detroit web pages. So without further ado, let the bashing begin... If you're wondering how Detroit went from a bustling, gleaming metropolis of two million souls in the 1950s to the cruddy, decaying mess it is now, just consider the whole racism thing again.
read on

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Sabres Looking For A Turnaround

from the Toronto Sun,

Pounding on the already wounded psyche of the Buffalo sporting community, the Flyers ran a replay of Scott Norwood's missed field goal in Super Bowl XXV that left the Bills on the short end of a 20-19 score to the New York Giants. At the end of the display, the word "CHOKERS" appeared on the video screen. Whether that was a direct inference to the Sabres' sudden struggles is not yet clear. This is a young, fast Buffalo team that has shown a lot of resiliency and never quits. At the same time, there were a number of disturbing tendencies in Philly that Ruff must get straightened out when his team steps on to the HSBC Arena ice this afternoon for Game 5.
read on from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
And what a big change for Peter Forsberg. In the first two games, he didn't play well at all but, back on home ice, he was absolutely dominant (back-to-back two-goal, one-assist performances), just like the Peter Forsberg of old who dominated the playoffs with the Colorado Avalanche. How are the Buffalo Sabres going to stop him?
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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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