Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Owner Dave Checketts, who lowered ticket prices to entice fans back to the arena, has said the Blues’ payroll would be about $40 million for the 2007-08 season. That leaves Davidson and Co. with about $5 million to spend in free agency — probably not enough to land a player such as Briere. He made $5 million with the Sabres this season, and after posting 32 goals and 95 points, could net $8 million to $9.5 million per year in a new deal.
So, three years after salaries bordering on $10 million forced the NHL into a lockout, salaries are back in the same neighborhood. This time, it was planned.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Giguere is finishing a contract that paid him $3.99 million this season. Winning the Cup, and perhaps a second Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs, would make him a very popular person the second that the free-agency period opens July 1.
Even if he isn’t the playoff MVP, he is destined to become a very, very rich man. The question is whether his paychecks will have a Ducks logo on them.
The NHL’s salary cap is expected to rise from $44 million to about $48.5 million next season, but the Ducks have a lot of high-priced players to get in under that limit.
They’re obligated to pay Chris Pronger $6.25 million and Scott Niedermayer $6.75 million and they’ll surely want to bring Teemu Selanne back after his 48-goal season.
more (reg. req.)
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
But rather than reflecting the “old” NHL, where teams like New Jersey used to lie back in the neutral zone, grab onto opposing players as they tried to gain the offensive zone and thus limiting much offensive creativity, the Ducks seem to have found the perfect hybrid of the old and the new.
Under Anaheim GM Brian Burke’s tutelage—and making good use of prospects acquired by Murray when he was Ducks GM—Anaheim has achieved success by using a lethal blend of size and speed to shut down the Senators.
As Burke is fond of saying, he wants a team that can do it all—play with speed, punish opposing teams and, if push comes to shove, drop the gloves.
from the Wall Street Journal,
Why has it been 14 years since the last Canadian Stanley Cup win? One easy place to point the finger is at salaries. Most of the Canadian franchises are in small markets, and the disparity between the Canadian and American dollars had made it increasingly difficult for teams like the Oilers to keep stars in the mold of Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier when they become eligible for free agency or to lure other players to replace them….
The other trend was the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and the influx of East European players. For reasons ranging from economic factors to the intense rivalry that stemmed from the hard-fought games the Canadian national team played against several Eastern European opponents in the Canada Cup series (now known as the World Cup of Hockey), Canadian teams didn’t add Eastern European stars to their rosters as quickly as American franchises did. For example, between 1994 and 2003, five winners of the Hart Trophy, given to the league’s most valuable player, were born outside North America, but none played for a Canadian team.
from the CP via Yahoo,
CBC’s ratings for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final were up slightly from last year but the U.S. numbers continue to plunge.
An average of 2.378 million viewers tuned in to CBC on Wednesday as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Ottawa Senators 1-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Game 2 of the 2006 final between Carolina and Edmonton attracted an average of 2.189 million viewers.
On Versus in the U.S., Game 2 got a 0.6 cable rating and was watched in just 446,000 homes. That was down 33 per cent from last year’s second game, which received a 0.9 cable rating (600,000 homes) on OLN, as the same network was known then. This year’s Game 1 was watched in just 523,000 households in the United States.
Q. I was just wondering, in last night’s game, one of the keys seems to be that Sammy Pahlsson, not only did he score the goal, but he was pretty dominant in the face-off circle. Tell me a little bit why you think when he’s on like he was last night, he’s such a good face-off man.
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I think at times face-offs are a collective stat. It’s is not just the one guy. As you notice in a lot of the playoffs, certain center icemen, they have the tie-up mode going on and the wingers jump in and help recover all the loose pucks. I think that has a loot to do with the percentage also.
And the stats dictate. But it’s not just one individual that’s competing for the puck off the face-off, there’s a group of players. Sammy has his share of secrets and techniques that he likes to use. And every good face-off guy does.
And he hones those skills on a day-to-day basis in practice. He does lots of work on it after practice, and we think those little things pay off in the end. And surprisingly you would think he’s a small-bodied guy, but he’s over 210 pounds and six-one. So he’s a bigger, thicker-bodied individual than he appears on the ice.
Q. Bryan, you and your players have talked a lot the last couple of days about how you feel the Ducks are holding you up and making it difficult to create a forecheck. According to the rules, it shouldn’t be happening that way. I wonder if, big picture, do you see this as a problem for the NHL?
COACH BRYAN MURRAY: No, actually, I said after the game last night to the coaching staff, I thought the way they played and the way we played was better and different. I didn’t think there was much holdup last night. I thought both referees did a real good job, and I really did. I felt that the players decided the game last night. Anaheim over the course of the game played better than we did.
from the AP via the NY Post,
“Knowing the intensity and the atmosphere that’s created in Canadian cities with the culture of the game, we thought it was in our best interests that we moved and got away from downtown,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “We think it’s time to focus. We can sacrifice our interaction with the public and focus on the task at hand.”
In other words, this is a business trip for a determined Anaheim team that holds a 2-0 lead over the Senators in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals, which resume at Ottawa on Saturday night.
The resort - about a 30-minute drive from Scotiabank Place - also happens to have its share of good luck. It’s the same place the New Jersey Devils stayed when they eliminated Ottawa in seven games in the 2003 Eastern Conference finals.
from the AP via MSNBC,
The Ottawa Senators need a big change in a hurry. They could start by remembering the inspirational words of Roger Neilson.
The NHL’s “Captain Video,’’ for pioneering the use of game video as a coaching technique, and a hockey Hall of Famer, Neilson’s presence is still held in high regard in Ottawa four years since the Senators assistant coach died after a long battle with cancer. There’s a portrait of Neilson that hangs in the Senators assistant coach’s box at Scotiabank Place, and another one in the players’ room.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
You hear it all the time in hockey circles: Who really cares about the never-ending drama at the NHL Players’ Association?
Well, I do, for more than a few reasons. But here’s a good example why fans should be interested in a strong, healthy players’ union:
You know the Nashville Predators? The franchise that almost assuredly will be relocating sometime in the next couple years? Yeah, them.
read on and many more hockey bits too…
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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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