Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the LA Times,
So far, the Ducks are heading into the NHL’s Stanley Cup finals against the Ottawa Senators on Monday with far less buzz than would accompany a team from a traditional hockey town or, for that matter, a championship run by the Angels, Dodgers or Lakers.
No preponderance of flags waving from cars or wall-to-wall jabber on sports talk radio. No fans naming their first-born Teemu in a desperate attempt to win tickets.
On a recent evening at various sports bars around the Honda Center in Anaheim, patrons wore baseball caps and basketball jerseys. There wasn’t a Ducks hat or shirt in sight.
read on (reg. req.)
Tickets for the Anaheim Ducks’ home games in the Stanley Cup Finals sold out in less than 10 minutes after going on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, a team official said.
There was a four-ticket limit per customer for the series. Random numbered wristbands were distributed for purchasing tickets at the box office, said Ducks’ director of communications Alex Gilchrist.
Fans hoping to catch the Ducks facing off with the Ottawa Senators at the Honda Center can turn to various Web sites and ticket brokers where tickets were being resold.
Bidding for a pair of tickets 13 rows off the ice for Monday’s Game 1 reached $999 on eBay Saturday, while a suite that seats 14 persons, along with three tickets elsewhere in the arena and preferred parking, were sold for a reported $21,246 on RazorGator.com.
from Kevin Dupont at MSNBC,
Like I say, pretty country, full of nice folks, and there’s a lot to like about the Ottawa Senators, this year’s Canadian entry in the Stanley Cup finals.
I just happen to like the Ducks more — like 4 games to 2 more. That’s right, Ducks in six games, leaving the USA with a somewhat unholy trinity of Lightning, Hurricanes and Ducks as the NHL’s last three Cup champions.
You know, if the Panthers finish off with a grand slam in the spring of ‘08, it might be time to consider selling one of the six remaining Canadian franchises and shipping it south.
from the New York Times,
While clean and skillful play has become the prevailing style among most of the N.H.L.’s best teams, the Ducks, who will start the Stanley Cup finals against Ottawa tomorrow night, earned more penalty minutes (1,457) and engaged in far more fights (71) than any other club this season. And if the opinions available on fan-generated Web sites and blogs are any indication, Anaheim has become the team fans love to hate.
The Ducks have not toned down their act, and have been responsible for some of the postseason’s most unpleasant incidents. There have been 13 fights in the first three playoff rounds, and Anaheim has been involved in four.
more on the NHL and the NYT needs to take a better look at the UFAs they have mentioned…
from Mark Sutcliffe of the Ottawa Citizen,
This week’s events should cause the NHL to take stock and review its long-term goals. Evidence is mounting that the dream of a lucrative U.S. TV contract will never be realized. The league should abandon its singular focus on that unachievable goal and reposition itself in pursuit of a better opportunity: To thrive in markets where there is demand for hockey.
Hockey will never be a national game in the United States. There are too many regions where hockey ranks behind not just the big three American sports, but a dozen others as well. But that doesn’t mean the NHL doesn’t have an opportunity to grow.
from the San Francisco Chronicle,
If Ron Wilson is on the verge of getting fired as Sharks coach, that’s news to Greg Jamison, team president, chief executive officer and the person who manages San Jose’s ownership group.
General manager Doug Wilson only has the authority to recommend such a change, a decision that would ultimately be made by Jamison. And since the possibility of dismissing a coaching staff that signed multi-year contract extensions in November 2005 has not come up, Jamison isn’t expecting any bombshells before the GM’s self-imposed Memorial Day deadline.
“I don’t think that there’s an indication he (Ron Wilson) wouldn’t be here,” Jamison said.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
If the Senators’ trio of Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza can continue to shred defences with the same efficiency as they have in the first three rounds of the playoffs, Ottawa will win.
If the Ducks’ defensive duo of Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer can find a way of shutting them down, Anaheim will win.
Fundamentally, it really can be as simple as that.
from John Steigerwald of the Beaver County Times,
Do you think anybody at the NHL sees any irony in the fact that its final championship series opens on the same day that swimming pools all over America open?
It will be 8 p.m. in the Eastern Time zone when the Ducks and Ottawa Senators start skating and most normal people will be soaking up the holiday weekend’s last hour of sunlight.
On Tuesday, newspapers all over America will be filled with columns laughing at the putrid TV ratings for the first game of the Stanley Cup Final and talking about what an obscure, niche sport hockey has become.
The NHL deserves the terrible ratings that all of the games will get just as it deserved to have NBC drop out of overtime in a series clinching game in Buffalo in favor of 90 minutes of blather leading up to a two minute horse race.
more... So John, don’t watch, simple as that!
from the Daily Observer,
When Dorothy Villamere and her husband Cecil bought the family hunt camp near Dacre 58 years ago, never in a million years did she dream the Stanley Cup would find its way there.
As the winners of the ‘Bring Home the Stanley Cup’ contest on CBC, the family won the ultimate playoff party, complete with a visit from six-time Stanley Cup champion Mark Messier and hockey’s holy grail.
After much anticipation, at 6:45 p.m. just as planned, Mr. Messier emerged from behind the tall trees lining the dirt road leading to the camp carrying the cup.
via MutliChannel News,
Other sports are skating on thinner ice. Viewership of the National Hockey League playoffs on Comcast’s Versus network is flat compared to last year. And TNT and ESPN are reporting double-digit dips in viewership of the National Basketball Association playoffs.
Versus’ 0.2 household rating for NHL playoff ratings through May 25 is even compared to its inaugural season of hockey coverage, according to network president Gavin Harvey. The network’s conference finals coverage however, posted a 17% increase to a 0.7 from a 0.6.
He said the network has benefited from several competitive playoff series featuring a number of big market teams, including all three New York City-area teams and the upstate Buffalo Sabres.
He also pointed to the increased awareness of Versus’ NHL coverage, which includes regular-season, playoff and two Stanley Cup finals telecasts. “Clearly we have more awareness as the home of hockey than we had last year,” he said.
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.
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