Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Edmonton Sun,
The Edmonton-Minnesota showdown last Thursday for first in the division looked very much like most Edmonton-Minnesota games - awful - until a three-goal third period outburst made everyone forget the emotionless drudgery of the previous 50 minutes.
If the NHL’s goal in creating an unbalanced schedule with 32 of 82 games against divisional opponents was to foster true, blood-boiling rivalries, well, it’s not working. At least not in the Northwest….
Familiarity has not bred contempt. Teams hate playing each other more than they hate each other.
“It’s almost like overkill,’’ said Liles, the diminutive, and likeable Avs defenceman. “The schedule is just goofy. I don’t know if there’s any other way to describe it.
from the Miami Herald,
The thought of fans waiting outside the arena for hours would have been considered a pipe dream a few years ago, when the team played in front of a sea of empty seats as it tried to claw its way out of bankruptcy court.
Today, the Sabres are rock stars, flush with cash and short on tickets and merchandise.
Every home game to date this season has been sold out, and the team has the hottest-selling gear in the game.
And how is this for a sign of the times: The Bills, Buffalo’s most beloved band of athletes, can’t sell out their stadium for a game today against the hated Dolphins.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Confirm or deny: The Edmonton Oilers would part with Raffi Torres and a No. 1 draft pick in order to add Tucker to their lineup ... Should Sundin waive his no-trade clause at the trade deadline—and the only way he would do that would be if he thinks the Leafs won’t make the playoffs—don’t be surprised if Anaheim takes a run at the captain. Sundin would have $1.7 million US left on his contract at that time and the Ducks have cap room.
more on the NHL and the Leafs…
from the Vanouver Province,
“I was hoping they’d go upstairs because I saw and I thought it was in,” said Dupuis who was dishing out celebratory high fives to teammates after the play.
“We have the video replay now and I thought they’d call that in. Not a doubt in my mind, not at all.”
Dupuis had basic physics on his side. Even though Luongo was covering the goal line, and the puck was in the air, his mask was clearly in the net when the puck hit him.
But despite more circumstantial evidence than the OJ prosecution team—and the fact CBC later blew up a video still to leave nearly no doubt—the officials in Toronto threw up their hands and said they couldn’t prove what they knew to be true.
“We thought the puck was in but we couldn’t find a picture that showed the puck across the goal line conclusively and that’s our job,” said Mike Murphy, the NHL’s senior vice president.
from the LA Times,
One important piece hasn’t been addressed. Jean-Sebastien Giguere has an expiring contract in July and would love for General Manager Brian Burke to open a dialogue toward keeping him in Anaheim, where he has tended goal for the last six years.
But with the Ducks off to a historic start and directly in the chase for the Cup, Burke doesn’t want his goalie distracted.
“My general policy here is that we do not negotiate contracts during the regular season,” Burke said. “I’m not saying I never would. But in general, I don’t like to even talk after training camp.”
It means Giguere and his agent, Bob Sauve, will wait and listen when Burke is ready to talk. But the price tag is rising as the wins pile up for the 29-year-old impending unrestricted free agent.
read on (reg. req.)
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
This a hockey story. But then again, it really isn’t.
As easy as it is to attach a picture of Sidney Crosby to every breathless story emanating out of Pittsburgh concerning the on-again, off-again sale of the Penguins franchise, this is really only about cold, hard business.
Making it about Crosby falsely simplifies a convoluted and speculative tale of gambling, television, bankruptcy, multi-million development projects, arena funding, hand-held communication devices and multi-lateral political intrigue.
Still, for Canadians at least, Crosby is a reason to care.
Gary Bettman answers a few question…
from the Toronto Sun,
Q: Whose responsibility is it to market the new stars? The league, teams or players?
I think it’s a combination of all three. Players have their individual endorsements but we’re seeing a new spirit of co-operation when it comes to promoting the game. The players have given more access then ever before, especially to our media partners. It’s the whole package and it all helps.
Q: Will there be NHL games shown exclusively on the Internet on a payper-view basis?
There will b e games broadcast on streaming video. How they are delivered, that will be worked out.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Meanwhile, ratings for Monday’s nationally televised matchup (well, on Versus) between Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, er, between Pittsburgh and Washington, gained a 0.2 rating across the United States. That’s point-two. That’s a couple of hundred thousand households. Somehow, the next night’s game between the Devils and Sabres gained an 0.3 rating. Huh?
The NHL tired to promote the Crosby-Ovechkin showdown in its own way, but without access to ESPN, what exactly were the promotional platforms?
Did the league actually spend any money to promote the contest? Or did they think the bloggers would take care of it all?
much more from Larry…
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
The Canadiens are looking for help at centre and could be eyeing veteran Sergei Fedorov.
Some whispers out of Montreal last week had the Habs looking at bringing in Fedorov to help the club try to stay in the playoff race.
The Habs current payroll sits at $41 million and they would have to clear some money off the books if they’re going to bring in a guy like Fedorov.
From David Ginsburg of the AP, via Metronews,
Inspired by the return of Peter Forsberg, the Philadelphia Flyers began their bid to end a five-game losing streak by scoring first against the Washington Capitals.
By the end of the first period, the lead was gone. So was Forsberg, who missed the final 40 minutes with a concussion after absorbing a wicked hit from Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.
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.
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