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Bettman Sees More Growth

from the AP & CP via the Globe and Mail,

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke with The Canadian Press on the eve of the NHL's 89th season in a wide-ranging interview that, among other things, touched on the salary cap, visors, Rick DiPietro's 15-year deal, Bob Clarke's offer sheet and TV ratings south of the border. Here's what he had to say: Question: What are your expectations for league revenues this year, in other words, where do you think the salary cap is headed? Bettman: We will continue to grow. I expect the cap to continue to go up. Will it jump as dramatically a year from now as it did this year? The answer is no. I think that the burst that we were able to show, the resiliency that we were able to demonstrate in bringing the business back, is something that you cannot replicate every year. However I am extremely bullish in our future prospects. I believe in the strength of the game and the business of the game.
read on

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First Baseball - Now Golf

The Washington Capitals are holding their annual charity golf tournament, the Caps Care Classic, today, at the Springfield Golf and Country Club in Springfield, Va. The event, which began at 1pm with a shotgun start, includes an online auction (already underway at WashingtonCaps.com) and a dinner after the golf tournament. It benefits the Children’s National Medical Center, Athletes Against Autism and Washington Capitals Charities. Click the pic for a larger view. image
update 4:46pm, from the Caps PR department,

Those of you who have seen the photo of Alex Ovechkin practicing his golf swing will probably be surprised to hear this, but Ovechkin just hit a hole in one during the Caps Care Classic at the Springfield Golf and Country Club in Springfield, Va. Ovechkin took a shot on the par-3, 160-yard fourth hole that landed short of the green and rolled in. In fairness, Ovechkin had been practicing at that hole for some time, meeting each group as it came through. But a hole in one is a hole in one.
more pics added at 5:34pm

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Dream Theme

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

PHOENIX -- It's mid-May, 2007. The Western Conference finals series is about to begin. Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky is surrounded by a sea of reporters. "How did this happen?" Gretzky is asked. "How did a team many believed wasn't capable of even qualifying for the postseason end up in the conference finals for the first time in franchise history?" Gretzky shrugs his shoulders. "Anything is possible," the greatest player of all time says. "Anything."

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Shannon Will Improve Hockey On TV

from Sports Business Journal (paid sub.),

OLN came out of the All-Star break with a new on-air set and a new graphics package. Plus, in March the NHL hired veteran hockey producer John Shannon to help make the broadcasts more professional. Shannon was a longtime executive producer of “Hockey Night in Canada” and Leafs TV.... Much of this confidence comes from a television schedule that gives NBC and Versus more exclusive windows for hockey games. NBC will show its games on Sundays this season, as opposed to Saturdays last season. And Versus will have an exclusive game of the week on Tuesday nights through November, after which it will switch to Monday nights. “I view last season very much as a transitional season for us on television,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “This summer, and obviously this year leading up to this coming season, we’ve been able to develop a very good schedule for Versus and for NBC. … We weren’t able to create exclusive windows last year, just because of the timing.” So far, some advertisers are stepping up. Dodge and Enterprise agreed to return as sponsors on Versus. New sponsors for the upcoming season include Rent-A-Center, Philips Electronics, Clorox and Midas. NHL executives credit Shannon’s hiring with helping to stabilize the hockey broadcasts, which look like much admired “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcasts. “He is working to establish minimum standards and minimum criteria with our rights holders, and he’s going to work on a constant basis in terms of providing feedback and evaluations with our local broadcasters and working with them to help improve the quality of the broadcast,” Daly said.

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Staal At SIKids

Q & A video with Eric Staal at SIKids... Mostly questions on who will win the East, West, the young NHLers, who will win the Hart, etc... image

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Players On Waivers

The teams are beginning to release their cut and waiver transactions. KK members, please feel free to keep the KK readers informed, using the Forums to post that information as it gets released. I will post anything considered major in the hockey section of KK.

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League Reviewing Actions

from Bob McKenzie at TSN,

As the Toronto Maple Leafs struggle to deal with an injury-depleted blueline, it is quite likely they will be without defenceman Pavel Kubina for opening against the Ottawa Senators. The NHL is reviewing Kubina's match penalty from last night's final pre-season game against the Detroit Red Wings and it appears he will be suspended for at least one regular-season game. Meanwhile, the NHL is continuing to review Atlanta Thrasher forward Ilya Kovalchuk's match penalty for a kicking motion in a pre-season game against Nasvhille.
update 3:39pm, Kovalchuk fined but no suspension. added 5:38pm, Kubina gets a game suspension.

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Lawsuit Mess

Three current and former National Hockey League players, with the support of a large number of additional NHL athletes, filed suit today against the NHL Players Association, Executive Director Ted Saskin, former President Trevor Linden and three other Association members. The plaintiffs, Chris Chelios, Dwayne Roloson and Trent Klatt, say the NHLPA and the other defendants have repeatedly violated the Association's constitution, thus infringing upon the democratic rights of the players that the union represents. The players are asking that the court remove Saskin as NHLPA Executive Director. They say, among other things, he was improperly elected, he misrepresented salary figures during negotiations, and he illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars in union funds for his own benefit. The other defendants in the suit are Bill Guerin, currently playing in the NHL, and Vincent Damphousse and Bob Boughner, both retired. "Unfortunately, this lawsuit has become necessary after months of stonewalling by the union," said Chelios, a 22-year veteran of the NHL. "On behalf of more than 100 NHL players, we continue to seek full disclosure by the NHLPA of the events leading up to Bob Goodenow's departure and the hijacking of the union by a handful of other players. We have repeatedly requested that Mr. Saskin agree to an investigation by an impartial third party and he has steadfastly refused to do so. We simply want to eliminate fraud within the players' union and restore democracy as provided by our constitution."

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Hockey Video Game Roundup

image What a year for video game hockey! In the first full year for next generation game development we have two wonderful games to choose from. Both will bring you closer to the ice than ever before and have you developing strategies to raise the Stanley Cup.

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New NHL Pitch- Better Than Ever

from Sports Business Journal (paid sub.),

“A lot of the corporate community was interested in seeing how last season went first,” said NHL Enterprises President Ed Horne. “They wanted to see if our fans would come back, and they came back stronger than some of them anticipated.” The NHL was able to sign on some new marketing blood in the offseason. Gatorade and Pepsi, brands renowned for activating sports sponsorships, replaced Powerade, an NHL sponsor since 1997, and Coke, a sponsor since 1989. While it’s still finalizing the supporting media buys, Verizon Wireless is replacing Sprint Nextel as the cellular service sponsor. Anheuser-Busch, an NHL sponsor since 1994, is finalizing a two-year renewal of its U.S. rights. While a new deal with over-the-counter medication Cold-fX won’t add much to the league’s coffers, it will add some activation. Nationally, the NHL has always been sold on its youthful and upscale demos, relative to other sports. While that’s still true, the new pitch also for the NHL is a combination of “better than ever” and “invest at the ground floor.” Or as Horne put it, “We have a stable fan base, more so than at any time in the recent past. So it’s an opportunity to attach your brand to a growth stock.” Still, when attracting “investors,” the league will have to explain the value of its Versus (formerly OLN) cable broadcasts, down 60 percent from the ESPN/ESPN2 combination in the 2003-04 regular season. The Versus deal was signed only a month before last season began.

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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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