Kukla's Korner

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Way Up There

from the Edmonton Journal,

It's a good night to be a seal in Nunavut -- and especially near Grise Fiord, Canada's northernmost community, where Inuit like Amon Akeeagok are hanging up their rifles and crowding in front of TVs to watch the Oilers play. And they're cheering with all the noise you'd expect from the hockey-mad. "You can go as far as Anaheim if you want and you'll probably hear me," said Akeeagok, who wears his Oilers love on his house, 2,800 kilometres north of Edmonton. "I got my Oiler street sign on my doorway so everybody who's coming in can't miss it," he said. "We're loyal hockey fans up here."
continued for more on Nunavut....

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Grass Roots Marketing

from the Tonawanda News,

Pardon the chip on my shoulder, but I’m sick of catering. To NBC. To OLN. To FLA. Need a reason to get excited about the Eastern Conference finals, set to kick off on national television in the middle of what’s supposed to be a sunny Saturday afternoon? Then you don’t live in Western New York. Bless the national networks who keep prodding and pushing, trying to force hockey into the American mainstream. Although NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman swears he’s not worried about OLN’s dreadful ratings, stories keep circulating that bad numbers mean bad news for the league. Nothing could be further from the truth.
read on

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We Need Controversy

from the Chicago Tribune,

I've been spending a lot of time lately watching TV—mainly the NHL and NBA playoffs—and I have questions. Where is the NHL version of Charles Barkley? Or Stephen A. Smith? Where is the fun and irreverence in hockey telecasts that I see when I watch an NBA game on TNT? Why has hockey not embraced the hip-hop and pop culture of this country the way the other four major sports have? Why does hockey take itself so seriously? These may seem like idle questions but they really explain, in part, why hockey lags behind the other sport in interest in this country.

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Watch Out For Soccer

from Reuters,

Soccer's rising popularity is ice hockey's biggest threat in the increasingly competitive North American sports market, says Rene Fasel, the head of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). "We have to be aware, soccer in North America is getting bigger and bigger and bigger," the Swiss told Reuters in an interview on Thursday during the world championships. "I don't think the NFL will lose people, NBA will not lose fans, but the market will be even more difficult for hockey.

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Hope For Cole

via the CP,

Injured winger Erik Cole skated on his own on Thursday, raising hopes that he might be able to rejoin the Carolina Hurricanes at some point in the NHL playoffs. He said he would skate two more days on his own to see if the injury has healed enough to practise with the team. He will decide after that if he can play ''Today, everything was fine,'' he said.

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Niedermayer & Selanne

Scott and Teemu were available today via conference call: Q. Scott, when you look at the hand you have been dealt, does it stand to reason maybe in the beginning they have a little edge because maybe because of the rest you've had? SCOTT NIEDERMAYER: It's a possibility. You know, we're going to find out. We want to be ready to go. That's got to be our focus right now. We can't really think that way. We have to think that, you know, we're going to be able to get that intensity going, keep it simple, in the start of the game, first period, keep making simple plays, put the puck in and just go to work. If we can do that, we can start building on that right away and get going, that's what we're going to try to do. Q.Teemu, from your perspective, do you feel the same way about the week off? TEEMU SELANNE: I think the week was good for us. There's a lot of guys, they had chance to look after injuries, that kind of stuff. Like Scott said, we have to be ready right in the bat (sic). I think everybody's excited to get back to the action, too. I think one week is long time. We know that this is another opportunity for us. We going to be ready. Read the rest in the comment section of this post...

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That Didn’t Take Long

from Pierre LeBrun of the CP via Slam,

The NHL has come out of last year's lockout with a new collective bargaining agreement, a new game and now new contenders. "Interesting, exciting and not totally unexpected," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday of the remaining Stanley Cup contenders. "The system has created the type of competitive balance that we envisioned," he added from New York. On Nov. 30, 2004, the commissioner stood in front of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and told the city's business people and Oilers fans that the lockout would be worth it. "I promise we will get you what you need and most importantly, what you deserve," Bettman said that day. The payoff didn't take long. The Oilers are in the final four, for the first time since 1992.

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An Oil-Can(e) Final

from Barry Melrose of ESPN,

The conference finals are set, and while some of you might be skeptical about the matchups, believe me when I say that they will be fun to watch. Right now, I am going with the Hurricanes and Oilers in the Stanley Cup final. You have to have at least one Canadian team playing for the Cup!

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Up To The Goaltenders

from Rick Jeanneret of MSG Network,

This series is going to come down to goaltending. How many times do you hear somebody say that? But I think, in the end, the series probably will come down to the play of Ryan Miller and Cam Ward because both clubs are a mirror image of one another. I mean, this can be one heck of a series and I'm sure it'll be gung-ho, fire wagon hockey all the way. This is sure to be a hard-fought series and, boy, would it bring the city of Buffalo to a frenzy if the Sabres can move on to the Cup Finals. If the Sabres were to win the Stanley Cup, I think it'd mean more to the team and to the area for its psyche more than anything else. Economically, things haven't been so great in Western New York and Buffalo.

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Burnside Breakdown

Scott Burnside of ESPN breaks down both conference finals. Eastern:

Forget the small-market/miniscule television ratings angle of this series. If ever there was a series designed to sell the new NHL, this is it. Even the most casual of fans can expect to be blown away by the speed and derring-do of the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes.
Let's just say this about the Western Conference final between the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Mighty Ducks -- better hope they have double, reinforced boards because they're in for a workout.

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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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