Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Real Fans Watching

from the Daily Local,

For better or worse, the interest in watching the game has its roots in the cold weather of winter. And it’s very tough to get that audience to say put as temperatures rise. When that happens, unless the local team is playing, there are just too many people outside trying to enjoy the arrival of spring and early summer. Watching a hockey game without the local team is too much of an effort. The national media will take its shots making fun of the ratings turned in by the NHL. The league should realize its universe is relatively small and simply concentrate on making its product the best one possible for those who care.
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Oilers Can Overcome Roloson Injury

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

First of all, neither Ty Conklin nor Jussi Markkanen needs to be extraordinary if the Oilers are able to find all the vulnerabilities in the Carolina defence again. Solid would do just fine. It would be an upgrade from Game 1. The larger story, meanwhile, will be how the Oilers react emotionally to the loss of Roloson, who had been to the Western champs in these playoffs what a tattered blanket was to Linus Van Pelt. Often, iffy goaltending seeps into other parts of a team's game. Suddenly the scoring dries up, turnovers appear all over the ice as players try to overcompensate and defencemen pull themselves out of position by making wild, diving attempts to block shots.
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Is It Just Me

We have all read and heard about the RBC Center being a very loud arena. But in the SCF between Detroit and Carolina in 2002, didn't Scotty Bowman claim the noise factor was artificially enhanced? He claimed, along with a few others associated with the Wings, that crowd noise was being piped-in through the sound system.

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Feel Good About The Game

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Truth is, folks, despite the painful Bruins brand that played out in 2005-06, and ultimately cost general manager Mike O'Connell his job, it's OK to feel good about the NHL again. Honest. Put down the paper bags and fight the temptation to log on to http://www.hockeywitnessprotectionprogram.com Will .Rocket Richard and Bobby Orr walk through that door again? Uh, no. But guess what, the days of Mantle and Maris are long gone, too, along with those of Yaz and Pudge. Everything changes, even if some of our romanticized memories of the sports we say we once loved don't move in lockstep with the times.
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Intentional?

from the Edmonton Sun,

Steve Staios was quick to defend teammate Marc-Andre Bergeron yesterday. And the Oilers veteran wondered out loud why NHL referees aren't doing likewise in defending goaltenders from what he sees as a steady onslaught of forwards crashing the crease. "It's happened before. To see Roli go down the way that he did, is brutal. I'm not sure if Bergy pushed him in or not, but that guy (Andrew Ladd) was going at the net with one intention."
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“A” Rod

from CanWest via the Montreal Gazette,

Doug Weight had heard the stories before he joined the Carolina Hurricanes but, like Michelangelo's David or even Pamela Anderson, it's one thing to hear about the legend, it's another to witness it first hand. "You watch Rod (Brind'Amour) play 27 minutes and he's in the gym after the game doing his squats," the 'Canes' centre says with a shake of his head. "Or you walk by in a suit and he's still in there dripping wet. Or you get (to the rink) at 9 a.m. and he's already been on the bike for an hour."
continued

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The Dream Has Ended

from the Contra Costa Times,

Come the playoffs, we were treated to the unprecedented spectacle of the top four seeds in the West getting flushed in the first round. The Edmonton Oilers woke up 14-year-old echoes by becoming the first No. 8 seed ever to advance as far as the conference finals. It was more than the Bettmanites at the league office had a right to expect. Some would say the NHL got far better than it deserved, given that it had gassed an entire season. It was as if the great hockey godfather in the sky had gathered everyone 'round after the labor impasse had passed and said, "We shall never speak of this again." But as it specifically states on page 873 of the current collective bargaining agreement (paragraph 12, subsection J; just after the part about the price of ice in Glendale, Ariz.): "There is no guarantee that a dream season shall end dreamily." And so it has come to pass for the NHL, which can only long for the days when the biggest problem with its Stanley Cup Finals matchup was that it featured media markets only slightly larger than Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan.
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Over The Boards

via the Globe and Mail

Still with Cherry, the wild floral design of his jacket was likened to a bedspread by host Ron MacLean. Ralph Mellanby, who hired Cherry for Hockey Night in 1981, said yesterday, "I think he's being dressed by Cirque du Soleil." The first game of the Stanley Cup final (Edmonton Oilers-Carolina Hurricanes) on the CBC drew 3.003 million viewers, down marginally (1 per cent) from the opener of the Calgary Flames-Tampa Bay Lightning final in 2004.
via the Toronto Star,
While most other pro hockey players who pursue endorsement contracts command between $10,000 (all figures U.S.) and $90,000 a year, Crosby is said to receive at least $500,000 per deal per year. (By contrast, the Penguins pay him $850,000 a year plus bonuses.) One person familiar with the matter said Crosby may garner as much as $600,000 from the Subway restaurant chain. (Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, said no deal has been finalized; He said he's still in talks with four restaurant chains and three domestic auto makers about Crosby.)
via the Edmonton Sun,
Gary James was led away in handcuffs Monday night from the RBC Center, simply for throwing a piece of Oilers good luck Alberta beef on the ice in Raleigh, North Carolina - as he and CISN's Chris Scheetz have done at most of the Oilers' away playoff games since the Detroit series. "I've got a court date now," says Gary. "It's all a little extreme for a practical joke. The handcuffs were a bit of a power play. Trying to make a statement about arena rules and the Oilers, I suspect."
via the Idaho Statesman,
We dug through all of the personalized plates in Idaho, almost 60,000, to find the best sports plates. Surprisingly, more NHL teams rated personalized plates than NBA teams.
via the Toronto Star,
Cherry let an expletive fly on air as a Carolina player skated close to him as he stood on the ice prior to the start of the Stanley Cup final opener. "Holy sh--!" Cherry exclaimed in an expletive heard across the country.
via Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Get ready for the return of The Dominator next season. Unless Senators GM John Muckler soon has a change of heart, there's a strong chance Dominik Hasek could be back with the club at training camp in September.

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A Different Type Of Fan

from the Rocky Mount Telegram,

Fans of the Carolina Hurricanes, who are in the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in five years, have never really been accepted by the hockey community. That is because they do things no other team's fanbase can claim or even fully understand. They tailgate for hours before each game, setting up picnic tables and lawn chairs in the parking lot of the RBC Center. They cheer every routine save, shot and body check. If you listen closely, you can hear small pockets of fans clapping every time 5-foot-10 Chad LaRose manages to clear the boards and jump back on the bench. They didn't sell out the Eastern Conference finals against Buffalo, and saw the amount of Sabres fans inside the RBC Center grow in each game. But here's the thing: They do love their Hurricanes. They just love them differently. They love them like a mother loves her child.
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Hockey Is Still Foreign To People

from Bob Foltman of the Chicago Tribune,

Now, one of the most interesting aspects of the Stanley Cup Finals and something that I missed dearly Monday is the press conference with Commissioner Gary Bettman before Game 1. This usually becomes "cup overflowing vs. cup bone dry." First of all, the ratings are not going to be good--unless of course there is a terrific thunderstorm stretching from one coast to another, forcing people to sit inside, knocking out the cable and satellite service and leaving just NBC available. Then maybe, just maybe, the ratings will be poor instead of wretched. The reason many give for low ratings--aside from the fact that Americans hate hockey and it's all Bettman's fault, as if the sport were turning away people because of its popularity before--is small-market teams in Carolina and Edmonton. That's true, but not because of the reasons many think.
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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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