Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Stanley Cup Finals- Old School

from the Globe and Mail,

Of the 2,324 names on the Stanley Cup, one of the more obscure belongs to Harry Taylor. In a long hockey career, Mr. Taylor skated a single shift in a single National Hockey League playoff game. He didn't score a goal or register an assist. He wasn't even assessed a penalty. All he did was jump over the boards to take a spin on the ice at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Those seconds earned him a spot on the Cup, his name engraved alongside those of better known teammates from the 1948-49 Maple Leafs.
continued image

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Irrelevant

via the Toronto Star (the rest of the story talks about other sports),

On the eve of the Stanley Cup final, ESPN's The Sports Reporters made not one mention of hockey. Even Toronto product John Saunders, who often is the lone NHL voice, ignored the series. When America's top sports channel snubs you, you know you're irrelevant.
That folks, is the main reason why the NHL decided to go in another direction. ESPN recently promotes shows affiliated with ESPN or ABC, other than that, forget about it...

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Kukla’s Korner Stanley Cup Challenge

One more challenge to the KK Readers! Tell me who wins the Stanley Cup, pretty easy, eh? For the tie breaker, tell me who scores the Stanley Cup clinching goal. If more than one entry gets both correct, and the chances are quite good, the winner will be drawn randomly. As an added bonus, all losing entries will be eligible for a consolation prize. The winner will receive a $50 gift certiicate and the consolation prize will be a $25 gif certificate, both from IceJerseys.com. This is my way of saying thank you to all of the KK readers. My first year at doing this was a tremendous success, and I wanted to give something back to all of the readers. So .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) your pick for the winner of the Stanley Cup and who will score the series clinching goal. Entries must be timestamped by Monday, June 5th at 6:00pm ET. The original challenge is still alive, in case you missed it. added 7:45am June 5th,The sticky has been removed from this post, but I have changed the original posting date from June 2nd to today so it would remain on the first page. Over 280 participants as of 7:00am today.

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SCF Primer

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

The Stanley Cup finals are upon us. Herein our final series primer, or, eight things you should know about the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes. Pisani must be stopped! Perhaps for the first time ever, an opposing coach was asked how he was going to shut down Fernando Pisani. Not Smyth or Pronger or Sergei Samsonov, but Fernando Pisani. Not that it was a bad question. Pisani is tied for the NHL playoff goal scoring lead with nine. Not bad for a guy who had 18 goals during 80 regular-season games. MacTavish acknowledged the 29-year-old might have done even more.
read on

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Breaking It Down

from the Blog of Ron Francis,

Are you Ready? I must admit, I have not seen a lot of the Edmonton Oilers so I had to call a few buddies who were former players to help get everything in perspective for this series. The goaltending seems to be fairly even according to my sources,but for me, the Oilers seem to give up a lot of shots. We will have to wait and see if those shots are coming from the outside or if they are quality scoring chances. If there the latter, the Canes will be in good shape. The defense is again pretty even, with perhaps a slight edge going to the Oilers because of Chris Pronger.
continued

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The Puck Maker

from Czech Business,

Some 10 minutes later, with the Czechs shorthanded, another puck flew past Hnilička. When the final buzzer sounded May 21, Sweden had made ice hockey history as the first country to win the World Championship and Olympic gold in the same year. Days before, in a converted barn in the remote Northern Moravian village of Kateřinice, not far from the Slovak border, Lenka Mráčková was busy inspecting one of the two rubber presses that gave birth to the very hockey puck that sealed the Czechs’ fate. Gufex, the tiny family-run outfit that she confounded in the early 1990s with her late husband Pavel Mráček, today supplies pucks to virtually everywhere the game is played.
read on

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They Know Hockey

from the Edmonton Journal,

It's 2006, but some hockey observers still believe Tobacco Road is a curious, if not impossible address for an NHL franchise. Broad Street, sure. Broadway, certainly. Ste-Catherine Street, the Red Mile, Wayne Gretzky Drive. All rock-solid, well-travelled hockey avenues, where the hockey congregations are large and passionate, where the love of the game is encoded in the DNA. But many hockey people can't envision an NHL franchise thriving in an area where the fans are more comfortable with lugnuts than slapshots, more at home with big-time college basketball and football than with hockey, where the true believers from up north aren't entirely sure the pre-game tailgate parties, fragrant with southern barbecue, awash with beer, aren't the real playoff attraction, anyway.
continued from the Edmonton Journal,
Raleigh may not be decked out in Hurricanes red the way Edmonton is painted Oilers blue, but passionate fans in this city say it's only a matter of time before the storm gets out of control. Driving around Raleigh, it's difficult to see evidence there's a Stanley Cup championship about to begin. Car flags appear on perhaps one in 50 vehicles. Store windows aren't painted with colourful murals encouraging the home team. And jerseys? What jerseys?
continued

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Staal Plays Older

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Sometimes, Rod Brind'Amour said, he wonders who is the laidback veteran impervious to pressure, himself or his 21-year-old teammate Eric Staal. “He sits besides me and doesn't ask much,” the Carolina Hurricanes captain said on the eve of the Stanley Cup final. “Occasionally, I give him a couple little things that I see. But the kid doesn't need anything. I'm almost going to ask him for stuff. “You see how he plays and he just doesn't look like a first-timer in the playoffs, that's for sure. You know, I haven't honestly given him a word of advice at all. He's taking it all on himself.” After his coming-out in the regular season, with 45 goals and 100 points in his second NHL campaign, Staal did not falter in the playoffs as so many young players do. He kept going in the first two rounds, playing his way to the top of the playoff scoring race.
continued

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The Unexpected Finals

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Nobody, but nobody forecast the Edmonton Oilers and the Carolina Hurricanes meeting at this time and this place to jostle and scrap for the Cup. "That's what is going to make this series great," said Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe yesterday. "There's great drama out of both dressing rooms. There are all kinds of storylines and lots of good ones. I just hope the Oilers are the main storyline when it's all over." Yesterday, there were questions about many of these different stories, from Cory Stillman's attempt to do a Claude Lemieux and win consecutive Cups with different teams to Fernando Pisani's sniping to Ray Whitney's days as an Oiler stickboy to toothless Ryan Smyth as the face of this fine Edmonton team.
more

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Treated Right But Ratings Still Low

We have all read the NHL ratings bashing articles, so it is very nice to see some in-depth research done on this subject, . Also, note the article was co-written by Caps hockey beat writer Tarik El-Bashir. from the Washington Post,

"In the short term, we gave up some TV subscribers," Bettman said in a telephone interview, referring to the league's move from the high-visibility of ESPN to the lesser-known OLN. "And in return, with patience, we will have better coverage, better production. And over time, both we and OLN will grow our presence." He said OLN's coverage, involving six hours of hockey each night, will help bring back old fans and introduce the game to potential new ones. The coverage includes feature stories, hockey-themed movies, as well as highlight and wrap-up shows. Next season, the Comcast-owned OLN will switch its name to Versus as it expands its sports programming, using the NHL as its centerpiece. "That is the type of treatment we have always coveted," Bettman said.
read on (reg. req.)...highly recommended read... added 8:13am, alternate link (no registration) to the same article, picked up by MSNBC... added 3:59pm, Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals expresses his take on OLN...

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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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