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from Michale Farber of Sports Illustrated,

The playoffs are a marathon, of course, and a player who wants his name engraved on the silver trophy has to go the extra mile. But the Oilers and the Hurricanes are way beyond the requisite 26 miles, 385 yards at this point -- in part because of a hidebound, Tradition 'R Us 2-2-1-1-1 schedule that makes such little sense on so many levels. The Oilers are to blame. Not these Oilers, but their Gretzky-Messier-Fuhr forebears, merely one of the best (and indisputably most aesthetic) teams in history. Back in the mid-1980s, the NHL decided to adopt a 2-3-2 format, identical to what the NBA currently uses

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Roloson May Play In Game 9

MacTavish speaks on Friday...Q

Q. The media likes to subscribe to that theory that the first goalie off the ice at practice is your starter for the next game. If that's the case, Roloson is your starter for Game 6. COACH MacTAVISH: Never say never. If it goes nine he's a possibility (Laughter) And the way the looks right now it could very well be nine. Q. What did it means to have him out there skating before practice? COACH MacTAVISH: I don't think too much outside of the fact that Kenny Lowe came running in and says he has got a really good shot. I guess he just wanted to give it a try. I guess you never know, but very, very, very doubtful. Q. If you would give three explanations why the Oilers got this far this year, what would those be? COACH MacTAVISH: Goaltending, timely scoring, team effort, full team effort, a lot of buy-in from all our guys. Everybody committed. Q. How have you achieved this? What have you done as a coach to make this happen? COACH MacTAVISH: Picked up Roloson at the deadline. Brilliant coaching ploy. No, it seems like -- I mean, obviously -- outside of the obvious, where fundamentally you are a sound team and you do a lot of things well on the ice. Outside of that, the obviousness of that, it's a situation where we have gotten really big goals at really opportune times. That's just a product of perseverance, I guess, and we have had lots of those and everybody is committed. Everybody has played to the best of their ability, and certainly everybody's has bought into what we're trying to do and we have grown in confidence. It's nothing more than that.
more in the comments...

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“Fee” Attached To Ducks Tickets

from the LA Times,

Fans attended NHL games in record numbers this season after many teams cut ticket prices in the wake of the lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season. Now it appears many of those fans will pay more for such loyalty. According to Tim Ryan, chief executive of Anaheim Arena Management, a "facilities" fee will be attached to every ticket purchased for an event at the Pond, including Ducks games. For every ticket to a Ducks game priced above $25, a $3 facility fee will be required, team officials confirmed. Tickets costing $25 or less will be assessed a $1.50 fee. "It's a fee that's pretty much standard in our business," said Ryan... The Ducks, Ryan said, have not reneged on a promise made when the lockout ended last summer to not raise season-ticket prices this coming season. They also had rolled back prices this past season by as much as $9 a seat. Other teams, such as Ottawa, made similar promises or reduced prices. And even though the Ducks advanced to the Western Conference finals, they are expected to lose money this season, as much as $15 million, according to General Manager Brian Burke.
more (reg. req.)

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from the Tennessean,

Are the Predators in this for the long haul? And do enough people in the area care about hockey and/or the Preds to make this marriage work in the long term? Frustration over the market's failure to fully embrace the Preds boiled over during the first round of the playoffs. When ticket sales stalled, Preds officials initially threatened to black out Game 5 in the local TV market. Team officials blamed lagging sales on the Nashville area business community, which was not buying blocks of tickets, as is standard operating procedure in most NHL markets. But the blackout blackmail left a mark. Some local business movers and shakers were alienated and are not likely to hop aboard any time soon. Elsewhere, there are signs of a ticket sales uptick among the rank and file, or Joe and Jill Fan, as Preds V.P. Steve Violetta calls them. Season ticket sales could pass 10,000 for the first time in several years. Yes, they're keeping score. After three years of declining attendance in the seasons before the lockout, Preds officials indicated attendance was up roughly 10 percent this season. But paid attendance — not including complimentary tickets, which often number well into four figures for weeknight games — remained below 13,000 a game.
more about the battle between the City of Nashville and the Preds...

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“Goalie Phone” Rings Daily

from the Mercury News,

Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson calls his team's goalie situation ``a problem everyone would love to have.'' Both Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala have carried the team for extended stretches over the past two seasons. Both recently signed multi-year contract extensions. And, as trade talks are increasing in the days leading to the NHL's June 24 entry draft, both appear to be on other teams' shopping lists. ``We've got two guys who are No. 1s,'' Wilson said Thursday. ``It's a good problem and we'll deal with it. I get a lot of phone calls every day.'' The majority of those callers mention his goaltenders. How Wilson responds is the issue. Most speculation has focused on the Sharks trading Nabokov, who was supplanted as their top goalie during the final months of the season and throughout the playoffs. But Wilson left open other possibilities, saying he would do whatever improves his club the most.

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Sidney In Houston?

from the Toronto Star,

The scion of a New York company that finances taxi cab licences has emerged as the latest bidder for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are expected to be sold sometime this summer. Medallion Financial Corp. president Andrew Murstein has been in negotiations to buy the Penguins and has considered moving them to Houston if the Penguins don't get a new arena, sources told the Star.

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Snider Talks Ratings

from the Philadelphia Inquirer,

"When we first started on ESPN2, we had low ratings, too," said Snider, who is chairman of Comcast Spectacor, a subsidiary of Comcast, which owns OLN. "Plus, OLN is now in six million more homes [from last year at this time], and I think much of that has to do with the NHL, and I think it will continue to expand. I'm very happy with OLN and NBC." "It obviously hurts not to have Canada's ratings mentioned, but it also hurts when you don't have a team like the Rangers, Flyers or Red Wings in the final," Snider said. "The ratings would be much higher. But it's hard for hockey to get great national ratings. We depend tremendously on local ratings."
read on Also, the Philadelphia Inquirer mentions the Flyers will increase ticket prices,
"It's an inflationary move," Luukko said of the ticket hike. "It's to keep pace... more or less a cost-of-living increase." This price hike, which Luukko said equated to a 5 percent increase across the board - except for family-section seats - at Flyers games and a "relatively little" increase for 76ers tickets, comes with fringe benefits for fans, Luukko said.

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Worn Out

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

But this much is certain. It would have been easier to win on Wednesday than it will be to win tomorrow. For one thing, the Hurricanes are getting worn down. Injury reports are notoriously duplicitous at this time of the year, but defencemen Aaron Ward, one of the Hurricanes' true stalwarts, missed about half the game. If Ward is gone for that long, it has to be fairly serious. The report was the usual "upper body injury." The suspicion was "separated shoulder." In the case of forward Doug Weight, the suspicion was even stronger. He left in the first shift of the third period after being sandwiched between Edmonton's Raffi Torres and Chris Pronger. He bent over, dropped his stick and headed right for the training room.

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Here We Go Again

from the Press Telegram,

The league is setting unseen standards for low sports viewership that makes one wonder how far a major sport can fall and still be called major. The NHL's regular season and Stanley Cup playoff ratings have reached such a low ebb that they're now trailing those of the Arena Football League, WNBA, poker tournaments and, gasp, soccer. The three Stanley Cup finals telecasts on NBC have earned Nielsen ratings of 1.6, 2.5 and 3.0, respectively, and while it's nice to see them rising, those numbers are about as low as you'll ever see for a prime-time network telecast. The 1.6 rating for Game 3 of the Edmonton-Carolina series was the second-lowest all-time in NBC prime-time history, and the Game 5 rating was down 9.4 percent from the comparable telecast two seasons ago.
read on

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Cover Boys

via the News & Observer,

Roughly 60,000 issues of Beckett Hockey magazine -- with a cover featuring Cam Ward, Eric Staal and the words "Canes Capture the Cup!" -- will hit U.S. and Canadian newsstands next week, whether or not the Canes hoist the trophy. The monthly magazine, billed as the "preferred collectibles publication of the NHL," went to press with the Hurricanes leading the Edmonton Oilers 2 games to 0. Carolina now leads the best-of-seven series 3-2, with Game 6 on Saturday. "At first I was working under the belief that they were going to wrap this up pretty quickly. ... It had all the makings of a short series,'' said hockey editor Al Muir, whose Texas-based magazine has been in publication since 1990. Oops.

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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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