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Kukla's Korner Hockey

Increase Ratings- Start Fighting

from Kevin Dupont at MSNBC,

Fact is, at least by my eye, the game is far too polite for Americans en masse to appreciate. All of 15-20 years ago, the NHL was afraid Americans would shun the game because of fighting. So, out went fighting, and the ratings ... and the ratings ... uh, and the ratings? Isn’t it time to give Americans what they want? Heck, look at what they do watch. High on the list is the whole reality-TV genre, and the more vulgar, the better. Lock someone in a glass box, and have snakes slither over their chest, and hairy spiders tap-dance across their forehead, and look out, the ratings rocket will launch.

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#16 Goes To The Rafters

from the St. Louis Blues,

During his heyday with the St. Louis Blues, Brett Hull was good for a goal a game along with maybe a gripe or two, his outspoken nature matching a knack for finding that perfect spot to unleash his slap shot. “He wasn't your prototypical hockey player in a sense that he was very colorful, he spoke his mind, he loved the game and he was very opinionated about it,” said close friend and former teammate Wayne Gretzky. “He was honest to a fault.”
continued image pic via Reuters

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Sabres Merchandise Still Hot

NEW YORK (December 5, 2006) – For the second straight month, the Buffalo Sabres were the top-selling team in the NHL.com store. Sales of Sabres merchandise, including men’s, women’s and kids apparel, were up approximately 1000% in November compared to last year. Overall, sales of NHL-licensed merchandise on NHL.com were up more than 51% compared to last November.

Continue Reading »

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Canucks Head To Sick Bay

via the AP, Vancouver

Canucks forward Taylor Pyatt will be out two to four weeks with a shoulder injury and defenseman Sami Salo could miss seven-to-10 days with a nerve injury in his shoulder. Fourth-line forward Rick Rypien will also miss six to eight weeks with a partially torn groin muscle. All three players were hurt in Monday night's 4-0 loss to Edmonton. The loss of Pyatt and Salo hurts a team that is last in scoring, averaging 2.07 goals-per-game. The Canucks have been held under two goals in five of the last six games and scored more than two goals twice in the last 16 games.

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No Movement = Good News

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

For a league with a history of shooting itself in the collective foot (the lockout, expanding into South Florida, those Art of War commercials), sometimes progress is marked by changes that don't take place. And so it was that after much gnashing of teeth and late-night politicking, the National Hockey League's board of governors agreed Tuesday to maintain its current schedule setup. That doesn't mean it won't change down the road -- a system that sees teams play eight games against each division opponent is almost certain to change after next season, if not this offseason. But the NHL resisted the temptation to make a knee-jerk decision to modify the schedule and will instead let it play out over the full three-year period envisioned at the end of the 2004-05 lockout.

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Talking The NHL

I am trying something a little different tonight. Join the KK Skypecast tonight to talk about tonight's games and discuss the NHL. The Skypecast will last for 3 hours so feel free to join in. update 7:57pm, the Skypecast is now over. It went ok, it is still in beta so they have a few issues to work on.

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Wings Will Broadcast From Ice Level

Thanks to Tony for pointing this out in the KKF... from the Detroit Red Wings,

FSN Detroit will be the first U.S. television outlet to have its play-by-play announcer stationed at ice level for an NHL game when Ken Daniels describes the Red Wings-Ottawa Senators game on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Daniels will be stationed from a position between the team benches. The game begins at 7:30 p.m. Daniels, in his 10th season of calling Red Wings' games on FSN Detroit, will describe the game from the vantage point of the players and officials, providing a unique experience for himself and the viewing audience. Mickey Redmond will remain in his press box location for the telecast, providing his usual in-depth analysis and Telestator segments to complement Daniels' ice-level observations.

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Reason For Concern

from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,

Hidden beneath the glow of what appears to be a slight increase in fortune, are reports of a slight drop in attendance. Now on the heels of what the league maintains was a record turnout coming back from the lockout season of 2004-05, this is nothing to lose tonight's sleep over, but this is supposed to be the "new" NHL, the reinvention of the game if you will. By any business measure the "new" and "improved" version of a product is supposed to not just hold on to regular customers, but attract new ones. That the NHL may not be doing that should create some concern.

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Cox: NHL’s Stances On Pens, Tocchet A “Curious Contradiction”

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star:

[Rick] Tocchet's legal future remains unclear, although it's not hard to guess that the state has used the state trooper and another individual to gather evidence against him. From the NHL's point of view, Tocchet remains persona non grata, although technically it was he who asked for the leave of absence from his job with the Coyotes. So on one hand you have the league betting on a slots licence to save the perpetually teetering team in Pittsburgh, and everybody's okay with that. On the other hand you have a prominent former player possibly involved with gaming, either quasi-legal stuff or downright illegal stuff, and that takes him to a place where he is no longer fit to dine at the same table as, well, NHL players and members of the board of governors. It's a strange juxtaposition of values, one that leaves those unfamiliar with the nuances of gaming utterly confused. But if Tocchet is to be shamed for his activities, what then of climbing into bed with the Isle of Capri gaming corporation in a desperate attempt to do that which the City of Pittsburgh has steadfastly refused to do, namely build in a new rink for the Pens? Where is the line of no return here? Why is it okay to associate with the folks who operate the one-armed bandits but totally outside the pale to take bets on pro football?

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Board of Governors Okays Nucks sale

from the Canadian Press via TSN:

The Aquilini Investment Group took full control of the Vancouver Canucks and their arena Monday, giving the NHL franchise 100 per cent local ownership. The NHL's board of governors approved the group's purchase of the remaining 50 per cent of the team and GM Place from Seattle businessman John McCaw. The Aquilini group, owned by Vancouver businessmen Francesco, Roberto and Paolo Aquilini, bought the first 50 per cent of the team and the arena in November 2004.
Former Aquilini ownership partners Tom Gagliardi and Tom Beedie are still suing Francesco Aquilini for an alleged "hostile takeover" of the ownership group. continued

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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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