Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Selling The Ducks

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

The Ducks' general manager acknowledged that although he has "changed the culture" by signing Scott Niedermayer, trading for Chris Pronger and assembling a team that's swift and smart, he hasn't triggered a box-office boom. The Ducks, who set an NHL record by earning at least one point in each of their first 16 games, averaged 14,832 fans over their first 12 home games, 86.5% capacity of the Honda Center. That's up from their average of 13,433 after 12 games last season. Burke said sponsorships and revenue are up too, but the club is budgeted to lose "several million dollars" this season.
read on (reg. req.)

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Old School- Clint Smith

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

Almost every night the Canucks play at home, the oldest living member of hockey's Hall of Fame comes to watch. He uses a walker now and if you stood him still for a measurement there's no way Clint Smith would stand over five feet. He's 92 and the sleek physique that allowed him to be the third-youngest player in history to turn pro in 1932 at age 16 has felt the ticking of the clock. But his mind and sense of humour are still very much on top of their game. Memories? He could write a few books and probably should, particularly about playing in the second-largest arena in the country in the '30s, the old Denman Street one where he donned the colours of the Vancouver Lions for three seasons after signing with the New York Rangers.

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Blues Sinking

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

"There's not one guy on this team who's doing the right thing," Blues left winger Keith Tkachuk said. Legace said he was kicked in the head on the first goal, lost his bearings and that had a "snowball effect." He allowed four goals on 15 shots, and now in his last two starts he has surrendered eight goals on 36 shots. "The last start I didn't think I was playing bad when I got pulled," Legace said. "But now it seems like I'm going one way and the puck is going the other way."
read on... an ugly game recap, Blues lost 6-2 to Edmonton...

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Devils Lack Fans

from the New York Times,

Through their first nine home games, the Devils have averaged 12,336 fans — 9 percent less than the 13,548 they averaged during the same span last season. The Devils, in their 25th season in New Jersey, have rarely been a big draw, but this season stands out. “We’ve been playing pretty well for many years, but attendance can be better than what it is,” Patrik Elias, the team’s captain, said.... “I am very disappointed, very disappointed,” Jeffrey Vanderbeek, who has owned the Devils for two years, said during an interview at his office in Newark last week. “I’m embarrassed for our players. Last time I checked, we were in first place.”

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YouTube, NHL Looking For Cross-Legitimization

from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star:

While users have already been able to access NHL highlights for months at the website — clips available at YouTube, before yesterday's deal was announced, included a 1999 brawl between the Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers and a collection of goals scored by Washington's young forward Alexander Ovechkin — a formal agreement with the hockey league helps to legitimize the Internet site. "It's further validation for YouTube," said Jimmy Schaeffler, a former producer with ABC Sports who now works as the Carmel Group media consultancy in California. "It's kind of like when the government says something's illegal but doesn't do anything about it, and then they make it legal and, all of a sudden, people rush in and it becomes that much more popular." Still, Schaeffler said, "how the NHL monetizes this remains the big question."

Continue Reading »

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Putting Your Best Face Forward

from NHL.com's Marcie Garcia:

Mostly, I know that there is an interest into the personal lives of the favorite player. Notice the autograph line is never without a picture to sign or picture to take. And yes, some teams do an outstanding job of allowing a peek into the personal lives of their athletes. Good Public Relations Departments make sure there are player and team involvement throughout the season, which is important for both sides of the puck. Why not invest in fans the way they invest in the team? Fans invest their time, energy, not to mention dime, and most importantly, emotion - even when at times it’s tough. Let’s face it; it’s easy to latch onto another winning team as opposed to sticking to your guns, even when a losing record is as common in your city as garbage day pick up, sometimes the two are hard to differentiate.
The old logic is that players put fans in the seats, and winning keeps them there, but if you don't know anything about the name and number on the back, you probably won't care about the logo on the front. Fan bases aren't a renewable resource. Teams that treat their fans like chattel tend to pay for their attitudes in both in lost revenues and bad reputations with the media members who have to deal with crappy PR departments. Are you listening, Mr. Hahn? continued

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Wings’ “Kids’ Club” A Reasonable Investment

The Red Wings have decided to charge $15 for something other than parking at the Joe:

There is a brand new program at 'The Joe' this season -- the Red Wings Kids Club. The kids club is an exclusive fan club for the little Wings' fans. Kids who join the club will receive a members-only goody bag, have the chance to win tons of super cool prizes, and even be able to attend a Wings' practice. In addition, Niklas Kronwall has agreed to be honorary president of the Kids Club this season. He will send out birthday cards and welcome letters and will even hold a question-and-answer session at the Wings' practice.

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Reflections From The Top Of The Crease

By George Malik: The CBA (will open pdf file) is a strange bird. In two weeks, Sean Bergenheim (NYI) is stuck in Sweden because he's a restricted free agent. If Pavel Vorobiev (CHI), Mika Noronen (VAN), Timofei Shishkanov (STL), Denis Grebeshkov (NYI), Niklas Nordgren (PIT), or Evgeni Artyukhin (TB) are having second thoughts about their decisions to head over to Europe--in Bergenheim's case, specifically, to get contract leverage--they're simply not welcome in the NHL. Restricted free agents can't be re-signed after December 1st. Given the hold-outs staged by Yashin, Khabibulin, and Fedorov, the December 1st stipulation's well-intentioned, but it is a bit strange in its execution.

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The UFA Interview Period

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

On July 1, the interview period would begin. The objective would be to have a parade of players moving from city to city for interviews. It would be similar to what goes on in the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball when free agents, fly in, spend a day with a team, meeting the coaches and talking to other players. They see real estate agents, review the area, and talk to folks about schools. That seems much more professional than the NHL microwave approach to signing free agents. During the interview process, teams would be free to negotiate with players all they want, but no one can sign until July 8.
read on for much more...

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Cheechoo Injury Not Serious

via the AP,

Jonathan Cheechoo's left leg injury isn't thought to be serious, but the San Jose Sharks will wait until Saturday to determine their star goal-scorer's status for their next game. Cheechoo, who won the Maurice Richard trophy with an NHL-best 56 goals last season, was injured late in the second period of the Sharks' 4-3 win over Colorado on Wednesday night. He has just two goals in his last 11 games - both in a road victory over Los Angeles last week. The Sharks refused to comment on the injury's specifics Thursday. They host Philadelphia on Saturday night.

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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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