Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Caps Get Friesen

from the Washington Capitals,

The Washington Capitals have acquired left wing Jeff Friesen from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.
more In case you missed the official word, Datsyuk has signed with the Wings for $3.9 million a year for two years.

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Forsberg & Hatcher Back

from the Phildadelphia Flyers,

The two biggest off-season additions on the Flyers finally got to do more with their teammates than just sit in meetings and chit chat in the dressing room. Peter Forsberg and Derian Hatcher, both sidelined since the beginning of training camp with injuries, took part in their first full skate with the team since signing a day apart during a fruitful couple of days for the organization in early August.

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Wooing The Fans Back

from Shawn P. Roarke of Fox Sports,

The NHL is trying, in a myriad of ways, to change that undeniable fact. The league office understood from the day it canceled last season — the first time a major North American sport lost its entire season to a labor dispute — that there would have to be a serious outreach program to potential customers to put the product back on the radar of the average sports fan. Partially taking for granted the loyalty of the hockey junkie, the NHL tailored much of its welcome-back initiative to embrace those that have nothing more than a passing interest in the sport; believing that the lockout-induced clean slate could provide the perfect opportunity to woo a whole new fan base to supplement the diehards whom welcomed the NHL's return unconditionally.

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OLN Pumping Up NHL Coverage

from Media Week,

In order to prime the pump for the return of the National Hockey League after the lockout that scrapped the entire 2004-’05 season, OLN is offering the opening night telecast of the Rangers-Flyers game free of change to all cable and satellite operators that don't carry the net on an analog tier of channels. While OLN will provide cable and satellite operators with the requisite information on how to access its Oct. 5 NHL feed, it is unlikely that the network will get many takers. The network is telling carriers that a minimum of 40 percent of their subscriber bases have to have access to OLN in order to continue getting NHL games past Oct. 10. At particular risk of losing OLN’s slate of 58 regular season hockey games is Cablevision, which carries OLN on a digital sports tier. Of its 3 million subscribers, less than 25,000 presently have access to OLN.

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Be Patient Fans

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

There's a welcoming sign on the ice at the Nassau Veterans' Memorial Coliseum that reads "Thank You Fans!" It might just as well read, "Be Patient, It's Going To Be Better. Honest. Maybe Not Tonight, But For Sure, Later On. Really." In many ways, the National Hockey League couldn't have asked for a better restart to its shattered operation than what's taken place in the past two months. Since the capitulation by the players' union and the end of the 10-month lockout that cost the league the entire 2004-05 season, there has been unprecedented buzz surrounding the game, a buzz that continues to grow as the start of the regular season approaches on Oct. 5.

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Ticket Sales

from Sports Business Journal (paid sub.), NHL season-ticket renewal rates are already 3 percent ahead of where they were on opening day in 2003, with more than a week to go before the start of the new season, according to the league. In the surest sign yet that hockey fans are embracing the sport following the 310-day lockout that canceled the 2004-05 campaign, the league reports that season-ticket renewal rates stood at 87.7 percent as of early last week. In 2003-04, the last NHL season, they were below 85 percent. The league expects 23 clubs to have renewal percentages of 90 percent or higher, compared to only eight two years ago. Eighteen clubs already have a higher renewal percentage than for 2003-04 and another seven will likely match their previous numbers by opening day. Several of the league’s weakest clubs in terms of past attendance — ones many thought would face the worst fallout from the lockout — report that sales are at least equal to previous years, and in many cases better. The Phoenix Coyotes report a renewal rate of more than 85 percent. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim report similar success, with their season-ticket base growing from slightly less than 8,000 in 2003-04 to more than 9,000 as of last week. Their renewal rate is higher than 91 percent. The Florida Panthers, among the league’s most aggressive teams during the lockout, say they expect to hit 9,000 by opening night, compared with 7,200 at the end of the 2003-04 season. That’s courtesy of a 93.5 percent renewal rate and more than 2,000 in new sales. The once moribund Chicago Blackhawks are at a 95 percent renewal rate. The Nashville Predators, who have seen attendance drop every season since they entered the league in 1998 and were third from the bottom two years ago, report a renewal rate close to 90 percent, a step up from previous years. The club in the cellar, the Pittsburgh Penguins, has experienced a complete turnaround in the wake of winning the first overall draft pick in a lottery and selecting phenom Sidney Crosby. By mid-August, the Penguins had sold more tickets than they did in all of 2003-04.

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Goalies Quicker With Smaller Pads

from the NY Post,

Mogilny sounds less than convinced about the potential impact of the league's rules changes for the upcoming season to achieve their desired effect: to increase scoring opportunities. "I don't think you're going to see a lot more goals because of [goalies'] smaller pads," the Devils' winger said. "The pads are lighter, so the goalies are quicker. "You don't see those long shots from guys crossing the red line, the blue line, and I don't believe you're going to see that." "Just try to hit the net," Mogilny said. "I am a hole-picker, but you have to hit the net. You have to keep it simple. Hit the net."

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Roenick Suffers Concussion #11

Something like this was bound to happen. Most exhibition games have been more like pond hockey and the hitting has been minimal. I can understand J.R's point of view but by all accounts, Gauthier's hit was a clean one. from the Long Beach Press-Telegram,

Roenick suffered the 11th documented concussion of his career Sunday night, the result of a clean but dubiously delivered shoulder check by Phoenix defenseman Denis Gauthier "You don't do that in the preseason," Roenick said. "You don't try to take people's heads off in the preseason. I let him off the hook in Phoenix last week (in a similar situation) because I respect the fact that he's a veteran. "It's ridiculous to come across and hit someone who's had concussions before and someone who's been in the league as long as I have. It's totally disrespectful and should be addressed by the league." "What bothers me is that it didn't have to happen," Roenick said. "I've been around a long (expletive) time and it's things like that that end people's careers, especially in the preseason when people are trying to get in shape and avoid stuff like that." "I respect Gauthier. He's a hard player, but there's no room in the game for (stuff) like that. ... It indicates the state of our game and the lack of respect that is evident. This is one of the reasons our league is not as popular as it once was." "It was not a dirty hit, but probably an uncalled for one," Kings coach Andy Murray said.

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Around The League With J.D.

John Davidson of MSG Network has the best take on Martha Burk that I have read:

I like the NHL's new marketing campaign. It's edgy. I heard Martha Burk is already chirping, but I have a wife and two daughters and if she finds the new campaign too provocative, she should turn off channel 2, 4, 5, 7 and everything else. I'm very serious. Go worry about Augusta National. Leave us alone. It's edgy and we have an edgy sport. If she's going to take time to worry about hockey and their disrespect of women she's dead wrong. Hockey respects women. She doesn't know a thing about our sport or what we're about and she should go right back and worry about things that are real. She's just coming from one woman's side of things. Give me a break. That's nuts. She's wasting her time and energy. There are many other issues about women that have problems in life that need to be addressed. The National Hockey League is not one of them.
J.D. also gives his views on open ice hits, the Rags and moves teams made around the league.

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Forsberg Could Flourish

from Philly Burbs,

The greater curiosity, though, is the promise of what Forsberg will do. Under these new rules, in what presumably will be a freer-flowing style of play, he might have himself a season beyond even what the Flyers had hoped for when they signed him last month. "If they take away the 20 minutes of wrestling, yeah," Forsberg said Friday, after skating for the first time since the surgery. "There's a lot of penalties right now, but we have to stick to it. It's disrupting games right now, but the final result, we won't see until a couple of months into it, when the players learn the rules and what you can do. Then, we'll have a good game. ... "I've talked to the guys, and they said it's not that hard to play right now, not as physical, not as much grabbing and holding like it was before. They get back to the bench, and they're not that tired. Definitely, it's going to help."

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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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