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All Steve Mayer

from Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,

ESPN: How are games going to sound for the players inside the arena?

Mayer: From a game presentation standpoint, it's going to sound extremely similar, with music and whistles and public address announcers and pump-up videos. We're going to experiment with the crowd noise inside the arena. That's something we're going to do during the exhibition play. We've heard what it sounds like in here, but we want to actually hear if it's a distraction for the players. I heard a report that some of the baseball players, it sounds like, had reactions to [piped-in crowd noise]. So we're going to try it out. Let's see what level it needs to be at.

On the TV side, we're bringing in audio sweeteners. We've really worked hard at getting every possible sound at all of these different arenas. That's for the broadcast, but we would try to take [that sound] and bring it into the arena, too.

ESPN: You're using crowd noise from EA Sports?

Mayer: Yes, but we're also bringing in sounds from our past broadcasts. EA Sports has shared their library, and that's primarily what we're going to work with. They have sounds from every arena. They're all unique, and they're all very good. We're going to incorporate those into the broadcast. You're going to hear a crowd, even if there is no crowd.

We've always mixed the microphones on the rink with crowd noise coming from inside the arena, and now they're not. Some of those great sounds we love in hockey -- there's nothing to block them now. That's come up a few times, and we really think they'll be more significant in the broadcast. There's going to be heavy emphasis on the sounds of the skates and the checks. For our outdoor games, we pipe those sounds into the stadium more than we do in the arena. Now we're going to do that more in the arena to help keep up the energy.

read on

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Coverage Will Be Lacking

from Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press,

The NHL cited space constraints and safety concerns as the cause, then made a sneaky, last-minute exception for their own house organ. When the PHWA pushed back and asked for six spots, not unlike what the NBA has done in their Orlando bubble, they were essentially told to take a hike.

We shouldn’t be surprised. The NHL loves to control the message, and they are going to be drunk with power in this situation. For example, all practices and pre-game skates are going to be held behind closed doors, meaning no independent eyes will be around to monitor and report on what’s happening.

If a star goes down in a heap during a drill and has to be carried off the ice, there’s a good chance you won’t hear about it beyond the coach eventually identifying them as being "unfit to play" when they’re not on the ice at puck drop. If teammates get into a dust-up during practice — remember when Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler and Ben Chiarot dropped the gloves a couple years ago? — you can bet you won’t hear a peep.

Consider this: Former NHL.com employee Sean Shapiro, now covering the Dallas Stars for The Athletic, let folks know how the sausage was made the other day with a Twitter thread in which he revealed the league wouldn’t allow writers to use the term "concussion" unless a team specifically did, wouldn’t allow any reference to fights in their copy, and wouldn’t allow any news to be broken before the team was ready to release it, such as an injury or trade.

That’s not journalism, folks. That’s public relations.


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Winning The Cup Won’t Be As Difficult As Some People Think

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

This notion that the Stanley Cup playoffs will be a greater challenge this year than ever before is nonsense. Promotional nonsense spewed out by the NHL, which is desperate to attract eyeballs starting next weekend by making it seem as though we are about to witness the most frantic, intense competition in league history.

The NHL versus the Coronavirus. Game on.

Now, if you suggested it will be harder to win the Cup under this awkward summer format than in pre-1967 days, when a team only needed to play two series before hoisting the trophy, that might make some sense. If you suggested it will be more arduous than the days when all the ’67 expansion teams were piled into one sub-mediocre conference, sure.

But compared to the last 40 years? Nonsense.

The two most significant elements that have defined the physical and mental challenge of winning an NHL championship since 1980, folks, have been removed.

First, the punishing travel is gone. The biggest road trip will be for those teams that have to take the three-hour plane ride from Toronto to Edmonton for the final stages of the playoffs. That’s it. Otherwise, it’s a series of games in the same location.

Second, NHL teams have traditionally entered the post-season battered and on the limp.


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Welcome To The Hub

from Nicholas. J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,

The first team entered the Secure Zone at 10:49 a.m. ET on Sunday, when a guard opened a gate in the black fence surrounding the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. Not one but two buses carried the Montreal Canadiens because of the space needed for social distancing.

Everyone wore a mask as the Canadiens collected luggage and walked into the hotel. They passed red velvet ropes cordoning off CLEAR kiosks, which, in addition to daily COVID-19 tests, everyone must use to receive health passes to move within the bubble by answering questions on an app and undergoing touchless temperature checks.

Preregistered, the Canadiens received room keys and welcome packets containing a Toronto hub city guide and a medical guidebook. Then they headed to the elevators, into which staff members ushered no more than two per car for social distancing. In 12 minutes, the entire team was on its floor.

The scene repeated itself throughout the day Sunday, with 24 teams arriving in hubs for the Stanley Cup Qualifiers -- 12 Eastern Conference teams in Toronto, 12 Western Conference teams in Edmonton -- beginning Phase 4 of the Return to Play Plan after the season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Your Playoff Rosters For The 24 Teams

NEW YORK (July 26, 2020) -- The NHL announced today the Phase 4 player rosters for the 24 clubs contesting the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers that begin Saturday, Aug. 1. Under the Return To Play Plan, each team is permitted to bring a maximum of 31 players into the Secure Zones in the hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto for Phase 4 of the competition.

Continue Reading »

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Arizona Coyotes Statement On John Chayka

GLENDALE, ARIZONA --- The Arizona Coyotes issued the following statement today regarding John Chayka.

"John Chayka has quit as the General Manager and President of Hockey Operations of the Arizona Coyotes.

"The Club is disappointed in his actions and his timing as the Coyotes prepare to enter the NHL's hub city of Edmonton, where the team will begin post-season play for the first time since 2012. Chayka has chosen to quit on a strong and competitive team, a dedicated staff, and the Arizona Coyotes fans, the greatest fans in the NHL.

"The Club is moving forward and has named Steve Sullivan as Interim General Manager. He has the full support of the entire organization including team ownership, executive leadership, players, and coaches.

"The Club will have no further comment on the matter, as the Club remains focused on the opportunity to pursue a Stanley Cup."

added 4:00pm ET, Chayka statement below.

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  Tags: john+chayka

Looks Like GM Movement For The Arizona Coyotes


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Time To Travel To The Bubble Cities

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Rest In Peace Eddie Shack


added 11:15am, A tribute to Eddie Shack is below.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Plan To Play Primer

from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,

This all feels a bit weird, right?

Though we’ve had weeks to talk about how the Stanley Cup Playoffs were about to become a two-city, August-to-September experience, it’s still hard to wrap your brain around the fact that, come next weekend, we’ll be watching live post-season NHL hockey from lunchtime until midnight.

As a range of sports continue to make long-awaited returns, we figured it might be useful to have cheat sheet for a summer hockey session that figures to be unlike anything we’ve seen. In case you’ve forgotten — because you’ve got nothing else on your mind these days, right? — here are some need-to-knows about this puck extravaganza happening in Toronto and Edmonton.

Who is in and how are we doing this?

The NHL ranked teams by points percentage and put the top 12 from each conference into the post-season. The best four teams in the East and West will play one game against each of the other three clubs to receive a bye in its conference to determine seeds No. 1 to No. 4 for the main draw of the playoffs. Those games will be decided by the usual regular season three-on-three overtime and shootout rules if necessary, and any ties in the round-robin standings will be broken by teams’ regular-season points percentage.

Teams five through 12 on each side are playing a preliminary round featuring best-of-five series, with the No. 5 seed facing No. 12, No. 6 squaring off against No. 11 and so on. These games will not use three-on-three overtime or shootouts; extra time is 20-minute periods until we have a winner.

Collectively, these games are being put under the umbrella of 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers. All player statistics from these contests will count toward playoff totals. So if you score three goals during the Qualifiers and 10 more in the playoffs, for the purpose of the history books, your total for the 2020 post-season is 13.


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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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