Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Low Attendance Today

While watching the Rangers play the Capitals at the MCI Center in D.C., I could not help but notice the empty seats. The arena holds around 20,000 and the announced attendance was 10,700, but my guess is no more than 5000 fans were in the seats. Now I know it is Columbus Day and most of D.C. has the day off, but why schedule an afternoon game unless they offered some sort of discount on tickets for Federal Employees. Caps won the game 3-2, but the game lacked any real intensity.

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Ryan Smyth Out with Knee Injury

via TSN, The undefeated Edmonton Oilers have suffered a setback in the young NHL season, as veteran forward Ryan Smyth is out indefinitely with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. update 3:57pm, In another player move, the Nashville Predators announced Monday that the club has re-assigned right wing Jordin Tootoo to the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League. update 4:43pm, The Phoenix Coyotes will have to make due without the services of Curtis Joseph for the short term, as the netminder aggravated a nagging groin injury in the team's home game against the Wild on Saturday. The Coyotes have called up goaltneder Steve Passmore and are expected to place Joseph on injured reserve. Also, the Blackhawks have placed Eric Daze on IR, with re-occurring back problems.

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What It Is Like To Be Crosby

from Kara Yorio of the Sporting News

, Four people with television cameras jostle for position in the cramped visitors locker room at Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey. This is a shot they can't miss. Penguins rookie Sidney Crosby is coming off the ice from the morning skate. He sits down alone -- and he unties his skates. Television doesn't get more riveting than that.

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Fine Start For OLN

from John McGourty of NHL.com,

Whatever concerns executives of the NHL and the Comcast-owned OLN had about the network's ability to cover hockey were quickly allayed in last Wednesday night's debut. OLN set ratings records with the broadcasts and was particularly strong among men, 18-to-34. Excluding Tour de France coverage, it was OLN's most watched Wednesday night ever among households, men 18-49, men 25-54 and total viewers.

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A Wild Start

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

It has been a wild and wooly first few days since the return of the National Hockey League. Shootouts, comebacks, a bewildering parade of penalties and the arrival of a host of young players whose future seems to be now. Here is a look at some of the highs and lows, surprises and disappointments of a season in its infancy, and a league whose recovery is likewise in its toddling stage.

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During The Lockout

A very nice feature on a recent Page 3 from ESPN. Check out what some of the players did during the lockout.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Vinny Lecavalier went swimming with sharks in South Africa. The Detroit Red Wings' Chris Chelios and Chris Therien of the Philadelphia Flyers started a moving company. Toronto's Eric Lindros got his master's degree, and Travis Green of the Boston Bruins qualified for the World Series of Poker.

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Hockey Feast Today

A couple of 1pm EDT games today- Panthers take on the Islanders and the Rangers face-off against the Caps. Both games are available on Center Ice, and remember, the free preview is still available. Also, the Sabres take on the Penguins tonight on OLN, game starts at 7pm EDT.

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Is This Right

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun recently posed an interesting question.

The Thrashers signed W Ilya Kovalchuk to a five-year, $32.5-million (all terms US) deal on Friday -- leaving them about $275,000 shy of reaching the NHL's $39-million salary cap. But there are raised eyebrows around the league because the Thrashers have had a difficult time drawing fans to Philips Arena, meaning they'll likely qualify for revenue sharing. "This kind of spending is what put us into a lockout in the first place and how could it be fair if people have to pay into a fund to help the Thrashers have one of the highest payrolls in the league?" an NHL source asked. Atlanta is also paying former Senators RW Marian Hossa $5 million and C Bobby Holik $4.25 million this season

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New NHL Is Working

from Mike Ulmer of the Toronto Sun,

Backlash? What backlash? NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said there has been no cold shoulder from fans after a lockout aborted the 2004-2005 season. "Actually based on all the indications we have so far, season ticket sales are up 3% and individual game sales are up pretty significantly as well," said Bettman. "We think attendance should be comparable if not better than in 2003-04." Raise your hand if you read comments from players, owners, marketers, writers, coaches and msytics of all denominations who predicted it would take years to recover from the nuclear winter of a last season. Yeah, me too.

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OLN In The Dark For New York Fans

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

NHL to New York television market: Drop dead! Despite a contractual right to instruct OLN to televise all of its NHL exclusives over all cable systems regardless of whether the network is carried on a basic or subscription tier, the league is abdicating. Thus, tonight's Penguins-Sabres game in Buffalo will apparently be blacked out in all Cablevision homes because of OLN's position on a subscription tier. If the league does not intervene within the next week, then next Monday's Rangers-Panthers game at the Garden may also be blacked out by OLN. As first reported by The Post on Aug. 28, the league's contract with OLN states: "Unless the NHL otherwise approves, the right to exhibit OLN games . . . may not be granted on a going-forward basis by OLN/Comcast to any . . . distributor [that carries the games] on a sports tier." When questioned in a series of e-mails whether the league would exercise its right to instruct OLN to allow its games to be seen by the three million Cablevision subscribers in the New York market (and over other affected systems in Buffalo, Phoenix and Dallas), league deputy commissioner Bill Daly repeatedly evaded the subject. Instead, Daly suggested that the issue centered around blackout language that might possibly be contained in the prior contract between Cablevision and Comcast, which owns OLN.

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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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