Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
What is undeniable is there was a palpable thrum in the O2 Arena for both games, which were listed as sellouts even though Saturday’s attendance was reported as 17,551 and Sunday’s attendance given by NHL officials was 17,239. Hundreds of fans crowded around the Stanley Cup, which was on display in the atrium of the arena.
The fact there were fans in attendance from throughout Europe’s hockey community should be a positive sign if the NHL does move forward with plans to visit Prague or other European hockey cities beyond.
“Obviously we’re not pleased with our result from tonight,” Los Angeles coach Marc Crawford said. “But I think if you take a big-picture view of it, they had two very entertaining games, two games with sell-out crowds here and a wonderful venue. They saw some inspired hockey by both teams.”
from the Guardian,
Jyri Talja, 35, came from Finland hoping to see national treasure Teemu Selanne. The Finnish Flash, last year’s leading scorer, did not play for Anaheim but Talja said watching a live NHL game was well worth the trip anyway.
“It’s fantastic,” he said between periods. “It’s much faster live.”...
Judging by the number of countries represented on jerseys as fans streamed into London’s O2 Arena and filled the stadium’s numerous pubs, the NHL succeeded in attracting a wide range of people from countries across Europe.
I have received a large amount of emails asking me about the broadcast schedule for the NHL games in London.
Here you go and as always, you can check NHL.com for a complete schedule.
Note the September 29th game will also be available on FoxSports West
note: original post date was 9/25/07, Saturday’s game is on the Center Ice schedule.
from the Times Online,
Ice hockey, the cynics say, is not even an American sport, it is Canadian – which may be a key to its salvation. The sport has always had a sizeable following outside the US, especially in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, but its profile in the UK is low and the NHL is betting that it can change that with an entertaining pair of games that will underline the appeal of a sport that combines the balletic agility of ice dance with the brute violence of streetfighting.
From the CP via the Globe & Mail,
Now it’s for real. The first points of the 2007-‘08 NHL season are at stake Saturday when the Los Angeles Kings get first crack at taking down the Stanley Cup-champion Anaheim Ducks.
Practice for both teams seemed to have a little more edge on the eve of the NHL’s regular-season opener (CBC, noon ET).
“There’s a subtle feeling that comes over a team,” said Kings head coach Marc Crawford. “And you can see it in the players, there’s a little more focus in their eyes.
continued… (*regular season in North America starts next Wednesday)
From the Anaheim Ducks,
Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle announced today that defenseman Chris Pronger will take over as captain, with last year’s captain Scott Niedermayer still mulling retirement.
“The coaching staff and management had a discussion and ultimately it was left up to us, the coaches, to make that decision and we made it through consultation through the last 48 hours,” Carlyle said. “We came to the conclusion that we thought Chris Pronger would be best suited to fit the captaincy role.”
From the Daily Mail,
The NHL will enter uncharted territory and return to its outdoor roots during a new season that begins on Saturday with the Anaheim Ducks starting their Stanley Cup defence on European ice.
The Ducks and Los Angeles Kings travel to London to play the first NHL regular season game in Europe as the NHL bids to gain a foothold in a market which has also attracted serious attention from the NFL and NBA.
“We’ve got to look at extending our brand outside of North America, whenever we can,” Ducks general manager Brian Burke said. “We think that to take regular season games to Europe is a milestone for our league. Is it ideal from a preparation standpoint? No. But I think when the league asks you to go, you go.”
from the OC Register,
Acquired in a Monday afternoon trade with the Boston Bruins, Mowers quickly threw together a few things, spent as much time as possible with a family that includes two young daughters, and made his way to New York to join the Ducks’ charter flight that had made a refueling stop before its overnight trek across the Atlantic.
“It’s kind of a shocker, at first to switch teams, and then come to the realization that you’re not just going out to California, but you’re going overseas,” Mowers said. “It was a crazy 24 hours, but I feel like I’m settling in, getting to know the guys. The excitement is definitely starting to hit me now.”
NHL.com’s Shawn P. Roarke is in London and providing daily updates about his experiences and the upcoming games. From his Day #3 installment:
Wednesday, NHL.com took an abbreviated double-decker bus tour of London. But the company couldn’t be beat as I joined the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks and the Stanley Cup itself for a quick jaunt through the city.
We all climbed aboard a 30-year-old traditional red double-decker bus that is only used for special occasions. And, what could be more special than escorting the Ducks and the Stanley Cup on a sight-seeing tour?
from Mark Whicker of the OC Register,
It’s not that the Ducks and Kings shouldn’t play twice in Europe, but not two regular-season games. And not in England. If you’ve ever been there, you know how little use they have for ice.
Two exhibitions in Sweden or the Czech Republic or even Russia would have been perfect. The NHL has very little to gain in the U.K. besides the odd jersey sale.
If the league wanted to make any splash in Britain, it should have recruited the Phoenix Coyotes, coached by Wayne Gretzky, whose name might ring a faint bell with someone.
That would have satisfied the need for a Western team to suffer approximately the same hardship the Kings will. Certainly the fact that the Kings’ owners also own the arena in London was not enough reason for the Ducks to sign up.
Also from the OC Register… The Bertuzzi Effect...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org