Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ross McKeon of the San Francisco Chronicle,
When Scott Niedermayer hoists the Stanley Cup following Game 5 a week from Wednesday night, it will culminate what was almost predestined with the events of last July 3.
Anaheim will be the first team in the Pacific time zone to win the Cup since it was awarded to the Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League for their 1925 conquest of the Montreal Canadiens.
California will boast an NHL champion for the first time….
And it will be thanks to the bold yet confident move made by Ducks general manager Brian Burke, who wasn’t afraid to part with a bushel of riches to acquire defenseman Chris Pronger from Edmonton.
from Terry Jones at the Edmonton Sun,
Has there ever been a more popular player, a more sentimental favourite to win a Stanley Cup than Teemu Selanne?
Ray Bourque maybe. Lanny McDonald perhaps. But not many.
And don’t even talk to Anaheim Duck fans about Chris Pronger and Scott Neidermayer. Selanne’s their guy. Always has been.
from Marcia C. Smith of the OC Register,
Hockey – follow us closely – is generally played in the less tanned regions of the world where people drink Molson, hunt moose and survive inhumane sub-70-degree winters that make roads, sidewalks and the surfaces of frozen-over ponds dangerously slippery and cold.
Ottawa, the capital of Canada, has embraced hockey, along with Celine Dion worship, even though the Senators have been an NHL franchise since only 1992….
Since 1993, the Anaheim Ducks have forsaken the Southern California beach culture to convert Orange County into parka-wearing fans of this boxing-on-blades sport.
They play atop a 1¼-inch sheet of man-made ice cooled to 18 degrees, inside a giant marble and glass icebox formerly named The Pond.
Despite their webbed feet, the Ducks skate on blades of steel sharp enough to cut a ripe tomato. They wield long, slender sticks made of graphite and wood.
from the LA Times,
So far, the Ducks are heading into the NHL’s Stanley Cup finals against the Ottawa Senators on Monday with far less buzz than would accompany a team from a traditional hockey town or, for that matter, a championship run by the Angels, Dodgers or Lakers.
No preponderance of flags waving from cars or wall-to-wall jabber on sports talk radio. No fans naming their first-born Teemu in a desperate attempt to win tickets.
On a recent evening at various sports bars around the Honda Center in Anaheim, patrons wore baseball caps and basketball jerseys. There wasn’t a Ducks hat or shirt in sight.
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Tickets for the Anaheim Ducks’ home games in the Stanley Cup Finals sold out in less than 10 minutes after going on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, a team official said.
There was a four-ticket limit per customer for the series. Random numbered wristbands were distributed for purchasing tickets at the box office, said Ducks’ director of communications Alex Gilchrist.
Fans hoping to catch the Ducks facing off with the Ottawa Senators at the Honda Center can turn to various Web sites and ticket brokers where tickets were being resold.
Bidding for a pair of tickets 13 rows off the ice for Monday’s Game 1 reached $999 on eBay Saturday, while a suite that seats 14 persons, along with three tickets elsewhere in the arena and preferred parking, were sold for a reported $21,246 on RazorGator.com.
from Kevin Dupont at MSNBC,
Like I say, pretty country, full of nice folks, and there’s a lot to like about the Ottawa Senators, this year’s Canadian entry in the Stanley Cup finals.
I just happen to like the Ducks more — like 4 games to 2 more. That’s right, Ducks in six games, leaving the USA with a somewhat unholy trinity of Lightning, Hurricanes and Ducks as the NHL’s last three Cup champions.
You know, if the Panthers finish off with a grand slam in the spring of ‘08, it might be time to consider selling one of the six remaining Canadian franchises and shipping it south.
from the New York Times,
While clean and skillful play has become the prevailing style among most of the N.H.L.’s best teams, the Ducks, who will start the Stanley Cup finals against Ottawa tomorrow night, earned more penalty minutes (1,457) and engaged in far more fights (71) than any other club this season. And if the opinions available on fan-generated Web sites and blogs are any indication, Anaheim has become the team fans love to hate.
The Ducks have not toned down their act, and have been responsible for some of the postseason’s most unpleasant incidents. There have been 13 fights in the first three playoff rounds, and Anaheim has been involved in four.
more on the NHL and the NYT needs to take a better look at the UFAs they have mentioned…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
If the Senators’ trio of Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza can continue to shred defences with the same efficiency as they have in the first three rounds of the playoffs, Ottawa will win.
If the Ducks’ defensive duo of Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer can find a way of shutting them down, Anaheim will win.
Fundamentally, it really can be as simple as that.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Gretzky is cheering for the Ducks, mostly because of location, location, location in terms of the Coyotes. But there also is his legacy.
“Oh yeah. I think all of us who were around back then see the Ducks as a success of our group. It came at the same time as the Disney movie Mighty Ducks and Mr. Eisner of the Disney Corporation came to all our games,” said Gretzky, who spends the off season in Southern California.
“The sport has grown an awful lot in the southwest and the Ducks getting to the final and winning the Stanley Cup would only help.”
It’s one thing for a California team to have all the stars, moons and planets lined up and to knock on the door every once in a while, but the door needs to be knocked down, said No. 99.
from the LA Times,
StubHub, a San Francisco-based online ticket marketplace, said that only about 250 seats from season-ticket holders were available for Monday night’s opening game, selling for $200 to $1,200 each.
“That’s not nearly as many as you’d see for a Dodgers playoff game or even a Lakers playoff game,” said Sean Pate, a StubHub spokesman. “It shows me a lot of those season-ticket holders are holding onto their seats.”
Chuck Alexander of Anaheim said he is leaning toward selling his seats behind Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, especially when he heard center-ice seats were going for $1,500 each, more than five times the face value of his $280 seat. He sold his two tickets to a semifinal game for $1,200 to a Detroit fan.
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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.
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