Kukla's Korner Hockey
On August 9, 1988, a day that changed the game, Wayne Gretzky was traded from the Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers to the lowly Los Angeles Kings. The trade changed the fortunes of the Kings, was a driving force for National Hockey League expansion into the ‘Sun Belt’, and generated extensive growth of the game at the grassroots level in “non-traditional” hockey markets.
To commemorate the anniversary, The NHL Network will highlight its “Wayne Gretzky Week” programming by presenting a one-hour special that features exclusive interviews with Gretzky, former Oilers owner Peter Pocklington and former Kings’ owner Bruce McNall, among others, at 9 p.m., ET, on Wednesday, August 6. A VNR of the interview with Gretzky will be provided Tuesday.
Here is the complete NHL Network schedule of Gretzky-related programming for next week:
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
Milbury’s addition raises the question of what the future holds for another HNIC regular with Boston connections - P. J. Stock. There won’t be much room on the Hotstove with ring master Ron MacLean, Milbury and Scott Morrison taking up three of the four spots. HNIC likes to throw in Eric Duhatschek, Pierre LeBrun or Al Strachan in the fourth spot, and that leaves little or no room for Stock.
But CBC Sports head honcho Scott Moore told me yesterday: “We’re definitely keeping young Stock. He has a future.”
Moore said HNIC executive producer Sherali Najak is still putting the pieces of the telecast together, but predicted Stock will have a “slightly expanded role.”
more on Milbury…
Hockey Night in Canada will welcome a familiar face and opinionated hockey mind next season, with Mike Milbury joining the show as an analyst.
Milbury, who has spent over 30 years in the NHL as a player, coach and general manager, will also be a regular contributor to the Hot Stove segment on HNIC.
“We’re very pleased to welcome Mike to our talented broadcast team,” HNIC executive producer Sherali Najak said in a statement. “His experience as an NHL player and executive is reflected in an entertaining on-air style. We look forward to his honest opinions and knowledge on what’s happening around the NHL on a weekly basis.”
Update 3:53pm ET: Speaking of Milbury’s “entertaining style,” that sort of demands we point to this video (embedded below). The footage is terrible, but somewhere in that muck you can see #28 beating a hockey fan with his own shoe…
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Instructed by former Hockey Night producer John Shannon not to take broadcast courses after being hired, Hrudey’s success stems from being as likable as they come.
“I’m happy with my life,” said the husband and father of three girls. “I used to play hockey, now I talk hockey. The beauty of my job is that as much as I talk to people in the industry, it’s my opinion.”
Over the years, he’s done well to distance himself from his playing brethren to the point he openly criticizes players when warranted.
Unlike the bombastic Don Cherry, Hrudey’s approach is much more measured. Armed with four satellite dishes, eight feeds and endless PVR recordings, Hrudey sits in his Calgary home office during the season watching endless game coverage before hitting the road each weekend.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
But what Cherry should be wondering—and what we should be wondering—is why he has not yet been recognized by the Hall. Like him or hate him, there is no disputing the impact Cherry has had on hockey.
In a country that is all about hockey, he owns the loudest voice and the most recognized face.
more and other NHL bits…
Nearly two years after launching a hybrid high-definition service blending content culled from Versus and Golf Channel, Comcast is prepping standalone HD feeds for both brands, along with a hi-def service for fans of its celebrity/lifestyle network, E!
The three HD simulcasts will go live in early December, a Comcast spokesperson confirmed.
A note from the league—
NHL Network’s special Draft programming begins Friday, June 20, with the NHL Draft Preview Show live from Scotiabank Place at 6 p.m. ET. After all 30 first-round selections are made, NHL Network will be the place to be for the live NHL Draft First Round Recap Show. Fans can tune-in for instant analysis of how their favorite team fared as NHL Network breaks down all of the Round 1 action.
The first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft on Friday will start at 7 p.m., ET. In Canada, NHL Network will simulcast TSN’s live coverage of Round 1, which begins at 7 p.m., ET. RDS in Canada also provides live coverage of Round 1. In the U.S., VERSUS will air TSN’s live feed of Round 1 in its entirety. NHL Radio’s live audio coverage of Round 1 can be heard on radio stations across North America, on XM 204 and on NHL.com.
Update 2:16pm ET: George Malik at Snapshots has rounded up a nice selection of online Draft coverage out there today.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
The Hockey Night in Canada theme song filled the air with more controversy yesterday.
Scott Moore, the head of CBC Sports, charged that CTV deliberately interfered with the CBC’s negotiations for the famous song, suggesting it was a publicity stunt to embarrass the network.
“CTV management characterized their actions as ‘saving the song,’ ” Moore wrote on a CBC blog. “But they knew the negotiation hadn’t run its course. I firmly believe that if they hadn’t inserted themselves into the negotiation, the result would have been different.”
From David Staples in the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
“The song has a long and storied history in Canadian sports, and has become ingrained in the hearts and minds of hockey fans across the country. It is an iconic tune, embraced by Canadians everywhere, and we felt it was imperative to save it,” said Rick Brace of CTV Inc.
The rhetoric is getting out of control here. The CBC wasn’t going to burn all copies of the song, after all, just stop playing it on Hockey Night in Canada.
*previous updates on KK
from the Globe and Mail,
The Hockey Night in Canada theme song, considered by many as this country’s “second anthem,” has been silenced after talks between its creator and the CBC broke down late Friday afternoon.
“As of now, it’s over,” said Kevin Kemp, a lawyer representing composer Dolores Claman.
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 email@example.com