Kukla's Korner Hockey
In preparation for the NHL Entry Draft this weekend, I threw together a short Q&A for both Erin Nicks and Patrick Williams, who are covering the event for Kukla’s Korner.
First, meet Erin Nicks. (Even Gary Bettman has learned to stay out of her way…)
From William Houston at the Globe & Mail,
Hockey analyst Glenn Healy is leaving TSN for a high ranking post with the National Hockey League Players’ Association, sources have confirmed.
Healy, who was active with the association as a player, is expected to be involved in a player liaison capacity.
The former NHL goalie has built a successful career in television, first with the CBC from 2001 to 2004 and, for the past four seasons, with TSN.
Update 2:36pm ET: TSN,
Glenn Healy has been named the new Director of Player Affairs for the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
Healy will fulfill a wide range of responsibilities for the Players’ Association. In his role, he will focus on player relations, coordinating his efforts with the NHLPA’s Ombudsman and Divisional Representatives, along with working closely with the NHL Alumni office.
Geez, I need to get a glossary. Does everyone have one but me?
At least Erin has a much shorter version than Abel to Yzerman!
In case you missed it yesterday, Erin Nicks along with Patrick Williams will be filing reports for KK from the 2008 NHL Draft in Ottawa. Look for more on this in the next few days.
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.”
It’s being broadcast live online at CBC Sports. This link should open the player in your browser.
It seems to work in both the United States and Canada, though Americans will probably prefer the television broadcast on Versus (*in Canada, there is a tape delay for TV coverage.)
A few updates and the list of winners—with links to stories on their wins—can all be found below:
From their conversation:
KB: Did you grow up a hockey fan or has this been one of those steep-learning-curve kind of things?
CM: I was deprived of hockey when I was a kid. I’m from Houston, Texas, where it’s a sin to put any other sport above football. But I’ll admit that while I was growing up and everyone else was playing Super Mario Bros., I was dominating Blades Of Steel on my Nintendo. I would spend hours playing that game and I always wanted to be Montreal. I loved it when the computer would yell ‘Faceoff!’ and my favorite part was starting a fist fight with the other team…I always won of course.
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
Though the NHL Entry Draft and the UFA deadline are sure to kick things back into high gear in about a week, there’s not a great deal of news going on in the NHL at the moment.
In part, that’s because 98.5% of the hockey media is on vacation. Case in point: Wild beat writer Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune is fresh off a trip to Las Vegas, where he’s been playing poker with Ray Romano:
Romano turns out to be the nicest, most down-to-earth celebrity I’ve ever met. Although, it was quite weird the two or three times we clashed hands and you suddenly realize, “I’m trying to get a read off Ray Romano.”
We got to talking, and when I told him I was a sportswriter, he said, “I was a sportswriter, too.” I said, “Yeah, but you were a much better paid sportswriter.” He agreed wholeheartedly.
What was so cool about the experience is I felt like I was in the World Series of Poker. With the table down to four, I knocked out two guys with pocket kings. It got down to us at the end, and suddenly, I noticed there was an audience wrapped around the table.
more proof that everyone has cooler vacations than me.
From Toni Fitzgerald at The Sentinel,
Yet the hockey bump could also be part of a greater revival for sports TV ratings in 2008 after years and years of declines.
The Super Bowl drew its biggest audience ever in February. National Basketball Association postseason ratings have boomed one year after its finals also hit an all-time low last June. NASCAR ratings are up this year on Fox.
Even viewership for the WNBA has jumped this year compared to last. Heck, that, along with the hockey spike and the coming cicada invasion this summer, may have people screaming “end of the world” very soon.
I’m no psychologist, or even a sociologist, but I also think this trend tells us a little bit about the country’s psyche. I believe that in uncertain times, which would describe our economy right now, people get a certain comfort from the familiar. And there’s nothing more familiar than vegging out and watching sports, even if it’s not a sport you usually follow.
From Lance Hornby at the Toronto Sun,
Local TV stations have been running clips of Ron Wilson snapping at the media to underline the thorny side of the projected new coach of the Maple Leafs.
Wilson has coached more than 1,000 games, all in what can be termed non-traditional hockey markets: Anaheim, Washington and San Jose. Sensitive to being second-guessed, even for an NHL coach, Wilson never has faced four newspapers and four all-sports electronic outlets on a daily basis—and that would be just daily practices.
But Cliff Fletcher, who hopes to have Wilson under contract by Monday, is confident his man won’t burn in the atmosphere of the alleged centre of the hockey universe.
more odds & ends on the Leafs
Note: Tonight, TSN states that Fletcher and Wilson are set to meet again Sunday to iron out some issues, with the likelihood they’ll announce a 4-year term for Wilson within days.
Update 10:01am ET June 8th: Ron Wilson has reportedly been hired, but with the formal announcement expected on Tuesday.
Update 3:23pm ET June 8th: From the CP via the Globe & Mail,
“We have a verbal agreement but nothing’s on paper yet,” Leafs interim GM Cliff Fetcher told The Canadian Press on Sunday. “It isn’t a contract until it’s signed by the parties. And that won’t happen for a couple of days.”
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