Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tripp Mickle of SportsBusiness Journal (paid sub.),
For the first time since the 2004-05 lockout, the NHL pushed the metrics of attendance and TV ratings in the same direction — up.
The league set its second post-lockout attendance record, drawing 21.2 million fans to its rinks. Average attendance rose 1.8 percent to 17,268 fans a game, and the all-important metric of paid attendance increased 2 percent and reached an average of just more than 16,000 fans.
The success at the gates was matched on national television. Versus saw its ratings increase from a 0.2 to a 0.3 average cable rating while average total viewership was up 28 percent from 212,366 in 2006-07 to 272,417 in 2007-08. NBC’s ratings rose from a 0.9 to a 1.0 household rating and viewership rose 11 percent to 1.5 million over nine telecasts.
NBC commentator Mike Milbury was asked to make believe he was the team’s coach and gave his analysis of what the team needed to do to win: “so, I’m in the Washington cra-capaitals dre—ahh. I said Crapitals. That’s what it is today. Washington Capitals dressing room…”
Milbury halfway apologized for using the same dumb insult for the Caps that immature fans of teams in cities like Boston and New York have been using for decades. It’s understandable. He’s worked most of his career for teams in those towns, and at least Milbury doesn’t call the play by play. At least he’s only on screen between periods. At least the play by play comes from experienced professionals, led by respected veteran announcer Mike Emerick.
Wait, did we say respected?
from Stu Hackel of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
If anyone alive is more steeped in hockey tradition or hockey culture than Dick Irvin, that person is purely fictional. Dick Irvin, however, is real. His father, James Dickinson “Dick” Irvin, was a Hockey Hall of Fame player, an original Chicago Black Hawk in 1926 (their first captain, in fact) who became a Stanley Cup winning coach for Toronto and then Montreal during the glory days of Rocket Richard. Young Dick, Jr. absorbed his father’s love for the game, became a sports broadcaster in Montreal and made his own mark as an announcer for Hockey Night in Canada as well as the Canadiens. He was a Hockey Hall of Fame Media Honoree in 1988.
In the ’60s, Irvin was paired with Danny Gallivan, probably the greatest hockey play-by-play announcer of all time, and became the sport’s first color commentator.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
On Thursday night, Red Fisher wrote a column on deadline, as he usually does, off the Montreal Canadiens-Boston Bruins playoff opener.
Yesterday morning, he put together his usual Saturday package consisting of a column and NHL notebook that will fill a page in today’s Montreal Gazette.
Tonight, he will be back at the Bell Centre press box in Montreal, writing on deadline.
“Doesn’t everybody do it?” he asked yesterday.
Some do, but Fisher will be 82 in August, an age when all but very few sportswriters are long retired and telling war stories.
From Barry Melrose Rocks,
But what really bugs me is hypocrisy.
When the MSM preaches about how they’ve gone to J-school and are so much more important because of it, that’s fine. When the MSM calls bloggers no talent hacks that reek of fan bias, that’s fine. There’s one problem with all that, though. You see, when you say those things, boy you had better back them up. Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this is just a case of someone in the minority not representing the upstanding majority. Tell me if I wrong because, unlike many newspapers, BMR has a comments section after every article. Oh, excuse me, post. But majority, minority, whatever. If the MSM’s rules are to single out one person and make them a poster child for the whole, then I think I should be allowed to play by those rules as well.
So today, we examine Mr. Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun. Why? Lately, with the hometown Sens facing the Pens in the playoffs, he has sounded more like a Senators fanboy or a crazed message boarder than an actual journalist.
Also: links to the original Brennan story and its fallout can be found at James Mirtle’s blog.
“Blood all over the ice” made my blood boil at Hockey.com today.
Update 1:24pm ET: Also from Hockey.com today, Marty Henwood on Gary Roberts,
From the morning-after-the-night-before department of hindsight and what-ifs, the Ottawa Senators probably could have saved themselves a whole lot of hassle, not to mention a few early vacations, had they simply traded for Gary Roberts, say, half a dozen years ago.
Just in case you think you have seen this movie before, relax. You are not losing your mind.
There have been a number of stories published today on the launch of the new NHL Network Online. To read more about it, check out these:
Being fascinated by the NHL’s digital media initiatives in general, I spent some time on the new site this morning, and have some first impressions to share.
Some good, some bad:
Don’t miss the NHL.com’s debut of “The Hockey Show”... your premium pass to what’s happening around the league!
Join hosts Carrie Millbank and Steven Lee today as they preview the “Journey to the Cup.” It’s All Hockey, All Access, All The Time!
Watch it right here at KK beginning at 11:30am ET.
from the AP via the Mercury News,
(Jason) Reitman told the league to call him if he could be of any help and they asked him to blog.
“This year is a little depressing because my two teams, the (Vancouver) Canucks and the (Los Angeles) Kings, neither of them are in the playoffs,” he said, adding that the invitation came “when the Canucks still had a chance.”
“Now the Canucks aren’t in it. So what I decided is that I’m going to write a kind of mythical blog about what the Canucks and Kings would be doing had they still been in,” he said. “In my version, for the first time
From Eric McErlain at The Sporting News,
As I’ve written before, the early 21st century may be the best time in history to be a professional sports fan, and that’s even the case for the NHL—a sport that plenty of American newspaper editors and television producers would like to see shunted off to the margins. With only incredibly rare exceptions, virtually every game that your home team plays will be on television. And if you manage to miss the game, you can access the highlights online via NHL.com, or perhaps just your favorite bits, like the most exciting goals, hits and fights that proliferate on YouTube. And if you live hundreds or even thousands of miles from your favorite team, there’s always the NHL Center Ice PPV package, the out of town fan’s ultimate lifeline.
For some critics, that’s just not enough, as they often mention the fact that Versus, the cable network that carries NHL games two times a week during the regular season, can’t be found in hotels around the country. If that’s a problem, just invest in a Slingbox…
You know, I’ve often wondered about this myself. I realize not everyone can afford a Slingbox, but I’ve always wondered why so many media members—who frequently make the criticism that Eric points out—don’t have them. They’re an awesome little gizmo (and no, I’m not making any money for pointing this out…!).
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