Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
... if the hockey gods existed at all, they would have been smiling their faces at a team like the Columbus Blue Jackets, one that didn’t stain the reputation of the league like a few others by deliberately tanking their seasons to get a shot at McDavid.
The Jackets stayed put at No. 8 overall where they’ll get a very good player, but it would have been great poetry had the team that ran one of the best records in the league over the final two months been granted some sort of payoff for that.
Instead, you’ve got an Oilers team that has re-written the definition of ineptitude ever since thrilling their fans with a surprise trip to the 2006 Cup finals. They haven’t made the playoffs since, and are undergoing what, their third rebuild?
"Not fair at all," is how one NHL team executive responded via text Saturday night, his club not in the lottery.
from Adam Vingan of The Tennessean,
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is in Nashville on Friday to attend Game 2 of the Predators' first-round series against the Blackhawks. Before the game, he discussed Nashville's impact on the NHL and league-wide topics.
On if it was good for the league to have a "non-traditional" market like Nashville have significant on-ice success:
"I'm not sure i'm comfortable any longer with the term 'non-traditional.' Fact is there are some cities that have franchises longer, but Nashville has built its own tradition, its own history. This team is very well-owned by Tom Cigarran and his partners. The team on the ice has been built the right way by David Poile, who's one of the preeminent general managers. And we're in a place as a league where we have incredible competitive balance, best in our history, probably the best in all of sports. We've got 20 teams that could have won the Stanley Cup in all probability and four of them didn't even make the playoffs.
And as we sit here at the very beginnings of the first round, the Stanley Cup is up for grabs and that's great news for fans. It's great news for fans in Nashville as there are high expectations and a team that performed extraordinarily well in the regular season."
On Las Vegas's pursuit of an NHL franchise:
"Mr.(Bill) Foley, who's the person interested in having an NHL franchise in Las Vegas, wanted to assess the strength of the fan base, potential fan base in Las Vegas. Las Vegas in that regard is at least perceived to be an unusual market. He began his ticket drive and while I'm not prepared to announce the results, because it's actually still ongoing, it has been very successful to date."
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
There's a significant jackpot awaiting the winner of the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).
The team winning the lottery will be able to choose between two players projected to be generational talents eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft: Erie Otters center Connor McDavid and Boston University freshman Jack Eichel. The draft will be held at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., June 26-27....
Balls numbered 1 to 14 will be put into a lottery machine that selects four balls to provide a four-number combination. That will be matched to a chart containing all possible four-number combinations that have been assigned to each of the 14 teams on the basis of their percentage chance to win the lottery.
The Buffalo Sabres, who finished with the fewest points in the regular season, have a 20.0 percent chance of winning the lottery. If they don't win the No. 1 pick, they are guaranteed No. 2, because the rules dictate no team can move back more than one spot.
The Arizona Coyotes (13.5 percent), Edmonton Oilers (11.5 percent), Toronto Maple Leafs (9.5 percent) and Carolina Hurricanes (8.5 percent) round out the five teams with the best odds of winning the No. 1 pick.
“The media debates it a lot, but we don’t get a lot of negative feedback from fans. In fact, when you see the way the races played out and the importance of every game in the regular season, there are teams that wish they had a couple of points from October and November they would have liked to have down the stretch. The point system is working extraordinarily well.”
-Gary Bettman when questioned about the current point system in the NHL. Craig Custance of ESPN has more (ESPN Insider).
from Tony Lefton of SportsBusiness Daily,
NHL sponsors are readying activation as the Stanley Cup Playoffs open tonight in Montreal, Nashville, Vancouver and DC.
As the league continues its effort to make the playoffs an “April/May/June Madness” similar to the NCAA hoops festivities in March, Samsung is sponsoring a playoff bracket challenge again, and the NHL hopes to double last year’s 530,000 entries.
Fellow sponsor SAP ties in this year with supporting analytics. “As we look to develop more fans, a bracket contest is something casual fans will weigh in on,” said NHL Exec VP & CMO Brian Jennings.
Honda has its second TV spot with Hockey HOF Curator and keeper of the Stanley Cup custodian Phil Pritchard, which will support its Pilot SUV. The white-gloved “Cup Keeper” has previously appeared in ads for MasterCard and Discover. On the beverage side of the house, Pepsi’s AMP energy drink is backing “No Bull Moments” playoff video vignettes on NHL Network and NHL.com.
NEW YORK (April 14, 2015) – The NHL Awards™ will return to Las Vegas this summer at the world-famous MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, the National Hockey League announced today. The NHL Awards will be held on Wednesday, June 24, at the renowned MGM Grand Garden Arena.
It marks the first year that the NHL Awards will be held at the MGM Grand, home to world-class entertainment, dining and nightlife, as well as concerts, championship boxing and premier sporting and special events. When the biggest stars from the NHL® and hockey fans from around the world descend on the MGM Grand in June, it will mark the seventh year of a successful partnership with Las Vegas and the sixth time the NHL will honor the best hockey players in the world and the top performances of the season in Las Vegas.
NHL ANNOUNCES FIRST ROUND OFFICIALS
The NHL announced the officials for the First Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
provided by the NHL PR department
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Imagine telling someone back in September that the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings would miss the playoffs.
Then imagine telling that person defending Presidents' Trophy winners the Boston Bruins would need a win and some help on the final day of the season to get in.
You would also tell this person the Pittsburgh Penguins would be on the ropes, too, in the final 48 hours of the regular season and might sneak in just by a hair.
Finally, you would also say that perennial contenders the San Jose Sharks -- who have been to the playoffs in 10 straight seasons -- would be out, and it wasn't that close, either.
That person might say you were on something. But, should we really be all that shocked?
As much as one can paint it all as the fall of the titans, the more accurate diagnosis is that what the NHL set out to accomplish 10 years ago has finally hit home with 100 percent voracity.
The salary cap has fully spread its wings.
from Jonathan Willis of Sportsnet,
On one level, the idea of expanded playoffs cheapens the whole exercise of the regular season. Already more than half of the teams in the league participate in the postseason; adding a qualification round would increase the number to two-thirds. What’s the point of an 82-game regular season when two out of three teams are going to make the playoffs anyway?
That line of reasoning misses the point, however, because a playoff qualification round actually increases the importance of the regular season in at least two ways.
First, it increases the rewards for finishing at the top of the league. This year, a team that finishes first in its division in the West can look forward to a first-round matchup with Minnesota or possibly Los Angeles. The situation isn’t much better out East; Boston currently holds one spot and the other could go to any of the Capitals, Islanders or Penguins (teams currently in a three-way race which is too close to call). Parity means that the gap between the first and fourth place teams in the division is narrower than ever.
With a qualification round, a first-place finisher would have some reward for its fine regular season.
Not everyone will agree with the rationale behind every war room decision. At least the office has an open-door policy, however. Journalists and team executives alike are allowed to sit in. The league wants to erase the idea of an adversarial relationship. Those of us on the other side may never feel the penalties are severe enough to fit the crimes, but the league, must always operate within the confines of the rulebook and CBA. And everyone shares the desire to make the game safer.
-Matt Larkin of The Hockey News who has a great read on the department of player safety.
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.
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