Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Canada’s TV numbers are in for the NHL all-star game and the numbers are down.
Sunday’s game that featured an absurd 29 goals drew 1.479 million viewers to CBC, nearly one million viewers less than the last all-star game in 2012 when 2.454 million people watched and 2011 when 2.363 million tuned in.
“Frankly it’s a little mystifying,” said Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet and NHL Properties for Rogers. “Somebody else asked me if I have an explanation and I don’t really.
“I just think they (the numbers) seem wrong.”
The ratings for the rest of the weekend were also down significantly compared to previous years.
Saturday’s super skills drew 1.7 million viewers to CBC, down from 2.5 million in 2012 and 2.4 million in 2011.
And Friday’s fantasy draft on Sportsnet drew a hair over half-a-million viewers, compared to 1.33 million in 2012 on TSN and 1.5 million in 2011.
If you missed it earlier, some numbers for US viewers...
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Now is the time for the best players in the NHL to stand up the way they do when the Stanley Cup is on the line. Because if they don’t push the issue on Olympic participation, the NHL will be more than happy to trash the entire concept.
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association announced the details of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which will be played in Toronto Sept. 17-Oct. 1, 2016. Both sides spoke of the event in glowing terms and there was much singing from the same songbook. That’s because both sides stand to gain a mother lode of money from a World Cup. The profits for the event are split 50-50 between the NHLPA and the league, meaning they will not be part of Hockey Related Revenues and will have no bearing on the salary cap. Each side is free to take its money and do with it whatever it wants.
So it comes as no surprise that Kumbaya will be used as the national anthem for the Young Stars under-23 team and We Are Family will be the anthem for the Pan-European team.
But make no mistake. When it comes to the Olympics, the two sides are completely opposed.
The NHL and Sportvision announced on Saturday a partnership to revolutionize the collection of data in the game of hockey.
With tracking chips implanted into pucks and the back of players' jerseys, Sportvision will be able to gather previously unattainable data from all over the ice by using a series of infrared cameras placed around the arena that will read the chips. The location of each player and the puck, as well as the speed of the puck and each player are among the data that can be collected at a rate of 30 times per second.
"Hockey is an incredibly hard sport to follow," said Hank Adams, the CEO of Sportvision. "It is very dynamic. It is very fast. Players change shifts dynamically during the game. You have guys coming on and off the ice, and fans at home can't see that. With this technology, we can very simply tell fans who has come on, who has come off, how long their shift was. It can be very simple storylines like that, or very complex storylines; when you collect this data over a long period of time, you can really start helping fans understand the game better and maybe even help coaches understand the game better. What happens with the penalty kill against a power play in certain formations. We can start mining this very deep data."
Below,watch Sportsvision in action at the NHL All-Star Skills Event last night..
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Cap-challenged teams were relieved Saturday to hear from the NHL that the plunging Canadian dollar won’t impact the salary cap as much as many feared.
"It’s not as bad as everyone is predicting," Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said after the Board of Governors meeting. "Some of the stuff we heard from them is more reassuring."
What they heard is what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman later told media at a state of the game news conference: "I assure you, even with the decline in the Canadian dollar, the salary cap does not fall off a cliff. When we gave you the rough estimate/projection in December, the same estimate I gave to the clubs, we were projecting a cap of $73 million, assuming the 5 percent increment under the CBA, based on the Canadian dollar at 88 cents to the US dollar to the rest of the year. At 82 cents, the cap would be $72.2 million and at 80 cents, the cap would be $71.7 million.
"No one can project where it’s going, but the point I’m making is, you are not going to see a dramatic difference. The cap is computed based on currency on a daily basis, it’s averaged over the season. So even with an 80-cent Canadian dollar, still looking at a cap of almost $72 million."
continue plus LeBrun basically puts a bow on all the news of the day other than the World Cup...
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
This is just the beginning. When the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association stage the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto – featuring the Big Six nations, plus a team of other Europeans and one of 23-and-under North Americans, unfortunately – it will be the first step in what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called their “joint vision for international hockey.”
“The aspiration,” said John Collins, the NHL’s chief operating officer, “is to build a global brand and a global business.”
The NHL and the NHLPA announced the World Cup on Saturday at the All-Star Game. But they are working on a Ryder Cup concept – say, a best-of-5 series between North American and European NHL stars in a city like London or Berlin in 2018. They’re researching expanding eligibility requirements so NHL players who can’t make their national teams can represent other nations where they have roots – say, England or Italy. They hope to hold a qualifying tournament in 2019 to fill out the 2020 World Cup, so they don’t need teams of other Europeans and 23-and-under North Americans and the World Cup can become a pure nation-on-nation tournament.
New York/Toronto (January 24, 2015) – The World Cup of Hockey will return in September 2016 in Toronto, Canada when eight teams, comprised of the world’s best hockey players, compete for a best-on-best international hockey championship, the National Hockey League (NHL®) and National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today. The World Cup of Hockey is a joint effort of the NHLPA and the NHL, in cooperation with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). It is expected that more than 150 of the best players in the NHL will participate in this tournament in what should be the biggest celebration of the game.
The eight teams will be divided into two Groups of four, and each will compete in three tournament games within their assigned Group in a round-robin format. The top two finishers in each Group will advance to a single game semi-final against a team from the other Group. Winners of the semi-final games will advance to a best-of-three final round. All tournament games (round-robin, semi-final and final) will be played at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto from September 17 - October 1, 2016.
“We are thrilled to partner with the NHLPA in planning and producing what we expect will be the world’s best international hockey tournament,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will highlight not only our global reach, but also the skill and passion of the world’s best athletes. We would like to thank our international partners – the IIHF and their members – for their cooperation in helping to make this event a reality.”
from Alexandra Wolfe of the Wall Street Journal,
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman didn’t grow up ice skating. He only learned in college, when his girlfriend at the time (now his wife) helped teach him. These days, Mr. Bettman doesn’t skate much, but he does watch his grandson play.
The longest serving commissioner in any major league sport today, the 62-year-old Mr. Bettman is looking for new ways to attract fans. At the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend, he plans to announce the slate of outdoor NHL games for next season (most games are played in covered arenas), as well as the return of the World Cup, an international hockey event that he says “will be back in a major way” next year. A successor to the Canada Cup, which was held occasionally between 1976 and 1991, the World Cup has only been played twice, in 1996 and 2004.
Hockey’s popularity has been on the rise. Total attendance at pro games has grown to 23.5 million last season from 15.5 million in 1993, when Mr. Bettman took over. Over the same period, the NHL’s revenue has grown to nearly $4 billion from $400 million a year. (By comparison, professional football and baseball each had revenue last year of about $9 billion, while basketball took in about $5.5 billion.) In recent decades, the NHL has gone to great lengths to broaden the sport’s national footprint, expanding into new markets and relocating teams to places where ice hockey wasn’t traditionally played, such as Dallas.
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
When Bettman predicted the $73 million cap, he was likely assuming that the NHLPA would, as it has done consistently in past years, opt to trigger a five per cent cap inflator.
Pushing the overall salary cap limit higher drives up the amount of money available for potential free agents - bad news for a spartan free agent class this summer that’s headed by Martin St. Louis - but it also leads to higher escrow collections for all players.
Players have become increasingly conflicted about this, several NHL player agents say.
“Players are worried about paying additional escrow,” Ian Pulver, a former NHLPA executive and current player agent said in an interview. “It’s a vicious cycle. Over the course of 10 years, players have voted to increase the cap, to ride with increasing revenue.”
Pulver said it would be a mistake not to trigger the escalator clause.
"Because there are a couple of bumps along the way shouldn’t mean the players shouldn't continue to increase the cap and force the major players — the NHL, the clubs and the NHLPA - to grow revenues. To vote against the increase of the cap because of a fear of escrow runs counter to the collective good and common sense."
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
-The general belief at the start of the season, when everyone could see the dollar was going to fall thanks to the oil prices going down, was all would be fine as long as the dollar stayed above 80 cents compared to the U.S. greenback.
Now it looks like a dream the dollar will hover above 80 cents, with economists expecting it to fall to 75 cents, or likely even lower before bouncing back, and a return won’t be until the end of 2016.
With luck, it won’t fall to 62 cents like we saw in ’02.
The preliminary salary cap for the 2015-16 season was around US$73 million — and there are plenty of teams that will have an interesting time dealing with that (hello, Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins) — but now the talk is it could be at $71 million....
- Could it actually be the year the St. Louis Blues hoist the Cup? That team sure isn’t lacking anywhere and now has the offence to go with the grit and size.
- What’s the bigger surprise: The Flames have the best intra-divisional record among Pacific clubs (14-4-1) or the Los Angeles Kings are 2-12 in overtime/shootout decisions?
more salary cap talk and other hockey topics...
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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