Kukla's Korner Hockey
Gary Bettman's annual meeting with the media is on now or will be soon, watch below...
added 8:15pm, Here is Gary Bettman meeting with the media a few hours ago...
from David Kolb of The Fischler Report,
The term “unsung” is usually bruited about in reference to hockey players.
But as we approach the Stanley Cup Final, unsung has been redefined and reserved for a woman.
The NHL’s Nicole Buckley excels behind the scenes making sure each NHL event is spectacular and unique in its own way and unfolds without a hitch – regardless of the obstacles.
As the NHL’s Coordinator of Event Communications she has been a rising star since signing on with the league in 2010. Not surprisingly, since then, the league has jumped far ahead of the curve when it comes to building unique events.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and COO John Collins have been the significant architects behind the lucrative and transcending outdoor games, starting with the Winter Classic.
The January 1st game blossomed into this past season’s popular Stadium Series and the better-than-ever Heritage Classic, which takes place annually in a Canadian venue.
The opinion of the hockey fan is virtually unanimous in agreeing that the games have been “a must-see event” either on television, or – at least once, in person.
“You have to be at these events to understand how the game becomes a gathering point for a community, the way a community lights up around hockey,” Collins explains.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Bettman this year had a fantasy final four: Montreal, the most storied franchise in NHL history; New York, an Original Six team playing in the nation’s largest market; Chicago, another Original Six team from a large market on the verge of a dynasty and Los Angeles, the second-largest market two years removed from a title.
The NHL has its dream Stanley Cup final with the Rangers and Kings in a best-of-seven series starting Wednesday. New York and Los Angeles, the two largest U.S. markets on opposite coasts, will play for a title for the first time since the Dodgers beat the Yankees in the 1981 World Series.
Still, with Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago again winning the last four titles, it begs the question: Did Bettman level the playing field?
The salary cap created competitive balance Bettman wanted. Teams such as Buffalo and Edmonton have nobody but themselves to blame for their ineptitude in recent years. The same goes with Toronto, Calgary, the Islanders and any other team that has consistently fallen embarrassingly short.
Bettman’s stroke of brilliance, or luck — and it’s actually a combination of both — can be found in two ways. He created competitive balance by limiting the money teams could spend on players, but he also forced teams to construct tighter payrolls and rethink their approaches when it came to personnel.
from Patrick Reusse of 1500ESPN (also writes for the Star Tribune),
The difference between the NBA and the NHL in the playoffs is simple: In the NBA, you play to 105 points and the best team generally is going to win. In the NHL, you play to three goals and it's a coin flip.
During the Wild's series with the Blackhawks, hockey interest was high around here and people would ask me, even me, "Who is going to win tonight?''
My answer was consistent: "Don't know. It's going to be 2-2 in the final 10 minutes and then one team is going to score.''
Hockey fans embrace the unpredictably that has taken over the playoffs. Fair enough. But for me, it's more interesting to watch the two best basketball teams in the world play for a title, than a fifth seed against a sixth seed.
Among the Twitter ridicule from the puckheads toward the NBA was this: There have been eight franchises that have won the past 30 titles. To me, that means that in more than any sport, you have to put together a tremendous foundation to win a title.
And, if this is the criteria that lifts the NHL over the NBA - the variety in champions over the past three decades - then the NHL takes a back seat to baseball, the sport ridiculed most often for its lack of parity.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Quick, scan back through your memory bank: When did the NHL last have all of this? You know, such popularity, such mainstream appeal and such relevance.
An enduring playoff series like the one just contested by Los Angeles and Chicago will help do that for you, as will the upcoming megamarket Stanley Cup final between the Kings and New York Rangers. A memorable spring seems to have put the little hockey league that could on the verge of something more.
The sight of Charles Barkley wearing a Patrick Kane sweater and high-fiving other fans in Chicago, Robert DeNiro waving a white rally towel at Madison Square Garden or a good portion of Hollywood populating the lower bowl at the Staples Center for the Kings, not the Lakers, provide snapshots for what seems to be an underlying trend.
The NHL has already generated record revenues this season and is expecting to draw sizeable television numbers for the first championship in pro sports to include the two largest American cities since the 1981 World Series. There aren’t precise metrics for it, but what the league has really been creating is buzz.
from Alan Snel of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
AEG and MGM Resorts decided to spend $25 million more on the arena for a final price of $375 million because they wanted to invest in a more prominent nightclub and lounge spaces at the arena. AEG officials figure it’s worth the investment because the company will cash in on Las Vegas’ growing nightclub scene.
AEG even wants to massage revenue from space on the many outdoor balconies, which could be offered as ticketed spaces for watching music and other events on the plaza that will lead fans from the Strip to the arena entrance, Goldstein said.
Expect all of AEG’s touring acts to stop at the Las Vegas arena, whether Taylor Swift or Katy Perry. All entertainment is up for grabs, even key local events at Thomas &Mack Center at University of Las Vegas, Nevada.
AEG is eyeing the National Finals Rodeo, a key revenue-maker that draws about 180,000 fans to Thomas &Mack during a 10-day period in mid-December. AEG officials believe there is enough land next to the arena to hold the rodeo animals.
Goldstein said AEG looks at the Las Vegas arena as an “agnostic” venue that would help all of Las Vegas’ gaming companies, not just MGM Resorts.
AEG, with its close contacts with the NBA, is also looking at the NBA Summer League (another annual Thomas &Mack staple) as a potential event at its new arena. Fikre envisions an NBA All-Star Game and NBA Draft events at the arena.
Fikre said AEG has talked with groups interested in bringing an NBA or NHL team to the new Las Vegas arena. But Fikre sensed the NBA is no rush to expand or move a team. He said the NHL, with its commissioner, Gary Bettman, visiting Seattle last month, appears to be more interested in adding a team than the NBA.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
About 60 former players, some of whom hadn’t taken part in any alumni meetings, gathered Saturday to air their grievances and concerns and hear how their leadership was handling their problems.
None came away disappointed.
“It was very productive,” said Steve Ludzik, the long-time Chicago Blackhawk who has Parkinson’s and runs a Parkinson’s clinic. “There was no candy-coating. It was like a hockey room, a closed-door meeting. It was good.
“We can do a lot more for each other. Better communication. Different ways we can help guys that are in trouble. I would like to build a retirement home for hockey players.”
As the room emptied, former players thanked NHLA executive director Mark Napier one-by-one, including ex-Leaf Walt McKechnie, who declined an interview request. It was McKechnie who, by and large, brokered this meeting as a peace deal between the warring factions.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
The NHL and the players’ association came up with a protocol when it comes to dealing with head injuries. It would be a positive step toward dealing with the head injuries if anyone took it seriously. But teams and players continue to circumvent the protocol by denying a player has suffered a concussion.
The latest case in point involves Canadiens forward Dale Weise, who missed Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final against the New York Rangers with what Montreal coach Michel Therrien described as a “body injury.”
I’m not a doctor and I’ve never played one on television, but all my experience covering sports tells me that Weise suffered a concussion when he was hit in the head by the Rangers’ John Moore in the third period of Game 5. Weise was knocked to the ice and then lost his balance as he got to his feet. Weise’s eyes were glazed as P.K. Subban grabbed him and steadied him. In boxing, the referee would have been giving Weise a standing eight-count. Weise needed assistance as he made his way to the locker room.
Less than five minutes of playing time elapsed before Weise returned to the ice. When Therrien was asked whether Weise had been subjected to the concussion protocol mandated by the league, he said Weise had gone to the “quiet room” and had been cleared by doctors to return.
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
Rogers has a big hockey job ahead of it, led by Messrs. Pelley, Scott Moore and Gord Cutler, but these are people who have taken on big jobs like this before and succeeded. They have vast experience in hockey and broadcasting all sports. Plans have been announced for a monster studio down in the CBC building on Front St., and decisions are being made with personnel that will be announced in the very near future.
Don Cherry and Ron Maclean are going to be back, it has already been announced. Other key people at both CBC and Rogers will be involved, and some other names from other news organizations will be part of the new organization. A few TSN behind-the-camera folks have switched sides.
So there will be lots of new stuff, and some familiar, experienced faces as well, with an emphasis on creating a new storytelling effort for hockey in Canada that goes beyond trade rumours and panel discussions.
We'll see how it goes. Those of us involved in the project know there will be early criticism next fall no matter what - heck, it's already started before a single light has been turned on - and that's part of how things work. Those with a stake in this will wax poetically about how good things used to be while pretending to be neutral.
Rogers will do some things very well right away, and some things will take time, just as TSN did some things very well, and wasn't as strong in other areas. Sports broadcasting can't be about perfection because perfection lies in the eye of the beholder.
Barry Melrose and John Buccigross of ESPN discuss what makes the Stanley Cup so special.
Watch it below and note is it autoplay...
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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