Kukla's Korner Hockey
From John Buccigross at ESPN:
Game 7 equals …
• The bond of father and son, their shared-logo T-shirt and their shared stomach of nerves as the puck is about to be dropped Friday night. Stomachs in Pennsylvania and Michigan will feel as though they just ate five pounds of grapes.
• The pride and passion of two rust-belt cities mortgaging a portion of their summer moods pending the result of a 60-minute hockey game. Whoever wins Friday night, it will matter much to the proud and soulful people of Detroit and Pittsburgh. The Cup will feel warm and welcomed at either victory party.
from Cheryl Ryan of The Metric System,
I love hockey and like most hockey fans, I’ve been actively following the NHL playoffs, including the Stanley Cup finals that started at the end of May. While watching the finals, I couldn’t help but notice some of the advertisements that played during the intermissions and the three commercial breaks each period. I sat through the standard beer commercials (Bud Light, Miller Lite, Amstel Light to name a few) and the US military commercials (Army, Marines) without paying much attention, but then some Cisco commercials came up. These commercials were a bit of a surprise to me, since I wouldn’t expect a strong overlap of between hockey fans and videoconferencing enthusiasts. I also remembered that Cisco heavily advertises on the NHL.com website.
As I watched more and more of these Cisco commercials, with about one appearing during each commercial break, I became very curious about why Cisco would choose the SC finals to advertise their new products. I decided to look into the demographics of NHL fans to see if Cisco knew something I didn’t. Not surprisingly, they did: the makeup of the NHL fanbase.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL had better be careful on how much it demands in relocation and indemnification fees for the Phoenix Coyotes to move to Hamilton or it could be left empty-handed after a move is ordered by the courts, says an expert in sports economics and law from Stanford University.
Roger Noll, an economics professor at Stanford, said Thursday that indemnification fees, which would be paid to teams when another team enters its territory, are not allowed under U.S. law….
“I’m sure the NHL knows it’s on legally shaky ground,” Noll said, suggesting Daly’s talk of an indemnification fee was a negotiating ploy. “The NHL wants to get paid something. They want to have something to distribute to the other clubs as a result.”
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
Bettman gets crucified, sometimes in media, sometimes from members of his own ownership group for the league’s bastardized TV approach in the U.S., but one can argue it’s starting to take hold.
NBC has been getting good to very good ratings for the games and Versus has had franchise record numbers and is starting to grow to the critical mass the league needs. It’s not ESPN mass as Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz recently pointed out in a not-so-glowing assessment of the league’s TV ventures in the states, but even Mr. Wirtz, a newbie to the owners chair despite a family history in the game, should understand that there’s a history that needs to be understood.
The perception is that the NHL walked out on ESPN, but the truth is the sports giant put the league to the curb. After a few years of trying to make it go, ESPN and hockey had gone nowhere together and the company was offering the league the same deal that NBC had on the table. The highlight for them being a zero rights fee.
The company was betting that the league would take it because not being on ESPN was thought to be a death blow for the sport.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
When the game is over and Gary Bettman appears at center ice with a microphone in one hand and the Cup at his side, he will be booed.
Allow me to emphasize that for a second. The league commissioner will be booed long and booed hard. He will be booed as if he and he alone mismanaged Michigan’s automobile industry. At least one square mile of vocal chords in attendance will be blown out amid the Bronx cheering.
He won’t deserve all, or even most of the ill will, but the crowd will bestow a virtual beret of raspberries (and not the kind you find in a second-hand store) on him nonetheless. And that is my big problem whenever I see Bettman handing the Cup over to a championship team’s captain.
8:00pm Friday seems so far away and the time is moving very slowly.
I am being very selective when pointing out stories on game 7, heck we have heard and read just about everything regarding game 7.
So, anything you want to discuss? Feel free to leave a comment on anything hockey related.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
The NHL is threatening an indemnity fee on top of a relocation fee – pushing the price tag for the Phoenix Coyotes to perhaps more than $400 million – if bankruptcy court judge Redfield Baum allows the team to move to Hamilton.
“Relocation is separate from indemnity,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. “There may be indemnity fees owing if a franchise were ever located in Hamilton.”
It’s expected the league could ask for more than $100 million (all figures U.S.) as a relocation fee and perhaps as much again in payment to the Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres in indemnity for the Coyotes encroaching on their territory.
Prices listed are for one ticket to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
This sight is not KK endorsed, just using it as an example.
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,
...And when Lidstrom appeared tired and mistake-prone in the Final against Pittsburgh, questions were raised again about his fitness to play. Was it an ankle? A knee? Under the NHL’s Orwellian injury disclosure policy, a postal-code approximation of the hurt was all that was given to the media.
Actually, Lidstrom had a damaged testicle from being pitch-forked by Chicago’s Patrick Sharp in Game 3 of the Western final. He needed all the time between the cheap shot and Game One of the final to rehabthe injury. As Paul Harvey used to say, “Now you know the rest of the story”.
While it’s considerate to Lidstrom that such an . . . er, intimate injury be hushed up, the cover-up damages the league’s credibility in several ways.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province via Canada.com,
In short, you couldn’t ask for much more of a series. But has anyone else noticed outside the game’s traditional fan-base?
That’s the big question and, again, the signs are encouraging for the NHL. The American TV numbers are up significantly and Friday night’s Game 7 should provide a ratings bonanza for the league. But this is also about something different, something that can’t be measured by viewer-households or audience shares.
This series, more than anything, has given the NHL an event which has made an impact on the American sporting conscience and when was the last time the league could say that? Crosby and Malkin have cemented their place as crossover stars. Pundits are actually expressing an opinion on the game’s finer points. There is interest everywhere and it doesn’t hurt that the Kobe-LeBron dream matchup didn’t materialize in the NBA final.
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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