Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
After years of doing everything to keep Hamilton out of the National Hockey League, the NHL may be ordered today to attach a price to the southern Ontario relocation of the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes.
And they are not at all happy about it.
“I don’t think we are prepared to put out a number,” said Bill Daly, the deputy commissioner of the NHL. But Daly did say, if the matter was ordered by the court, the NHL would have to comply.
Judge Redfield T. Baum indicated late yesterday he will think overnight about whether he will order the NHL to put a relocation and indemnification price on the proposed sale of the Coyotes and move to Hamilton. He could order the NHL, as early as today, to put a figure alongside the $212.5 million US figure BlackBerry boss Jim Balsillie has bid for the franchise in Chapter 11 bankruptcy that would compensate the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and the league for the franchise move.
The price attached to the potential move could pave the way for the Coyotes’ move to Hamilton or, in fact, squash Balsillie’s bid completely.
from KC Joyner of The Fifth Down at the NY Times,
It isn’t just that there have been missed calls that is troubling. It is also the alarming lack of consistency. Stu Hackel may have put it best in his June 3 post on the Slap Shot blog when he said, “And the officiating standard is inexplicably loosened, then suddenly tightened.” From game to game, it has been next to impossible to tell what the officials are going to call and what they aren’t.
What may be most troubling about the inconsistency is how many commentators seem to be glossing over the issue or, even worse, giving it a blind eye altogether.
The NBC analyst Darren Pang might have epitomized this best in his postgame review last night when, while getting ready to criticize the officials for a missed call, he said that “the referees have done an outstanding job” this postseason. That obviously isn’t the case, but he isn’t the only one who doesn’t want this part of the game to put a damper on what has otherwise been a really good series — the NHL seems just as culpable.
added 9:13am, from David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey,
This time the Penguins got away with one.
A very, very big one, Ruslan Fedotenko’s hook on Detroit defensive ace Nicklas Lidstrom, that led directly to a crucial Pittsburgh goal.
It happened in the third period, the Red Wings down by only one goal, but on Pittsburgh’s home ice in Grade Six of the Stanley Cup Finals.
via the Toronto Star,
There will be no decision today from a judge at a bankruptcy court hearing on the sale and possible relocation of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is hand for today’s sesssion. The NHL commissioner is expected to fly to Pittsburgh right after the hearing.
Sports reporter Kevin McGran is in Arizona for bankruptcy proceedings involving the NHL Phoenix Coyotes. Follow his updates on Twitter directly at twitter.com/kmcgran or watch in the live blog below.
Update 2:36pm ET: More from Dan Rosen at NHL.com, summarizing today’s issues.
Update 3:16pm ET: From TSN—
Bankruptcy judge Redfield T. Baum believes the NHL is entitled to a fee for the right to put a team in Hamilton, and that unknown number is crucial to his decision on the fate of the Phoenix Coyotes.
His statement, coming during a combative and entertaining court hearing today in Phoenix, ran counter to arguments made by lawyers for Jim Balsillie that no fee is owed.
Update 4:23pm ET: How much of a fee? From the Toronto Star—
The NHL would charge billionaire Jim Balsillie $100 million (U.S.) as a relocation fee to move the Coyotes to Hamilton.
Balsillie lawyer Susan Freeman let slip the amount — a dollar figure blacked out in all court documents — in a relocation hearing Tuesday.
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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