Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
This year, when NHL teams informed season-ticket holders about the terms of their potential renewals for the 2008-09 season, the letters often broke news of price increases—but with so much spin control between the lines, fans could get dizzy as they read.
Granted, ticket-price increases are right up there on the shock meter with another young movie star entering rehab.
But wasn’t it supposed to be different under the salary-cap system that commissioner Gary Bettman and league owners shut down the league for a year to get? Citing the outrageous ticket prices, didn’t the league at least imply that it also was fighting for the fans, too, as it took on the NHLPA?
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
...I’d like to focus on the politics of hockey itself – and specifically, the oft-repeated criticisms of people who enjoy debating the pros and cons of all aspects of the game.
Said criticisms usually come in the form of the following argument: “The game is great as it is. We’ve already made enough changes to it, so why can’t people just enjoy it and leave it be?”
On some levels, I understand and agree with that sentiment. But I also believe there’s an inherent, significant danger to the notion of being satisfied with the status quo.
from Mark Moore at the Hockey News,
Drained by a yearlong lockout, fan support for hockey in the U.S. has waned. After three full seasons back, the effect has lingered to a point where one must wonder if it’s permanent.
In places such as Nashville, Phoenix, Atlanta and South Florida that were among the latest to get franchises, enough time has passed for the novelty of a new game in town to have worn off. Meanwhile, for a variety of reasons that are identifiable, but are a separate story for another day, hockey has not penetrated very deeply into those populations.
In the broader picture, the U.S. economy has been suffering. The war in Iraq, the sub-prime mortgage debacle and political conflict have all put a drag on things. Maybe those issues can be fixed quick, maybe they can’t.
Other problems such as the decline of the American manufacturing industry, a growing scarcity of key natural resources such as oil and water, and an aging population certainly will not.
What is of note in terms of NHL franchise location is that none of these troubles have equivalent parallels north of the 49th parallel.
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald,
In any event, the decline in the loonie is great news if Canadians have a product Americans want (wonder what that might be?) that they can now buy at it lower price. But it is not a good omen for industries that get a bounce from parity between the dollars.
Exhibit A for those businesses that crave a dollar at par would be the National Hockey League. With 31 per cent of league ticket revenues reportedly coming from Canada last season, even a five-cent drop in the dollar is a major issue. As well, NHL teams doing business in Canadian dollars and paying out salaries and benefits in American greenbacks don’t want any decrease in the dollar. Even a drop of five cents on Miikka Kiprusoff’s $8.5 million salary costs Calgary an extra $425,000.
From Allan Muir at Sports Illustrated:
Dallas Stars: Cup contenders or kidding themselves?
Heading into last season, the obvious question was, “Can this team compete for a playoff spot?” At the time, it was touch and go. The core was graying and burdened by a legacy of recent postseason failures that suggested their best days were a decade behind them.
read on for more questions—and answers—on the Pacific Division
From Paul Kukla at NHL.com,
I predict five players will reach the 50-goal plateau [this] season. (How many players do you think will reach 50 goals? Bonus points if you name them.)
Alex Tanguay will find his offensive game again in Montreal and reach 43 goals to lead the Canadiens. (Name a player on a new team that will lead their team in goals scored.)
Jean-Sebastien Giguere will lead the league in shutouts. (Your prediction?)
The Detroit Red Wings will win the Presidents’ Trophy. (Anyone care to go with another team?)
Barry stated that a formal announcement will be made shortly. Other participants in the event:
The final roster of participants won’t be released until next week but the list of those already committed is pretty impressive—NHLers Joe Thornton, Jason Spezza, Curtis Joseph, Matt Stajan, Robyn Regehr, Mike Cammalleri, Andrew Ference and [Sean] Avery.
The celebrities include [Tim] Robbins, Alan Thicke, “Juno” director Jason Reitman, D.B. Sweeney and Cameron Bancroft.
From Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News,
Intellectual Noam Chomsky is famous for derailing pro games as a means of controlling the minds of the masses, throwing them off the “real issues” of the day.
The funny thing is, sometimes it’s the masses who truly need what sports provides; pride and community.
I mean, if you’re an affluent Chicago Cubs fan, or a Bay St. lawyer at a Maple Leafs game, you can live and die with your team on a superficial level and then go home to a nice, safe environment.
But for the same reason it was so important for the New Orleans Saints to play after Hurricane Katrina, hockey teams in many American towns right now are playing a key role in giving a lot of folks just a little daylight during some dark days.
from Ace Burpee of the Winnipeg Sun,
It’s been a while since I’ve been dead-set on approaching someone for an autograph, but this past Wednesday I was in the same room as Bobby Hull for the first time in my life. I was actually nervous, which hasn’t happened since I first met Bob Irving.
A five-pack on meeting Bobby Hull:...
3. How charitable is Bobby Hull? He signed two autographs for me ... one “To Ace, All the Best, Bobby Hull” ... the other dedicated to nobody in case I wanted to sell it on eBay. That’s not my thing, but I do now possess a 20-dollar bill signed by Bobby should the right charity angle come along.
1. If I had scored over 900 goals between the NHL and WHA, I’d wear a rug too. He’s earned the right.
My view is that it is difficult for some of those teams, particularly in the American sunbelt, where they don’t have the establishment of hockey at a youth level. I grew up in Boston and there were youth hockey leagues everywhere. Every town had two or three rinks in it, and the game was and is part of our upbringing there.
But if you’re in Phoenix or you’re in Florida, it’s really tough for those teams to put people in the seats and sell the game. We understand that and maybe the revenue-sharing system is part of the answer. But our view is that if teams in any region suffer (financial) losses three or four years in a row, then stop complaining about it in a (business) system you created and imposed here, and start asking the question whether you’re in the right place.
-Paul Kelly in a continued interview with Adam Proteau of the Hockey News.
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com