Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ted’s Take,
The NHL had a great year. Can you name me one other media oriented company that can say they grew and grew fast across the board in terms of:
Ratings - both nationally and locally;
Season ticket renewals and season ticket sales;
Overall ticket sales;
Overall ticket pricing;
The salary cap will move up again as the players share in more than half of the revenues so the players are happy.
For the most part, the product has improved.
from Alan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
Here we are three years into the collective agreement that was going to save the NHL, make it a better, more viable business, and you can still see fires on the horizon. Some are manageable burns; some are close to raging out of control. All require attention.
Follow the smoke and you’ll see what we mean:
In Buffalo, the Sabres business practices are rattling their NHL partners who think the team is deliberately keeping the cost of its tickets low so it can qualify for league revenue sharing.
from the Hockey News,
“It’s unfortunate that he would say that, because there’s a guy I really admire,” Hull told THN.com Wednesday. “I look to him as a Wayne Gretzky type of person that always does the right things and says the right things, not only for his sport but as an ambassador for sport in general.
Woods’ insults seemed particularly baffling to Hull given his previous experience meeting the world’s No. 1 golfer when Hull was still an active player for the Stars.
From Mike Heika at the Stars blog at the Dallas Morning News:
A report in Canada’s National Post says that the Stars are one of eight teams who have been in contact with Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who is trying to buy a team and move it to Hamilton, Ont.
So I called Tom Hicks to ask about it.
Hicks said there is no truth to the report, and that the team is not for sale. He said he has no idea how the Stars were linked to this.
Note: The report in question mentioned earlier today.
From Scott Cullen at TSN:
Using hits, blocked shots, giveaways, takeaways and face-offs, then, here are the top “intangible” players in the 2008 NHL playoffs.
Top Intangible Ratings - Playoffs
Brooks Orpik, D, Pittsburgh (2.66)
Brenden Morrow, LW, Dallas (1.86)
Stephane Robidas, D, Dallas (1.67)
read on for Cullen’s complete list
From Mike Brophy in The Hockey News,
NHL referees are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. While they don’t like the idea of calling goalie interference in overtime, let alone twice in extra time, they also don’t relish the idea of a goalie being hit by an opponent and the winning goal being scored while the fallen goaltender is unable to do his job. It is a discretionary call.
“We don’t want the Stanley Cup-winning goal being scored with the goalie on his back after being crashed into,” said NHL executive Kris King.
The Red Wings were rightfully ticked off about the two calls against them, but you just know if the skate was on the other foot and Chris Osgood had been bumped rather than Marc-Andre Fleury, resulting in a goal by the Penguins, Detroit would be screaming bloody murder.
and more on various topics
Note: More on the issue of the refs at MLive, with links to what the Detroit pundits have to say on the matter.
Anheuser-Busch said today it has signed a deal with the National Hockey League that enables Bud Light to remain the “Official beer of the NHL” through the 2010-11 season. Bud Light has held that distinction since 1998.
Simultaneous renewals with Anheuser-Busch and Labatt, which markets and distributes Bud Light in Canada, gives the brand category exclusivity and a brand presence in-game and at retail across North America. Financial terms were not disclosed, but analysts put the figure at $75 million.
Sheesh. 10 years and $75 million and I’ve still never had the urge to drink a Bud Light.
“The commissioner made it very clear he does not want Jim in the league under any circumstances..period,” Balsillie’s advisor Richard Rodier told TSN on Wednesday.
more from the TSN staff…
Note: For the original report and the NHL’s reponse, go here.
from Theresa Tedesco of the National Post,
As many as eight National Hockey League teams have been in discussions or made overtures to Jim Balsillie in recent months about a possible sale or minority partnership with the Canadian billionaire, sources say.
A struggling U.S. economy, strong Canadian dollar and weak hockey markets south of the border have combined to make the deep pockets of the 47-year-old co-founder of the BlackBerry device too irresistible to some NHL owners, despite Mr. Balsillie’s tempestuous relations with the league’s head office in New York.
Update 1:26pm ET: (alanah) The ‘war of words’ continues via TSN,
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly was quick to address the quote from Balsillie’s camp, maintaining that the league’s decisions on the matter are based from what the owners want.
“That certainly is inconsistent with anything I have ever heard the commissioner say,” Daly told TSN on Wednesday. “Ultimately, Mr. Balsillie’s ability to be an owner in the NHL will depend on his ability to find an existing owner who wants to sell him a team, and his ability to persuade the 29 other team owners - his prospective partners - that he would be a good owner and good partner in the league venture. That’s not something the Commissioner decides. Maybe Mr. Rodier would be better off confining his comments to subject matters as to which he might have some small level of knowledge; this subject isn’t one of them.”
From Mike Smith at The Hockey News,
The new CBA has been successful in creating, while not in excess, a healthy supply of free agents. The growing number of “Powerball lottery” contracts for players entering restricted free agency for the first time results in older players, either free agents or those making too much money, being more readily available.
The art is to pick the right ones, the ones who want to play and play well, not just be paid well. All managers make judgment errors signing players; the good ones make fewer.
I have had different free agent signing experiences as a manager. While in Winnipeg, we did not place much, if any, emphasis on free agents. To put it simply, Winnipeg had no money to spend on the older free agent.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org