Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Buccigross of ESPN,
Back to the “Hockey players are the best guys” thing. I have worked at ESPN for close to 12 years, and I can tell you this: Jalen Rose is as nice and pleasant as Darren Pang. John Kruk is as fun to golf with as Ray Ferraro. I filmed one of those “This is SportsCenter” commercials with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson last week. While waiting for some other part of the commercial to be done with the Vikings mascot, Peterson and I sat in an office and talked alone for about a half hour. It reminded me of hanging out with Dany Heatley at the 2002 YoungStars game in Los Angeles. Both were humble, grounded and completely in love with their jobs.
Yes, hockey players are human and no different from other professional athletes. Uncensored hockey history would show that (depending on the topic we were talking about) some players cheat on their wives, have children out of wedlock, get in bar fights, smoke crack, drive while intoxicated, run through an AHL city naked, overpay Ted Saskin, and jump into the stands and fight fans, along with other crimes and misdemeanors. They are the same as other athletes in that regard.
But I think the cliché lives because of hockey’s otherworld status among most in the mass media.
From Marty Henwood at Hockey.com:
How many times must it be said that the NHL shootout sucks?
No, I didn’t stutter. It sucks, much like a working Hoover. The shootout should go the way of lava lamps, ‘80’s hair and Thomas Dolby. Just gone, yesterday’s news. Period.
Maybe I’m in the minority, but the shootout just doesn’t do it for me. They’re bad enough in the regular season.
But don’t even get me started if you are one of those who actually believe, while sober, that the league should mandate shootouts in place of these overtime marathons that last three, four, five extra periods.
NEW YORK (May 6, 2008)—Following is the order of selection for the first 26 picks of the 2008 Entry Draft, June 20-21 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.
The four remaining selections in the first round of the draft—picks 27 through 30—will be allocated based on the results of the upcoming Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final.
NEW YORK/TORONTO (May 6, 2008)—The following nine referees and nine linesmen have been named to work the third round of the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs. Their career playoff games are also listed (updated through round one).
Bill McCreary (262); Paul Devorski (144); Brad Watson (88); Kevin Pollock (78); Dan O’Halloran (57); Marc Joannette (49); Kelly Sutherland (28); Mike Leggo (25); Mike Hasenfratz (24).
Brian Murphy (173); Brad Lazarowich (162); Jean Morin (131); Jay Sharrers (111); Shane Heyer (94); Tim Nowak (83); Pierre Racicot (80); Derek Amell (47); Steve Miller (30).
from Dan Daly of the Washington Times,
Caps owner Ted Leonsis, still binding his wounds after the loss to Philadelphia, isn’t entirely supportive of the NHL’s new penal code. “I think in OT of [the] playoffs there should only be penalties that impede a goal being scored. No ticky-tack calls,” old school Ted said in an e-mail yesterday.
He’s hardly the only one who holds that opinion. Indeed, the officials themselves seem torn between The Way Hockey Used To Be and The Way The Board Of Governors Wants It To Be. In the Dallas-San Jose finale, for instance, they went more than an entire game — 70 minutes, 52 seconds, to be exact — without sending anybody to the box. Then they called hooking against the Stars’ Nicklas Grossman in the third OT and tripping against Campbell in the fourth. San Jose couldn’t cash in on its power play, but Dallas (or rather, Brenden Morrow) did.
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
Billionaire Jim Balsillie contacted the owner of the Buffalo Sabres about buying the team earlier this season, a sign the Research in Motion co-founder is still seeking an NHL franchise after two previous high-profile flameouts.
Balsillie phoned Sabres owner Tom Golisano around Christmas, according to a source familiar with the matter. Golisano indicated he would be open to selling the club – but not if Balsillie intended to relocate it.
From David Yasvinski at the National Post,
Sunday’s game was the longest since the Vancouver Canucks beat the Stars 5-4 at the 78:06 mark of overtime on April 12, 2007, but it was well short of the almost two hours of extra time Detroit needed to beat Montreal 1-0 on March 24, 1936.
A look at the 10 longest overtime games in NHL history:
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
The first two rounds have attracted a total of 1,268,281 fans, compared to 1,195,387 through the first two rounds last spring and 1,205,415 through the first two rounds in 2006.
And when you take into account ticket prices for the playoffs have risen each year, that’s a tidy chunk of change for the partners to split up each season.
What’s even more encouraging for everyone involved is that through the first two rounds, league wide, there have been an average of 261 more fans per game than there were last season.
So what does it all mean? Well, there were 72,894 more fans through the turnstiles in the first two rounds this season than last. At an average price of about $150 a ticket in the post-season, that’s in excess of $10.9 million more in revenues without even taking into account the increase in ticket prices from last year, or all the extra concessions they sold at the American Airlines Center in Sunday night’s marathon.
From Jamie Samuelsen at the Detroit Free Press,
The Red Wings are halfway to a Stanley Cup. While there are many candidates, who’s your Red Wings playoff MVP?
Ken Holland. Seriously, before we get to the question, let’s give the Wings GM a little round of applause here. Talk about Mission: Impossible.
Ken, here’s your job. Take a team full of veterans and full of huge salaries and pare it down to fit in the new financial limitations of the NHL. And while you’re doing this, we’d really appreciate it if you could still contend for Stanley Cups and develop world class stars that the fans can root for. No pressure or anything. Thanks Kenny. Good luck. I’m sure all championships are satisfying and if the Wings win, Holland would say that this ranks right up there with the other rings. But down deep, I’ll bet you that this one will be a little more special. 1997 was great and 1998 was emotional because of the limousine accident. But Holland would have to, in an honest moment, tell himself that this was his best work.
From James Duthie via TSN:
The World Juniors make most top prospects household names years before they don an NHL sweater. So the potential of an instant, out-of-nowhere, American Idol-ish star, has fans in a frenzy. Brunnstrom is the most Googled Swede since Tiger’s wife, and he’s inspired endless chatter on NHL thread-sites.
“OMG did you see that move on the video! Nucks plz sign him!”—naslundfan.
“I’m praying for the Leafs to sign him. Sundin-Steen-Brunnstrom would be sick!”—snipecheeseallday.
“Give him 10 mill now and the Cup is ours, baby!”—hockeytown4ever.
So their expectation level for the kid is somewhere between Zettterberg (sic) and Jesus. Yes folks, we have our first Internet created hockey legend.
More here. A fun thesis, but I’ll stick by my own previous assessment: the internet didn’t create Brunnstrom; more like some seriously-savvy marketing by player agent J.P. Barry. This North American ‘tour’ of his during the Stanley Cup Playoffs has just been PR gold.
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.
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