Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Erik Erlendsson at Bolts Report,
I’m currently up in Toronto for two purposes. The first was to have the chance to meet Steven Stamkos and his family, which I did on Thursday night. The other was to swing by the combine today for the physical testing of the top prospects, including Stamkos, to find out about this VO2 bike test they put the prospects through, which has barf buckets right next to the bikes. Look for that story in Saturday’s paper.
As far as Stamkos goes, he certainly seems like one of the nicest high-profile teenagers you might ever meet. Spent just over two hours at the family house outside of Toronto and had some great conversations. Very humble family and you can see how that has carried over to Steven. Despite all the heavy marketing the Lightning have already done with Stamkos, they still answer everything with “if Tampa Bay drafts’’. They are taking nothing for granted, and that’s just how they are, they don’t want to get ahead of anything.
more on Stamkos
From Randy Turner at the Winnipeg Free Press,
It’s difficult to forget how in the immediate aftermath of the Jets’ departure to Phoenix, the sense of mourning—for most hockey fans, at least—was palpable. There were fond and fresh memories of white-outs, now a staple in the land of the Penguins. Then there were long-standing feelings of bitterness and cynicism toward a league that never really wanted Winnipeg in the first place.
Not to mention the subsequent hundreds of millions of dollars frittered away to finance the facade of the NHL someday operating a successful franchise in the Arizona desert.
But now, with the passage of time, there’s a void replaced by… what? Ambivalence? Acceptance? Disinterest?
*thanks to a KK reader for passing this on
PITTSBURGH—National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement:
“The National Hockey League family grieves with the family, friends and teammates of Luc Bourdon. We send heartfelt condolences to the Vancouver Canucks’ organization and the community of Shippagan, N.B. To honor a young life ended long before its promise could be fulfilled, a moment of silence will be observed Saturday night prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.”
Over 100 of the top prospects available in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft are in Toronto to take part in the league’s Combine. The players will take part in physical testing and most have a series of interviews set up with representatives from NHL clubs.
TSN is at the combine, too, and will file reports on the various activities throughout the day in this Combine Blog.
9:39 - The NHL annual meat market is already well underway with one group having completed the physical testing portion. The prospects are all wearing heart monitors so their heartbeats can be tracked during the workouts.
updates being added throughout the day.
Citing the apparent trend of NHL teams toward dividing GM duties amongst several executives, Adam Proteau at THN poses a question…
Naturally, the question is, ‘where will the specialization end?’
My answer: I hope it doesn’t end. I hope NHL bigwigs further compartmentalize GM responsibilities until you need a program, trail of breadcrumbs and DNA evidence to decipher who’s doing what in any one organization.
With that in mind, here are a handful of potential new GM roles.
Pre-Draft Fluff Artist: This is the guy who moseys on up to the podium, thanks the host town for its hospitality – and congratulates the Stanley Cup champion – before a team makes its first pick.
Capologist: This person hands a team’s baseball hat to each of its newly selected draft picks.
from John Dellapina of the NY Daily News,
With desperation setting in, the three parties who must work out the complex logistics associated with the event - the NHL, the Yankees and the Mayor’s Office - plan to sit down next week for a Stadium hockey summit.
“This is not dead yet,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Daily News yesterday.
Although reports yesterday stated that the NHL will play its 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field - with the Detroit Red Wings visiting the Blackhawks - the preferred option is to have the Rangers play host to the Boston Bruins in what would be the final sporting event at the current Yankee Stadium.
“The only two options at this point are Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field,” Daly said. “Wrigley Field is not done.”
from Jeff Z. Klein of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
Why all this attention on American TV ratings? For better or worse, it translates into how much money a major league makes. And that, in turn, determines so much else. Consider the NHL. If U.S. TV ratings had been higher, we would never have seen shootouts. We would probably still have the clutch-and-grab hockey of the ’90s. There might be fewer teams in the Sun Belt (or perhaps more — haven’t figured that one out yet). And so on. So however distasteful the concern with TV ratings may be, it pays to remember that those ratings have a big impact on the game — where it’s played, when it’s played, and how it’s played.
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
A secret NHL report detailing the ticket revenues of its 30 teams reveals what Canadian hockey fans have long suspected and offers a compelling case for putting more teams north of the border.
The six Canadian teams account for 31 per cent of the $1.1 billion (U.S.) in league ticket revenue, and have gone through league-leading double-digit increases over last season, according to the internal NHL report.
Update 4:26pm ET: Rick Westhead talked about his article with Alex Seixeiro on Fan 590 earlier today.
from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press,
The NHL limited player access Thursday, providing only four Red Wings to answer questions at a news conference, even though Game 4 isn’t until Saturday. The Penguins’ four players, believe it or not, did not include Sidney Crosby. It was downtime, an extra day to rest, extra time to heal. Such conditions provided the ideal opportunity for the NHL to further build a mainstream fan base.
The Wings are entitled to an off day. It’s a long grind, physically and mentally, going this deep into the playoffs. But a sport’s championship series remains its greatest marketing tool, and when you’re blessed with an exceptional second-day talking point like Game 3, you must milk it for every ounce of publicity.
Vincent Lecavalier will be the guest on the NHL Hour today, hosted by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. The show is on from 4-5 p.m. ET today on XM Satellite Radio (Channel 204) and NHL.com. NHL Hour is an interactive talk radio show that is hosted by a rotation of League executives, and co-hosted by XM sports host and former NHL player Bill Clement.
At show time, you can listen live by going to the NHL Network Online, then on the “NHL Livewire” link in the left column, and the show will then be accessible in the right column.
* While on the air, listeners can call into the show at 1-877-645-6696, or send questions/comments via this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
**Archived shows available for download via a podcast on NHL.com.
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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