Kukla's Korner Hockey
Surely strength is not the first word that comes to mind when describing the league’s historical relationship with big broadcasters. For years sports-TV pundits either teased the NHL or prayed for it. As it lost its relationship with ESPN — the sole entity possessing enough power to tell sports fans what to like and how to think, to dictate their tastes (such as they are) rather than follow them — hockey lost its footing in the sports mainstream. And ESPN seemed to bury the league out of spite. Lamentably, First Take will never take up Toews vs. Crosby, ESPN.com will never start a Winnipeg sub-site and Thomas Vanek will never sit down with Jim Gray to announce where he plans to sign.
It’s hard not to notice, though, that the NHL made its new bones by following the same blueprint that ESPN once used, albeit in a different business. The Worldwide Leader, which will clear an estimated $9 billion in revenue for 2014, came to best a field of broad networks at a game they had once dominated by owning a niche. The plan is perfectly logical: Make yourself utterly indispensable to a group of people, even a small one, and you can win. The big-tent days have probably passed. But here in our little igloo, it’s only getting hotter.
-Jack Dickey of Sports Illustrated where you can read more on this topic.
from Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The recommendations from the committee:
- For the trapezoid to be expanded by four feet overall (two feet on each side of the goal line). That gives goalies more room to play the puck.
- Changes to regular-season overtime: Have teams change ends after regulation to force long line changes, which in theory should help create more offense. They also proposed a dry scrape after regulation to clean up the ice somewhat.
- Faceoffs in offensive/defensive zone: Adopt IIHF hashmarks, which are five feet apart (NHL currently at three and a half feet).
- The committee also wants more done to curb embellishment/diving in the NHL (perhaps via fine or additional penalty).
- Kicking pucks: Committee wants to see more leniency and allow for a bit more when it comes to kicking motion.
- And the meat of it: More discussion of expanded video review, particularly when it comes to goalie interference, but there was no real resolution on this by the committee on Monday. Simply the agreement that it will be further discussed.
added 8:06pm, from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
via Chris Johnston tweets,
The NHL is still considering expanded video review to include plays involving goalie interference. GMs will talk about it again Wednesday.
The NHL will expand the trapezoid by four feet behind the goal for next season, pending GM/board approval.
NHL teams will change ends in overtime next season. The ice will be dry-scraped by a Zamboni beforehand. Trying to cut down on shootouts.
The hash marks will be expanded to five feet apart, from three and a half, in the NHL next season (pending approval). Cut down on scrums.
The NHL believes expanded video review outside goalie interference "might create more problems than it solves," per Colin Campbell.
Colin Campbell: "We feel embellishment in the game is a real problem today. We feel it's out of control."
NHL is considering allowing a coach's challenge as a timeout like NFL. Could challenge pucks over the glass, offside goals, etc.
added 6:22pm, from the CP at TSN,
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,
Get ready for a skyrocketing salary cap in the NHL, even before the league’s new Canadian TV deal gets factored in.
According to a report on Monday from Chris Botta of the SportsBusiness Journal, NHL revenues for the 2013-14 season are expected to hit $3.7-billion, which would be a 12-per-cent increase over the league’s last full campaign.
With the new TV revenue added in a year later, meanwhile, that figure will for the first time crack the $4-billion mark in 2014-15.
That’s obviously a good business story for Gary Bettman and Co., but the more pertinent result of much higher hockey-related revenues for fans (and general managers) is the impact it’ll have on the cap.
via Bob McKenzie tweets,
If all goes as planned with NHL Competition Committee (today)/NHL GMs (Wed), Coach's Challenge is likely to be instituted next year, but...
...But, at this point, subject to change, goalie interference calls would NOT be amongst criteria a coach could challenge via video review.
Until Comp Committee and GMs beat this up, nothing is in final form but limited and very specific Coach's Challenge appears to be the plan.
"I'm saying one time per game, one goal, one time per coach. That's it. It's not going to happen that often.
"Let's get it right."
-Dale Tallon, GM of the Florida Panthers on a coaches challenge on goalie interference and offside. More on what Tallon is up to these days from Damien Cox of The Spin.
from Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated,
With the Stanley Cup Final in full swing, I empaneled four respected NHL media voices for a short roundtable discussion on the business.
John Buccigross, SportsCenter anchor, ESPN.com NHL columnist, Sarah Kwak, NHL writer, Sports Illustrated, Bob McKenzie, NHL insider, TSN Canada and Aaron Portzline, NHL writer, Columbus Dispatch
SI.com: How would you evaluate the quality of hockey coverage in the United States on all platforms, and why did you answer as you did?
Kwak: I actually think the quality of coverage in the States is pretty good. It's the quantity in quality places (traditional major media outlets) that I think is lacking, particularly in the regular season. And because of that, I don't think there's a huge amount invested into hockey coverage.
When I first started on the NHL beat seven years ago, at my first Stanley Cup Final, it seemed like all of the major newspapers sent their hockey beat reporters to the final -- even if their home team wasn't playing. But each year since, there seems to be fewer and fewer U.S. national writers covering the full Final. That said, I don't think there is any shortage of good, quality opinion and analysis out there, especially on the Internet.
There are some local newspaper reporters/bloggers who are doing good work. But the thing about the Internet is that it's not always easy to distinguish U.S. vs. Canadian coverage, and it's not easy to distinguish smart, informed analysis and opinion from filler. Generally speaking, the Canadian coverage is better, particularly because, as I mentioned before, they invest in hockey and make it a priority.
McKenzie: To be honest, in terms of the Internet -- Twitter, media sites etc. -- I don't really differentiate between Canada and the United States for coverage. I don't see any big discrepancies in the quantity or quality of hockey coverage from those on Twitter or working for publications/sites in one country or the other.
Twitter has allowed for a lot more voices to be heard and, for the most part, the more the merrier. The good people, regardless of whether they're from Canada, the U.S. or Europe, shine through. Those who don't have a lot to offer don't flourish. Whether it's a blogger or a beat writer or a feature writer, I love how many options there are to be informed and entertained with hockey coverage.
The platform where I believe the biggest difference has been made is on conventional television. (Disclaimer on that, of course. I do a little work for NBCSN, so it's hardly an objective view, but I think the quantity and quality of hockey coverage with the NHL's national deal in the U.S. is light years better than it has been for a long time.) My sense, and it's more anecdotal than empirical, is the number of games and the manner in which they're presented can't help but contribute to the growth of the game in the United States. I also think the local team broadcasts have worked on quality control and, in many cases, are far better now than they were before.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
The easiest thing you can do in a fast game played on ice is to second-guess the judgment calls of referees. There are bound to be mistakes. However, that is also the No. 1 reason why video replay will eventually be expanded — although defining exactly what can and can’t be reviewed will admittedly be no small task.
The league’s competition committee and general managers will each meet in the coming days in New York and the topic will have to be raised. It has been discussed a number of times in the past and you have to believe that a critical mass of support will eventually build to affect change.
The other three major professional sports leagues in North America have all expanded their video review processes in recent years and the quality (and quantity) of replays seems to improve with each passing season. It serves the interests of everyone to get calls right, especially on plays resulting in goals in games carrying as much meaning as these ones.
There is already plenty of space in the NHL rulebook devoted to protecting goalies — both inside and outside the crease.
from Suzanna Bezyan of LA Kings 101,
Barry Melrose, a former Los Angeles Kings coach and current NHL Network contributor, commentator and NHL analyst for ESPN, was recently asked if he were made the Commissioner of NHL broadcasting what changes would he implement to make the game more television friendly. The five points he discussed were; Show athlete’s personalities more, do anything to make the game faster, enforce embellishment, make the players not wear helmets during shootouts, and for television packages to be split.
1. “I'll talk more about on the ice, some things I would like to see done. I would like to see our athletes' personality showing more. We have great guys. They are funny guys. They have got great stories. I don't know if anyone knows the Dominic Moore story, what's happened with Dominic Moore and what he's went through; what Marty St. Louis has went through. Every team has those stories. I would do a better job of letting people see what our athletes are like.”
2. “I would do anything to make the game faster. I think speed is where the game's at. I think for the American viewer, that's what they want to see, speed; they want to see things happen at a high pace. So all of the rules I would implement would be to make the game faster. I would continue really stressing the hooking and holding in the neutral zone, take that completely away. Anything to do with slowing people up when they don't have the puck, I would really enforce. “
3. “I would enforce embellishment totally, if a guy embellishes, throw the book at him. It's embarrassing.
Gary Bettman's annual meeting with the media is on now or will be soon, watch below...
added 8:15pm, Here is Gary Bettman meeting with the media a few hours ago...
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