Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
From Darren Dreger at TSN,
Six of the 13 overtime games last year were decided in the first overtime period, while the remaining seven needed a second overtime period or longer.
No such marathons this year with the average overtime this year clocking in at 6:48, with 13 of the 14 games decided in the first 12 minutes and three ended by the winning teams first shot.
No one is complaining, but it’s a trend that is difficult to explain. Experts are required, coaches, managers, NHL executives.
One NHL coach contends lackluster goaltending is the reason why OT’s are ending so quickly. There may be something to that. Goalies have combined for a weak .880 save percentage in overtime this spring.
Of course now that Dreger’s addressed this, the basis of Murphy’s Law would argue that at least two games in the coming round are destined to go 6 periods or more, just to make up for the shortfall.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News writing about today’s Rangers/Penguins game…
I think the Hockey Gods are trying to call you out, Stephen Walkom. There can be no possible rationalization for your officials continuously putting their hands in their pockets in third periods of games.
I’m normally one of your biggest defenders, but what’s going on is casting everything – the officials, the players, and the game itself – in a not-so-positive light.
more on the game…
via the 2008 Stanley Cup Blog at CBC,
“We have made 200 to 250 calls on kicking plays,” (Mike) Murphy said. “What we have come to determine is that the difference between a kick and a deflection is the force of the puck. If the force of the puck was going to put it into the net at the same speed or a decreased speed, then there wasn’t a kick.
“But if the motion of the leg increases the force or speed of the puck, then we believe that is a kick. We believe (Morrow’s) kick propelled the puck forward and made it go into the net.”
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
You don’t have to be a Roone Arledge or Phil Mushnick to recognize the first thing that needs to be done on the USA-based hockey telecasts is to get rid of all the Americans who obviously have no idea how to produce and execute these shows and replace them with the Canadians who do such a superior job on all their networks.
Either that or bring in the people from MSG who year after year after year make Rangers New York Rangers games about the best watch there is on sports television - SNY Mets games are right there - and thus must have dual citizenships.
more NHL bits…
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL’s second-class status when it comes to arena dates and television schedules, on U.S. TV anyway, has resulted in a familiar problem in the playoffs. And it will get worse the deeper you go in the playoffs, where fatigue becomes a bigger factor with the players.
I’m talking about the back-to-back games, often in different cities, that are part of almost every playoff series.
The problem is that often NHL teams do not have first call on their arena’s availability, especially when that arena is shared with an NBA team.
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald,
I know the elimination of the Calgary Flames by the San Jose Sharks has naturally sucked some of the air out of the balloon hereabouts. And with the Toronto Maple Leafs out of the playoffs once again, they might as well not be happening for many east of the Lakehead. That’s understandable (in a pathetic sort of way).
But since when did Mr. Freeze put his glacial hand upon the rest of the post-season, cryogenically rendering the battle to win the Stanley Cup into a bad ice sculpture at some hillbilly wedding? Granted, the playoffs go on four weeks longer than any attention span this side of Stephen Hawking can bear.
But where’s the sizzle? Where’s the steak?
from the CP,
Tretiak says he’s hopeful that the NHL and European hockey federations can come to some sort of agreement on player transfers.
“I think there should be friendship between the NHL and the Russian leagues,” Tretiak said. “That is what I hope.”
Tretiak says his hope is that other Russian-born players are not denied a chance to play in North America as he was.
Sitting in Le Colisee Pepsi, where Tretiak played a handful of games, he says not playing in the NHL was his greatest regret.
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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