Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Shawn Roarke at NHL.com
The fun in Helsinki started with our arrival at Hartwall Arena, where our two-bus caravan was met by a small horde of diehard fans, so happy and eager to see the Pittsburgh Penguins in the flesh. It reminds you just how lucky, as a North American, that the NHL game is so accessible to most of us.
Shortly after I settled into the press room, on of the NHL PR people asked if I had ever seen the practice rink here. I’ve seen hundreds of practice rinks in my day, so I almost passed on the offer to take in this one. I am glad I didn’t.
As I think I mentioned in my last post, Hartwall Arena is cut out of the surrounding bedrock and there are rock outcroppings along the corridors on the event level. Well, the practice rink is three floors below the event level and is carved entirely out of rock!
That’s right, the Jokerit practice facility is a cave with an ice surface. Amazing!
read on for more from Europe
from Mick Kern of the NHL Home Ice Blog,
If you had to win ONE big game, be it for the Stanley Cup, or, if your expectations are more realistic, be it for first place in your division, or even the last playoff spot in the conference…which player would you most want to have on your side?
A few conditions, but of course. First, no Hockey Hall-of-Famers can be considered. Way too obvious. Second, this one may stir up some debate as to what defines a star, but any player most fans would recognize as a star cannot be included (though many did vote for Danny Gare…and we allowed him to be included, so go figure). Third, the player can come from any era, any team, but we had to have a concrete, logical reason why.
from Kevin Maney at Portfolio,
Put every game on line live, supported by ads and free. Store them on line so if I can’t get to a screen until 30 minutes after the game starts, I can start watching from the beginning—or I can watch hours later. Use a Hulu or Kyte type of strategy so fans can seed NHL games around the Web, on blogs and Facebook pages and so on. The No. 1 priority should be getting games in front of eyeballs and becoming the league that excites the digital generation.
That would be a truly daring, radical strategy. In fact, it’s what Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis told me he’d do if he were starting the NHL from scratch today.
Discussing which sport has the best post-season, E.J. Hradek of ESPN comes to the rescue regarding our game…
Take a look at what we’re talking about here. I mean, the Cup playoffs are a two-month physical and mental grind. Think about that. That’s two months where you play just about every other day. With each passing game, you’re more beat up, but you keep going. The guys grow those “playoff beards” because they want to look like they feel—worn. They play through injuries that would make a college hoops kid cry for his mom.
From Paul Kukla at NHL.com—
I am so ready!
Center Ice ordered along with NHL GameCenter Live. All cables and inputs checked and tightened on the back of the HDTV. The recliner is exactly 9 feet away from the 55 inch screen. Picture-in-picture x4 checked, which allows me to follow 8 games at a time. Climbed onto the roof, sprayed the satellite dish with anti-stick cooking spray (prevents ice and snow build-up).
Sound system has been checked…
continued… as Paul reminds me of all the ways that some of us are NOT ready!
from Tim Arango of the New York Times,
On Saturday, the N.H.L. opens its 2008-9 season, putting yet more distance between the league and its former financial troubles, which wiped out the entire season four years ago after management and the players union failed to reach a collective bargaining agreement.
By many measures, the league has engineered a turnaround — both attendance and revenue are up. But the labor fiasco remains fresh in people’s minds, including those in charge of marketing the league to fans, and those troubles still serve as a backdrop to the league’s business and marketing decisions.
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
Since European players began populating National Hockey League rosters in the late 1970s, their influence on the game has been unmistakable. The N.H.L. hopes to find out what impact it could have in Europe this weekend, when the regular season begins with games in Sweden and the Czech Republic….
“Our goal is to increase our brand presence there,” the N.H.L.’s deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, said. “We would like to have some sort of permanent presence, whether it is some kind of league office or stores or regular games, but clearly we want to extend our brand in Europe.”
It’s no surprise then that Bettman, 56, ranks among the most important people in sports according to BusinessWeek’s upcoming Power 100 survey, placing 21st in the annual balloting.
Bettman earned his spot by taking on the biggest brawlers in pro sports—the NHL Players’ Assn. In 2004, Bettman concluded that rising player salaries were pushing many teams, and perhaps the league itself, toward the brink. His fix: a pay cap similar to the one used in the National Basketball Assn., where Bettman worked from 1981 to 1993, in the marketing and legal departments.
from the CP,
Another thing he’s not complaining about is a collective bargaining agreement that’s now entering its fourth year.
The NHL lost an entire season before owners and players ended up agreeing on a salary cap system that is tied to league revenues. Both have steadily increased during the three years since. The cap first began at US$39 million - a number that is no longer enough for a team to reach the floor because the current cap is set at $56.7 million.
Overall, the agreement has turned out to be something that both sides can be happy with, according to Bettman.
“I think this CBA has been fair to everyone,” he said. “It has made the industry healthier and it has made the game better.
“I think we give our fans a better product and environment to the game than we did before. I don’t think it’s close. And it’s working the way we anticipated it would.”
read on, many more topics discussed…
from Eric Stephens at NHL.com,
NHL players certainly are not immune. Eventually, the rush of speeding up ice, the sensation of delivering a hard body check, the thrill of scoring a big goal or making an important save and the jolt of energy felt from the home crowd fades, ultimately disappearing to memory.
Most face the end of their careers either seeing that they’re unable to keep up with younger players or having someone make the decision for them. Some are lucky to call it a day on their own terms.
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 email@example.com