Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Evan Weiner at the NY Sun,
People who follow sports don’t necessarily look up currency rates. But a significant benchmark was reached last week when the Canadian “loonie” was valued at slightly more than $.99 compared to the American greenback (the loonie is currently valued at $. 99691). It is the first time since November 1976 that the American and Canadian dollars have been virtually on par.
Running franchises in Canada became progressively difficult as the Canadian dollar started a free fall, and bottomed out at around $.62 by 1998. But because the two currencies are now on par, the NHL and the NFL may start looking north of the American border to expand their business opportunities.
from the St. Catharines Standard,
Count Pierre Pilote among those who enjoy post-NHL lockout hockey.
Gone are the days of hooking, high-sticking and holding going largely unpenalized.
Like many former players and present-day fans, the Hockey Hall of Famer enjoys watching the skilled players do their thing.
“I’m so glad,” he said between periods of a recent Niagara IceDogs game. “Since the lockout, it’s given the skilled players a chance to play, and they’re doing it.
“It’s in a better state now. When I played (1955-56 to 1968-69), it was all right. Then expansion came in and all of a sudden, coaches were saying, ‘How are we going to win this?’
from USA TODAY,
Tickets for the 17,500 seats, priced at $50, $90 and $130, were sold out in 2 1/2 weeks with very limited advertising, says Lucy Ellison, spokeswoman for the O2 arena, site of the games.
The price on the scalpers’ black market is way above that.
Andrew Morris, a Canadian expat and fan of his hometown Vancouver Canucks, says his girlfriend planned to get him a ticket as a 30th birthday present. She wasn’t fast enough and found scalpers wanted $770.
“It was really amazing not to get tickets,” says a disappointed Morris, who works in a London nightclub. “If you’re a hockey fan, it doesn’t make much difference who is playing. You just want to see the game.”
The Anaheim Ducks proudly toted the Stanley Cup they won last spring to various tourist sites on a double-decker bus here Wednesday to promote this weekend’s National Hockey League season curtain raiser.
But few Londoners seemed aware of who they were, or what they were carrying, as the team braved a chilly autumn wind that swept across the Thames River.
Steve Campbell, a sports fan from northern England, looked baffled as he watched playoff star Ryan Getzlaf lug the Cup across a busy street to pose with his teammates in front of Big Ben.
from Lindsay Berra of ESPN the Magazine,
If relatively anonymous. Drury, carting two gallons of milk out of a bodega on Manhattan’s Upper West Side recently, had to stare at a guy he thought was on HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords” (he wasn’t) before he got a “Hey, you’re the new Ranger!” in return. And Gomez spent an hour in a Starbucks near MSG on a late-summer workday afternoon, drinking his grapefruit soda in total peace. Think that’d happen to Eli Manning or Derek Jeter?
But Gomez and Drury just got into town; give them a season. Next June, the Rangers could be polishing the Stanley Cup, and NHL brass could be glowing about their improved ratings. Then the only unfinished business would be the ticker-tape parade.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
A decline in goal scoring is perhaps the leading on-ice problem bedevilling the NHL. To discuss that issue and others, Steve Kouleas convened a roundtable panel that will air tonight on The Score at 11 p.m. EDT.
One idea that seemed to resonate with the group - NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell, director of officiating Stephen Walkom, Detroit Red Wing general manager Ken Holland, his Toronto Maple Leafs counterpart John Ferguson, Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco and Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza - is employing a 3-on-3 overtime session if 4-on-4 hockey does not produce a winner.
“I sensed that John and Ken really liked that,” Kouleas said. “And Collie [Campbell] was all ears when they were talking about it.”
From William Houston at the Globe & Mail,
The NHL’s move to start its regular season in London, England is renewing debate about the viability of the league expanding to Europe.
Jim Kelley, a semi-regular host at the Fan590 in Toronto, correctly noted that “finding some schlep” in Europe to buy out owners of the sad-sack franchises in the American south – Florida, Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, to name a few – would save the NHL the enormous cost of contraction.
Problem is, there’s no evidence the league has plans to give up on the U.S. television market by contracting.
In a real coup, Simcoe.com had an opportunity to interview the Hockey Hall of Famer for this special, Internet-only story.
Born in Floral, Sask. in 1928, Howe spent most of his youth in Saskatoon, where he played hockey as often as he could, including at night.
“I built a net myself and put it on the street underneath the streetlight because we didn’t have an outside light at our house. And when it got dark, I was still shooting away. And you had to be accurate because you had to look for the dumb puck in the snow if you missed. Basically, I just had a love for the game,” Howe said from his home near Detroit.
read on... recommended reading…
This was posted on 9/24/07, but the link wasn’t working. It appears to be fine now, so I have moved it up so all can read if they wish.
Spector has a large update today, including talk Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is seeking a contract worth $7M a year.
from The Maven at MSG Network,
There will be another NHL expansion and you can put your money on Las Vegas as being the 31st team. The reasons why Sin City has the lead are many. Start with the fact that it would be very difficult for ownership to reject a HUGE entrance fee which would top anything the league has known. Plus a new rink is going up in LV and the very influential Phil Anschutz is behind the move.
more bits from Stan…
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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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