Kukla's Korner Hockey
Since everyone reading these words is either reading them on this blog or via some rss feedreader, the audience here might be a bit biased in believing hockey fans are very tech-knowledgeable. But in this instance, your bias is absolutely correct—NHL hockey fans are indeed very well-wired.
From the Sports Business Journal on Monday, October 1 (sorry, no link. subscription only):
The NHL has long asserted that its fans are the most tech-savvy in sports. Exclusive data provided to Sports Business Journal by Scarborough Sports Marketing seems to support that belief. Twenty-four percent of NHL loyal fans live in households that own an HDTV and more than seventy percent have a broadband connection (cable or dsl) at home.
See the graph below.
Some predictions from me at my NHL.com blog today.
Feel free to come up with your own topics too!
from the Tennessean,
The leader of a local group trying to buy the Nashville Predators said Monday that he doesn’t expect the deal to work out.
The group on Saturday asked for new tax money and several improvements to the Sommet Center, where the Predators play. According to leader David Freeman, the city has rejected the requests.
from Joy Russo at ESPN,
Now, keep in mind that this is the preseason edition, but we’re not factoring in the preseason scores here, folks. They are about as relevant as Megan Fox’s role in “The Transformers” (I know Michael Bay wanted her in it, but she was not in the classic comic). Back to my preseason point: Chicago went 7-1 before the start of last season and we know how well things turned out there.
So, my Optimus bitterness aside, here we go!
1. San Jose Sharks
Yes, they’ve been ousted in the second round of the playoffs for two straight seasons, but is this the season the Sharks turn things around for good? Any team that has Joe Thornton (114 points in 2006-07) has more than a decent chance.
Eric Duhatschek at his Globe & Mail blog discusses the various luminaries attending the Esquire party tomorrow night in Manhattan, launching the new NHL season. The guest list includes a number of notables but also features one notable exception, as well.
NHL luminaries for the Esquire party include the commissioner, Gary Bettman, the deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, plus members of the New York Islanders (Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie), the New Jersey Devils (Patrik Elias) and some as yet-to-be-announced members of the Buffalo Sabres. Curiously, there are no New York Rangers’ players listed as possible attendees, even though the Rangers boast two of the NHL’s most attractive free-agent acquisitions, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, at least one of whom (Gomez) is an unbelievably great talker.
One wonders if the Rangers’ absenteeism is merely an oversight, or has something to do with that curious decision by Madison Square Garden (MSG) to file a lawsuit against the NHL last Friday for violating antitrust laws and acting like an illegal cartel.
*For more on the MSG lawsuit, see earlier today on KK
The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) will mark the 10th Anniversary of Hockey Fights Cancer with a year-long celebration that commences in October with Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Month. The League-wide initiative will include numerous activities in October involving all 30 clubs, players, management and fans.
During the month of October each NHL club will host a Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night at a home game.
Prior to joining the NHL in November as evp-corporate sales and marketing, John Collins was an executive for more than 15 years at the NFL, including svp-sales and marketing (in 2000 he was named one of Brandweek’s “Marketers of the Next Generation”) and then was president/CEO at the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. In May he was given added responsibilities and a new title, svp-business and media, to work with league marketing partners including Pepsi, Reebok, Anheuser-Busch, XM Satellite, Verizon Wireless and Dodge. He spoke with Brandweek executive editor Barry Janoff about the NHL’s marketing strengths, weaknesses and future.
Brandweek: How was the lockout in 2004-05 a turning point for the NHL?
John Collins: It’s a dramatic step if you shut down any business for a year. In terms of business and marketing, the first season after the lockout was all about restarting the business. The NHL represents a classic marketing opportunity and we hope a classic marketing success. Based on franchise values, revenue growth, the rise in salary cap and other numbers that commissioner Gary Bettman presented this month to the board of governors, the business has come back and is poised for growth.
from Paul Hunter at the Toronto Star,
“A team that was on the outside looking in can be on the inside in a hurry in this day and age,” said Phoenix general manager Don Maloney.
“You can reload a lot quicker,” adds Brian Burke, who brought the Stanley Cup to California for the first time as GM of Anaheim.
It is Year Three of the league’s dramatically different collective agreement, a contract many managers admit they’re still trying to fully grasp, and it is Burke’s Ducks for which the other teams are gunning.
This might have been the summer that will show how quickly and smartly teams can rebuild in the new system.
from the Telegraph,
Though there are penalties in ice hockey, for high-sticking, for holding and holding the stick, there are no penalties for body checking your opponents at full speed, into a wall. Indeed, that kind of behaviour is rapturously applauded by knowledgeable fans. Such fans will need no explanation of the finer points of the game. Which is just as well. This is a sport of speed, power and violence, played without the inconveniences of offside or touchlines or namby-pamby referees. Indeed, ice hockey referees may well be the least namby-pamby officials in the sports world, since four of them must not only share the ice with two teams of aggressive hulks, but sort out the game’s near obligatory brawl.
There was one of those last night, and highly entertaining it was too. The fight ended as an honourable draw, with one player from each side sitting out a five-minute penalty.
read on about the 2 games in London…
fromm Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Make no mistake. After supporting Bettman and the Board on issues contrary to their own self-interests such as the hard salary cap, revenue sharing, and cancellation of the 2004-05 season, the Rangers are no longer amenable to ceding control of their business to Sixth Avenue, and neither are a growing number of the big-market teams who carry the league on their backs.
These clubs may support Bettman’s lowest-common-denominator approach to competition on the ice, but they most certainly do not support Sixth Avenue’s concept of parity when applied to individual bottom lines. Slap Shots has obtained a copy of a letter Garden CEO Jim Dolan sent by fax to the 29 other NHL owners Friday night. While affirming respect for the league Governors, Dolan leaves no doubt he not only is engaging the NHL in a philosophical battle, but is challenging the league’s competence in generating revenues and growing the game.
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