Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Greg Johnson of the LA Times,
The Stanley Cup finals are approaching and hockey couldn’t be in better shape.
A late-season NHL television broadcast drew almost 10% of the country’s residents, no matter that neither team was playoff-bound. First-round playoff TV ratings dipped but rebounded nicely for subsequent rounds. And Sidney Crosby, who’s been touted by the nation’s media since he was a boy, was named NHL rookie of the year.
Wait a minute, that’s the hockey story in Canada….
South of the border, where 24 of 30 NHL teams are based, hockey remains mired in problems.
read on (reg. req.)
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
This is a league that does not share its attendance revenues. So a Canadian team might draw well at home, but an American owner couldn’t care less. He’s not going to see any of it. What he does know is that Canadian teams are traditionaly the NHL’s worst road draws. An owner in a major American city doesn’t want to try to sell tickets for games against teams from places like Winnipeg, Quebec and Waterloo — or even Calgary and Edmonton for that matter. He wants visits from New York, Boston, Los Angeles and so on.
Now, once Balsillie purchases the Predators, the battle will be on. He will want to move that team out of Nashville and into Canada. Perhaps, down the road, some other entrepeneur will try to follow a similar pattern with the Atlanta Thrashers or the Florida Panthers, and some of the other cities that Bettman brought into the NHL.
And while Canada is a nice place, it’s not the place to be if you’re trying to establish your sports league as a major league in the United States.
This is what Bettman has wrought.
Mike Stone of WDFN in Detroit wants the Predators to move to Windsor!
Mike thinks it would be cool and can just imagine the rivalry that would be created.
What do you think? Be kind to Stoney, a good guy and the best radio sports guy in Detroit.
Wojo, his sidekick says the only way for this to happen is to call the team the Windsor Ballets (Detroit area residents can explain if it comes up).
from Alan Adams of Sportsnet,
Bettman knows a second NHL team in southern Ontario will work. He knows Canadians live and die for hockey, and Balsillie is exactly the type of owner the NHL needs. He is on the cutting edge of communications technology.
If the NHL doesn’t let Balsillie move the Predators to southern Ontario, then Bettman isn’t Canada-friendly.
It is as simple as that.
added 12:45pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Instead, you have a situation where, two years into the current CBA, franchises in Phoenix and Atlanta and Florida as well as Nashville still can’t operate in the black, or even at the break-even point. And when the day comes that the owners in all those markets say ‘enough’ to the losses, that’s when the migration to points north will occur.
It’s no longer a question of if anymore.
It’s only a question of when.
from the AP via Newsday,
Rick Tocchet, the former hockey star at the center of a gambling ring investigation, was due in court Friday for an unspecified reason.
The state Attorney General’s Office announced the scheduled appearance. Neither Tocchet’s lawyer, Kevin Marino, nor David Wald, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office would comment.
But unexpected court appearances can often signal a defendant is entering a guilty plea.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Corey Perry grew up little more than an hour down the highway, played his junior hockey two hours from the Air Canada Centre, and never had the chance to be a Maple Leaf.
For Toronto, he is yet another symbol of what has been lost in the quick-fix generation,
Wojtek Wolski was born in Poland, grew up around the city, played his junior hockey in Brampton. Like Perry, Wolski would have been a perfect Leaf.
The Fan590 in Toronto mentioned today that Brian Leetch is hanging them up. More as it becomes available.
added 10:33am, from the CP via TSN,
Star defenceman Brian Leetch officially retired Thursday, ending an 18-year career that featured two Norris Trophy wins and 10 all-star selections.
The 39-year-old sat out the entire out 2006-07 season after spending 2005-06 with the Boston Bruins, when he recorded five goals and 27 assists in 61 games.
“I have been fortunate to be an NHL player since 1988,” Leetch said in a statement. “I missed being in the NHL this past season, but believe it was the right time for me to stop playing.”
from bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
But here’s what’s even harder to imagine: ESPN failing to have hockey mentioned in the first 30 minutes if it were involved with the sport. Once the NHL left ESPN, it basically ceased to exist.
It’s not just “SportsCenter.” If the NHL were carried by ESPN, they’d be talking about it on the “Dan Patrick Show” (not a word Tuesday in the more than 90 minutes we suffered through) and the stars of the sport would be schmoozing with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on their highly popular morning show.
Such exposure generates interest and interest generates ratings and revenue.
Buffalo Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn dropped by the WGR studios on Wednesday afternoon to chat with Mike Schopp and The Bulldog on a number of topics surrounding the organziation….
He expressed concern over the fact that the NHL salary cap may reach $48 million this year. Quinn feels it’s counterproductive to the original plan of the cap during the lockout.
more on the Sabres… Another management type concerned about the cap, the one the owners agreed upon!!!
Regular KK readers may recall another team doing the same about a month or so ago, but it has been a long week and I can’t recall who it was.
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
Here’s something Bettman clearly doesn’t understand: Canada is the bedrock of the NHL. Even with the European influx, we provide the bodies and the heart and the people who will pay through the nose and battle their way through a blizzard to watch the game.
Perhaps for a change, Bettman should try to make the U.S. networks want the NHL, rather than the other way around. Perhaps he should act as though he actually believes hockey is worth paying for.
And maybe he should pretend that he can find Canada on a map. We’re right up here, Gary - due north.
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.
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