Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
Gary Bettman’s annual State of the NHL Union address is kind of like highlights of a hockey game. You see a few hits, the odd fight and most of the goals, but a lot times the filler – sometimes the meatiest and therefore most nutritional parts – is left out. That’s really unfortunate since often times it’s the mysterious gristle which makes the sausage taste so good.
Q. What’s going to happen with Nashville?
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: What’s going to happen with Nashville? We have an application by the club for Craig Leipold to sell the Nashville Predators to Jim Balsillie. That is a process that requires us to do some more due diligence, even though we did some in Pittsburgh, we have more to do.
It will require a three-quarter approval by the Board of Governors in terms of whether or not Mr. Balsillie as an owner and this transaction should be approved.
The Predators have a lease that goes, I think, for another 14 years, give or take. There is a possibility that the lease could terminate in a year if certain things do or don’t happen. But as far as we’re concerned right now, Mr. Balsillie’s request for approval and the transaction related solely to him buying the Nashville Predators subject to whatever lease is in effect, and if, in fact, at some point the lease is terminated and he seeks to relocate the franchise, that is something that would have to be considered under the league’s constitution and bylaws at the time.
Q. Would you be concerned of the perception that it could be a foregone conclusion or a self-fulfilling prophecy that the franchise would be moved?
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: That’s why I answered the question the way I did. I’m hoping to dispel the perception. If the attendance mark is satisfied, even if it’s not, if the city cures what would then be the default, this team is not going anywhere.
There is a lease, and sports leagues aren’t in the practice of letting teams violate their leases. I believe Mr. Balsillie understands that and it’s conceivable that this team will be in Nashville for as long as its lease, however long that may be.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Accordingly, it took a brave man to set foot in front of the assembled media hordes Monday and extol the virtue of the product that he was selling. That was commissioner Gary Bettman’s duty Monday and true to form, he stayed mostly on message — that while things were not perfect, the NHL’s challenges were “a mere fraction of what they were a few years ago.”
The most revealing moments came when Bettman talked about Canada and the possible return of the NHL north of the 49th parallel. Bettman essentially said the possibility of a return to the two markets that the NHL left in the 1990s — Winnipeg and Quebec — “intrigues me” and that while it isn’t something they’ve studied, “it seems to me more likely than it was two, three, four or five years ago.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
For the third time in 14 years, the final stage of the Tour de Stanley Cup brings us back to the sprawling streets of California.
What seemed a madcap notion back in 1967, when the NHL guessed two California franchises might work as part of a doubling of the old six-team league, has survived through four decades of tumultuous change for both the league and the state.
Today, there are more teams in the most populous U.S. state than in Ontario, and in comparison to the other major professional team sports, the NHL hasn’t done half-bad.
from the Dallas Morning News,
Walkom is well-respected and well-liked by his colleagues, and he has indeed run a tight ship. He has consistently rewarded officials who call the most penalties, and he has supported them steadfastly when they’ve made tough calls near the end of games or in overtime. His decision to sit veteran Kerry Fraser for the playoffs this season sent a clear message.
The problem is that many of these referees have taken the message to mean that every call is a good call, and that’s just not true.
Larry Brooks of the NY Post does a great job with a Brian Leetch column and then submits this…
Let the debates begin. Slap Shots’ post-Bobby Orr first-and-second All-Star defense squads. First team: Larry Robinson, Chelios, Denis Potvin, Ray Bourque, Stevens, Paul Coffey. Second Team: Leetch, Niedermayer, Brad Park, Al MacInnis, Nicklas Lidstrom, Mark Howe.
from the New York Times,
While clean and skillful play has become the prevailing style among most of the N.H.L.’s best teams, the Ducks, who will start the Stanley Cup finals against Ottawa tomorrow night, earned more penalty minutes (1,457) and engaged in far more fights (71) than any other club this season. And if the opinions available on fan-generated Web sites and blogs are any indication, Anaheim has become the team fans love to hate.
The Ducks have not toned down their act, and have been responsible for some of the postseason’s most unpleasant incidents. There have been 13 fights in the first three playoff rounds, and Anaheim has been involved in four.
more on the NHL and the NYT needs to take a better look at the UFAs they have mentioned…
from Mark Sutcliffe of the Ottawa Citizen,
This week’s events should cause the NHL to take stock and review its long-term goals. Evidence is mounting that the dream of a lucrative U.S. TV contract will never be realized. The league should abandon its singular focus on that unachievable goal and reposition itself in pursuit of a better opportunity: To thrive in markets where there is demand for hockey.
Hockey will never be a national game in the United States. There are too many regions where hockey ranks behind not just the big three American sports, but a dozen others as well. But that doesn’t mean the NHL doesn’t have an opportunity to grow.
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
As sure as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, you’re going to hear a tale of woe about the 2007 Stanley Cup Final because “big market” teams aren’t competing.
Hockey fans will be watching and we’re going to see some of the NHL’s best players vying for the Cup. The excellence of competition goes well beyond the name of the city a team calls home. It’s too bad that elementary lesson is lost so quickly.
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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