Kukla's Korner Hockey
NEW YORK (April 3, 2007) – Fueled by a dramatic race to the playoffs, sales of NHL-licensed product on Shop.NHL.com for the month of March increased 51% compared to the same period last year, the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced. The most searched term last month on Shop.NHL.com that yielded results was “Stanley Cup.”
For the seventh consecutive month, the Buffalo Sabres remain the top-selling team on Shop.NHL.com. The Sabres’ March 2007 sales increased 657% compared to last year. Other teams that more than doubled merchandise sales for March were the Pittsburgh Penguins (205%), New York Islanders (155%), Minnesota Wild (154%), Anaheim Ducks (119%) and Nashville Predators (100%). Twenty-four of 30 teams increased their sales for the month of March on Shop.NHL.com.
NEW YORK—The National Hockey League’s exciting countdown to the Stanley Cup Playoffs continues tonight with 13 games featuring 16 of the 20 playoff-eligible clubs. Among the honors still to be determined with just six days remaining in the regular season: all six division titles, both conference titles, the Presidents’ Trophy as the League’s top regular-season club, all 16 playoff seeds and four playoff berths.
Six clubs could clinch division titles and/or playoff berths tonight:
Buffalo can clinch the Northeast Division and Eastern Conference tonight:
* If they beat Pittsburgh.
NY Rangers can clinch an Eastern Conference playoff berth tonight:
* If they beat the Islanders
* They get one point and Carolina gets one or no points against Tampa Bay and Toronto gets no points against Philadelphia.
from the CBC,
Tuesday could be a crucial day in determining the playoff picture as all six teams chasing a post-season berth are in action.
All eyes will be on Montreal (home to the Boston Bruins) and Toronto (hosting the Philadelphia Flyers) to see who, if anyone, blinks first in the ultimate high-stakes game of chicken.
Also on Tuesday, the Rangers and Islanders clash in Long Island while the Hurricanes pay a visit to the Lightning in Tampa Bay.
I learned a valuable lesson yesterday while at the Detroit Tigers ballgame.
Check out my NHL.com blog.
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
• Mats Sundin crying about the NHL’s playoff arrangement is pure and simple sour grapes. Why would he suggest that it’s unfair that the Southeast Division-winner getting home ice in the first round is unfair? Sundin knew the score at the start of the season and said nothing about it then. That’s why we can’t buy any of his end-of-campaign bleating.
• Marty Biron may be the answer to the Flyers’ goaltending prayers. But, then again, his showing on Friday and Saturday suggests that Robert Esche and Antero Niittymaki would have been just as good with the mediocre squad in front of them.
from John Buccigross of ESPN,
The playoffs begin next week. So, for those of you who need a refresher course on what has happened this NHL season, here are some notes from while you were away.
• This season’s story has unquestionably been what is happening in Pittsburgh. Last season, the Penguins had the fewest points in the Eastern Conference and the second fewest in the NHL
• What is happening in Buffalo this season is right on the heels of what is taking place in Pittsburgh. The Sabres don’t have that transcendent, matinee idol in Crosby, but they have a pulse provided by fans that gives the Western New York experience a sense of community that is warm and pure. It is middle America at its finest.
much, much more from John…
Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, Florida Panthers center Olli Jokinen and Detroit Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending April 1.
Each Monday, the NHL will recognize three players who delivered the League’s top performances over the past week.
FIRST STAR—MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF, G, CALGARY FLAMES
Kiprusoff backstopped the Flames to three consecutive victories, posting a 1.30 goals-against average and .959 save percentage. He made 38 saves in recording his seventh shutout of the season as Calgary defeated the Minnesota Wild 1-0 in overtime March 27, blocked 23 of 25 shots in a 4-2 victory over the Wild March 29 and closed the week with 32 saves in a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks March 31. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner as the League’s top goaltender has posted a 40-21-9 record, 2.40 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 71 appearances this season.
NEW YORK (April 2, 2007)—With dramatic playoff races reaching their peak, NHL clubs set an all-time record for March attendance. A total of 3,778,189 fans attended the 218 games for a per-game average of 17,331, well ahead of the previous March high of 17,144 set in 2001-02 and the largest monthly figure in League history (minimum 100 games).
The late-season surge has increased the 2006-07 per-game average to 16,920, with 19,965,364 fans (91.5% of capacity) attending the 1,180 games. The League will surpass the 20-million mark in total attendance for the sixth consecutive season Tuesday and would, with a per-game average of 17,777 over the final 50 games of the regular season, surpass last year’s record attendance figures of 20,854,169 (total) and 16,955 (per-game average).
League-wide average attendance has increased month by month in 2006-07: 16,537 in October, 16,538 in November, 16,850 in December, 17,075 in January, 17,146 in February and 17,331 in March.
From The Hockey News, the Players Poll has determined that Sean Avery is the most hated and the most overrated player in hockey. Predictably, Avery embraces the first part… but “overrated”?
But elation soon turns to disbelief when Avery finds out he was also voted the most overrated player, too.
“What?” he says. “You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve never really heard anybody say I was good. Did you put candidates on the ballot?”
No, we did not.
“Then how come Shane Doan wasn’t named most overrated,” Avery continues. “Hey, if I’m going to take shots, I’m going to dish them out, too.”
via Sports Business Journal,
The NHL today is expected to unveil “Quest for the Cup,” a digital marketing campaign “aimed at boosting the league’s national profile and TV viewership” during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Fans can participate in “an Internet-based treasure hunt” to collect trading cards and accumulate points by entering codes seen during playoff telecasts, among other elements. Winners will receive NHL merchandise, with the grand prize being a trip to the league’s season-opening games in London this fall
I will have more information on this campaign when it is released.
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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