Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
But the Southern California media—perhaps self-conscious of all the prattle they are hearing from outsiders and feeling too insecure to question or challenge it, and even buying into it to try to justify decisions that give the Clippers more staffing on the road than the Kings or the Ducks—aren’t into challenging the urban myths.
The Ducks now have had 34 straight sellouts. A bandwagon? Of course it is. But that’s also a lot more consecutive sellouts than Detroit (factoring in the playoffs), Dallas and Colorado have had.
The Kings did some major league papering of the house last season, but come on, their official average of 16,859 was still over 90 percent of capacity, so it’s absurd to portray them as a colossal box-office failure, especially since they were the second-worst team in the Western Conference.
from Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports,
Look, if the league wants to further strangle itself with expansion, why not Chicago? It hasn’t had a team since Bill Wirtz disbanded the Blackhawks in the mid-1990s.
Only the NHL could even dream this stuff up. The league needs to contract, not expand. It needs to improve the product, not disperse the talent, dilute rivalries and provide another slap at the game’s tradition.
No offense to Vegas and KC, but we’ve seen this act before. The few million in expansion fees isn’t worth adding a couple more cities that aren’t all that interested in hockey, save the core of 10-15,000 fans who will still be paying attention once the novelty wears off.
As for Commissioner Gary Bettman, well, he hasn’t overseen many good ideas in his first 15 years on the job. At this point our only hope is that his various disasters in leadership were part of a secret 16-year plan and good things are about to happen.
from Kevin Shea at the Hockey Hall of Fame,
The Stanley Cup remained on the ice surface at the Honda Center for almost two hours after the final buzzer sounded. Families and friends of the victors got photographs with the prized trophy. Once all were done, Chris Pronger carried the Cup into the dressing room, which was already in full celebration mode, jammed to the rafters with players and team officials, along with their families, friends, media and other invited guests. A limited edition champagne was equally consumed and sprayed around the room. Scott Niedermayer was there with his wife and children, brother Rob with his fiancée and their proud mother enjoying every moment along with her sons. Teemu Selanne huddled with friends from Finland who had arrived to witness the Stanley Cup Final.
from Al Strachan of Fox Sports,
So now, the next question is this: What impact will the Anaheim triumph have on the National Hockey League?
For starters, because success breeds imitation, the general managers will look at the Ducks’ success and ask if it was a fluke.
They will come to the conclusion that for the most part, it wasn’t. Granted, this should be the first time in history that a referee’s name is engraved on the Stanley Cup because without Don Koharksi’s outrageous interference call on Pavel Datsyuk late in Game 5 of the Detroit series, the Ducks might well have been on the golf course during the finals. But be that as it may, the fact remains that once the Stanley Cup final got under way, the Ducks were by far the better team.
The GMs will ask themselves why that was the case and decide that for all the NHL’s talk about giving the game back to the little man, size is still a crucial factor.
from Pierre Lebrun of the CP via Yahoo,
It’s debatable what kind of impact their Cup win will have on hockey. The NHL is a copycat league and if other clubs try to mimic Anaheim’s defence-first, hard-hitting style, the new NHL won’t quite be what it had hoped coming out of the lockout.
That’s not a shot at the Ducks, who were well-built and whose determination and work ethic was unmatched this season. They deserved the Cup. But from a fan’s perspective, the prospect of other teams adopting the defence-first philosophy won’t be terribly exciting.
The kind of hockey that Buffalo, Ottawa and Pittsburgh play in the Eastern Conference is what the league was hoping to see coming out of the lockout, a breathless offensive-minded style.
more on the Ducks…
Spector has some UFA talk up today and I will be relaxing just a bit.
We have the NHL Awards Show coming up next week, the NHL Draft and the craziness that is the UFA signing period which begins on July 1st.
KK will also be undergoing a major facelift and a few other surprises too.
Kick back a relax a bit today… I will have the results of the KK Stanley Cup Challenge up sometime in the next few days. It will take some work to tabulate the TOI (time-on-ice) and match them up to all the predictions.
from Bob Duff at MSNBC,
With the right amount of tweaking over the summer to add a little offensive depth, the Canucks will be Stanley Cup champions next spring.
While Anaheim remains a young team with an outstanding core and future, it’s difficult to envision the Ducks winning two Cups in a row after enduring the grind of playing deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second year in a row.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
First money: The rumors circulating around expansion fees are that teams would pay in the neighborhood of $150 million in order to gain entry into the NHL – a big hike over the $80 million paid in the last round of expansion that brought us Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota and Columbus. A bonus for NHL owners: expansion fees do not count as revenue in terms of their partnership with the players’ association, so that’s all money in the bank for teams in the Original 30.
from Damien Cox at the Spin, his blog at the Toronto Star,
Would the NHL governors be more willing to accept a second team in southern Ontario if new teams were added in K.C. and Nevada? Could the compensation issue be somehow linked to expansion, as it was when L.A. owner Bruce McNall received half the $50 million expansion fee when the Mighty Ducks moved into Anaheim?
Could the dreadful concept of NHL expansion, and the obvious dilution of talent it would produce, actually be good news for Canadian fans if it means a seventh Canadian team?
This story grows more intriguing and complicated by the hour.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Once Toronto Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson gets Mats Sundin signed, before the June 15 deadline to pick up the option on Sundin’s contract, and then gets himself signed to a contract extension by the end of the month, he will set his sights on a more important signing, at least as far as the team’s immediate future is concerned.
Ferguson’s No. 1 target on the free-agent market, according to those who know him best, is winger Ryan Smyth. Then again, you could say this about every GM in the National Hockey League with a minimum of $6-million (all figures U.S.) per year to spend.
There are four top-end forwards among the pending free agents - Smyth and centres Chris Drury, Daniel Briere and Scott Gomez. Given Smyth’s pedigree as a gritty character player who can score, he will be the object of the fiercest bidding war.
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