Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tripp Mickle of SportsBusiness Journal,
For the first time since the 2004-05 lockout, the NHL has increased both its attendance and ratings at the midpoint of a season.
Through 628 games this season, average reported attendance is up 1.5 percent from 2007-08. The increase came despite the fact that the 2009 Winter Classic in Chicago at Wrigley Field held 30,000 fewer fans than the 2008 outdoor game in Buffalo, a game that drew 71,000.
“We’re particularly pleased this year because the world around us is a lot different than it’s been in a long time,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “Most businesses would have reasons to be concerned about a downturn, and so far we haven’t seen it.”
continued and thanks again goes out to SBJ for releasing the links to a normally paid subscription site.
Also from Tripp Mickle of SBJ,
The economy may dampen the party scene at this year’s Super Bowl, but it won’t dampen the celebration at the 2009 NHL All-Star Game.
At a time when other leagues are pulling back on travel and sponsors are curtailing activation at events, the NHL is poised for its biggest all-star celebration in years. The league has increased its budget for the event, which is taking place in hockey-mad Montreal this weekend, to more than $5 million, a 5 percent increase from Atlanta in 2008. NHL officials also claim that corporate partners will spend more than $10 million on activation in Montreal, a 50 percent increase from 2008.
Just a reminder, we have two early matchups today.
from David Climer of the Tennessean,
Even in the best of times, this team is not very easy on the eyes. Compared to much of the competition, it lacks star power. The Preds can’t roll a certain line onto the ice and be assured there will be repeated scoring chances. Case in point: The team’s leading scorer, Arnott, is tied for 51st in the league with 15 goals.
The Preds don’t score easily or often. Since the surprise defection of young scoring specialist Alexander Radulov in the offseason, they don’t try to outscore you. They try to out-tough you.
The two-goal showing against Atlanta is typical of a team that is averaging 2.4 goals per game, next-to-last in the NHL. Only twice in the past 11 games have the Preds scored more than two goals. They specialize in the 2-1 win and the 3-2 loss.
“When you’re down three goals, it plays in the back of your head,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “… Two seems to be a little bit of our limit right now.”
via Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
With all due respect to Ken Holland (Detroit Red Wings), Peter Chiarelli (Boston Bruins), Bob Gainey (Montreal Canadiens) and even Darryl Sutter, there can be no argument on the mid-season nod as the NHL’s GM of the year. It’s San Jose Sharks’ Doug Wilson. Acquisitions like Dan Boyle and Rob Blake have a had a massive impact on the league’s most dominant club, and Wilson’s savvy drafting over the years is paying off as late-round pick Joe Pavelski and first-rounder Devin Setoguchi have emerged as game-breakers. The decision to not give up on Patrick Marleau is also paying huge dividends. However, his best move of the year involved not only opting to fire Ron Wilson but to entrust his club to the young Todd McLellan, who is clearly the midseason choice as coach of the year.
Of all the aforementioned GMs who’ve done well to piece together contenders, Sutter is the one who will get the least attention, but he deserves plenty of credit for adding relatively cheap depth players Rene Bourque, Curtis Glencross, Todd Bertuzzi and Michael Cammalleri, all of whom have taken turns playing hero for the Flames this season.
from Bill Fleischman of PhiladelphiaFlyers.com,
Except for those who sit near him in the Wachovia Center, few Flyers fans know his real name. He’s best known as “Sign Man.” Known internationally, that is.
Since 1972, Dave Leonardi has been making Flyers fans smile with the signs he holds up during games. Occasionally, he produces smiles from opposing players. And on at least one occasion, he has annoyed NHL officials working a game.
Years ago, during a game at the Spectrum in which the Flyers thought they were getting short-changed by the officials, Leonardi displayed an eye chart for the officials. When linesman Matt Pavelich skated past Leonardi he said, “You’re a horsebleep artist, too.” Noted Leonardi: “He said horsebleep.”
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
Just when you think maybe Havlat could be moved, he wins a game like in St. Louis on the kind of play few forwards can make.
If the Hawks do move Havlat, they MUST get a top-six forward in return.
As for Khabibulin, this two-goalie system is the strength of the team and offers great security for the playoffs. Granted, Huet is playing well, but what if he were to get hurt after Khabibulin was traded? Then everything is shot.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
While the memories of what was accomplished during his six seasons with the Lightning remain, little else is left of the organization he knew for so long. Ownership has changed, the coaching staff is gone, management is new and the roster looks nothing like the one he left last season. And only two players remain on the roster in which Richards won a Stanley Cup with - Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis.
Richards said playing against the Lightning won’t feel as strange as squaring off against Lecavalier for the first time in his life. Lecavalier and Richards have been playing together since their early years in high school, playing for Notre Dame Academy in Saskatchewan. Both played for Rimouski in junior hockey and were drafted by the Lightning.
“It’s definitely going to be bizarre,” Lecavalier said. “But I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to seeing him again. It will be fun to see him play again.”
from Mike Brehm of USA TODAY,
You mentioned San Jose and Detroit as Cup favorites. Who are your favorites to come out of the East?
Demers: The Flyers are a solid team. Boston is a solid team. It’s tough in the East this year. Washington is definitely a strong contender, as is Pittsburgh. But in my opinion, if everything goes the way I think it could go with Carey Price, he has the ability to take the Montreal Canadiens to the Finals.
more from Jacques…
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
I couldn’t help but shake my head in embarrassment for the Avalanche franchise afterward tonight, though, when it came to my attention that Kroenke Sports Enterprises sent out a Captain Queeg-style email to all hockey-side employees over a recent blog I wrote, about people at KSE being worried about their jobs in this horrible economy, and of expense-cutting initiatives such as eliminating company-paid Internet access hotel charges on the road, and things like that.
From what was described to me, the paranoid, threatening-sounding email promised recriminations toward anybody who might have leaked such information to yours truly….
Good grief, these guys just will never get it. They think you’re stupid, fans. They can’t handle the truth. When anything bad happens, this team just retreats like a turtle into its shell of denial and subterfuge and pretends everything is just peachy, when if only they would just act like adults and say, “Yeah, you know what, we are cutting back in this tough economy, and yeah, things aren’t helped that much with this mediocre product we’re putting out on the ice, but you know what? We’re striving to do better and we just hope our fans hang in there with us.”
Is it just me or is NHL darling and Reebok pitchman Sidney Crosby just a really good player and not a superhuman, best of breed, sport transfer?
Maybe he’s getting more pressure than praise.
Whatever is at work, I just expected more domination and must-see moments from the “Next One”. His young, flashy Russian rivals seem to have cornered the market on that.
Sid the Kid - more hat than cattle so far.
-Daryl Reaugh of Razor With An Edge
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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