Kukla's Korner Hockey
The GM of the Red Wings chats with Daren Millard and Mike Brophy on Hockey Central on the eve of game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals as the Wings will look to repeat as champions.
click to listen (10 minute interview)
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
Bettman gets crucified, sometimes in media, sometimes from members of his own ownership group for the league’s bastardized TV approach in the U.S., but one can argue it’s starting to take hold.
NBC has been getting good to very good ratings for the games and Versus has had franchise record numbers and is starting to grow to the critical mass the league needs. It’s not ESPN mass as Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz recently pointed out in a not-so-glowing assessment of the league’s TV ventures in the states, but even Mr. Wirtz, a newbie to the owners chair despite a family history in the game, should understand that there’s a history that needs to be understood.
The perception is that the NHL walked out on ESPN, but the truth is the sports giant put the league to the curb. After a few years of trying to make it go, ESPN and hockey had gone nowhere together and the company was offering the league the same deal that NBC had on the table. The highlight for them being a zero rights fee.
The company was betting that the league would take it because not being on ESPN was thought to be a death blow for the sport.
Q. What is the mood of the team today?
COACH BYLSMA: Yeah, you know, loose is an indication that they have to refocus. You know, they’re enjoying it. They enjoy what this team is about, has been about three, four months of coming to the rink, working, focused on how we need to play and enjoying that process. You know, you don’t ?? there are bumps and there are difficulties, and it’s a struggle. You know, there’s sacrifice, but it’s also there is enjoyment in that room. There was enjoyment in the guys today, for sure.
DECIDING GAME 7 OF STANLEY CUP FINAL TOMORROW, 8PM ET ON NBC SPORTS
“It is the ultimate in professional sports.” – NBC’s Olczyk on a Stanley Cup Final Game 7
“The Penguins have more mood swings than a teenage girl.” – NBC’s Milbury
“In practical terms, a Stanley Cup Final can’t erase what this city is going through, but as a means to help them feel pride in their city, to help provide some relief and some excitement, it’s important to Detroit.” – NBC’s Olczyk on Detroit
“For the NHL and NBC, it’s ideal. There couldn’t be a better script. A classic Game 7 will make this one of the all-time great series in Final history.” – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Q. It seems like each of these games has had its own sort of identity or personality instead of one sort of leading or following naturally. Do you think that’s accurate? If so, why do you think that dynamic has been this way in this series the first six games?
COACH BABCOCK: Well, I think four of the games were anybody’s game. I think two of the games were Game 4 and Game 5 to me were one team. I think they’ve both been momentum games where teams have carried momentum for large portions at a time, really tilted the rink. The other team looks like they can’t get out of their end. And then the other team seems to come back, and it just goes back and forth.
We’re not going to have to worry about any of that stuff now. It’s just an opportunity here now for both teams.
You know, I have to tell you I’ve been real impressed. I think they played hard. I think our team has played hard. The playoffs for our team this year has been as big a battle as we’ve ever had for sure. Just with what’s gone on and some of the injuries we’ve had and that. I’ve been really impressed with our team’s will, and our guys’ attitude over the last couple of days. Excited to go.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
When the game is over and Gary Bettman appears at center ice with a microphone in one hand and the Cup at his side, he will be booed.
Allow me to emphasize that for a second. The league commissioner will be booed long and booed hard. He will be booed as if he and he alone mismanaged Michigan’s automobile industry. At least one square mile of vocal chords in attendance will be blown out amid the Bronx cheering.
He won’t deserve all, or even most of the ill will, but the crowd will bestow a virtual beret of raspberries (and not the kind you find in a second-hand store) on him nonetheless. And that is my big problem whenever I see Bettman handing the Cup over to a championship team’s captain.
from Jason Kay of The Hockey News,
The question that niggles and nags me as we approach what we all hope is an epic Game 7 is: What’s up with Sidney Crosby?
I’m not talking about the anaemic production – one goal and three points through six games. He has played well through much of the series and hasn’t had much puck luck.
But in Game 6, ‘The Kid’ was most noticeable by his absence on the ice. The game sheet showed he had his lowest ice-time total of the series…
It was further piqued at the conclusion of Game 6 when, about an hour after the contest ended, Crosby was sitting on a chair outside the club’s dressing room, far away from attention, huddled with his dad, Troy, and agent, Pat Brisson. Why the chairs for the little gathering, someone asked, when everyone else was standing and milling about? Is he overly fatigued from the intense attention night after night? Maybe injured?
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Maybe his former boss in Toronto, GM Brian Burke, and longtime Burke associate Dave Nonis, now the assistant GM in Toronto, whispered in Nieuwendyk’s ear about the virtues of their old Vancouver pal and former coach Marc Crawford.
But the one thing that is patently clear is this is a mistake that is going to rest solely on Nieuwendyk’s shoulders. And this is certainly a mistake.
The old adage about judging a hockey trade by which team obtains the best player applies here. With Crawford becoming the new coach in Dallas, it is a step down on almost every level from what Tippett brought to the table.
One NHL coach told ESPN.com on Wednesday he thinks Tippett is one of the best coaches in the league, bar none.
added 3:43pm, from Damien Cox of The Spin,
Tabbing Marc Crawford to be the club’s new head coach just one day after officially firing Dave Tippett - hmmm, any possibility Crawford was talking to the Stars while Tippett still had the job? - doesn’t exactly put a progressive new face on the Dallas franchise.
While young still at 48, Crawford has that odour of “yesterday’s man” about him.
from Sean Gordon and Andrew Willis of the Globe and Mail,
Talks surrounding an eventual sale of the Montreal Canadiens are building to a final crescendo: As of the close of business yesterday, all formal offers were to be lodged with the investment bank steering the bidding process…
Financial sources told The Globe and Mail that each of the three known bidders has already secured at least $200-million in bank financing to help push a deal through.
According those familiar with the process, Péladeau’s group is expected to make the richest opening bid, in excess of $420-million.
But sources suggest a Molson family bid – which is believed to be supported by telecom behemoth BCE Inc. – could carry the day, even if it is closer to $400-million, given the family’s long-standing NHL ties and the fact Molson Coors already owns 19.9 per cent of the team.
from the Dallas Stars,
Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced Thursday that the club has hired Marc Crawford as the 20th head coach in franchise history, and has relieved Dave Tippett of his head coaching duties. Crawford will be formally introduced at a press conference this afternoon at American Airlines Center.
added 11:56am, from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
I just got off the phone with Dave Tippett, and he was philosophical.
“It’s just what you sign up for as a coach, and I don’t think you can ever let it get to you,’’ he said. ``In this business, you have to focus on the job at hand and do it to the best of your ability. Then, if you are moved on, you have to see that as an opportunity. When one door closes, another one opens.”
Tippett said he will head to his summer home in Noirthern Minnesota today and will try to take a step back from the situation and breathe a little bit.
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