Kukla's Korner Hockey
from James Gordon of Hockey Capital,
With attendance down more than six per cent this season, the Ottawa Senators are turning to price reductions and free parking to try and boost season ticket numbers.
The Senators are averaging 17,871 in attendance after 19 games and the season ticket base is down to 10,000 after peaking at 13,000 two years ago (following the team’s appearance in the Stanley Cup final).
At a press conference at Scotiabank Place Thursday morning, team president Cyril Leeder outlined several new initiatives designed to boost those numbers:
from Chris Kuc at Chicago Breaking Sports News,
There aren’t many Blackhawks who are as picky about their equipment as defenseman Brian Campbell.
So when the veteran received a new batch of sticks Wednesday morning and promptly went out and snapped a 29-game goalless skid a few hours later during the Hawks’ 3-0 victory over the Blues at the United Center, you know he is one happy hockey player.
“I got some new ones in (Wednesday),” Campbell said with a smile about his new sticks. “They came off pretty good.
“They’re a little bit different, a little bit stronger. You’re picky with everything but it’s nice to have some new weapons. The puck was zipping off them pretty good ... so it was nice.”
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
Any thoughts that Pat Quinn had calmed down overnight were quickly put to rest at the start of practice yesterday.
The Oilers head coach picked up right where he left off after Tuesday’s loss to the Kings, telling the club in loud and colourful language that giving away free points is not acceptable.
He unloaded one barrel at the beginning of the skate and gave them the other at the end.
“The message I’m trying to say is I’m tired of us beating ourselves,” he said. “There’s not a lot wrong with us, but we still find ways to beat ourselves. We had the puck on every one of the goals they scored (in LA’s 3-2 win) and we gave it to them. We did stupid things with it, and stupid doesn’t win.”
The Oilers needed a culture change and the culture Quinn is trying to create here is that a one-game losing streak, even on the heels of a five game road winning streak, is too long.
from Rob Oller of the Columbus Dispatch,
Hitchcock sees it as his job to educate these lads. So he explains. And explains. Unfortunately for him, the attention span of a 19-year-old twitters out at 140 characters.
So the issue with Hitchcock is not that he ignores young players, a reputation that he feels is undeserved, but that they ignore him.
Young talent especially tunes out when it thinks it knows it all. That occurs when the team is winning, which creates a stress point because Hitch’s toughest teachings follow wins, when he talks of exposing the hard truths.
“It’s an attitude of you win and you want to get better, rather than we won and ‘Aren’t we good?’ What I want to do is help players win, and have them come back in the room the next day and ask, ‘Where do we get better?’ That’s what great teams do.”
The problem with such harping is it wears on young players who want to run free, who want to enjoy the wins instead of learn from them, which might explain why the Jackets (14-14-6) have stumbled after a 12-6-2 start.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
“We’d like to add to our defense with (Rostislav Klesla) going down to an injury,” Howson said. “But we’re not close right now on anything.
“The (trade) market is tough. It’s as tough as it’s ever been, with so many long-term contracts out there, with so many clubs up against the salary cap, and with so many clubs still thinking they’re in the playoff race. It’s hard to get any movement on a trade right now. It’s hard to shake anything loose.”
Howson said nothing is imminent, that the groundwork for a trade hasn’t even been put into place. And it’s not just the Blue Jackets. Nothing seems to be shaking for anybody right now, and the NHL roster freeze kicks in on Dec. 19.
more on the Blue Jackets…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Now is the time for Tortorella to personally embrace the “Safe is Death,” philosophy he espoused in Tampa and have the nerve to tell Glen Sather, his boss, that the millions he spent on Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival would have been better invested with Bernie Madoff.
Now is the time for the head coach to justify the badge on his chest by figuring out how to reduce Chris Drury’s minutes and responsibility without embarrassing the earnest but painfully ineffective captain, no easy task at all.
Tortorella was furious in the wake of last night’s no-show in which the Rangers were limited to two goals or fewer for the seventh straight time and 17th time in their last 21 games. They hadn’t sunk to such levels of impotence since December of 2002 when they also went seven in a row during some of the darkest days of the seven-year playoff drought that preceded the lockout.
In other words, these are the Bad Old Days.
Chris Drury, Henrik Lundqvist and Marc Staal of the NY Rangers react to the loss to the Islanders tonight.
from Paul Waldie of the Globe and Mail (Thursday edition),
They don’t own the Phoenix Coyotes yet, but the partners in Ice Edge Holdings have already drawn up a detailed plan they say can produce a profit in five years.
The group’s plan includes playing five regular-season Coyotes games in Saskatoon as early as next season, boosting revenue by about $15-million (all currency U.S.) and slashing costs by about the same amount. They also want to buy an American Hockey League franchise, move it to Thunder Bay as the Coyotes’ farm team and help build a new 5,500-seat arena in that city.
“We’ve got very good indications that we should be able to pull this off pretty easily,” Ice Edge partner Todd Jordan said yesterday. “The key is to sustain losses early.”
from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
In one of the strangest NHL scheduling quirks I’ve ever seen, after tomorrow the Kings won’t play until Dec. 26, an eight-day break. Is that a positive or a negative for the Kings? Given the way they’ve been playing of late — 8-1-1 in their last 10 games — you might say they’re in danger of losing momentum, but they also have four key players (Smyth, Simmonds, Stoll and Johnson) injured right now, and the long break minimizes the number of games that those players will miss. By Dec. 26, it’s likely that all but Simmonds (whose status is still to be determined) will be back.
In all, I’d have to say the long break is a net positive for the Kings right now.
from Chris Stevenson at the Toronto Sun,
With the momentum of a speeding forechecker, it seems a rule change penalizing checking to the head is steaming ahead for the NHL.
Concussions and headshots were discussed at length at the two-day NHL’s board of governors meetings that wrapped up today. Videos were shown of blindside hits and shots from the side to bring the governors up to speed on what was discussed at the general managers’ meetings last month.
continued with more topics…
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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.
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