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Wanted! More Hockey Talks In The States

from Steve Lepore of Awful Announcing,

NBC holds a monopoly on hockey in the United States. They control both the sport’s broadcast and cable television partners. They also own a share in the NHL Network, the supposed 24-hour, all-hockey, all-the-time channel. Yet, why is it that no one owns hockey talk in this country during the day, or even during the afternoon?

Though we can all agree that NBC’s coverage is professionally done, regardless of how you feel about its personalities, there is just little done with them beyond the games and their pre- and post-shows, especially since the network dumped its late night highlights show after 2012-13. Why not have Mike Milbury and Keith Jones on throughout the day, or give second-string guys Jeremy Roenick and Anson Carter some more reps with an afternoon talk show? The network has an appealing host in Liam McHugh, why not see if hockey fans will follow him to a show earlier in the day?

A simple solution: add a third hour of NHL Network’s two-hour daily talk show, NHL Live, from 4-5 p.m. ET on NBCSN. It’ll fill some time previously used by hunting and fishing, can easily be pre-empted for mid-week soccer, and is already fairly cheaply done and has personnel in place. Plus, you get an hour every day to pitch NHL Network to potential subscribers who’ve maybe soured on the channel from some of the fans who have access to it giving negative reviews.


Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nbc+sports+group

Keying On Patrick Kane

from Jill Painter of the Los Angeles Daily News,

The four-letter word you don’t want to say around the Kings right now has nothing to do with them not taking care of business in Game 6 and closing out the Western Conference Finals.

It’s Kane.

Keeping Patrick Kane in check will be of utmost importance for the Kings in Game 7 on Sunday.

Through the first three games of the series, Kane had one point. The way the Kings were playing him had a lot to do with that. They didn’t let him roam around freely, always had a body near him and took away his confidence. They knew where he was at all times.

Kane has seven points in the last two games, including the game-winner at Staples Center in Game 6, in which he skated around with the Kings’ end with such ease and nailed a wrister from high in the slot with 3:45 left.

The Kings must bottle him up if they are to advance.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Debating The National Anthem ‘Show’

from Phil Mushnick of the New York Post,

Class, as in classy, largely has been lost to everything less and then to much less.

Sure, it’s no big deal that with the Rangers’ exciting climb to the Stanley Cup finals that the Garden has allowed anthem-singer John Amirante to present our national anthem as if it were a mix of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and the Rangers’ Fan Club song.

And I suppose it’s no big deal that Amirante has chosen to exploit our anthem to showboat by waving a towel overhead while singing it.

Still, why must classlessness be systematized? If spectators choose to wave towels over their heads during our anthem — as if these people wouldn’t otherwise have been as pumped — that should be their unilateral business, not something encouraged by Amirante and the Garden.

But I’m way behind on such matters. That ship sailed long ago. Public classlessness is now requisite, and it seems those kids raised on such sports-delivered messages are stuck with it, as will be their kids. You can’t return to a place you never have been.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Will Alex Ovechkin Play The Trotz Way?

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

Former Nashville coach Barry Trotz might want to call Scotty Bowman and ask how the greatest coach of them all, can change the spots on a scoring leopard.

In the early 90s, Bowman went about convincing his Detroit captain Steve Yzerman to park his run of 100-point seasons to become what we used to call a “two-way player” and now we refer to as playing “a 200-foot game.” Stevie Y had been around for about 10 years, had one 155-point season, but for all his points, he hadn’t won any team prize...

Trotz has the same task with Alex Ovechkin in Washington. Everybody knows he’s the elephant in the room there. Two Hart trophies, four 50-goal seasons, one of 65. No Cups, nary a playoff game past the second round since he was drafted first in 2004. Ovie isn’t selfish. He’s stubborn. He longs to carry the Cup around the ice just like his Russian countrymen Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh and Pavel Datsyuk in Detroit.

But he’ll need a coach to tell him how, without neutering him.

Trotz, who agreed that Ovechkin gets too much credit when the Caps win and too much blame when they lose.

“Like a coach,” joked Trotz, speaking on his cell while riding in a cab to the airport in Washington Friday.

It’s finding the balance with Ovechkin. He knows the talented ones often “want to do it my way.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin, barry+trotz

Plans For The Las Vegas Arena

from Alan Snel of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

AEG and MGM Resorts decided to spend $25 million more on the arena for a final price of $375 million because they wanted to invest in a more prominent nightclub and lounge spaces at the arena. AEG officials figure it’s worth the investment because the company will cash in on Las Vegas’ growing nightclub scene.

AEG even wants to massage revenue from space on the many outdoor balconies, which could be offered as ticketed spaces for watching music and other events on the plaza that will lead fans from the Strip to the arena entrance, Goldstein said.

Expect all of AEG’s touring acts to stop at the Las Vegas arena, whether Taylor Swift or Katy Perry. All entertainment is up for grabs, even key local events at Thomas &Mack Center at University of Las Vegas, Nevada.

AEG is eyeing the National Finals Rodeo, a key revenue-maker that draws about 180,000 fans to Thomas &Mack during a 10-day period in mid-December. AEG officials believe there is enough land next to the arena to hold the rodeo animals.

Goldstein said AEG looks at the Las Vegas arena as an “agnostic” venue that would help all of Las Vegas’ gaming companies, not just MGM Resorts.

AEG, with its close contacts with the NBA, is also looking at the NBA Summer League (another annual Thomas &Mack staple) as a potential event at its new arena. Fikre envisions an NBA All-Star Game and NBA Draft events at the arena.

Fikre said AEG has talked with groups interested in bringing an NBA or NHL team to the new Las Vegas arena. But Fikre sensed the NBA is no rush to expand or move a team. He said the NHL, with its commissioner, Gary Bettman, visiting Seattle last month, appears to be more interested in adding a team than the NBA.


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

A Few Ifs And Buts Regarding The Columbus Blue Jackets

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

It hurts to say it, but the Blue Jackets could have been the Rangers. Expletive deleted. This is getting tough to watch.

Locally, there is a hue and cry over Los Angeles Kings right wing Marian Gaborik, who has more playoff goals (11) than anyone this spring. Some fans think Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen gave up too much to get Gaborik (Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore and a sixth-round draft pick) from the Rangers.

And they think he got too little (Matt Frattin, a second-round pick and a third-round pick) when he dumped Gaborik on the Kings.

Is this Jeff Carter all over again? Are the Jackets consistently building champions — for other markets?

I don’t get too bent over Gaborik. Yes, Kekalainen gave up much to get him, but it was a noble experiment and he paid market price. No, Kekalainen did not seem to extract a large return for him, but that was the market. It was not the general manager’s most brilliant work, but Gaborik is not sticking in my craw.

Ask yourself: Are the Jackets better without Rick Nash? Would you redo that trade and give back Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and Kerby Rychel?


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Brooks: Thomas Vanek serves as a free agency ‘test case’

The New York Post's Larry Brooks was very busy on Saturday evening, pondering the fates of Brian Boyle and the Rangers' unrestricted and restricted free agents-to-be, as well as positing a thorough set of NHL notes. The main topic of his latter work may be a well-tread-upon (trodden-upon?) subject, but it bears repeating.

On July 1st, we know that Thomas Vanek will earn a boatload of money. What we don't know is how much he's going to earn, nor do we know whether his spectacularly mediocre playoff run with the Montreal Canadiens has changed NHL general managers' minds as to whether Vanek is in fact a game-breaking player, or whether he's the kind of "specialist" player who needs to be placed amidst both a strong supporting cast and a set of doing-the-hard-work-for-him linemates who must pave the way for someone who might not be the natural goal-scoring machine everyone thought he was prior to his trade to the Islanders last December.

Is Vanek worth the investment that somebody is more likely than not to put into someone who either is a game-breaker or is in fact the modern-day Ray Sheppard? Brooks isn't sure:

[There's no] evidence at all the winger is remotely worth the seven-year, $50 million deal he rejected from the Islanders before being sent to Montreal at the deadline. No evidence he is anyone’s missing piece to a playoff puzzle.

And yet, the rule of the NHL market is — or has been: Players don’t pay a price for having underperformed and teams indeed will pay the manufacturer’s sticker price, regardless.

See: Semin, Alex for a prime example. Another: Thornton, Joe.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brad+richards, dan+boyle, marian+gaborik, matt+moulson, matt+niskanen, mike+cammaleri, minnesota+wild, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, paul+stastny, ryan+callahan, thomas+vanek

Simmons: it’s time for Sergei Makarov to join the Hockey Hall of Fame’s ranks

On June 24th, the Hockey Hall of Fame's selection committee will name its inductees for 2014, and as the process is a secretive one, we know its parameters and the men who represent the Hockey Hall of Fame, but we don't know how exactly one player of builder makes the cut and another does not in any particular year.

The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons believes that the selection committee needs to make amends for a long-standing omission amongst this year's shoo-ins:

At one time, in the early 1980s, they were considered the two most gifted and offensive explosive players in hockey. Wayne Gretzky won 10 scoring titles in the National Hockey League. Sergei Makarov won nine scoring titles in Russia, before he arrived in the NHL.

Gretzky had his Hall of Fame induction fast-tracked. Makarov is still waiting to hear his name called.

On June 23, the Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2014 will be announced and the slam dunk this year is Dominik Hasek, as he should be. Joining him likely will be Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano and there’s really no argument with either of those. But somehow, Makarov’s candidacy appears to have been lost in time.

He was twice a world junior champion, 10 times a world champion, a winner of two Olympic gold medals and one silver. At the largest events, the Olympics and Canada Cups, he scored 59 points in 44 games:

Makarov came to the NHL late, won the rookie of the year award at 31, scored 292 points in 297 games in Calgary, ended his career quietly in San Jose and Dallas. Those who rule him out as Hall of Fame material because of his final NHL seasons, haven’t made enough attention to the final seasons of many already enshrined.

Makarov’s centre, Igor Larionov is already in the Hall, which is as much about NHL politics as it about truth. Makarov was the better player. It is overdue for him to be acknowledged for his wonderful career.

Simmons continues with his usual collection of hockey and sports-related observations--and Igor Larionov is now on the selection committe, for what it's worth..

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dominik+hasek, igor+larionov, mike+modano, peter+forsberg, sergei+makarov, wayne+gretzky

Retired Players, NHLPA Meet

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,

About 60 former players, some of whom hadn’t taken part in any alumni meetings, gathered Saturday to air their grievances and concerns and hear how their leadership was handling their problems.

None came away disappointed.

“It was very productive,” said Steve Ludzik, the long-time Chicago Blackhawk who has Parkinson’s and runs a Parkinson’s clinic. “There was no candy-coating. It was like a hockey room, a closed-door meeting. It was good.

“We can do a lot more for each other. Better communication. Different ways we can help guys that are in trouble. I would like to build a retirement home for hockey players.”

As the room emptied, former players thanked NHLA executive director Mark Napier one-by-one, including ex-Leaf Walt McKechnie, who declined an interview request. It was McKechnie who, by and large, brokered this meeting as a peace deal between the warring factions.

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink

P.K. Subban Talks Contract Status

from the CP at Sportsnet,

Since signing a two-year "bridge" deal that paid him US$3.75 million this season, the 25-year-old, who has become one of the NHL’s best and most entertaining defencemen, is a potential restricted free agent in position to ink a multi-year contract for a king’s ransom with the Montreal Canadiens.

Or he could take a shorter contract and then become an unrestricted free agent.

Subban said he hopes to sign a long-term deal and to stay in Montreal his entire career.

"I’m sure everybody in hockey wants a long-term contract, but for me, it’s not just about that," he said. "It’s about being part of a team that can win a championship, and I believe we have that in this dressing room.

"When it comes to contract stuff, that’s why I hire my agent (Don Meehan). That’s why we pay him. That’s his job and I’ll let him do his job. I’ve done mine, and he’ll do his."

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: p.k.+subban

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com







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