Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Bettman this year had a fantasy final four: Montreal, the most storied franchise in NHL history; New York, an Original Six team playing in the nation’s largest market; Chicago, another Original Six team from a large market on the verge of a dynasty and Los Angeles, the second-largest market two years removed from a title.
The NHL has its dream Stanley Cup final with the Rangers and Kings in a best-of-seven series starting Wednesday. New York and Los Angeles, the two largest U.S. markets on opposite coasts, will play for a title for the first time since the Dodgers beat the Yankees in the 1981 World Series.
Still, with Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago again winning the last four titles, it begs the question: Did Bettman level the playing field?
The salary cap created competitive balance Bettman wanted. Teams such as Buffalo and Edmonton have nobody but themselves to blame for their ineptitude in recent years. The same goes with Toronto, Calgary, the Islanders and any other team that has consistently fallen embarrassingly short.
Bettman’s stroke of brilliance, or luck — and it’s actually a combination of both — can be found in two ways. He created competitive balance by limiting the money teams could spend on players, but he also forced teams to construct tighter payrolls and rethink their approaches when it came to personnel.
As we get ready to start the 2-14 Stanley Cup Final tonight the look toward the near future and a look bit further are coming into focus as Rogers unveils NHL Play-by-Play Team.
This morning Rogers announced that Jim Hughson, Dave Randorf, Paul Romanuk and Bob Cole will call play-by-play for NHL national games across all of the Rogers properties, as well as during Hockey Night in Canada, this fall to kick off the 12-year exclusive national broadcast and multimedia rights Rogers Communications secured starting with the 2014-15 NHL season.
Thanks for checking in with the Kukla’s Korner NHL Hat Trick Challenge Advise piece number three. As you hopefully know by now the National Hockey League and league sponsor Enterprise have partnered up for the NHL Hat Trick Challenge - an online prediction game featuring a series of questions to test hockey fans’ ability to predict various game outcomes.
The individual who scores the most hat tricks throughout the playoffs will win the Hat Trick Challenge and receive a trip for two to the 2015 NHL All-Star Game!
Kukla’s Korner has teamed up and will feature the daily question’s today and June 5th. On our daily post days we will be on Twitter @KuklasKorner and @MonicaMcAlister discussing and promoting that day. Those that interact on Twitter using the official #NHLHatTrickChallenge hashtag will be entered for bonus prizes.
How to play…
Those of us who've worked several jobs know that the term "Under New Management!" can mean very, very bad news for one's job security, especially in sales or service professions, because "new management" tends to want to bring in its "own people." Oftentimes the "new boss" also likes to make a sacrificial firing or three to prove that they "mean business," too, but the story that came out of South Florida today had me shaking my head.
The boss just Tweeted this one out, but I've got a serious case of "What the *#$%@&?!??!-itis," so I'd like to post it. The Miami Herald's George Richards reports that the Panthers' new ownership made some massive cuts today...
The Panthers laid off approximately 30 employees today with most of the damage coming within the team's sales department.
I was told at least one Vice President was fired as well as a long-time employee within the team's public relations staff. Other positions from throughout the organization were closed. I've been told many won't be replaced, at least not anytime soon.
According to someone who spoke with me this afternoon, the team called a meeting in a conference room at the arena and told those employees there they were being let go.
The message: The team is losing money and needs to save some.
And the Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filkaov notes that the firings were particularly ironic given the team's new ownership's purported financial commitment to putting a winning product on the ice (and his number's at 25...I read a Tweet that suggested 35 people were fired, so the official number of employees "let go" is sketchy):
NBC promo for the Stanley Cup Final.
Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed goaltender Carter Hutton to a two-year, $1.45 million contract. He will make $700,000 in 2014-15 and $750,000 in 2015-16.
Hutton, 28 (12/19/85), spent his first full season at the NHL level in 2013-14. After starting the season with just one game of NHL experience, he finished the season as the sixth 20-game winner in franchise history, posting a 20-11-4 record to go along with a 2.62 goals-against average, a .910 save percentage and a shutout. The Thunder Bay, Ontario native went 13-4-2 in his final 19 decisions of the season, which included a personal five-game winning streak to close out the campaign; he had a 1.77 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and a shutout in those five contests. Hutton also posted a 6-0-1 record when facing at least 35 shots in 2013-14.
from Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News,
He talks kind of funny, he acts kind of grumpy and he can burn a hole in you with that steely glare if you have the audacity to ask a silly question.
He kind of looks like that crazy uncle who shows up every Thanksgiving, mumbling something about something no one quite understands, and he comes from a place so foreign to the city he works in you sometimes wonder how the heck he’s adapted to the great metropolis he calls home for nine months out of the year.
But Los Angeles sure loves it some Darryl Sutter.
And man, can this guy coach or what?
The Kings have played 10 playoff series under Sutter and won nine.
from Darren Rovell of ESPN,
The Stanley Cup final between teams based in the two most populated cities in the United States has, not surprisingly, turned into a costly affair.
Both the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings put a limited number of tickets to each of their first two home games on sale for the public Monday. The face value of Rangers tickets ranged from $480 to $2,490, while Kings seats cost either $349 or $629.
Those who couldn't wait or couldn't get what they wanted took to resale sites and paid even higher prices.
The median price paid for a ticket on resale site StubHub for the first two games in Los Angeles is $628 and $626, respectively.
Hoping to see a game on the other side of the country? Games 3 and 4 in New York have sold on the site for a median price of $1,235 and $1,329 apiece.
from Patrick Reusse of 1500ESPN (also writes for the Star Tribune),
The difference between the NBA and the NHL in the playoffs is simple: In the NBA, you play to 105 points and the best team generally is going to win. In the NHL, you play to three goals and it's a coin flip.
During the Wild's series with the Blackhawks, hockey interest was high around here and people would ask me, even me, "Who is going to win tonight?''
My answer was consistent: "Don't know. It's going to be 2-2 in the final 10 minutes and then one team is going to score.''
Hockey fans embrace the unpredictably that has taken over the playoffs. Fair enough. But for me, it's more interesting to watch the two best basketball teams in the world play for a title, than a fifth seed against a sixth seed.
Among the Twitter ridicule from the puckheads toward the NBA was this: There have been eight franchises that have won the past 30 titles. To me, that means that in more than any sport, you have to put together a tremendous foundation to win a title.
And, if this is the criteria that lifts the NHL over the NBA - the variety in champions over the past three decades - then the NHL takes a back seat to baseball, the sport ridiculed most often for its lack of parity.
from Neil Best of Newsday,
Savor this, Rangers fans, because nothing like it ever has happened before.
The team's near-total takeover of the modern New York-area sports media agenda has been remarkable to behold for those of us in the minority of Americans who recognize hockey as the best spectator sport.
1994? Sorry, no. As memorable a ride as that was, the Rangers had to share the stage with the Knicks.
1979? Sorry, no. As much as the Rangers-Islanders semifinal riveted the region, followed by the Rangers facing the Canadiens in the Final, it happened 27 years before Twitter, eight years before WFAN and three months before ESPN.
This is unprecedented, and it is reflected not only in talk radio buzz but also in TV ratings.
So jazzed is New York that an average of 3.7 percent of area homes watched Game 7 of Kings-Blackhawks Sunday, nearly as high a rating as the 4.8 in Los Angeles. (Chicago averaged a 22.7 for Game 7, by the way, which is why Blackhawks-Blueshirts would have been even better for NBC.)
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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