Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ted’s Take,
The NHL had a great year. Can you name me one other media oriented company that can say they grew and grew fast across the board in terms of:
Ratings - both nationally and locally;
Season ticket renewals and season ticket sales;
Overall ticket sales;
Overall ticket pricing;
The salary cap will move up again as the players share in more than half of the revenues so the players are happy.
For the most part, the product has improved.
from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,
Olie Kolzig, the Washington Capitals goaltender through some of the best and worst moments in the team’s history, confirmed yesterday what had been suspected for weeks: He has played his final game for the franchise that drafted him in 1989.
continued (reg. req.)
from Capitals Insider,
Although majority owner Ted Leonsis, GM George McPhee and Team President Dick Patrick have yet to discuss next season’s roster in detail, it sounds like the Caps are going to seriously consider re-signing Sergei Fedorov - for the right price, that is.
The 38-year-old Russian was a major factor down the stretch, centering both of the top two lines and logging big minutes on special teams. Fedorov also mentored Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom as the youngsters made of their first playoff push.
“He was great for us,” Leonsis said yesterday. “So I’m sure if he wants to play, and we can afford it, we’ll figure it out.”
Update 2:42pm ET: Some comments from Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail, who notes that hockey writers and players actually agreed on these selections. A rare event.
From the NHLPA Press Release:
TORONTO (May 1, 2008) – The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today that Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals are finalists for the 2007-08 Lester B. Pearson Award. The Lester B. Pearson Award is presented annually to the “most outstanding player” in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA.
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
On the heels of an MVP-calibre season in which he scored 65 goals, added 47 assists and led the Washington Capitals into an unlikely playoff berth, the 22-year-old’s marketing representatives are close to announcing Ovechkin’s first major sponsorship contracts.
In the works are deals with Ferrari and U.S. mobile phone company Verizon, says Konstantin Selinevich, who spearheads Ovechkin’s off-ice business relationships. Selinevich says talks continue with others, including Coca-Cola. Just last month, the Wasserman Media Group, a powerful sports marketing agency in Los Angeles, was hired to buttress efforts to land endorsements for Ovechkin.
While the star already has sponsor agreements with Reebok’s CCM brand, trading-card company Upper Deck and Hype, an energy drink, none has put much marketing muscle behind him. (Selinevich says that will change this summer when Reebok rolls out an Ovechkin clothing line.)
From Tarik El-Bashir at the Washington Post,
...just hours after an excruciating overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, one absence was conspicuous.
Veteran goaltender Olie Kolzig had cleaned out his locker stall and left the building, skipping the mandatory meeting. He did not speak to reporters. After Monday’s 3-2 loss at Verizon Center, he stripped his name tag off of his locker stall.
Kolzig, a fixture in the Capitals’ net for a decade before being essentially replaced by trade-deadline arrival Cristobal Huet, did not play after a 5-0 loss in Chicago on March 19. In recent weeks, Kolzig seemed increasingly detached as Huet led the Capitals to the franchise’s first playoff berth in five years. Kolzig, 38, did not return a message left on his cellphone, and his agent, Art Breeze, declined to describe his client’s thought process, other than to say: “The choice will be Olie’s as to where he plays next year…”
continued… with more post-season Capitals talk (reg. required)
Update 1:20pm ET: El-Bashir hears from Kolzig and updates at his blog,
First, Kolzig said he doesn’t want to give any interviews for a few days as he collects his thoughts. He said he obviously has some decisions to make and will talk soon.
Second, he also said he didn’t remove his nameplate from his locker stall at Verizon Center out of anger. He acknowledged that the Caps’ Game 7 loss to Philly could “possibly” have been his last game in Washington, so he wanted to take the nameplate as a memento. He plans to frame it with a jersey.
Today’s NHL media conference call brought together Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Nicklas Backstrom from Washington. Earlier today all three were named as finalists for the Calder Trophy Award for the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.
Here is a transcript from that Q&A session.
Q. For Patrick and Jonathan, going after the same award, how do the two of you feel about that?
via the AP via Yahoo,
Coach Bruce Boudreau has been given a contract to stay with the Washington Capitals, a reward for leading the team from last in the NHL to a Southeast Division title.
Capitals general manager George McPhee said Wednesday: “He’s our coach. He’s under contract ... for a long time.”
added 2:28pm, more on the Caps at Capitals Insider...
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
For some reason I found myself referring to Chris Clark, the Capitals’ injured right wing, as “Clarkie” the other day, as in, “What’s Clarkie doing sitting up here in the press box?”
It didn’t feel chummy or corny, of which it was probably both. It felt oddly natural, like my friend who walked up to Donald Brashear yesterday and said, “What’s up, Brash?” as the Caps’ enforcer winked at the notion of a virtual stranger knowing his nickname. Ovie the Kid. Olie the Elder. Greenie. Feds. Brooksie. And, yes, “Gabby,” Bruce Boudreau, that chatterbox coach from Hershey, whose wry humor and spare honesty disarmed most anyone interested in his hockey team.
They let Washington into their world the past five months, into their clubhouse—a grown-up bunch of Lil’ Rascals, armed with sticks and pucks. They fell to a more focused Flyers team that taught them a good lesson about playoff hockey:
Let’s just hope the Washington media who recently discovered that Washington has a hockey team, doesn’t forget about them next year!
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
And the performance of the duo of veteran referees Don Koharski and Paul Devorski in Philadelphia’s 3-2 overtime win over Washington Tuesday has to be noted, because it was simply abhorrent.
If there were a way to get a police sketch artist to encapsulate Koharski and Devorski’s wildly varying in-game assessments – featured by a stretch in which no penalties were called from the 13:27 mark of the second period to Tom Poti’s chintzy tripping minor 4:15 into OT that led to Joffrey Lupul’s game-winner at 6:06 – I’d transfer that image to thousands of Wanted: Dead Or Alive posters and start fundraising immediately to raise as much money as possible for a reward.
Making matters worse, if it weren’t for another blown call in the second period, the Caps might’ve won their Eastern Conference first-round series in regulation time.
Update 3:35pm ET: Jamie Fitzpatrick writes a response to Proteau’s comments at About.com
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.
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