Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Staple of The Cult Of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
After the first period of the Edmonton Oilers-Vancouver Canucks game, commentator Mike Milbury of the CBC, who didn’t exactly cover himself in glory as the general manager of the New York Islanders, offered the following to Oilers management:
“They got to find the rats and get them off the ship because in this situation guys will start to reveal their character, guys who don’t want to get hit in the corner, guys who don’t want to play tough and dirty. You might as well get rid of them.”
And exactly how Mr. Milbury, in this age of guaranteed contracts and the salary cap, are you going to do that?
from William Houston of Truth & Rumours,
Al Strachan, who was fired from Hockey Night In Canada a few weeks ago, has sent a lawyer’s letter to the CBC stating that he was unfairly dismissed.
Strachan was removed from his spot on the Hotstove panel after the CBC learned that his new book, Why The Leafs Suck, identified him on the cover as “from Hockey Night In Canada.” Permission had not been given to the publisher, Harper Collins, to use the show’s name. Hockey Night markets its own publications and did not want its brand appearing on a competitor’s book. Strachan’s letter states that he was an innocent third party in a dispute between the CBC and Harper Collins.
For Hockey Night, the immediate issue is: Who replaces him? Reporter Elliotte Friedman filled in one week and did a good job. The Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts appeared once.
Last week, Glenn Healy took a turn, juggling two assignments, one in the studio replacing Strachan, by remote, and the other at ice level as a game analyst. It’s difficult to do both jobs effectively.
Pierre LeBrun, Mike Milbury and David Shoalts join Ron MacLean on the HNIC Hotstove.
Make sure to check out the “fight-helmet” Pierre introduces.
added 11:10pm A recap of the Hotstove talk at CBC if you wish to read instead of watch.
HNIC Opening from last night.
If you missed the Hot Stove on HNIC tonight, you can read about it at CBC or watch the video.
added 11:35pm, Pierre LeBrun of ESPN may have touched on subjects here that he did not mention in the Hotstove segment.
“I love you as a guy, and as a player. You play my type of game.” … [But] you’re going to be very, very sorry one day because someone is going to cut you in half.”
-Don Cherry on Coach’s Corner tonight speaking about Alexander Ovechkin when reviewing his recent slew-foot. More from Don at CBC.
added 9:32pm, Watch Coach’s Corner from tonight.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
They are still the engine that drives the ratings for Hockey Night In Canada, no matter how ugly it gets on the ice.
But for how much longer will the Maple Leafs be foisted on the majority of the nation each Saturday night?
The deeper the struggling team’s slump gets and the greater the level of anger rises in Leafs Nation, the closer CBC executives will look at how many homes the team reaches on Canada’s most-watched weekly sports program.
Much like the team itself, the broadcaster realizes it’s too early to panic just three Saturday nights into the NHL season. It doesn’t hurt that the Leafs continue to draw big ratings and will continue to do so in the immediate future with all-Canadian matchups coming up.
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,
Looks like Al Strachan is out of the Hot Stove and into the fire.
On Tuesday, Usual Suspects received the following e-mail from Jeff Keay of CBC: “Hot Stove has a number of guest contributors who we rotate through the lineup. At this time, we’ve made the decision to take Al out of the regular rotation and to use some of the other personalities we’ve added to the broadcast over the summer.”
Translation: Strachan has been dropped from the Hockey Night In Canada segment a second time, having first been let go in 2005.
added 1:04pm, from William Houston of Truth & Rumours,
The inside story of how Al Strachan lost his job at Hockey Night In Canada shines a bright, not so pretty light into the world of sports television and how decisions are made.
Strachan refused to comment on his sudden ouster as a regular on Hockey Night’s Hotstove intermission segment, but publishing sources confirmed today that his departure is tied to a book he wrote with the no-so-subtle title of Why The Leafs Suck.
The book, released a few weeks ago by Harper Collins, apparently incensed the CBC, because Strachan was identified on the cover as being “from Hockey Night In Canada,” despite the fact permission had not been given by the network for the show’s name to be used on the cover of the book.
“Scott Moore (the head of CBC Sports and also head of marketing and advertising for the network) went ballistic,” said one insider.
from William Houston of Truth & Rumours,
The problem is, outside of Cherry and also Al Strachan, you are unlikely to hear a Hockey Night commentator criticize anyone in a position of NHL power.
The worst for this is Mike Milbury who is outspoken only in the sense that he passionately defends the establishment. If ever in his TV career Milbury has made a comment that ran counter to the official thinking of the NHL or club officials, we missed it.
He likes fighting and thinks opponents of fighting are girls. He thinks the NHL Players’ Association inflicted the worse atrocity known to mankind by firing executive director Paul Kelly, whom, the guess here, was viewed by the NHL’s hierarchy as the perfect guy to be ensconced as the players’ leader.
Milbury’s toeing the company line, of course, would have absolutely nothing to do with his hope and aspiration of getting back into the NHL as a coach or general manager.
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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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