Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 11/02/06 at 09:35 AM ET
[Dave Nonis's] public outburst was nothing that league officials hadn't heard privately, according to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. ``We're aware of his concerns,'' Daly said. ``I certainly understand them and appreciate them, but they don't represent the majority of the teams in the league.'' Still, he added, ``if there are ways to make the schedule better, we would pay attention and seek to make it better. It's just identifying those ways.''
``We’re in touch with our clubs on it and have surveyed the fans,’’ Daly said. ``It’s fair to say a clear majority of our clubs are satisfied with the current schedule format and the vast majority of our fans are happy with it.’‘
Daly’s sense of fan support differs from the results of an online poll by the Ottawa-based NHL Fan Association.
The poll question, without detailing the current format, noted that each NHL team plays divisional and conference opponents more often than non-conference teams. Of the 3,200 respondents, 46 percent said it was a bad idea, 31 percent said it was a good idea, 20 percent said it was neither good nor bad and 3 percent had no opinion.
Jim Boone, a founder of the 29,000-member fan association, said he thinks the NHL would have changed its format this year, but wasn’t ready to tinker with the major overhaul that hockey had just gone through.
``I think the NHL clearly recognizes the schedule does not work,’’ Boone said.
Given the likelihood of a scheduling revision so that every NHL team plays every other NHL team at least once in 2007-2008 should make for brilliantly amusing backtracking by Bettman and Daly. It’ll harken the days of Bettman’s pre-lockout promise that a salary cap would mean a reduction in ticket prices.
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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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