Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/26/14 at 08:25 AM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
“It was better than the ice in some NHL arenas,” said Ducks’ defenceman Francois Beauchemin. “It wasn’t an issue out there.”
Teemu Selanne, a veteran of five Olympic Games and a Stanley Cup championship in 2007, said he ranked the event “high on his bucket list” of career achievements.
“The whole package was outstanding,” said Selanne. “The atmosphere was unbelievable. You don’t have many chances to play in front of 55,000 people in California, outdoors, when you can see the stars. It was awesome. I’m going to remember this … and I can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t do this more.
“We were most worried about the ice and they did a great, unbelievable job. It was a great surprise that the ice was as good as it was – because obviously, the quality of the hockey, it can even be dangerous if the ice is not so good. Those guys, they were pros. It was maybe a little slower than normal rinks, but it was nice and smooth. In the third period, it got a little more sluggish, but that’s how every building is. I have no complaints.”
The game’s first star was a toss-up. It was either Ducks’ goaltender Jonas Hiller, who had a 36-save shutout in a game where the Kings held a territorial edge for the final 50 minutes, or Dan Craig, the NHL’s ice-making guru, who did what few thought possible and produced a thoroughly playable ice surface.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
From KISS to Vin Scully, the USC marching band to Wayne Gretzky, the palm trees and South Park cartoon characters in Los Angeles Kings' jerseys to the Anaheim Ducks' 3-0 win in a jam-packed Dodger Stadium, it's hard to imagine Hollywood scripting a better start to the NHL's ambitious -- and oft-criticized -- series of regional outdoor games.
If Los Angeles is a big-event city that revels in the glitz, then the NHL proved it can play with the big boys with a lead-up to the game that simply hit all the right notes, including Gretzky's appearance to drop the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff to a thunderous ovation.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The three-ring circus before the game was often excessive, like the league-mandated ticket prices that had to be scaled back to sell more seats, and the exorbitant parking fees set by the NHL. But so much about this Stadium Series game was just right, making the Ducks' 3-0 victory a triumph of the spirit as much as a product of refrigeration and technology.
The shared pregame introduction from Scully and Hockey Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Miller of the Kings hit all the appropriate notes. "Here at Dodger Stadium, we welcome you with open arms," Scully said, and how true the fans made that.
Most welcome of all was the sight of Gretzky entering through the center-field fence, walking down an avenue of palm trees and to center ice, where he belongs.
Scott Oake of HNIC interviews Vin Scully, who tells a great Jackie Robinson story.
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