Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So too, meanwhile, has Maurice analyzed his roster and decided that vastly improved defence is a key to at the very least getting the Leafs back into the post-season. The symbol for Maurice's unbending intent has become veteran forward Jeff O'Neill, a skilled attacker who has found himself in the coach's doghouse. So in their "anniversary" season, with the MVP of that brilliant spring still AWOL and another member of the team, Kelly, being immortalized, the Leafs will try again to forge a championship season. Once more, as has been the case so many times over the past four decades, they will do so with a team that appears unlikely to complete the task.more
from the NY Post,
"We all put our trust in Lou to get it done, some way or the other. It would have been nice to have it done earlier, but it was part of the agreement coming in that you knew it wasn't going to be done immediately," Erik Rasmussen said. "Guys like it here, and the dedication to winning, guys came back for that. It's amazing that as many guys came back as did."more
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from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
Despite the difficulty in making predictions, Cherry agreed to pick the final four. "I like Anaheim because of Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger," he said. "I wish the team could score a little more, but it's a long time since I've seen two defencemen of that calibre on the same team." Also advancing to the Western Conference final, Cherry predicted, will be the Detroit Red Wings. In the Eastern Conference final, he likes the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers.more
Numerous USA TODAY hockey experts make their season predictions... Looks like the Sabres win the Cup!
Tele-conference with all the networks involved with the NHL and John Shannon of the NHL.
Q. John, on the increased times. The commercial time-outs are going to be two minutes now? JOHN SHANNON: Yeah. What we've tried to do -- and this probably affects the network people probably less than the regional people, because most of the network contracts have always called for that kind of time. But what we're trying to do is with the hurry up game, games that are running 2 hours 10, 2 hours and 11 minutes, we have to start developing the opportunity to grow the profiles of the players. What we've been able to put in place with the great cooperation of Hockey Operations, and as a request from our rights holders across the board, is two minutes of commercials, but only 90 seconds of actual commercial time which will allow for nine opportunities per game to tell stories. And then in the inter missions, we've done across the board for the 1284 games, 17-minute intermissions, which again will allow the broadcasters at both the national and regional level to be able to produce features and better content to profile the players. Q. The commercial intermissions were 15 minutes in the past? JOHN SHANNON: It depended. Again, on the regional basis, whether it's Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, or Montréal, on a regional basis they were 15 minutes. On a Saturday night with CBC or TSN, they were 17. So what we've done is we've tried to make it a level playing field for everybody so that -- we have to realize that over a thousand of our games, with all due respect to the networks, a thousand of our games and our entry point to the games for many viewers is through our local shows. We have to start giving our local shows an opportunity to grow the players and tell better stories.
The National Hockey League (NHL) will turn some of its brightest players into TV stars when Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Cheechoo, Peter Forsberg and Marty Turco hit the ice for a campaign to support the 2006-07 season, which begins Oct. 4 with games on Versus (formerly OLN). The humorous ads show NHL players reminding average people who are going about their daily activities that the season has started. In his spot, Cheechoo is seen in full uniform on a surfboard reminding other surfers about the NHL season. Forsberg shows up in uniform in the bedroom of a couple getting ready for bed. When the woman asks Forsberg to “get the light” he smashes it with his hockey stick.
The NHL games scheduled for Comcast customers is now up. It does appear you must be a high speed Comcast subscriber in order to view the games.
Brian Gionta will be ready for the start of the NHL season. The Greece native has agreed on terms on a new 3 year contract with the New Jersey Devils worth approximately 12 million dollars.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
With the new NHL season upon us, everyone including your friendly neighborhood plumber is predicting who will skate off with that big silver Cup next June. I, however, see lots of interesting things happening in the meantime: Team taking the biggest swan dive in the standings: Red Wings. After racking up 58 wins and 124 points, the Wings were a whopping 11 points better than Ottawa in the battle for the President's Trophy last season. But Detroit's ball, which has been up in the air for more than a decade, is heading back down to earth. Too many greybeards and fringe NHLers mean the Wings will be lucky to finish sixth in the West.continued
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