Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Toronto Star,
It's time for the Cup to come home. And Canada has just the teams — yes, more than one — to make it happen. This, of course, will come as some surprise to those legions of hockey fans in the United States intending to watch the NHL in its comeback season on either NBC or, ahem, the Outdoor Life Network. Check the schedules. Neither outlet has the slightest intention of showing any Canadian content if it can help it, regardless of the quality of the six squads north of the border. Well, U.S. fans from Tallahassee to Albuquerque are going to be mighty surprised when Lord Stanley's tournament gets down to the nitty-gritty next May and June. The new NHL, it appears likely, will feature more Canadian power than at any time since the late 1980s, partly because of the faded brilliance of the three U.S. clubs who have dominated the league for a decade.
from the Toronto Star,
"I was the guy who used to let it rock, let them play," Devorski said. "Back then the players and coaches accepted it. They didn't want us to interfere with the outcome of the game and late in the game you wouldn't call anything. Now we're at a stage where if you have five 5-on-3s, that will be normal. In the past, you'd have Bobby Clarke or Harry Sinden tearing down your door if you did that." Now Devorski will have to answer to Stephen Walkom, the former referee who is now the league's director of officiating, if he doesn't adhere to the league's elevated standard of obstruction and stick fouls. If one good thing came out of the lockout it's that the league had an unparalleled opportunity to examine the way the game was being played and make it better. It has responded with a strict crackdown on obstruction and stick fouls that it vows to maintain.
from the Milford Daily News,
Assume for argument's sake that NHL referees will continue all season to call penalties as they did in the preseason, although cynics still suspect the obstruction fouls will be 50 percent back by January and all the way back in the playoffs. But if wide-open, zero-tolerance play remains the law of the land, then the incessant parade to the penalty box will slow down only marginally and most games will be decided by specials teams. You wanted hockey with no defense? Be careful what you wish for. "Now," said B's veteran Tom Fitzgerald, "you've got Harlem Globetrotter hockey." The idea will be to win 6-2, not 6-5. Meaning: Get lots of power plays, and cash in on a high percentage of them. But keep your own penalties to a minimum. Easier said than done.
from the Calgary Sun,
By now you've probably heard: The Calgary Flames are expected by many to charge out of the gates and win the Stanley Cup. But who do the favourites favour as the age of the salary cap and obstruction crackdown is set to begin? Darryl Sutter doesn't have to look far to see what he considers the best team, beside his Flames, of course. "I've said it from Day 1. Absolutely the team to beat out here is Vancouver," said the Flames GM/head coach yesterday.
from the Kansas City Star via the Mercury News,
Three Reasons Why: The Philadelphia Flyers will hoist the Stanley Cup next -Adding Peter Forsberg. They don't come much better than Forsberg. The Flyers originally drafted him but traded him away for Eric Lindros before he ever donned the orange and black. He will make the Flyers better anytime he's on the ice. -Goaltending depth. Look, Robert Esche stepped up big-time as the Flyers almost beat the Lightning in the playoffs in 2004. And if he struggles, rookie Antero Niittymaki, who helped the Philadelphia Phantoms win the AHL title last year, will be waiting. -The Tampa Bay Lightning. As good as the Bolts were in the last playoffs, it's hard to imagine they'll be able to put everything together perfectly again. And guess who'll be ready if and when they stumble?
from the Boston Herald,
It's a whole new season for Boston advertising agency Fort Franklin. Two weeks ago, the small ad shop switched teams, leaving ESPN's roster of agencies to join up with the sports cable network's potential rival OLN. Fort Franklin has been working furiously – members often sleeping in the office – after Comcast's OLN, formerly the Outdoor Life Network, signed with the agency to provide a national promotional campaign for its coverage of the upcoming National Hockey League season. ``(OLN) called us right after they had signed with the NHL,'' said Marc Gallucci, Fort's chief executive and creative director. Gallucci said the agency pulled off a ``Herculian effort,'' developing and producing its ``We Believe in Hockey'' campaign – featuring a 30-second television spot, print ads and online marketing – in just 12 days.more
Don't forget to adjust the brightness on your TV, looks like Don Cherry is back in business. via the CP,
CBC management and the Canadian Media Guild struck an agreement early this morning that is expected to end the lockout of 5,500 staff in the coming days. The guild announced that the two sides had signed a memorandum of agreement, which means that the actual language of the deal has not been finalized.
Over the last few weeks, readers of Kukla's Korner were able to submit questions about the NHL and their TV coverage plans. Today, your questions may have been answered. from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
After the NHL announced its new cable television deal with Comcast and OLN, we noticed quite a few fans had questions about the nuts and bolts of the deal, namely when and where they would be able to see the games. To help get the pertinent questions answered, Ice Age contacted Paul Kukla, who runs the excellent Kukla's Korner blog for some assistance in getting fans to submit their questions. Thanks to Paul's help, Ice Age was well armed with queries from fans as we approached NHL Senior Vice President, Television and Media Ventures Doug Perlman for some insight. For questions on the production of the telecasts, camera angles, announcers, Adam Acone, the NHL's Vice President of Broadcasting and Programming lent his considerable knowledge to the discussion. Thanks to them and Paul Kukla for helping get the word out.more update 6:55pm Sunday, I have bumped this back to the top of the hockey section in preparation for the weekday readers. Many of them have yet to see this post and it was their questions that have been answered.
from the AP via Slam,
Mike Babcock was gliding on the ice with the Detroit Red Wings during a morning skate, usually a time for players to get in a light workout before a game. But the new coach didn't like their pace, and he let them know it. "Let's go!" Babcock shouted. Instantly, the players started skating faster because they understand the days of coasting and relying on their resumes are over. "I thought our first morning skate failed to prepare us, because we were lollygagging that night," Babcock explained. "These guys are used to doing it a certain way, but why would we practise going slow?
"If you can't skate, you can't play in the National Hockey League." This simple and seemingly logical verdict was expressed yesterday by the NHL's "hanging judge", Colin Campbell. The 2005-06 NHL season gets underway Wednesday, following a one-year hiatus. I spoke to the NHL's executive vice-president and director of Hockey Operations about a variety of topics. mainly, however, about the effect of the new rules which, in some quarters, may turn a club upside down. Most of all, though, I wanted to know if the new rules about hooking and obstruction will be enforced all the way to the end of the playoffs. "Everybody wanted the new rules," Campbell said. "The test about how the rules will be enforced will come when the regular season begins. The real test will come in March. The real, real test will come in the playoffs when there will be a 5-on-4 situation and the referee's next call could make it a 5-on-3.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org