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Local Perception Index

from Krista Jahnke of the Detroit Free Press,

Mike Ilitch has the most brand power of any owner in professional sports….

That’s according to the 2008 Turnkey Team Brand Index, a survey released Monday that uses scientific polling to pinpoint how teams and owners are perceived by local fans.

As the Red Wings’ owner, Ilitch came in at No. 1 among 122 professional sports owners, and his Wings ranked No. 4 among teams.

read on

SportsBusiness Journal lists the Top 20 and Bottom 5 Teams.  Hockey teams in the top 20 are the Wings, Penguins, Canadiens and Hurricanes.  One NHL team is in the bottom 5, the NY Islanders.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Giguere Exits After Two Periods With Cramping In Groin Area

from Dan Wood of Ducks Blog,

Playing for the first time in a week after having been off the ice for five days while visiting his gravely ill father, Claude, in Montreal, Giguere stopped 37 of 38 shots through two periods but exited because of cramping in his groin area….

“I think we did the right decision in not going into the third,” Giguere said. “After cramps, the next thing is a pull. You have to be smart. I cramp up all the time, whether it’s in my hips or calves. It’s regular for me, and I keep playing with those, but in the groin, I didn’t want to take a chance.”

more on the Ducks loss to the Wings last night…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The NHL & The Recession

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,

The NHL will likely find itself on financial thin ice if the recession deepens, according to many leading economists and financiers in the sports community.

With no substantial American television contract, teams in questionable, non-traditional markets and a falling Canadian dollar, the National Hockey League will suffer more than North America’s other major sports leagues in a prolonged economic downturn, according to those experts.

The upside for Canadian fans is that those economic woes could mean another team north of the border as owners look to the game’s hotbeds as an economic salve.

“Hockey is the most vulnerable and that’s primarily because of the lack of a TV contract in the United States,” said Richard Powers, associate dean of Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto. “I really do think we’re going to see some contraction and/or relocation. And it’s very likely we’re going to see another franchise in Canada.


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Change In The Sharks

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

In an interview, (Doug) Wilson listed three primary factors for the Sharks’ strong play — tactical changes by the coaching staff, the overall personnel upgrades and the growth or improvement of his team’s holdover players, many of whom had discouragingly average performances last season.

From the first day of training camp, McLellan stressed a more aggressive fore-check and less play on the perimeter. He especially wanted to see more shots directed toward the net. Last year, Detroit led the league by a wide margin in terms of overall shots on goal. That was a philosophy McLellan imported to his new gig.

It helps that Blake and Boyle both demonstrate strong offensive sensibilities from their defensive positions. Last year, the Sharks received only 113 scoring points all season from their top six defencemen (Craig Rivet, Christian Ehrhoff, Sandis Ozolinsh, Matt Carle, Marc-Eduard Vlasic and Kyle McLaren).

This season, the top six point-getters (Boyle, Blake, Ehrhoff, Vlasic, Lukowich and Alexei Semenov) already have 76 scoring points, with 41/2 months to go in the season.


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Bryzgalov Trying To Get His Game Back

from Jim Gintonio of Ice Chips at the Arizona Republic,

Ilya Bryzgalov says he is frustrated because he has been letting down his teammates.

  The Coyotes goaltender, who helped inspire a playoff bid a season ago, has lost his last six starts, and Saturday night allowed two goals on the first two shots he faced. He was pulled from the game by coach Wayne Gretzky about five minutes into the contest against the San Jose Sharks and replaced by Mikael Tellqvist.

  “You just work harder, and it’s gonna get better,” Bryzgalov said. “’I’m not mad, but I’m frustrated because I was brutal. I was terrible, and I have to pick up my game, and I’ve got to be better for the guys because they deserve much better goaltending from me than I did in the last game … Two shots, two goals is just horrific.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+bryzgalov

Kings Players Get Some ‘Face-Time’ In Canada

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

For the Eastern Canadian players on the Kings, tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Staples Center offers a rare chance to show off for friends and relatives. And they were eagerly looking forward to it.

“All my buddies and family and friends will be watching back home, so I know they’re pretty excited,” said rookie defenseman Drew Doughty, who’s from London, about a 120-mile drive from Toronto.

“It’s awesome. It’s always been a dream, in a way, growing up and watching the Leafs play. And so it’s going to be fun.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Report- Oilers Ready To Make A Significant Move

from Marty York at Metro News (Tuesday story),

NHL sources told Metro yesterday the Oilers are poised to complete a significant trade and/or fire coach Craig MacTavish, likely this week.

“They (the Oilers) have come nowhere close to what they expected to be this season and (club chief) Kevin Lowe is extremely annoyed,” an NHL source said. “Kevin’s just about ready to pull the trigger.”

The Oilers were supposed to be a contender this season. Oddsmakers reckoned they’d likely qualify for the playoffs. Yet they’ve turned out to be inconsistent, at best, and are below .500.

read on and if I recall previous stories from Mr. York, not many have come true.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Evening Line

Alexei Kovalev on his early season slump…

I’m not worried about it.  I’m glad it happens early in the season because I know I’m going to recover, and once they start going in, they’ll go in in bunches.

“So you keep working on it. It’s happened in the past and it isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.”

more from Bill Beacon of the CP via Yahoo…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexei+kovalev

The Important Piece Of The Minnesota Wild

from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding,

Don’t view any investment as a safe investment. Don’t draw an inside straight. Don’t argue politics with someone who didn’t want change. And don’t ever, ever discount the Minnesota Wild’s chances of making the playoffs as long as Jacques Lemaire is coach.

I’m not even waiting for New Year’s Day to make my resolution. That’s now my philosophy after watching November unfold.

In October, my prediction was that the Minnesota Wild wouldn’t make the playoffs. Today, they have the third-best winning percentage in the Western Conference and they are leading the NHL in goals-against average.

Looking at Minnesota’s roster and reviewing how the Wild have performed this season, my conclusion is that as respected as Lemaire is around the NHL, we might still be underestimating his importance.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jacques+lemaire

Questions & Answers

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

1. Whatever happened to that really good player Alexei Kovalev?

Unfortunately for the Montreal Canadiens, the great Alexei Kovalev—the one that generated Hart Trophy talk and ended up leading the NHL in power-play points last season—has gone AWOL. Poof. After the Habs’ 3-2 win Saturday against Buffalo, Kovalev has gone 13 games without a goal. He has just five goals so far and is fourth in team scoring.

read on for more Q & A…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexei+kovalev

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com


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