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Ugly

from the Tennessean,

Are the Predators in this for the long haul? And do enough people in the area care about hockey and/or the Preds to make this marriage work in the long term? Frustration over the market's failure to fully embrace the Preds boiled over during the first round of the playoffs. When ticket sales stalled, Preds officials initially threatened to black out Game 5 in the local TV market. Team officials blamed lagging sales on the Nashville area business community, which was not buying blocks of tickets, as is standard operating procedure in most NHL markets. But the blackout blackmail left a mark. Some local business movers and shakers were alienated and are not likely to hop aboard any time soon. Elsewhere, there are signs of a ticket sales uptick among the rank and file, or Joe and Jill Fan, as Preds V.P. Steve Violetta calls them. Season ticket sales could pass 10,000 for the first time in several years. Yes, they're keeping score. After three years of declining attendance in the seasons before the lockout, Preds officials indicated attendance was up roughly 10 percent this season. But paid attendance — not including complimentary tickets, which often number well into four figures for weeknight games — remained below 13,000 a game.
more about the battle between the City of Nashville and the Preds...

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“Goalie Phone” Rings Daily

from the Mercury News,

Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson calls his team's goalie situation ``a problem everyone would love to have.'' Both Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala have carried the team for extended stretches over the past two seasons. Both recently signed multi-year contract extensions. And, as trade talks are increasing in the days leading to the NHL's June 24 entry draft, both appear to be on other teams' shopping lists. ``We've got two guys who are No. 1s,'' Wilson said Thursday. ``It's a good problem and we'll deal with it. I get a lot of phone calls every day.'' The majority of those callers mention his goaltenders. How Wilson responds is the issue. Most speculation has focused on the Sharks trading Nabokov, who was supplanted as their top goalie during the final months of the season and throughout the playoffs. But Wilson left open other possibilities, saying he would do whatever improves his club the most.
continued

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Sidney In Houston?

from the Toronto Star,

The scion of a New York company that finances taxi cab licences has emerged as the latest bidder for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are expected to be sold sometime this summer. Medallion Financial Corp. president Andrew Murstein has been in negotiations to buy the Penguins and has considered moving them to Houston if the Penguins don't get a new arena, sources told the Star.
continued

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Snider Talks Ratings

from the Philadelphia Inquirer,

"When we first started on ESPN2, we had low ratings, too," said Snider, who is chairman of Comcast Spectacor, a subsidiary of Comcast, which owns OLN. "Plus, OLN is now in six million more homes [from last year at this time], and I think much of that has to do with the NHL, and I think it will continue to expand. I'm very happy with OLN and NBC." "It obviously hurts not to have Canada's ratings mentioned, but it also hurts when you don't have a team like the Rangers, Flyers or Red Wings in the final," Snider said. "The ratings would be much higher. But it's hard for hockey to get great national ratings. We depend tremendously on local ratings."
read on Also, the Philadelphia Inquirer mentions the Flyers will increase ticket prices,
"It's an inflationary move," Luukko said of the ticket hike. "It's to keep pace... more or less a cost-of-living increase." This price hike, which Luukko said equated to a 5 percent increase across the board - except for family-section seats - at Flyers games and a "relatively little" increase for 76ers tickets, comes with fringe benefits for fans, Luukko said.
more

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Worn Out

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

But this much is certain. It would have been easier to win on Wednesday than it will be to win tomorrow. For one thing, the Hurricanes are getting worn down. Injury reports are notoriously duplicitous at this time of the year, but defencemen Aaron Ward, one of the Hurricanes' true stalwarts, missed about half the game. If Ward is gone for that long, it has to be fairly serious. The report was the usual "upper body injury." The suspicion was "separated shoulder." In the case of forward Doug Weight, the suspicion was even stronger. He left in the first shift of the third period after being sandwiched between Edmonton's Raffi Torres and Chris Pronger. He bent over, dropped his stick and headed right for the training room.
more

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Here We Go Again

from the Press Telegram,

The league is setting unseen standards for low sports viewership that makes one wonder how far a major sport can fall and still be called major. The NHL's regular season and Stanley Cup playoff ratings have reached such a low ebb that they're now trailing those of the Arena Football League, WNBA, poker tournaments and, gasp, soccer. The three Stanley Cup finals telecasts on NBC have earned Nielsen ratings of 1.6, 2.5 and 3.0, respectively, and while it's nice to see them rising, those numbers are about as low as you'll ever see for a prime-time network telecast. The 1.6 rating for Game 3 of the Edmonton-Carolina series was the second-lowest all-time in NBC prime-time history, and the Game 5 rating was down 9.4 percent from the comparable telecast two seasons ago.
read on

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Cover Boys

via the News & Observer,

Roughly 60,000 issues of Beckett Hockey magazine -- with a cover featuring Cam Ward, Eric Staal and the words "Canes Capture the Cup!" -- will hit U.S. and Canadian newsstands next week, whether or not the Canes hoist the trophy. The monthly magazine, billed as the "preferred collectibles publication of the NHL," went to press with the Hurricanes leading the Edmonton Oilers 2 games to 0. Carolina now leads the best-of-seven series 3-2, with Game 6 on Saturday. "At first I was working under the belief that they were going to wrap this up pretty quickly. ... It had all the makings of a short series,'' said hockey editor Al Muir, whose Texas-based magazine has been in publication since 1990. Oops.

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Place Your Bids

from KDKA,

It appears the Pittsburgh Penguins are becoming a hot commodity. KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan reports that as many as seven potential buyers are making bids on the team as the deadline on a decision is drawing near. Young stars like Sidney Crosby are just some of the reasons why the Penguins are drawing quite a few potential buyers. A new hockey labor contract and prospects for a new arena are some of the others. Another factor could be that the Pens may be portable -- able to be moved to another town. Sources say there are as many as seven potential bidders.
continued

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Quick! Hide The Women & Children

from the CP via 680 News,

Even though boozed-up fans may vandalize Art Sunderland's car lot during Saturday's crucial NHL game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Carolina Hurricanes, he's still rooting for the home team to take game six of the Stanley Cup final. Sunderland, general manager of Sun Toyota on Edmonton's Whyte Avenue, moved his expensive vehicles off the lot to a safer place during the playoff series last month between the Oilers and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. He's doing the same for the Stanley Cup run with the Hurricanes. "We're moving as many indoors as we can into the service department, everything at night," Sunderland said. Sunderland will move about 25 vehicles inside to protect them from would-be vandals before Saturday's game.
continued

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It Is All About The Ring

from the Toronto Star,

When the siren sounds on the Stanley Cup final, another less publicized annual hockey skirmish will be picking up steam: the fight between jewellery companies to make championship rings for the winners. Making rings for pro sports teams is a long-standing ritual that has become big business.... Nowadays, pro sports teams are buying championship rings that are sometimes appraised for as much as $30,000, which means orders can run well into the millions of dollars.
more image

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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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