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Martha Burk Doesn’t Like ‘My NHL’

from the CP via TSN,

The organization that led efforts two years ago to allow women to be members of the prestigious Augusta National golf club is now targeting the NHL. Martha Burk, the chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, said she intends to write letters of protest to the league and to U.S. television network NBC over the NHL's advertising campaign, which is set to debut next week. Burk called offensive a 30-second ad the NHL produced to trumpet its return to the ice. The ad, which was unveiled Wednesday night during an event for the league's corporate partners, opens with a quote from a Chinese military philosopher. It shows a hockey player being dressed in his equipment by his female partner and ends with him walking to the ice. A young boy is shown cheering before the ad ends with the tagline My NHL. Burk said the ad is ''offensive on many levels''.
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Leafs Could Miss Playoffs

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

July 22, 2005. A fateful date. The day the governors ratified the new collective bargaining agreement. The day the new rules were unveiled. The day National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman announced he had just stacked the deck against the Maple Leafs making the playoffs. You missed that last one? Perhaps that's because it wasn't said in those words. But it was there. It was the revelation that in My Game, the schedule would be highly unbalanced. Now, each team plays its divisional opponents eight times a season and the rest of its conference opponents four times. Had life gone on as normal in the NHL, it probably wouldn't have mattered much. But life changed. Some of the perennial also-rans decided to change their status. Whether they were successful or not remains to be seen. After all, this is the Year of Uncertainty in the NHL calendar. No one knows what will happen, but even so, there are certain unassailable facts which must be considered.

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AHL Linesmen Unhappy

from Hockey Refs

, Confidential documents obtained by HockeyRefs.com show that a large percentage of the officiating staff could refuse to re-new their employment contracts. “While the AHL has operated for almost 70 years with an officiating staff who were proud to be part of the … family and who understood the nature of the league, there is no question that in recent years we have inadvertently allowed our expense reimbursement to fall short of what was fair and equitable, and w have addressed that for the coming season,” AHL president Dave Andrews said in a letter Wednesday.

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NBC Focused On The Pens

from the Pittsburgh Penguins,

In a highly unique occurrence, a crew from NBC Sports came to Wilkes-Barre on Thursday to shoot footage for an NHL preview show Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. The half-hour show will discuss the various rules changes the NHL implemented for this season. Pittsburgh Penguins stars Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby will be featured as well. “It’s the story of the offseason and the re-launch – the future is here with one of the legends of the game,” said Sam Flood, the coordinating producer for NBC Sports. “It’s very fortunate for the league, very fortunate for Pittsburgh and very fortunate for Sidney that he is here with Mario as a mentor.

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All About ‘My NHL’

I have received a few emails today asking me why the NHL did not use current NHL players in their marketing campaign. Plans do call for use of current players in the print and radio spots of the campaign. The following article from the Toronto Star may also answer other questions you may have about the 'My NHL' promotion.

Meet Will Bryant, the new face of the National Hockey League. A 27-year-old former college player from Albert Lea, Minn. who never made it to pro hockey, Bryant is the centerpiece in what the NHL says is its biggest advertising campaign ever. The five new television ads designed by the NHL's advertising agency are aimed at trumpeting the league's return after its crippling 301-day lockout.

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Fighting An Uphill Battle

from Darren Rovell of ESPN,

The NHL offered a first glimpse of its new ad campaign Wednesday night, and the experience was akin to watching a movie trailer: Lots of flash, lots of drama, lots of promise. But will "The New NHL" will be the kind of entertainment worth shelling out your hard-earned bucks to see in person  or if it will be an "I'll wait for the video" experience? And can a Hollywood fantasy help drive a better reality for a league that just endured the first season-long work stoppage in North American pro sports history?

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Special Teams Will Be Key

from the Philadelphia Inquirer,

The Flyers went into the second game of preseason ranked first in the NHL in power-play efficiency at 30 percent and tied with Colorado for first in penalty-killing at 100 percent. It's a good thing they're on top of their special-teams game because the recent rule changes have reduced hockey to endless stoppages of play without flow. Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock predicted that there would be at least a month of adjustment for the players. It could be longer, judging by last night's 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders at the Sovereign Bank Arena. It's virtually impossible to say that one line looks better than another, simply because the majority of the game is spent on special teams. But if that's what it takes to open the game up for the skaters and shooters next month, so be it.

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Good Games and Bad Games

Last night's Wings/Avs game was a well played game, filled with action and both teams seemed to understand and play by the rules. Of course, a few obstruction calls were made but in my mind, all of the calls were correct and kudos to both refs for making the consistent call. The only thing missing was the hitting, but I feel that will come as players adjust to not using the stick as an obstruction tool. On the other hand, the Flyers and Islanders by all accounts, played an ugly game: from the Daily Times,

There is a huge question the NHL needs to begin asking itself: Is this really what we want? That’s because, the game of hockey being presented to the fans this preseason is clumsy, uneven and has no flow. Case in point was the Flyers’ second preseason game Wednesday against the New York Islanders. Consider the following ugly statistics: 12 combined power plays, six hooking penalties, two more for delay of game when players clearing the puck accidentally shot it into the stands. And that was just in the first period. The infractions slowed up a bit as the game progressed, but the sparse crowd at the Sovereign Bank Arena was disinterested by that point. The irrelevant final score was Flyers 2, Islanders 1, but there are graver concerns at this juncture of the exhibition season than wins and losses. Sure, the games don’t count right now and some of the players that are playing won’t be in the NHL, but even games at the AHL level last season weren’t this ugly. Not only is the game a bad product, but the players are full of uncertainty. They seem to be fighting their own instincts to play the game the way they know how. "That’s the new NHL and that’s what they want and that’s what they’re going to get," said a disgruntled Chris Therien. "They’ve gone from one extreme to an absolute other extreme, and that, as a player, is frustrating."

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Zero Tolerance Won’t Work

from Metro West Daily News,

So it is that Harry Sinden, while fully agreeing that a crackdown is necessary on the obstruction fouls that have grown so common and destructive to the NHL game, hopes the league doesn't go too far – to the point that this becomes a nearly unrecognizable pastime. ``Obviously, you've got to have penalty calls, or else you'd have anarchy out there,'' Sinden said. ``But if you just call it to a zero-tolerance level, it won't work. A game without any kind of incidental contact at all, players just allowed to skate around at full speed with no one ever laying a finger on them? It won't work. ``To me, minor penalties can absolutely destroy a game. Because instead of being a significant event in a game – `OK, here we go, a power play' – it becomes a common thing. Everybody gets lots of them. You get a penalty and you don't even worry about it, because you know you're going to be getting one right back.''

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NHL Reaching Out to Generation Y

from the Ottawa Citizen,

Sidney Crosby, shirtless, but still exuding that nice-guy aura, has hit the newsstands in Vanity Fair, generating the kind of buzz that money can't buy. Crosby's beefcake shot is one more sign that the NHL is trying to expand its appeal in the U.S., and among Generation Y fans -- those between the ages of about 16 and 25, said Frank Pons, an assistant professor of sports marketing and consumer behaviour at the University of San Diego who studied hockey marketing as an MBA and PhD student in Quebec City and Montreal. Of course hockey is a tradition, said Pons. But more and more, the NHL seeks to position its brand outside of the sports sphere and into the entertainment sphere. And the kicking ass part is all-American. "A lot of American sports are moving away from selling the sport, they sell the entertainment," he said. "The value of hockey is not in how good the team is."

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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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