Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Louie Korac at NHL.com,
Can the Blues compete for the Cup with their revamped goaltending? -- The Blues allowed Ryan Miller to leave via free agency and will confidently turn to veteran Brian Elliott and rookie Jake Allen, who has 15 games of NHL experience under his belt.
The Blues feel like Elliott, who signed a three-year, $7.5 million contract, earned the right to go into the season as the No. 1.
"[Ellliott's] watched two other guys [Miller and Jaroslav Halak] get the ball," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Now he feels like it's his turn. There's still going to be competition, but I think Brian's going to start as the incumbent based on experience and all the work he's put in."
Will the additional depth at center pay off? -- Adding Stastny, Jori Lehtera, Peter Mueller and Joakim Lindstrom to a group that includes David Backes, Patrik Berglund, Steve Ott and Maxim Lapierre gives the Blues strong reinforcement despite losing Vladimir Sobotka to the Kontinental Hockey League.
"We wanted to add depth, we wanted to add competitive depth, we wanted to strengthen the middle of the ice and that's what we've done," Hitchcock said. "We've added scoring depth and we added real definitive depth at the center ice position."
Would-be Islanders suitor Charles Barroway is suing current Islanders owner Charles Wang for $10 million after Wang reneged on the sale of the soon-to-be-Brooklyn-based team, and the New York Times' Richard Sandomir went so far as to pen an editorial-style article suggesting that Wang's--well, let's be honest here--awful stewardship of the team merits all but a moral imperative to sell the team to someone who can competently manage it.
This morning, the New York Post's Josh Kosman reports that Barroway's lawsuit involves someone with an intriguing tie to a certain sport's commissioner, and that commissioner now finds himself in a sticky situation:
An adviser working for the hedge-fund manager who sued the New York Islanders for reneging on a deal to sell him the team is NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s half-brother, The Post has learned.
Andrew Barroway hired Jeffrey Pollack several months ago after reaching a handshake deal to buy the club from owner Charles Wang for $420 million, sources said.
Wang and Bettman are believed to be pals.
And in addition to reporting that Barroway had difficulty actually coughing up the cash to purchase the team, Kosman reports that Wang increased the asking price for the team substantially (and many suspect that Wang did so after the Los Angeles Clippers sold for a billion dollars):
According to the Globe and Mail's David Shoalts, Rogers Communications is worrying that it overpaid for its Canadian TV-and-internet rights package, but the NHL discovered that the first payment from Rogers and strong performances by the outdoor games held this past season yielded an extra $150 million in revenue for the league:
Thanks to another run of prosperity after the NHL settled its labour problems 18 months ago, [NHL commissioner Gary] Bettman was able to tell the owners there will be a little extra in their piggy banks for the coming season. Each of the 30 teams will get an unexpected $5-million (all currency U.S.) thanks to the success of the league’s Stadium Series and the first payment by Rogers Communications Inc., on its $5.2-billion, 12-year broadcast deal. That is a total of $150-million in cheques mailed out this summer.
The Stadium Series was the four outdoor games played last season in addition to the existing Winter Classic and Heritage Classic. They were added for a revenue boost following the 2012-13 lockout and paid off nicely for the NHL despite fears the league was flirting with killing the golden goose.
Shoalts continues and explains how these revenues will effect the NHLPA going forward (as you already know, the NHLPA chose to accept a $69 million salary cap instead of pushing for a $70-71 million cap to minimize escrow withholdings after surrendering significant portions of their paychecks to the league during the 2013 and 13-14 seasons):
USA Today's Kevin Allen and Erik Brady penned a fascinating article about the ways in which the role of a professional sports commissioner has changed during the tenure of outgoing MLB commissioner Bug Selig, sourcing comments from Selig, his predecessor, Fay Vincent, preeminent sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, former MLBPA executive director and current NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and a certain Mark Cuban (NFL commissioner Roger Goodell chose to decline an interview).
The article both traces Selig's path and sets a greater historical context for the role of a sports commissioner and how it's evolved since Selig took the job in 1992...
"If you go back, (sports) talk radio was in its infancy, there was no Internet, no mobile, less television coverage, no out-of-market packages to speak of, there was no social media and digital platforms," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told USA TODAY Sports. "That's a longwinded way of saying there is more to do. … To be a commissioner you always had to multi-task. But there are now multiple tasks, compared to what there were."
And aside from spending a significant amount of text pointing out that it's not the commissioner who is "in charge" per se--it's the owners who any and every sports commissioner represents, and the owners' interests that he proffers--Bettman, who took the reins from John Ziegler, very specificially tells Allen and Brady about the evolution of the commissioner's position:
The Tennessean's Josh Cooper updated two important items on the Nashville front today, and the first comes via a tip from NHL.com: According to Cooper, Predators forward Mike Fisher's not exactly going to return in a hurry from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles' tendon:
There is no change in the timeline for forward Mike Fisher's recovery from a ruptured Achilles, Predators general manager David Poile said.
Fisher was injured in early July and the Predators announced that he would miss four to six months.
"He's working out on a regular basis here," Poile said. "Everything is tracking to date, but the bottom line is still a four- to six-month injury. Optimistically, Thanksgiving and end of November. That's an optimistic target."
Second, Cooper reports that the Predators and restricted free agent defenseman Ryan Ellis remain "a ways apart":
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Blackhawks president John McDonough told the Sun-Times on Wednesday that the longstanding — and to so many, infuriating — practice of organist Frank Pellico playing “The Stripper” while a woman participated in the second-intermission “Shoot the Puck” promotion will stop in the 2014-15 season.
“I think you’ve heard the last of Frank Pellico playing ‘The Stripper,’” McDonough said.
A recent online movement to ban the song, including a #BanTheStripper hashtag and an online petition, called the Hawks out for the rather blatant sexism that was inherent in the contest. The typical format included a child, a man, a celebrity, and an attractive woman — the latter rarely in, let’s say, casual hockey-fan attire. In fact, sources say a team employee has been tasked each night with finding just the right the female participant. It had become as much a part of a Hawks game as playing “Here Come the Hawks” before warmups, and “Chelsea Dagger” after goals.
McDonough wouldn’t say for certain if the Shoot the Puck selection process would be overhauled completely — he said he rarely, if ever, watches Shoot the Puck, and therefore “can’t give you an opinion” — but said the Hawks heard their fans’ message loud and clear.
from Stephen Cohen of Seattle pi,
Would-be Seattle Sonics owner Chris Hansen has signed a “non-binding” agreement with a prospective NHL owner from Vancouver, B.C., regarding the proposed arena in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood, according to a report from KING/5 TV.
Citing sources with knowledge of talks between Hansen and Vancouver’s Victor Coleman, KING’s Chris Daniels reported on Tuesday that “the two potential ownership groups have signed a ‘non-binding’ agreement which lays out the terms for Coleman’s contribution to the project and his potential revenue streams for a hockey franchise.”
Coleman, a real estate developer now based in Los Angeles, heads one of the groups bidding for a potential NHL team, and has been involved in ongoing discussions for a Seattle franchise. Hansen is the hedge-fund manager who headed an attempt to buy the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle in 2013.
As many of you probably know the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS awareness is making its round on the internet and people are challenging one another via social media. Watching players do it was fun, watching people I know and interact with regularly start getting challenged turned it into “just a matter of time.”
Just when I thought I escaped again…
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.
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