Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
The commissioner has plenty of work ahead in legitimizing a league that for years was perceived as irrelevant. Hockey’s television ratings, laughable at their height, were down 20 percent in the United States and 18 percent in Canada from last year for the Stanley Cup between the Ducks and the Ottawa Senators.
Bettman spent years trying to sell people on the strength of the league when anybody paying attention knew otherwise. But the opposite is true in this case. The NHL isn’t nearly as weak as TV ratings would suggest. The salary cap is expected to increase again next season, a sign the league has a strong revenue stream.
Take a closer look, and you’ll see Bettman’s vision from the mid-1990s slowly taking form.
from the Anaheim Ducks,
More than 15,000 fans crowded into the Honda Center parking lot Saturday evening to celebrate the 2007 Stanley Cup Champions Ducks. Fans arrived as early as 8 a.m. to secure a spot for the celebration, which lasted from 6:30 p.m., rolled on as the sun went down and concluded just before 9 p.m.
After some pregame musical entertainment and video on the several giant screens located around the parking lot, the Ducks arrived via double-decker bus down Katella Avenue. They slowly made their way down the red carpet, stopping along the way to receive congratulations from fans who had staked out spots along the walkway.
pic via Reuters
from Larry Brooks at the NY Post,
As an over-35-year-old signing a one-year contract, Brendan Shanahan would be eligible to receive signing, games-played and performance bonuses that would allow the Rangers to exceed the cap by 7.5 percent or alternately be applied against the 2008-09 cap if they didn’t have that space. Thus, Shanahan, who played for $4 million last season, could sign a deal for a cap-applied base of $2 million with readily attainable bonuses to allow him to earn another $2 million without jeopardizing the Blueshirts’ position.
Folks around the league who presume Chris Drury will leave Buffalo to play in either L.A. or Colorado are overlooking the Big Moment Kid’s lifelong desire to play the Big Stage on Broadway, and the reciprocal interest the Rangers’ organization has in him.
more from Brooks, including the cap will now be around $48.5M…
from the Columbus Dispatch,
In 1997, Dave King moved to Japan and helped get the country’s fledgling hockey program off the ground in time to play host to the Olympics in Nagano.
In 2000, he became the Blue Jackets’ first coach.
Since being fired in 2003, King, 59, has coached in Germany, Sweden and Russia. He spent two years in Siberia—willingly.
The man loves a challenge. And now, it seems, he’s ready for another one.
As the Blue Jackets’ search for a general manager drags on, King, according to a well-placed source in Canada, has made it known that he would like to be considered.
from the Arizona Republic,
There have been no strong indications on which way the Coyotes, who also have the 21st pick in the first round, are leaning, but a scenario that unfolded at the Calgary Saddledome after Canada won the World Junior Championship might provide some insight.
Defenseman Karl Alzner, 18, of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, still was unwinding from that title run when he got a tap on the shoulder from the team trainer.
“He comes up to me and says, ‘Did you talk to Wayne?’ and I’m like, ‘Who?’ And he says, ‘Wayne Gretzky,’ and I said, ‘No, what are you talking about?’ ” Alzner recalled. “The trainer said he was asking for me, and my face went red. I said, ‘Are you serious?’
“He said he was in the hall, so I walk out and I’m thinking, ‘Please don’t let this be a joke, please let this don’t be a joke.’ And all of a sudden, a guy says Wayne wanted to talk to me, congratulate me. Wayne comes over and says, ‘Hi, I’m Wayne Gretzky.’ So I say, ‘Yeah, I’m Karl.’
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
But today’s NHL is not as simple as the follow-the-leader days of yore.
In today’s NHL, success is often dictated by what the rules are, how long they will be enforced, what the competition committee decides every offseason and what Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell determines he likes or wants to see in the game.
Never was that more evident than when midway through the regular season the kind of hockey that made fast skating, good puck handling teams gave way to the bigger, badder teams that played a more physical game; and adopted a more punishing approach to attacking the net.
It’s a part of the reason the two best teams in the regular season—Buffalo and Detroit—didn’t make it to the finals. It’s a part of the reason the Ducks beat the Ottawa Senators with ease.
from the Ottawa Citizen,
On the flip side, Emery’s success and Gerber’s struggles put the Senators into a major pickle in how to deal with both goaltenders this summer.
Is it reasonable to expect Emery to come back as the established number one netminder, perhaps playing for considerably less money than the guy who is sitting on the bench? Gerber has two years and $7.4 million remaining on his contract.
Stay tuned. General manager John Muckler will certainly try to trade Gerber to a team in need of goaltending, a team which believes Gerber’s slow start was simply a blip on his resume. That said, it’s an awfully expensive gamble for another club to take.
more on the Sens including Emery played with an injured wrist…
from Inside the Kings by Rich Hammond (Kings beatwrtier),
I know there’s a lot of support for bringing over Giguere, but I’ll be stunned if it happens. The fact that the Kings signed Ersberg out of Sweden tells me that they’re going with LaBarbera, Cloutier and Ersberg (if needed)....
Now, if we’re talking about Manny Fernandez, who has two years left, then I might be able to see that.
more on these topics…
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Gary Bettman has his autograph on all the NHL pucks.
Jeffrey Pollack has his signature on all the playing cards.
Bettman is the commissioner of the National Hockey League. Pollack is the commissioner of the World Series of Poker.
The question is, which brother is heading up the most successful outfit?
You read that right.
Gary Bettman and Jeffrey Pollack are brothers.
form the AP via Sports Illustrated,
Game 1 of the NBA finals drew the lowest rating ever for an opening-game in prime time, dropping 19 percent from last year.
The San Antonio Spurs’ 85-76 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night earned a 6.3 rating and 11 share on ABC. The previous low was a 6.4/11 in 2003.
Last year’s Game 1 between Miami and Dallas earned a 7.8 rating and 14 share.
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer…
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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