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New NHL Pitch- Better Than Ever

from Sports Business Journal (paid sub.),

“A lot of the corporate community was interested in seeing how last season went first,” said NHL Enterprises President Ed Horne. “They wanted to see if our fans would come back, and they came back stronger than some of them anticipated.” The NHL was able to sign on some new marketing blood in the offseason. Gatorade and Pepsi, brands renowned for activating sports sponsorships, replaced Powerade, an NHL sponsor since 1997, and Coke, a sponsor since 1989. While it’s still finalizing the supporting media buys, Verizon Wireless is replacing Sprint Nextel as the cellular service sponsor. Anheuser-Busch, an NHL sponsor since 1994, is finalizing a two-year renewal of its U.S. rights. While a new deal with over-the-counter medication Cold-fX won’t add much to the league’s coffers, it will add some activation. Nationally, the NHL has always been sold on its youthful and upscale demos, relative to other sports. While that’s still true, the new pitch also for the NHL is a combination of “better than ever” and “invest at the ground floor.” Or as Horne put it, “We have a stable fan base, more so than at any time in the recent past. So it’s an opportunity to attach your brand to a growth stock.” Still, when attracting “investors,” the league will have to explain the value of its Versus (formerly OLN) cable broadcasts, down 60 percent from the ESPN/ESPN2 combination in the 2003-04 regular season. The Versus deal was signed only a month before last season began.

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Bertuzzi In Phoenix?

from the new blog of Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,

Let’s begin our new venture into Blogdom with what the Internet was founded on - rumors and innuendo. Confirm or Deny: Panthers forward Todd Bertuzzi, who’s got one year remaining on the four-year contract he signed with Vancouver, is looking like a lock to join the Phoenix Coyotes next summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Bertuzzi’s close friend and former Canucks teammate Ed Jovanovski will be there for the next five years, and because of that – not to mention the player-friendly operation Wayne Gretzky and Mike Barnett run – the big winger is heavily rumored in some circles to have his eye on the desert dogs.

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The Mask Changed Goalie Play

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

One night, after a game in which Michel Laroque had taken a screamer off the mask, someone said to Blake, “If Bunny hadn’t had a mask on for that one, he’d have been killed.” Blake was resolute. “If he hadn’t had a mask on, he’d have seen it coming,” he said. But the advent of the mask did more than change the look of the game. It changed the style of goaltending. Goaltenders always had been urged to stand up and stay standing. But with the mask providing a degree of invulnerability, goalies started to crouch. For the first time, they would routinely have their head below the crossbar. Not only did this tactic allow them to cover more of the net, it also meant that they needed less time to flop to the ice to block a shot.
read on

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The “Modern” NHL.com

Have you seen the NHL.com new design yet?

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Avoiding Sophomore Jinx

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

They contend that, for any number of reasons, even the most gifted players are pretty much doomed to sputter, if not regress, during their second season. And while plenty of players in all sports have done that for years, Crosby and people with whom he works seem convinced there's very little danger of that happening to him. "Absolutely not," coach Michel Therrien said. "He's a special player. He wants more than [he did] last year. Some players have a tendency, especially after they have a good year, [to think] that maybe things are going to be easier. "But a guy like Crosby, he doesn't have that personality. He wants to be better than last year. He's working harder than last year. He's working on details, like faceoffs. All the little things that are going to make him a better player. That's why I'm not worried."
read on

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Pre-Season Rankings

TSN Power Ranking...

1. Detroit 2. Ottawa 3. Nashville
continued

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Bonding- Again

from the Philadelphia Inquirer,

Every training camp under Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock has included a "team bonding" exercise. Twice it has been at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. This past weekend, the Flyers spent a day and a half at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Apparently, this team is in need of bonding. The Flyers have 25 guys on the roster, and given their dismal 1-5-1 performance in exhibition games, the group is lacking team chemistry on the ice. "The physical and mental experiences by the players there, that is what we're looking for," Hitchcock said of the bonding trip. "We are looking for chemistry."
continued

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Avs Believe In Themselves

from the Rocky Mountain News,

Many believe the Avalanche's chances of merely qualifying for the playoffs are remote, let alone being able to compete for a Stanley Cup. "That's their opinion," Theodore said. "I feel really comfortable with the bunch of guys that we have here. We're working hard, and we have a lot of talent and great leadership with Joe (Sakic) leading the way. I'm really happy and looking forward to the season, because we have a great bunch of guys. That makes up for a lot of things. "We don't really pay attention to whatever's around, what people are saying about this team. We're confident about our group. We like the players that we have here, and that's all matters."
more

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NHL Response On Devils Trade

I wake up this morning to find about 30 emails basically asking me the same question, How could the NHL allow the Devils/Sharks trade? Bill Daly responded... from NorthJersey.com.

There was some question as to whether Malakhov was eligible to be traded because he is not playing, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an e-mail Sunday that the league approved the trade because, "It was a broader deal with real hockey consideration involved on both sides." Daly also noted that there is "nothing that would preclude Malakhov coming back and playing for San Jose if he chooses to."
more...it looks like the Devils are fine for the moment... added 7:48am, check out Sharkspage for a San Jose point of view of the trade...

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Contending Sharks

from Robert Picarello at Fox Sports,

A very solid overall team, the Sharks will be among the leaders in the Western Conference this season and should battle the Ducks for the top spot in the division. San Jose has talented and deep forwards, solid goaltending and a strong defense, all the ingredients needed for success in the long term. The surplus in depth in goal may be a boon as well. Should Toskala continue to play well, GM Doug Wilson will be able to move Nabokov — vice-versa — to shore up any other potential weakness that become evident. The top two lines will put up a lot of goals this season, and the Sharks will be adept at keeping the puck out of their own net, so this is a team that bears watching. Where they'll finish Division: Second Conference: Fifth
more

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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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