Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: london
from the Telegraph,
Though there are penalties in ice hockey, for high-sticking, for holding and holding the stick, there are no penalties for body checking your opponents at full speed, into a wall. Indeed, that kind of behaviour is rapturously applauded by knowledgeable fans. Such fans will need no explanation of the finer points of the game. Which is just as well. This is a sport of speed, power and violence, played without the inconveniences of offside or touchlines or namby-pamby referees. Indeed, ice hockey referees may well be the least namby-pamby officials in the sports world, since four of them must not only share the ice with two teams of aggressive hulks, but sort out the game’s near obligatory brawl.
There was one of those last night, and highly entertaining it was too. The fight ended as an honourable draw, with one player from each side sitting out a five-minute penalty.
read on about the 2 games in London…
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
What is undeniable is there was a palpable thrum in the O2 Arena for both games, which were listed as sellouts even though Saturday’s attendance was reported as 17,551 and Sunday’s attendance given by NHL officials was 17,239. Hundreds of fans crowded around the Stanley Cup, which was on display in the atrium of the arena.
The fact there were fans in attendance from throughout Europe’s hockey community should be a positive sign if the NHL does move forward with plans to visit Prague or other European hockey cities beyond.
“Obviously we’re not pleased with our result from tonight,” Los Angeles coach Marc Crawford said. “But I think if you take a big-picture view of it, they had two very entertaining games, two games with sell-out crowds here and a wonderful venue. They saw some inspired hockey by both teams.”
from the Guardian,
Jyri Talja, 35, came from Finland hoping to see national treasure Teemu Selanne. The Finnish Flash, last year’s leading scorer, did not play for Anaheim but Talja said watching a live NHL game was well worth the trip anyway.
“It’s fantastic,” he said between periods. “It’s much faster live.”...
Judging by the number of countries represented on jerseys as fans streamed into London’s O2 Arena and filled the stadium’s numerous pubs, the NHL succeeded in attracting a wide range of people from countries across Europe.
from the Times Online,
Ice hockey, the cynics say, is not even an American sport, it is Canadian – which may be a key to its salvation. The sport has always had a sizeable following outside the US, especially in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, but its profile in the UK is low and the NHL is betting that it can change that with an entertaining pair of games that will underline the appeal of a sport that combines the balletic agility of ice dance with the brute violence of streetfighting.
From the CP via the Globe & Mail,
Now it’s for real. The first points of the 2007-‘08 NHL season are at stake Saturday when the Los Angeles Kings get first crack at taking down the Stanley Cup-champion Anaheim Ducks.
Practice for both teams seemed to have a little more edge on the eve of the NHL’s regular-season opener (CBC, noon ET).
“There’s a subtle feeling that comes over a team,” said Kings head coach Marc Crawford. “And you can see it in the players, there’s a little more focus in their eyes.
continued… (*regular season in North America starts next Wednesday)
All from NHL.com,
In a matter of hours, the most international of the North American professional sports leagues will open its 90th anniversary season in the sparkling, sold-out setting of the 02 Arena in London, England.
from Shawn P. Roarke,
Like you, I don’t know what will happen during the 2007-08 season, but I like to dream about it. Here are some of the things—82 to be exact (just like a regular-season schedule)—I am looking forward to as we finish preparations for Saturday’s opening-day game. Whether they happen or not remains to be seen, but just thinking about the possibilities will make the wait for Saturday a little more palatable.
I even participated today…
From the BBC,
CEO of the 02, Philip Beard said: “When we announced the games, they pretty much sold out in a couple of weeks. I have to admit that I was surprised.
“We thought it might take a lot longer to promote the event, but not only did sports fans get behind it but the ice hockey leagues in the UK were really keen to promote it as well.”
Beard is particularly pleased with the interest despite the games taking place on a sporting weekend also featuring World Cup rugby and Premier League football.
“It’s fair to say that at the moment there is a massive amount of big sport on, but this weekend is a total sell-out. People are coming from all over the UK and indeed across Europe,” he told BBC Sport.
From the Daily Mail,
The NHL will enter uncharted territory and return to its outdoor roots during a new season that begins on Saturday with the Anaheim Ducks starting their Stanley Cup defence on European ice.
The Ducks and Los Angeles Kings travel to London to play the first NHL regular season game in Europe as the NHL bids to gain a foothold in a market which has also attracted serious attention from the NFL and NBA.
“We’ve got to look at extending our brand outside of North America, whenever we can,” Ducks general manager Brian Burke said. “We think that to take regular season games to Europe is a milestone for our league. Is it ideal from a preparation standpoint? No. But I think when the league asks you to go, you go.”
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
The O2 Arena in London opened its doors on June 22 and although some rock concerts have been staged, no ice had ever been laid down.
So three days ago, the NHL’s ice guru, Dan Craig, started work on the surface. In a case like this, more is involved than just dumping some water on the floor and chilling it.
For starters, the floor had been swept after the concerts, but never properly cleaned. So the first job was to make sure that the surface was free from any contaminants that might affect the ice.
Then the boards had to be installed. The O2 Arena was built to accommodate European hockey with its larger ice surface and the stadium’s personnel had used those boards only to control crowds. But Craig had to oversee the installation of boards for an NHL-size rink. That, too, was a first.
from USA TODAY,
Tickets for the 17,500 seats, priced at $50, $90 and $130, were sold out in 2 1/2 weeks with very limited advertising, says Lucy Ellison, spokeswoman for the O2 arena, site of the games.
The price on the scalpers’ black market is way above that.
Andrew Morris, a Canadian expat and fan of his hometown Vancouver Canucks, says his girlfriend planned to get him a ticket as a 30th birthday present. She wasn’t fast enough and found scalpers wanted $770.
“It was really amazing not to get tickets,” says a disappointed Morris, who works in a London nightclub. “If you’re a hockey fan, it doesn’t make much difference who is playing. You just want to see the game.”
from the OC Register,
Acquired in a Monday afternoon trade with the Boston Bruins, Mowers quickly threw together a few things, spent as much time as possible with a family that includes two young daughters, and made his way to New York to join the Ducks’ charter flight that had made a refueling stop before its overnight trek across the Atlantic.
“It’s kind of a shocker, at first to switch teams, and then come to the realization that you’re not just going out to California, but you’re going overseas,” Mowers said. “It was a crazy 24 hours, but I feel like I’m settling in, getting to know the guys. The excitement is definitely starting to hit me now.”
NHL.com’s Shawn P. Roarke is in London and providing daily updates about his experiences and the upcoming games. From his Day #3 installment:
Wednesday, NHL.com took an abbreviated double-decker bus tour of London. But the company couldn’t be beat as I joined the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks and the Stanley Cup itself for a quick jaunt through the city.
We all climbed aboard a 30-year-old traditional red double-decker bus that is only used for special occasions. And, what could be more special than escorting the Ducks and the Stanley Cup on a sight-seeing tour?
The Anaheim Ducks proudly toted the Stanley Cup they won last spring to various tourist sites on a double-decker bus here Wednesday to promote this weekend’s National Hockey League season curtain raiser.
But few Londoners seemed aware of who they were, or what they were carrying, as the team braved a chilly autumn wind that swept across the Thames River.
Steve Campbell, a sports fan from northern England, looked baffled as he watched playoff star Ryan Getzlaf lug the Cup across a busy street to pose with his teammates in front of Big Ben.
From Adam Brady at Ducks Blog,
The Ducks finished up practice at the O2, had lunch and headed to the double-decker bus that was to take them on their sightseeing trip through London. Sitting in front of the bus was the Stanley Cup, but it had a new addition to it. All of the Ducks’ names have been engraved on the Cup, and this was the first time they had seen them. It was a sight to see as each of the Ducks players went up to the Cup and got their faces close enough to see their names. They looked like little kids.