Kukla's Korner

Category: NHL-Commentary

Now it’s time to say goodbye…

As Paul noted, as of today On the Forecheck has moved, to join the Sports Blog Nation network of sites, as their representative covering the Nashville Predators. I hope to build a locally-focused hub there for Preds coverage that will also be part of a broader network, and I’m sure I’ll be in contact here quite often as well, either linking to stories, participating in the comments, etc.  You can find the new site at (the appropriately named) OnTheForecheck.com (now why didn’t I think of that a long time ago?).

I really want to thank Paul for allowing me this stage for the last several months, and wish the gang here all the best going forward. As many of you already know, Paul is a class act, and an incredibly generous person to work with. I couldn’t believe some of the stuff he dug up, then sent along to me with a quick, “hey, would you like to run with this?” For all of us bloggers, sometimes inspiration is hard to come by, and having a batting practice fastball lobbed down the middle for you makes for a nice booster!

Thanks to Alanah too for being so helpful as I toddled my way along here in the early going; a stats geek like myself can be a pain to deal with (”how do I get these tables presenting properly!”), but she was always quick to lend a hand.  I wish the best of luck to everyone here, and like I said earlier, I’ll see you around.

Filed in: NHL Commentary, | On the Forecheck | Permalink

Two recreational hockey players die on same night, at same rink

As if I didn’t feel sore enough already after my beer-league game last night, this sobering news from San Jose (hat tip to AOL’s NHL FanHouse) got my attention. Two adult recreational players died Sunday night in separate incidents during their games at Sharks Ice.

Brian Kobata, 38. and Kelly Calabro (memorial at team’s website), 41, both collapsed on the ice just a few hours apart and rescue attempts failed to revive them.  From the San Jose Mercury News:

“It’s a very unfortunate and tragic situation,” said Ken Arnold, senior director of communications for Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment, which operates the facility at Tenth Street and East Alma Avenue.

Sharks Ice, which is the official practice rink for the San Jose Sharks, is home to the largest adult hockey league in the nation, with 3,000 registered players. However, the strenuous sport can be hard on older players. Arnold said ambulances are called to the rink about once every 18 months.

The cause of death has not been determined for either man, family members said.

Heidi Kobata was at the rink watching her husband skate off the ice on Sunday night when he suddenly fell. She is expecting the couple’s first child in June and said her husband had not had any health problems

As a 38 year-old beer leaguer whose best playing days were 10 years and 40 pounds ago, this story just hit home with me this morning.

Filed in: NHL Commentary, | On the Forecheck | Permalink

It’s the NHL Hour, live from Nashville

From the NHL:

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, in Nashville as part of his regular tour of League markets, will host today’s edition of NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman on SIRIUS XM Radio live from the Music City.

Members of the Nashville Predators organization scheduled to guest on today’s show include Chairman David Freeman, President of Hockey Operations and General Manager David Poile and Head Coach Barry Trotz.

NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman broadcasts live on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET on NHL Home Ice (XM Channel 204 and on SIRIUS Channel 208 as part of the “Best of XM” programming package) and NHL.com.
The show will re-air on SIRIUS XM Radio, with archived shows available for download via podcast on NHL.com.

Filed in: NHL Commentary, | On the Forecheck | Permalink

Find your fellow hockey Tweeps

I’ve written before about how hockey fans (and players) are taking up Twitter, the social networking/microblogging platform that hosts wide-ranging conversations made up of 140-character “tweets”.  But if you’re a newbie just getting started, how do you find other local fans to connect with?

Twitter user Fred Faust (@thefredelement) has your answer; a regularly-updated list of Twitter users broken down by team affiliation; simply follow the other users (“tweeps”) who are cheering for your favorite NHL squad, and jump into the hockey dialogue that seems to run 24/7…

Filed in: NHL Commentary, | On the Forecheck | Permalink

Give it away, give it away, give it away now…

In light of all the talk yesterday about Tampa Bay giving away reams of tickets (over 2,500 per game), I thought I’d do a little digging to see how the Nashville Predators are doing.  Since their lease at the Sommet Center and the NHL’s revenue sharing plan each have clauses related to hitting the magic 14,000 average paid attendance mark, the Preds are usually the only NHL team for which the comparison is made against the attendance figure reported in NHL box scores, which includes giveaways.

Our starting point here is two years ago; the Globe & Mail published a (PDF) report which broke down paid vs. total attendance through the end of January during the 2006-7 NHL season.  At that point, the average NHL team was giving away 1,194 tickets per game; the Preds were dishing out 1,718, down from 1,815 in 2005-6.

This season, it has been reported that through the first 22 home games, the Preds have averaged 13,744 in paid attendance per game (a 6% rise compared to the same point in 2007-8).  Running that up against the published attendance figures for each home game gives us a total attendance average of 14,567.  Giveaways, then, are running at 823 per contest.

Paid attendance is up, they’re likely to hit the 14,000 mark, and giveaways are down by nearly 50%.  I’d say that progress is definitely being made in Nashville.

Filed in: Nashville Predators, NHL Commentary, | On the Forecheck | Permalink

Jedi Kings

What better way to start the work week than with this Star Wars inspired look at the L.A. Kings from Barry Melrose Rocks...

Terry Murray: Only a precise shot will set off the goal light. The 5-hole is stick shielded so you’ll have to use wrist shots.


Alexander Frolov: That’s impossible. Even for a Gretzky.

Anze Kopitar: It’s not impossible. I used to bulls-eye 5-holes in the Elitserien back home. They’re not much better than Oilers.

[on the ice]

Sean O’Donnell: We’re in the Oilers zone.

Frolov: Look at the size of that guy!


Filed in: NHL Commentary, | On the Forecheck | Permalink

Even a broken clock is right twice a day

For those who wonder how often a shot in the dark actually hits a target, stop on by HockeyBuzzHogWash.com, a site which tracks the veracity of the notorious “anonymous hockey blogger”.  They’ve already been slapped with a takedown notice from the COO of HockeyBuzz for re-posting the “Daily Rumor Chart”, but in the meantime they’re still documenting each reputed deal and keeping track of how often they come to fruition (so far: 3.4%).

Filed in: NHL Commentary, | On the Forecheck | Permalink

Be thankful, for a change

We hockey fans tend to be a cranky lot. If we’re not griping about the meddling coach, the underachieving star player, or the tight-fisted owner, we find endless reasons to complain about the game itself; whether it’s on the right TV network, or if the rules themselves need to be tweaked in a thousand different ways.  We tell ourselves that it’s the greatest game out there, but we certainly don’t act like it very often.

In a refreshing change of pace, Paul Nicholson takes the time to say thanks to the people and organizations that make NHL hockey a reality here in Nashville. I think it’s an exercise that fans in every city should consider undertaking. Be thankful for what we’ve got, and for all those who put in the money and the effort to make it happen.  In particular, Paul notes what happened when he got the opportunity to chat with the owner of Dolphini Networks, a major Predators sponsor:

A bit later I said “thanks” from all of us fans, that we really appreciated what he and others like him had done. I felt it was a unique opportunity to directly tell a major sponsor “thanks” in person for supporting the team I love…

His response shocked me.

After a few minutes, he came back and thanked me for thanking him.

Read on for the rest of the story…

Filed in: Nashville Predators, NHL Commentary, | On the Forecheck | Permalink

Top 25 Hockey Fights

Hawerchuk over at the Behind the Net Blog fulfills yet another service to the hockey-loving community:

...I was looking over hockeyfights.com (purportedly the 7th-most popular hockey site on the internet) and I noticed that there was no way to rank fights based on user rankings. I’m surprised - you’d think the hockey fight “Hall of Fame” would be one of the most viewed pages on the site. Well, here are the top 25 fights of the last three seasons based on user ratings.

Head on over for the biggest and baddest scraps of the last few years (2006-present).

Filed in: NHL Commentary, | On the Forecheck | Permalink

Not on Twitter yet? Here’s another reason

Just in case you haven’t jumped on board the Twitter bandwagon, a fresh incentive was put out there today by Michael DiLorenzo (@umassdilo), the NHL’s Director of Corporate Communciations:

When u Tweet re: NHL Game of the Week on NBC (Sun., Penguins/Red Wings); use #NHLonNBC and u may win a sub to NHL GameCenter LIVE for 08-09!

When he says to “use #NHLonNBC”, that refers to the use of hashtags, a means by which Twitter users tag their updates for a specific topic.  So a typical comment might read “Nice lead pass by Malkin, but Crosby dived on that tripping call. #NHLonNBC”.  Hashtags are easily searchable, so all you have to do is sign in to Twitter, join the conversation Sunday afternoon, and you just might win!

Filed in: NHL Commentary, | On the Forecheck | Permalink

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