Kukla's Korner

Let’s Talk Broadcasting

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News,

“There have been some great storylines and great series with incredible Game 7 action,” said NHL COO John Collins during a wide-ranging interview on May 14. “We’re looking at the best ratings since 2000 and maybe back to 1994.”

The Nielsen upticks should augur well for upcoming rights negotiations: Versus’ multiyear pact and NBC’s two-year revenue sharing deal both conclude with the 2010-11 season. The current TV partners will get first crack at new deals.

“We hope to sit down with them in late fall. We’re eager to see what they come up with,” said Collins. Versus and NBC will be part of the same corporate team if the Comcast-NBC Universal joint venture proposal passes regulatory muster.

Meanwhile, ESPN officials have indicated the sports programming giant is interested in returning to the ice. Is there room for two TV lines? “It’s too early to speak to that,” said Collins, who noted that ESPN’s (Americas) international contract with the league is co-terminus with the deals of the U.S. national partners.

Asked if there could be a move toward airing more or all of the games in the first two rounds of the playoffs exclusively on a national basis, Collins replied: “We’re always talking with our partners about ways to improve our schedule.”


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Hall Of Fame 2010

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

At some point during the playoffs I always like to speculate on the Hall of Fame inductions for the season.  They happen so quickly after the playoffs end that I never get to them in that window.

This year, there are two players who are first year Hall of Fame eligible that I think belong in the Hall.  They are Eric Lindros and Joe Nieuwendyk.  Neither are clear first ballot Hall of Famers, but both should eventually gain induction.

There have been a few years of very strong Hall classes in the recent past.  This has left us with some players who should be in the Hall who have not been inducted yet.  This will be a good year to induct some of Doug Gilmour, Dave Andreychuk, Dino Ciccarelli, Adam Oates, Sergei Makarov, Phil Housley, Mark Howe and others.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Just What The NHL Needed

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News,

They have the marquee players, the marquee opponent, the painful playoff history and the big stage all but cleared for them.

Basically, this meeting with Chicago is the series the Sharks and their fans have always wanted and needed.

It’s a threshold moment for the franchise, multiplied by 100, starting with today’s Game 1 at HP Pavilion.

And now, with the East mostly wiped clean of headliners, this highly anticipated Western Conference finals is the series the NHL needs (for ratings and attention), too.

Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin are done. So, yes, the Sharks and Blackhawks inherit the spotlight.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Destiny Ahead For Only One Of These Teams

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

Enter the Montreal Canadiens, the most storied franchise in ice hockey and a team that has been making its own history this spring. Montreal eliminated Washington and Pittsburgh, the team with the best regular-season record in the NHL and the defending Cup champion, by winning two Game 7s on the road.

“A lot of people could say they’re a team of destiny, as well,” Pronger said.

Less than an hour after completing the Ultimate Comeback, Pronger was already looking to set the tone for his teammates. He is the only player on this team whose name is etched on the Cup. He isn’t about to let the rest of them buy into this Team of Destiny idea.

Destiny isn’t going into the corners and hitting anyone. Destiny isn’t throwing its body in front of any frozen rubber missiles. Destiny isn’t coming back too soon from surgery and playing in pain.

It comes down to this. If these Flyers were capable of winning four lose-and-it’s-over games in a row against Boston, two of them on the road, then they are capable of beating the Canadiens and whichever team comes out of the Western Conference. But to do that means continuing to play exactly as they have been.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Move Malkin?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

There are three steps Shero can take this offseason to get the Penguins back to where they once belonged.

Crosby and Malkin will be more dominant with a young, skilled wing to grow with.

However, given the cap constraints, the only way to land that wing is to move one of them for a package that would upgrade the roster and replenish a system that lacks impact forwards beyond top prospect Eric Tangradi.

Staal’s development as a Selke Trophy candidate for his defensive work and offensive upside—at 21, he has produced three 20-goal seasons as a third-liner—gives the Penguins the option of trading Crosby or Malkin. Staal is a prototype No. 2 center and an emerging dressing-room leader.

The Penguins won’t trade Crosby, who aside from being team captain is the franchise’s face. Malkin, already a scoring champion and playoff MVP at 23, is the guy to shop.

Shero should start making calls to his contemporaries, and his first words should be: “Make me an offer for Malkin.” It must include a top-line wing, a top-pairing defenseman, two roster players and either two top prospects or two first-round picks.

read on

added 9:33am, from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

Malkin, who has four years left on his contract, is hardly excess baggage, but if Shero were to pick up the phone and start canvassing his lodge-brothers he might get what he sorely needs—two top-six forwards. If he could get two wingers who make about $8 million total that would be less than Malkin’s $8.7-million cap hit, and maybe a team would throw in a stocking stuffer, too.  A good draft pick or a top-nine, young-20s forward.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: evgeni+malkin

Playing For Mother Russia

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

• Is there a more patriotic country than Russia? I don’t think so. You don’t see any of their players turning down chances to play in the world championship, no matter how tired or disappointed they were after their NHL seasons ended. If they don’t win a third straight world title, it’ll be a shock.

• We heard all season that the Oilers had too many smurfs, that they got pushed around too much, but, obviously, it has to be the right small guys. Nothing wrong with Mike Cammalleri or Brian Gionta last time I looked. And Kyle Wellwood was one of the Canucks’ best playoff performers.

a few more quick hitters…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Brian Campbell For Tim Thomas?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

• Keep an eye on Chicago defenseman/puck-pusher Brian Campbell in the Sharks-Hawks series. He has six years left on a deal that carries a $7.14 million cap hit. By no means an easy deal to shake. But with Bruins goalie Tim Thomas carrying a $5 million cap hit for three more years, and Tuukka Rask now distinctly the No. 1, a Campbell-Thomas exchange is something the sides might explore around the June draft. Campbell, by the way, turns 31 Sunday.

• With five weeks to go before the draft, the Lightning still don’t have a CEO or GM, which could mean Jim Hammett (player personnel director) and Darryl Plandowski (head amateur scout) would make the call on Tampa’s picks, including No. 6 overall.

more hockey topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+campbell, tim+thomas

Talking Hockey On A Sunday Morning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• Still hard to believe that the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, with Sidney Crosby, with all that experience, crapped out in Game 7 without putting up so much as a fight against the Canadiens.

• Truth: The 1986 and 1993 Canadiens were about the weakest Stanley Cup winning teams ever: And this year’s team, despite the remarkable run, is worse.

• Maybe somebody should have listened to Gary Bettman when he shrieked to his general managers about being careful with long-term contracts being signed by National Hockey League players.

The tiny perfect commissioner was not happy with the Rick DiPietro deal and not happy with the Vinny Lecavalier deal and look around — there are all kinds of these messes.

Lecavalier has six more years at $10 million a year, and four years after that. Henrik Zetterberg has 11 years left on his deal with the Red Wings. Roberto Luongo has 12 years to go on a huge deal.

Having a player not perform to the level of the contract is the equivalent of hockey death in a salary capped time.

more hockey notes….

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Part Of The Problem In Vancouver

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Roberto Luongo, as much along for the ride behind good teams as Chris Osgood most of his career behind powerhouse clubs in Detroit—and please, is there a more ridiculous concept than Osgood as a Hall of Fame goaltender?—has allowed five goals or more in five of the 12 conference semifinal games against Chicago over the last two years, so it’s fair to ask whether the captain is as much a part of the problem in Vancouver as he is part of the solution in Vancouver.

It’s a little late for GM Mike Gillis to be asking that question, however, given that Luongo has 11 years to go on the contract he signed last summer.

Garth Snow wants to know if Gillis has considered buying out Luongo.

more hockey talk from Brooks…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: roberto+luongo

Chicago Needs To Get To The Finals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune,

It has been fun. But really all the Hawks have done to this point is prove they can run in place adequately. They have returned to the spot this whole challenge started, the Western Conference finals, where a year ago they were surprise participants and now they cannot settle for just being here.

They didn’t invest millions in signing free agents Hossa and John Madden so they could win two playoff series again. They didn’t restructure the front office, dumping general manager Dale Tallon to make way for Stan Bowman, to stand still as an organization. They didn’t take an aggressive approach to the offseason so they could accept another fourth-place finish.

As satisfying as this all has been so far, history’s not impressed yet. Until we see what happens in the next two weeks, Chicago won’t be sure of whether it wants to treasure memories of this season or trash them.

It will require more focus, more skill, more strength, more luck and more everything from the Hawks to prevent this year from being categorized as a disappointment. That’s how success has changed the Hawks.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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