Kukla's Korner

Playing By The Rules

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

The National Hockey League has laid out specific guidelines for its new standard of enforcement in areas of interference, hooking, holding, tripping, slashing and cross-checking. In a memo sent to league coaches and general managers this week, Mike Murphy, the vice-president of hockey operations, relayed specific rule definitions and promised that each club will receive a DVD before training camp that will demonstrate the ins and outs of the new standards through simulations and game clips.

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OLN Exclusivity

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

This should clear up some emails I have received today questioning exclusive broadcasts for OLN. The only exclusivity OLN will get this season for the 58 regular-season games it carries every Monday and Tuesday night is with the contests being covered by the network. If OLN has New York vs. Boston, for example, the regional sports networks in those cities will not be allowed to carry the games. But any other non-OLN games being played on Monday and Tuesday will get carriage as usual on the sports regionals.

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Details of the TV Contract

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Philadelphia Inquirer,

OLN's broadcasts will include technology and gimmicks such as miked players, in-game interviews and net-cams to enhance a game whose rules have already been tweaked for the new season to encourage offense. Comcast and OLN will offer on-demand video highlights and archival programming to digital cable subscribers and produce at least one game weekly in high definition. Comcast and OLN also will work with the NHL to make live game video available this season to broadband Internet users, probably as a pay service. Later they plan to collaborate to create a separate NHL Channel. It will have 24 hours of hockey shows and eventually carry live games, although, Bettman said, "OLN gets first choice in the schedule." OLN and the league want to create a national hockey night. For the 2006-07 season, the league will devise its schedule so that on a certain night each week, probably Monday, only one game will be played in the NHL, and it will be on OLN. The strategy seems to put hockey night against Monday Night Football, which is shifting to ESPN in 2006. There's work to be done. OLN does not have an HD channel. OLN president Gavin Harvey said it will produce games in high definition and "make those available to our affiliates and distributors." Some OLN hockey games may be carried on local sports channels. OLN and Comcast must build a national hockey production team and hire announcers. OLN plans to produce a postgame hockey show that will air after its live games, so it must build a studio.

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Blackhawks On The Way Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei of ESPN,

Judging from recent events in Chicago, hell has frozen over -- and the Zamboni is making a between-periods circuit. That'll happen when pigs fly! Judging from recent events in Chicago, hogs, boars and swine of all kinds are in the landing patterns at O'Hare, albeit running late because of edicts from air traffic control. With new general manager Dale Tallon -- a former defenseman, golf pro, scout and radio analyst -- wielding the pen and contracts in the wake of the new collective bargaining agreement, the Blackhawks have become heavy hitters, signing Nikolai Khabibulin and Adrian Aucoin, plus less-heralded Martin Lapointe.

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Leafs Sign Aubin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

John Ferguson, general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Thursday that the club has signed goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin to a one year contract. In keeping with club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

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Bettman Sees Growth Potential

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via Fox Sports,

Get the clicker ready, hockey fans. The NHL is taking its games outside the traditional realm of sports television. The NHL announced Thursday it has reached a two-year deal that will put games on Outdoor Life Network, starting on opening night in October. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is eager to get hockey back on the air following the lockout that wiped out all of last season. But OLN is only available in 64 million households, compared to 90 million that have ESPN. "There's a huge pent-up demand exploding on all levels as we anticipate the relaunch on Oct. 5," Bettman said Thursday. "We're delighted by the presence and prominence of OLN."

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NHL Improves Standing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I believe this article should be dated August 18th, not the 17th. from Media Week,

The National Hockey League came out better in its new TV rights deal with Outdoor Life Network and Comcast than most observers thought it would, gleaning more money than it was guaranteed under its previous agreement, and gaining a commitment for cable carriage of a new NHL Network. In addition, the new deal includes a broadband component, under which some NHL games will air via streaming video, and a video on demand component.

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Appointment Television

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Darren Rovell, who covers the business side of sports for ESPN, was on The Fan 590 in TO, and said he has received around 400 emails regarding his article from yesterday. Fans are writing him saying they will now have to search for the game instead of just stumbling on it while flicking thru ESPN. The NHL has just proved the game is a niche sport, or else they would have taken less money and stayed with ESPN. They are now the big fish in a little pond as compared to what they were. He has no doubt the NHL will grow, but now they have to be re-discovered again on OLN. Rovell said Bettman should admit they are selling the game to the hardcore fans. No longer are they trying to market the game to everyone and he should just admit that but he refuses to say so. Rovell said the NHL would never get much promotion on ESPN, for the simple reason that not many people are interested in it. Now they will on OLN but how many people will they reach.

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Avoiding Positive Drug Test

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Canada.com,

No one wants to be that guy. No one wants to be the hockey player who tests positive at February's Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, because of a banned substance in a cold medication or a nutritional supplement. "You get caught with something you didn't know was a banned substance, then it's an embarrassment to yourself, to the country and your family," Colorado Avalanche defenceman Rob Blake said Thursday at the Olympic team orientation camp. "You don't want to be in that position. Guys understand sometimes there are things you take on a daily basis that you never thought was a banned substance.

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Bettman Interview

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Gary Bettman was just on The Fan 590 in Toronto. The radio guys wer kidding him that he pulled another one out of his hat regarding the TV contract. Bettman said the NHL is valuable and deserves to be treated as such. Bettman talked about the NBC contract. He believes long term the NHL will make money, the ratings NBC is going by are very low in his opinion so there is room to grow. Now that a partnership exists with the players, he feels ESPN should have exercised their option but they did not so they move in another direction and here we are. NHL will be a priority for OLN in terms of scheduling and promotion. He felt ESPN had other sports to promote more than the NHL. The new contract is just not with OLN, but with Comcast who reaches almost a quarter of the U.S. households. Things like VOD, game streaming will help the NHL out. Much more in-depth coverage. Bettman is comparing the move to OLN like the one in Canada, from TSN to Sportsnet, look at the growth of Sportsnet since that move took place. Says OLN will stay with the NHL after the game is over, extensive interviews, highlights, etc. With ESPN, they went to Sports Center two minutes after the final buzzer. Bettman said streaming of the NHL games will be blacked out in local markets, including Canada and they are trying to work out the details with Comcast now. Bettman mentioned will do at least one game a week in HD with Comcast/OLN. Not enough trucks and some arenas are not even set up for HD. Said will eventually get all three games in HD (one game on Monday and two regional games on Tuesday). Bettman danced around the CBC lockout regarding hockey, said he isn't even thinking about it now, will look into how to handle broadcasts if the lockout runs into October.

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