Kukla's Korner

Would A Minor League Team Do Better In Phoenix?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Sunnucks of Phoenix Business Journal,

Some sports business experts and Coyotes fans believe Phoenix is less of an NHL market and more of a minor-league hockey market in terms of fans’ demand for tickets and interest in the sport.

The American Hockey League is hockey’s equivalent to AAA baseball. AHL teams serves as feeders to NHL parents. The league has teams in some larger cities such as Houston, Toronto and Milwaukee, and in some smaller markets including Syracuse, N.Y., Hershey, Pa., and Austin.

AHL ticket prices are lower than the NHL’s. Coyotes tickets run from $15 to $100. Lower-level seats with extra perks, including club and suite benefits, run $180 to $330.

By comparison, tickets for the San Antonio Rampage (the Coyotes’ AHL feeder) range from $10 to $40. The AHL’s Houston Aeros price their tickets between $13 and $70, and the Texas Stars charge $9 to $65.

Rich Ettenson, a business professor and sports marketing expert at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, said AHL teams do not have the cost pressures of player salaries that hit NHL team’s bottom lines.

“They don’t need to fill a stadium of 15,000 or so to make it a go,” said Ettenson, adding there can be enough loyal hockey fans to support a AAA team.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

They Just Keep Hanging Around

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

So when top center Jason Arnott misses six games or agitator Jordan Tootoo misses the opening month of the season, yeah, the Preds feel that. But they survived the opening month of the season, winning their last three games in October to get back to the .500 mark.

Somehow, the scrappy Preds are hanging in there.

“We’re actually hanging in there quite well,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz told ESPN.com this week. “We’ve learned to be really resilient. You can get it done, but it’s got to be a group effort.”

Having one of the best coaches in the game in Trotz helps, too; year after year, his staff squeezes juice out of a rock. And veteran GM David Poile has a keen eye for talent and maximizes the pennies afforded to him.

“Could we be a team that was top level if we added an extra $12 million to our payroll? Yeah, absolutely,” said Trotz. “We could add a brand new lineup front. But that’s not reality for us. We’ve got to do it by drafting and developing players, by finding the next Joel Ward or the next Dan Ellis or Chris Mason, those types of guys.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

One Team Rolling, One Team Needs A Win

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Hughson of CBC,

After last Saturday’s 3-1 win in Calgary, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said, “For the first time all year we were a five-man unit, we made some nice plays. It was impressive. We looked like a hockey team.”

That served as an ominous warning to the league that, despite a slow start, reports of the Wings demise are rather premature.

The Wings returned home and dispatched the Bruins 2-0 then beat San Jose 2-1 in a game they deserved to win before the shootout. They’ve won three in a row and four of five.

So what’s got the winged wheel rolling straight again?

continued and a look at the HNIC matchup tomorrow between the Leafs and Wings.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Boring Bruins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Christopher L. Gasper of Bruins Blog at the Boston Globe,

The only thing more damaging than being middling is being boring.

This was supposed to be the season that the Bruins lifted themselves squarely back into the discussion with the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics. They were coming off a season in which they led the Eastern Conference in points and won a playoff series for the first time since 1999, sweeping Les Canadiens last spring before losing in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

It was something to build on and hope that Boston could be the Hub of Hockey again.

Instead, 15 games into 2009-10 it looks like the same old Black and Gold, except their scoring touch has gone ice cold.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Leafs Going In The Right Direction

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,

Tonight, the Leafs and Hurricanes, boasting two of the league’s worst offences, will clash in a battle for the basement in the NHL and Carolina coach Paul Maurice thinks he knows what will happen.

“(It will be) 9-8, that’s the prediction,” he said with a smirk. “They’re going to try and manufacture goals, just like we will.”

Ron Wilson, his Toronto counterpart, was incredulous.

“If he wants to give up eight or nine goals, we’ll take that right now,” said Wilson. “He hasn’t watched us play much if he thinks we’re capable right now of scoring eight or nine goals.”

There is a sense among the Leafs, both the players and management, that they are heading in the right direction with points in five consecutive games.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Hockey Talk On A Friday

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

• The early-season leader in what may be a crowded Calder Trophy class may be the Philadelphia Flyers’ James vanRiemsdyk, the second player chosen in the Patrick Kane (2007) draft. VanRiemsdyk spent two years at the University of New Hampshire and had a brief seven-game taste of pro last spring with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate. After Mike Knuble left as free agent and Joffrey Lupul went west in Chris Pronger deal, van Riemsdyk received a chance to play in a scoring role and is making the most of his 13 or so minutes of ice time per night, scoring 13 points in his first 10 games).

• Road warriors? After a light early-season schedule that saw the Calgary Flames play eight of their first 12 at home, they now face a daunting 13 of their next 17 away from the Pengrowth Saddledome.

more hockey notes plus a look at Brett Hull…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Save Of The Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Brian Gionta thinks all he has to do is stuff the puck in the net, but Tim Thomas says not tonight.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tim+thomas

Best Team Defence

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

I think we are far enough into the season to conclude that the Chicago Blackhawks have the best team defence.  Chicago has held opposition to an amazing 22.7 shots per game so far.  This is 3.5 shots per game better than any other team (Los Angeles is second).  The Blackhawks have a solid 8-6 record (with one regulation tie) but have not been able to capitalize on this top defence so far because of lacklustre goaltending.  Cristobal Huet has put up a .895 saves percentage and a 2.36 goals against average.  The GAA looks acceptable, but when you consider how few shots he has faced, it is not so good.  So far rookie Antii Niemi has done a little better that Huet in goal, but he is largely untested.  His first of four starts was a shutout against Florida and that one start alone (which may be a bit of a fluke) makes up the difference between Huet and his numbers.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Talking Avalanche Attendance

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

Money, of course, was a top reason listed as to why people aren’t showing up as much right now, and I can certainly understand that.

But it’s obviously more than just money why people aren’t showing up right now to see what is a first-place team. Lots of people are tired at the lack of feeling that they are being heardby the Avalanche – be it by the team management or the ticket offices or the game-night entertainment staff or wherever.

A lot of you think the Avs just don’t care all that much about what you have to say. I think this can be more broadly accused, though, to the parts of the organization not having to do with the actual hockey operations. And I don’t want to just sit here and take cheapshots at them. There are a lot of good people who work with the Avs and they’ve been a pretty darn successful organ-i-zation over the years, and they’ve given back a lot to the community.

But I still hear complaints all the time about the lack of coherance about ticket prices/policies, etc. when they call the ticket offices. I hear a lot of complaints about the awful music that is blared into their ears at the Pepsi Center. I hear a lot of complaints about how nobody seemed to care when they, as a longtime season ticket holder, complained that lower bowl seats were sold to new customers at cheaper prices than they’ve paid for years – even in the upper bowl.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Has Price Found His Game?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

There is a time in a season when a player has that moment that changes everything.

I wonder whether Carey Price had his Thursday night in Boston. His 42-save performance lifted the Montreal Canadiens to a 2-1 shootout win over their rivals.

Hey, I know the Bruins were missing Marc Savard, Milan Lucic and David Krejci, and I know how their offense has dried up mightily in the last little while.

But Price delivered a dynamite effort in enemy territory as the Bruins launched everything but the kitchen sink at him. And that’s why I consider this game meaningful for Price.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carey+price

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