Kukla's Korner

Cablevision Adding OLN To iO Digital Service

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via NHL.com,

BETHPAGE, NY and STAMFORD, CT (October 28, 2005) -- Cablevision Systems Corp. and OLN today announced that they had reached an agreement under which Cablevision will include OLN, which has exclusive rights to carry 58 regular season NHL hockey games, numerous playoff games and the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals, as part of its iO digital service. These New York area hockey fans will be able to watch Monday's Rangers game on OLN "We are pleased that we were able to reach agreement with Comcast in a number of areas, including making OLN and its exclusive telecasts of NHL hockey games available to many more Cablevision customers," said Mac Budill, Cablevision's senior vice president of programming. "Beginning with Monday night's game between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens, OLN's exclusive national hockey telecasts will be available to the majority of our cable customers through our iO digital service."
more update 1:57pm, via Media Week, The deal includes other Comcast properties, although neither side would elaborate on specifics.

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Wings Continue Winning Ways

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

It's a good thing Mike Babcock doesn't have commitment issues. Having two former head coaches still in the mix, less financial freedom and a new league to contend with, it might not be the dynamic every new coach would want. But Babcock has embraced the situation as new coach of the Detroit Red Wings. And while many prognosticators figured the Wings would be one of those formerly big-spending NHL teams to become a casualty of the new economic system, the team and Babcock haven't missed a beat.

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Nashville Is Not That Good

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sports Illustrated,

The Nashville Predators aren't all that good. Don't get sucked in by that eight-game winning streak to start the season. This is not a powerhouse in the making. Outside of goaltender Tomas Vokoun, a player who just might be as underrated as Arrested Development, the Preds simply don't possess the mix of superstar power, experienced defense and veteran savvy that true contenders such as Detroit and Ottawa have in spades.

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Russian Takeover- Fetisov Style

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Hockey Rants blogger Jes has discovered that a new Russian League may be on the horizon.

Apparently, Russian sports minister Vyacheslav (Slava) Fetisov is very close to the launching an ambitious new hockey league and it could get bloody. Not only will Fetisov have to fight the 'old guard', but he'll be up against the IIHF which will want to control the league under its umbrella.

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Could Stevens Return

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Star-Ledger,

Scott Stevens is not pushing for a comeback. The former Devils defenseman says he is happy in retirement. But as the Devils continue to struggle this season, especially defensively, it wouldn't be shocking if general manager Lou Lamoriello at some point placed a call to the team's former captain. So, would Stevens tell Lamoriello he won't come back? "I think so, but you never know what's going to happen," Stevens told The Star-Ledger yesterday.

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Tkachuk Out With Cracked Ribs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Blues left winger Keith Tkachuk will be out for an undetermined amount of time after an MRI test revealed Thursday that he had three non-displaced cracked ribs. Tkachuk suffered the rib injury Oct. 15 when he jabbed himself in the midsection with the butt-end of his stick after he got the blade caught in the pads of Nashville goaltender Tomas Vokoun.

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Canadian TV Ratings- TSN Up 156%

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

Everyone knew this was going to be big. But nobody imagined it being this good. "I told everybody the ratings would be up," said TSN president Phil King about the astounding TV audience levels in the first month of the NHL's new era. "I just didn't think they'd be up this much." King was referring specifically to the figures for his own network, which have been off the charts. But he might as well have been speaking for every NHL television broadcaster in the country. There's good news absolutely everywhere

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Trade Talk Down Around The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun

, A month into the NHL season and GMs aren't burning up the phone lines trying to foist their underachievers and malcontents upon their brethren. "There's no (trade) talk at all," Muckler said prior to last night's visit by the Canadiens to the Corel Centre. "I've had very few discussions with other GMs. Certainly, a lot less than I did in the past." Now, it should be noted Muckler isn't shopping for anything. However, the reality is the NHL's new $39-million (all terms US) salary cap is going to limit movement -- possibly until the March 9 trade deadline.

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Crack Down On Rules Has Not Filtered Down To Lower Levels

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

Sad, but true: There is now more hooking, holding, obstruction and interference in minor hockey than at the NHL level. And getting rid of it will be a mammoth task, if and when Hockey Canada moves to tackle the issue. Among those who would like to see the crackdown extended to the grassroots level are a significant number of its game officials ... referees and linesmen hearing complaints from fans, coaches and players who think the rules of the game for 11- or 12-year-olds are identical to those of the NHL. The reality, however, is that no crackdown has been ordered below the pro level. In fact, minor hockey officials were instructed to maintain the status quo during their mandatory fall training clinics
.

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OLN Deal Is Messy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the globe and Mail,

This, of course, has been a public-relations disaster for the NHL, which is trying to get its revamped game watched, but instead has seen it denied to established fans as well as new viewers. Did the league see this coming? "We were certainly aware of the carriage issue with Cablevision," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said yesterday. Daly said the league, for obvious reasons, would like OLN's distribution expanded to a basic tier. Just as obvious, OLN's decision to black out the hockey telecasts on Cablevision and EchoStar is a disaster for the NHL. TV consultant Neal Pilson, a former president of CBS Sports, is a hockey fan, lives in New York and subscribes to Cablevision. "EchoStar happens to be a client," he said. "So I'm being very careful here about how I'm describing the situation. The important point is these issues come up every once in a while and they get resolved. They're growing pains [for OLN]." An NHL source said a resolution could be close. "The league is working behind the scenes," the source said. "A deal could be a day away or a week away. If it's a month, then I think you will see the league take a more aggressive position."

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