Kukla's Korner

Good Games and Bad Games

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Last night's Wings/Avs game was a well played game, filled with action and both teams seemed to understand and play by the rules. Of course, a few obstruction calls were made but in my mind, all of the calls were correct and kudos to both refs for making the consistent call. The only thing missing was the hitting, but I feel that will come as players adjust to not using the stick as an obstruction tool. On the other hand, the Flyers and Islanders by all accounts, played an ugly game: from the Daily Times,

There is a huge question the NHL needs to begin asking itself: Is this really what we want? That’s because, the game of hockey being presented to the fans this preseason is clumsy, uneven and has no flow. Case in point was the Flyers’ second preseason game Wednesday against the New York Islanders. Consider the following ugly statistics: 12 combined power plays, six hooking penalties, two more for delay of game when players clearing the puck accidentally shot it into the stands. And that was just in the first period. The infractions slowed up a bit as the game progressed, but the sparse crowd at the Sovereign Bank Arena was disinterested by that point. The irrelevant final score was Flyers 2, Islanders 1, but there are graver concerns at this juncture of the exhibition season than wins and losses. Sure, the games don’t count right now and some of the players that are playing won’t be in the NHL, but even games at the AHL level last season weren’t this ugly. Not only is the game a bad product, but the players are full of uncertainty. They seem to be fighting their own instincts to play the game the way they know how. "That’s the new NHL and that’s what they want and that’s what they’re going to get," said a disgruntled Chris Therien. "They’ve gone from one extreme to an absolute other extreme, and that, as a player, is frustrating."

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Zero Tolerance Won’t Work

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Metro West Daily News,

So it is that Harry Sinden, while fully agreeing that a crackdown is necessary on the obstruction fouls that have grown so common and destructive to the NHL game, hopes the league doesn't go too far – to the point that this becomes a nearly unrecognizable pastime. ``Obviously, you've got to have penalty calls, or else you'd have anarchy out there,'' Sinden said. ``But if you just call it to a zero-tolerance level, it won't work. A game without any kind of incidental contact at all, players just allowed to skate around at full speed with no one ever laying a finger on them? It won't work. ``To me, minor penalties can absolutely destroy a game. Because instead of being a significant event in a game – `OK, here we go, a power play' – it becomes a common thing. Everybody gets lots of them. You get a penalty and you don't even worry about it, because you know you're going to be getting one right back.''

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NHL Reaching Out to Generation Y

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Citizen,

Sidney Crosby, shirtless, but still exuding that nice-guy aura, has hit the newsstands in Vanity Fair, generating the kind of buzz that money can't buy. Crosby's beefcake shot is one more sign that the NHL is trying to expand its appeal in the U.S., and among Generation Y fans -- those between the ages of about 16 and 25, said Frank Pons, an assistant professor of sports marketing and consumer behaviour at the University of San Diego who studied hockey marketing as an MBA and PhD student in Quebec City and Montreal. Of course hockey is a tradition, said Pons. But more and more, the NHL seeks to position its brand outside of the sports sphere and into the entertainment sphere. And the kicking ass part is all-American. "A lot of American sports are moving away from selling the sport, they sell the entertainment," he said. "The value of hockey is not in how good the team is."

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Something Is Missing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

It's quiet out there in the NHL rinks. Too quiet. Yes, the game is back, with a fan-friendly smile on its face, more skating room in the neutral zone, and new faces on the rosters. But something's missing. There's speed but little snap, even for the pre-season. There's more offensive action, but not much intensity. There's entertainment but little emotion. What's missing may be some good, old-fashioned open-ice hits, and the good news is more than a few insiders figure bodies will soon start to collide with nasty intent, a byproduct of the crackdown on obstruction.

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Rooting For Rem Murray

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

When you play in the National Hockey League, there are no promises. Any game could be your last. For Rem Murray, that date may have been Jan. 6, 2004. But he's doing everything he can to defy the odds and postpone it. This is not just another story of a worn-out player seeking one more chance. When Rem Murray left the game, there was nothing wrong with him -- as far as his hockey skills were concerned. He had been an excellent defensive forward with the Edmonton Oilers, and was playing for the Nashville Predators in Detroit when he suddenly started having trouble with his neck. His head was trembling and there was nothing he could do about it.

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“My NHL’ Campaign

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The NHL unveiled the "My NHL" media campaign Wednesday night in New York and NHL.com has exclusive sneak peeks. Watch the first installment here and get a glimpse at how the spots were made.

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TSN-HD Schedule

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The 2005 - 2006 TSN-HD NHL Schedule: 1. 5-Oct - Ottawa @ Toronto - 7:30pm ET 2. 5-Oct - Phoenix @ Vancouver - 10:30pm ET 3. 2-Nov - Ottawa @ Buffalo - 8pm ET 4. 9-Nov - Los Angeles @ Detroit - 10:30pm ET 5. 10-Nov - Montreal @ Pittsburgh - 7:30pm ET 6. 11-Nov - Toronto @ Buffalo - 8:00pm ET 7. 16-Nov - Detroit @ Calgary - 8:30pm ET 8. 23-Nov - Boston @ Toronto - 7:30pm ET 9. 30-Nov - Colorado @ Vancouver - 10:00pm ET 10. 7-Dec - Calgary @ New Jersey - 7:30pm ET 11. 13-Dec - Phoenix @ Montreal - 7:30pm ET 12. 14-Dec - Dallas @ Buffalo - 7:00pm ET 13. 16-Dec - Buffalo @ Pittsburgh - 7:30pm ET 14. 21-Dec - Edmonton @ Vancouver - 10:00pm ET 15. 4-Jan - Montreal @ Colorado - 9:00pm ET 16. 11-Jan - Dallas @ Buffalo - 7:00pm ET 17. 18-Jan - Toronto @ Minnesota - 8:00pm ET 18. 1-Feb - Ottawa @ New Jersey - 7:30pm ET 19. 2-Feb - Montreal @ Boston - 7:00pm ET 20. 5-Feb - Philadelphia @ Montreal - 3:00pm ET 21. 1-Mar - Ottawa @ Pittsburgh - 7:30pm ET 22. 7-Mar - Montreal @ Toronto - 7:30pm ET 23. 23-Mar - Toronto @ Montreal - 7:30pm ET 24. 26-Mar - Toronto @ New Jersey - 7:30pm ET 25. 4-Apr - Boston @ Montreal - 7:30pm ET 26. 5-Apr - NY Islanders @ Toronto - 7:30pm ET 27. 12-Apr - Montreal @ Buffalo - 7:30pm ET

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Is The NHL Responsible For The CBC Lockout

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from cbcunlocked.ca,

A new story line is being proposed as people try to make sense of what is happening at Canada's public broadcaster. Synopsis: The CBC lockout is paying for the NHL lockout. The theory: the CBC can recoup the millions of dollars in ad revenue it lost while there was no Hockey Night in Canada, by locking out 5,500 employees and saving the associated wages and costs. One observer who's heard the theory is Ian Morrison, who speaks for Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, a group that advocates more and better Canadian content and keeps an eagle eye on the CBC. It is "at the very least plausible," he says, that the employee lockout will cover the CBC's NHL-lockout losses. "People I trust have told me the corporation is saving in the range of $3 million to $4 million a week," he says.

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Kariya Loves Nashville

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via TSN,

The Nashville Predators could be a sleeper pick to do some damage this season, especially if the NHL crackdown on obstruction remains in place. A fast-skating team with great goaltending, the Preds may surprise. Paul Kariya, who chose Nashville over six to eight other interested teams and signed a $9-million US, two-year deal last month, is already a believer. "I really like the hockey situation here," Kariya said from the Music City. "I think they have a very good young hockey club that's getting better. I think all the pieces of the puzzle are there or are getting there. "It's a really neat situation and I felt that I fit well into it."

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Osgood Out With Torn Muscle

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Detroit Free Press,

Chris Osgood may miss all of exhibition season because of an injury that has not been kind to Red Wings goaltenders of late: A tear in the groin. Osgood said Wednesday that he would not even attempt to get back into his equipment until Sunday or Monday at the earliest. He hasn't played since last Saturday, when he took part in a scrimmage during the Traverse City segment of training camp. He noticed some pain last Thursday morning, but thought it was just the usual stiffness that accompanies the first days of training camp. But by Friday he was genuinely sore, and Saturday, the pain grew so intense that upon returning to Detroit, he went for an ultrasound. It revealed a tear in the right groin muscle.

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