Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Could We See A Few NHL Fold?

(4/6/2020)

from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star, The majority of NHL teams these days are owned by extremely rich individuals or large corporations. Financial pressures from other businesses may nonetheless put more focus on their NHL holdings if there is no hockey revenue. So which teams could be in trouble? The first one that comes to mind is Ottawa. A small-market team with diminishing attendance, last in the NHL with well under 13,000 per game. There have already been rumours that the Senators might one day have to move, all quickly dismissed by owner Eugene Melnyk. He’s been focused on trying to get a deal for a new arena.... Arizona and Florida, 28th and 29th in NHL attendance, would also face challenges with an extended shutdown. The fragile Coyotes’ story is well known, and even the acquisitions of star forwards Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel improved attendance only slightly this season. The Panthers have a deep-pocketed owner in Vinnie Viola and have vowed to keep paying workers. But that’s a money-losing operation, and the losses will become even more significant. Billionaires run out of patience, too, and the stock market is doing no one any favours these days. The Islanders have struggled without a permanent home. Carolina has been wobbly for years. New Jersey, Buffalo and Nashville could also face big financial challenges. Knowing Bettman’s legendary determination to keep teams afloat and in the same city, he’ll fight to the death to keep all the existing teams alive. But he also knows Atlanta going out of business turned into a positive story for the league when the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg. more

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Video- NHL Productions Feature On The Joe Louis Arena

(4/5/2020)

via the YouTube page of the NHL, Although construction began without a budget, architectural plans, or a tenant - Joe Louis Arena became the destination for hockey royalty and the home to champions. “The Joe” chronicles four decades of unforgettable moments in Red Wings history retold by the players, coaches, and managers that lived them. Dubbed the “Dead Wings” for their futility during the late 70s, the transition of ownership from the Norris family to the Ilitch family began a renaissance in the Motor City. Future captain Steve Yzerman arrived in 1983 and Detroit quickly established themselves as a perennial contender for the Stanley Cup. After disappointing playoff exits in the early 1990s, the Red Wings, led by future Hall of Famers Sergei Fedorov, Brendan Shanahan, and Nicklas Lidstrom, finally ended a 42-year championship drought in 1997. Detroit repeated as cup winners the following season and won two more Stanley Cups in 2002 and 2008 - all while making 25-straight playoff appearances at the Joe. In addition to cultivating a culture of winning on the ice, the new owners created family atmosphere throughout the franchise, arena, and fan base. Players, fans, and staff mingled within the rink’s corridors and shared highs and lows, not just as a team, but as a community. Every moment is here - from Gordie Howe’s return, to the Russian Five, to the emotional final ceremony. “The Joe” utilizes exclusive access and never-before-seen archival footage to present a unique perspective of Detroit’s storied past in one of the NHL’s most iconic arenas Watch the over one hour NHL  Productions feature below.

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

All Craig Leipold

(4/1/2020)

Graeme Roustan: Today, we have Craig Leipold, the owner of the Minnesota Wild, on with us today for Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News. Thanks very much for joining us. GR: You sit on the executive committee of the Board of Governors for the NHL. I know that a lot of owners call you to talk about all kinds of issues. How are the owners collectively doing, and how are their staffs doing in general? CL: We have been talking in the last two weeks. I think there’s high value and understanding what other teams are going to be doing. I have been on the phone to other owners, and we’ve talked through situations and options that we’re looking at. I can say this: if there’s any way that we can get this season, jumpstart it back on the ice and at a minimum play the playoffs, that is the foremost direction that every team owner wants to go. We want to finish this season. I think all hockey fans can rest assured that our No. 1 priority – well, the No. 1 priority is safety and the health of our employees and our fans – but after that, we want to be playing hockey, and we’ll do everything we can to accomplish that. I think all the owners that I’ve spoken with individually and from what I have heard on with the Board of Governors conference calls is everyone feels the same way. Let’s see what we can do to get the season started in some format, make good decisions. And let’s see if we can still play hockey this season. more Q & A...

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Paused Hockey Thoughts

(4/1/2020)

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, - There’s so much uncertainty about where we’re going from a financial perspective that many ideas are being thrown around. Estimated losses of $220 million are projected if this year’s paused games are made up, including the playoffs. (That would likely add four percentage points of escrow to players’ paycheques.) Projected losses if there’s no season are closer to $1.1 billion, and 35 per cent escrow whenever we resume. One idea: allowing players and teams to defer money. For example, a player with a five-year contract at a $5-million AAV would still have that term and cap hit, but could agree to hold some of the payments. Teams would get a break on cash flow, and players could save until escrow was lowered. Don’t know if it will happen, but spitballing never hurts. Both the NHL and NHLPA would have to agree. Also, the players will decide what to do about their final paycheque by next week. - One exec wants me to push Saskatchewan as a playoff “hub” site if that method is necessary. “Not too populous and back to our roots,” he said. - Five years ago, the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers moved to Flint. The Firebirds had one winning season in its first four, a .369 points percentage and made the playoffs once (a five-game defeat). It was not a model franchise. In September, they acquired goalie Anthony Popovich from defending-champion Guelph. Popovich had backstopped the Storm to the Memorial Cup semifinal, but with talented Nico Daws ready to play, they had a surplus. Never drafted in the NHL, Popovich was trying out for the Red Wings at their rookie tournament in Traverse City when it happened. “I had a feeling I was going to get traded,” Popovich said. “Some people thought it was a waste to go to Flint. Looking back, it was the best spot for me.” His new goalie coach was a fiery, determined competitor who played 299 NHL games for Detroit. “It’s been real tough here,” said Greg Stefan, who coached 2006 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Cam Ward on that Carolina Stanley Cup champion. “The second skate on the ice with him, you could hear the comments in practice from the veteran guys. ‘I like this guy,’ they were saying. I knew right away. His professionalism, character, work ethic, how he was a teammate, unselfish. more on the last topic plus many more Thoughts...

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Local Broadcast Rankings

(4/1/2020)

from Jonathan Willis of The Athletic, It started off with the survey. For nearly a month, hockey writers across The Athletic shared the link and asked their readers to share their opinions on their local broadcast teams and the best and worst elsewhere. Thousands of you did, with all of you rating your local broadcast on a scale of very poor to very good, and many of you obligingly chiming in on teams from other markets. Once the votes were in, the opinions of the fans and non-fans had to be balanced. Local fans are the intended audience of any regional broadcast and watch theirs far more regularly than out-of-towners. Out-of-market fans, on the other hand, tended to be far more objective and equally willing to call out good and bad.... 23. Detroit Red Wings The results: We’ve seen a few markets (Anaheim, Florida) where the locals like the product a lot more than national viewers do, but Detroit takes the cake. FSD’s Red Wings telecast ranks 16 spots higher on the local scale than the non-local scale. No other broadcast has a greater discrepancy between local love and out-of-market disdain. That’s a good indication of a competent but biased broadcast and seems to be something of which even Red Wings fans who love it are aware. “Ken Daniels’s play-by-play is excellent, and Mickey Redmond/Chris Osgood on colour is wonderful fan service,” said one Detroit fan who gave FSD the highest possible score. “Ken Daniels is the best in the business,” said another local with a “very good” vote. “Mickey has learned to tame some of his homerism, but he does still struggle with it, and if they don’t turn it around soon, he might retire because I don’t know how much of this rebuild he can take.” more ($$$) on the Wings plus all the other teams...