October 28:

No games in the National Hockey League last night, so today we look at what NHL teams are getting for broadcast rights, we talk about those curved hockey sticks, and the usual Quick Hits.

NHL Teams Get $12.8M for Broadcast Rights

A Toronto Globe and Mail report says the 12 National Hockey League teams collectively receive about $12.8 million for the right to broadcast their games via television and radio. And it may surprise you to find out who foots the majority of the bill.Hamms_Logo.jpg

Seven breweries contribute the major share of the nearly $13 Million. Those breweries include Molson’s in Montreal and Toronto, Budweiser and Carling in Boston, Hamm’s in Chicago, Minnesota and Los Angeles, Stroh in Detroit, Schaefer in New York and Philadelphia and Falstaff in St. Louis.

Toronto and Montreal each received the biggest payout – $1.5 million each. That comes from a long-term deal with McLaren Advertising. And the cash-strapped Pittsburgh Penguins pick up the least – only $90,000 for radio rights – nothing for television.

Here is how the Globe and Mail breaks it down for each team:

Toronto: $1.5 million a year for all home games and Sunday away games on radio; two-thirds of all home games and three away games in Montreal on television.

Montreal: $1.5 million a year for 29 home games and five away games at Toronto on television; Sunday and eight to 10 other away games on radio, but no home radio games.

Detroit: $500,000 for three years for all games on radio and 33 road games on television. Four road games on the west coast are excluded.

Boston: $415,000 for three years for all games on radio, 37 away games on television.

New York: $750,000 for three years for 12 home and 32 away games on radio; delayed telecasts of six home and 18 road games.

Los Angeles: $400,000 a year for all games on radio, 20 away games on television. No home TV.

Minnesota: $375,000 for three years for all games on radio, three home games and 27 away games on television.

California: $150,000 a year for five home and 10 away games on television. No radio.

Philadelphia: $500,000 for six years for 33 away games on television, last period of all games on radio.

St. Louis: $300,000 a year for all games on radio, two at home and 10 on the road for TV. The two at home are delayed one hour after the game begins.

Pittsburgh: $90,000 a year for all games on radio. No television.

The NHL governors still believe that untold riches await them when a national U.S. network television contract is finally arranged. But accomplishing something like that is a tall order for the league.

One of hockey’s biggest drawbacks is that its games are played mainly in the evening. No network is going to give up prime time hours to broadcast hockey, unless there are sponsors willing to shell out big bucks for them to do so. And the majority of Americans are not going to watch NHL hockey over Jackie Gleason or Ed Sullivan.

If the NHL were to begin playing games during the day on weekends, that would not solve the problem. They would be in direct contact with the National Football League and all the other sports that are broadcast on Saturday and Sunday. That will be a tough sell for sponsors.

To Curve or Not To Curve

The discussion over curved-blade hockey sticks has been ongoing for several years now. Every time a new player decides to switch to the banana-blade, the talk intensifies. This time, it’s Toronto superstar Frank Mahovlich and New York Rangers left winger Vic Hadfield who have put the subject back in the limelight.

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Frank Mahovlich

Hadfield claims he ended a recent scoring slump thanks to the curved blade. He borrowed a stick from Chicago’s Bobby Hull, the biggest proponent of the wowed blade.

Now Mahovlich says he will be giving the new-fangled thing a try as well. The Big M apparently made his decision after a penalty-box chat with Hull a couple of weeks ago.

Ken McKee of the Toronto Star examined the pros and cons of the curved blade and came up with mixed results. While those who use them are highly supportive, there are players and coaches who want them banned, for various reasons. Here are some Yea’s and Nay’s:

Yea:

Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks: “I can shoot more quickly. The curvature automatically draws the puck in from the end of the blade to the shooting surface.”

Stan Mikita, Chicago Black Hawks: “I have more control of the puck, especially when moving around a defender.”

Andy Bathgate, Pittsburgh Penguins: “It’s easier to lift the puck from close range with a curved stick.”

Mike Walton, Toronto Maple Leafs: “I started using it my first year of pro and scored 40 goals. You get a harder shot and you can keep the puck where you want it when faking a check or trying to pull the puck around one. And the spin gives some crazy rebounds.”

Nay:

Punch Imlach, GM-coach, Toronto Maple Leafs: “It’s a danger to goalies. The men using them can’t control the puck and admit it. Some goalie will get badly hurt.

Red Sullivan, coach, Pittsburgh Penguins: “For every one who can master it, there’s 10 or 20 who can’t.”

Toe Blake, coach, Montreal Canadiens: “All I know is guys who were scoring 20 goals for me started playing with those sticks and weren’t scoring. The Rocket (Maurice Richard) must have got 150 goals on his backhand. These guys will never do that.”

Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings: “I’d lose too much giving up my backhand. It’s not for me.”

Mikita went on to say that he loses nothing on his backhand and has no trouble picking up passes on either side. He says how it’s done:

“With these sticks you always play the puck at right angles to them. If you don’t, it’ll deflect off, either forehand or backhand is the same.”

Mikita also said that although the curved blade can cause a shot to drop, he can’t control when that happens.

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Johnny Bower

Toronto goalie Johnny Bower gave a netminder’s perspective on dealing with shots from the sticks:

“The drop is only part of it. Those blades add speed and spin. The ones Hull and Mikita have are so curved they can hide the puck, like a baseball pitcher. You don’t know where it’s coming from and they don’t know where it’s going!”

The last word (for today) belongs to long-time Maple Leafs trainer Tommy Naylor, quite an authority on equipment:

“The curvature provides a self-centering effect. They don’t hit it as often off the toe or the heel of the blade.”

Quick Hits

  • California Seals coach Bert Olmstead is not a fan of statistics: “I thought I had it figured out. But I’ve come to the conclusion that you can do whatever you want with statistics to suit your needs. You can juggle them around to support any argument.”
  • Olmstead also said that he has not yet fined any players for allegedly breaking curfew after Thursday night’s 8-2 loss at Detroit. Word is that Olmstead caught a few of his charges drowning their sorrows in a Detroit bar at 3 a.m.

    Plante_J_1031_Ins1.jpg
    Jacques Plante
  • Jim Proudfoot of the Toronto Star suggests that the Toronto Maple Leafs could be interested in acquiring the rights of retired goaltender Jacques Plante from the New York Rangers. Plante acquitted himself quite well at California Seals training camp this fall.
  • Proudfoot also says Toronto is trying to get Dick Duff back from Montreal. Duff left the Leafs in a 1964 trade with New York. Duff will play his first game of the season tonight for the Habs against the St. Louis Blues. He’s been out with a knee injury.
  • NHL Players’s Association counsel Alan Eagleson showed up at Montreal Canadiens practice on Tuesday. He was politely told to leave the building.
  • We now know the main issue surrounding Larry Hillman’s contract dispute with the Maple Leafs. Larry feels that playing a significant role in winning a Stanley Cup last spring should garner him a salary worth at least as much as his brother Wayne makes with New York. Wayne takes in about $2,000 a year more than Leafs have offered Larry.
  • Los Angeles Kings owner Jack Kent Cooke wants to have a real live king drop the puck at the opening of his new arena, The Forum in Inglewood, California. Says Cooke: “Getting a king for the job should be no problem. So many of them are in exile and out of work.”
  • Niagara Falls Flyers thumped the visiting London Nationals 8-1. Tom Webster and Brad Selwood each scored two goals for the Flyers, who outshot the Nationals 55-21. Flyers Rick Thompson earned 26 minutes in penalties with three minors, two majors and a misconduct.
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    Walter Tkaczuk

     

  • Kitchener Rangers came back from a 3-0 deficit to down St. Catharines Black Hawks 8-5 in Kitchener. Walter Tkaczuk had a six-point night on three goals and three assists. Defenceman Mike Robitaille also scored three for the Rangers. Bob Channel had a pair for the Hawks.
  • The American Hockey League Providence Reds whipped the Western Hockey League Vancouver Canucks 7-2. Eddie Kachur and Brian Perry each fired a pair of goals for the Reds.
  • Buffalo Bisons topped the Hershey Bears 7-5 thanks to three goals from Alain (Boom Boom) Caron in an AHL game in Buffalo.
  • San Diego Gulls of the WHL had an opening night crowd of 12, 219, better than most of the NHL expansion teams.
  • New York Rangers have sent defenceman Allan Hamilton back to the AHL Buffalo Bisons after a brief two-game stay with the big club.

 

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