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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday Night News - Part 3, London

Well there has been a lot of coverage the Ducks in London. I've got video, photos and other news coverage. So here you go!

The Latest update from the Ducks Blog

You know one of the great things about staying in a nice hotel? When you come back to the room after a long day and you see that the chamber maid has taken your mess and organized it nicely for you. I came back yesterday to see all the junk I had dumped on the desk in this room had all been put in nice little piles. Today I noticed that all of my toiletries were carefully arranged, all facing the same way and lying on a washcloth. It gives me a warm feeling to think of this anonymous woman taking the time to put everything in its little place so that I'll be just a little happier. Makes me want to leave an anonymous tip.

Incidentally, what's the deal with using a new towel every time you take a shower at a hotel? Why do we do that? You never do that at home. I'll go weeks without using a new towel at home. But there is something about a hotel that makes you feel like you're justified in using a brand new towel for every shower, even if the once-used towel is completely dry. (By the way, this is funnier if you read it in a Jerry Seinfeld voice.)
Speaking of tips (in the first paragraph), I still can't get used to tipping people with coins, even though I did it in Canada too during the playoffs last year. Since there are 1 and 2 pound coins here, you often tip a bartender or a bellman with them, and it always makes me feel cheap. Try tipping a guy with coins in the States. He'll look at you like you just stepped on his foot. Or he'll give you that look people always give at a ballgame when you want to walk past them down the aisle and they have to actually rise out of their seat.

Read the rest here - Link

Ducks TV has posted on a new episode here - Link interview with Brad May - Link interview with Todd Bertuzzi - Link interview of Corey Perry - Link interview with Giggy - Link

Video of the Ducks seeing their names on the Cup - Link

Shawn Rourke got to go to London. 

Wednesday, took an abbreviated double-decker bus tour of London. But the company couldn’t be beat as I joined the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks and the Stanley Cup itself for a quick jaunt through the city.

We all climbed aboard a 30-year-old traditional red double-decker bus that is only used for special occasions. And, what could be more special than escorting the Ducks and the Stanley Cup on a sight-seeing tour?

We saw it all in the course of two hours. First stop was Tower Bridge – and not the London Bridge, as I mistakenly called it yesterday. I publicly apologize to all the Brits that I offended and especially to those that took the time to gently point out the error of my ways.

Then, we sped past the Tower of London (good thing I stopped for the tour Tuesday) and on to Big Ben, Westminster Abby and Parliament Square. We stopped here briefly for some pictures with the Cup in Parliament Square and then it was back on the bus for a quick pass past Buckingham Palace – where I learned there are 94 washrooms at the disposal of the royal family – and a slog through rush-hour traffic back to the Canary Wharf hotel.

I must admit, at times, it seemed too close to the classic Vacation scene where Chevy Chase can’t merge out of traffic and keeps looping around the same London circle, pointing out all the same tourist attractions to his kids over and over.

See his NHL blog here - Link

See his photo gallery here - Link

See his videos here - Link

Earl Sleek has posted his thoughts on London

As the Ducks and Kings finish preparing for actual games this weekend, I thought I’d devote a post to the apparent problems of having two BoC teams starting their season in London. This is not to say that there won’t be any positives to these two teams taking the trip—but without knowing what the actual point of this Euro-experiment is, it’s tough to say how well the NHL did in its preparations. Anyway, here’s four reasons why the NHL’s decision-making seems odd to me.

1. Distance
In terms of miles traveled, the Ducks and Kings are the two most geographically distant NHL cities from London, England. It’s quite strange that the NHL would take its two furthest franchises and fly them 5,400 miles out of their way to start their season. But travel distance isn’t even the main concern here—there’s also an issue of time zones. If the NHL is trying to make more fans in the UK, maybe a smarter plan might have been to send two teams that don’t start most of their games at 3 or 3:30 am London time.

Read the rest here - Link

The AP has coverage of the Ducks trip

So ends the summer when the National Hockey League stood out by simply laying low.
No talk of lockouts, doping, rogue referees or police blotters in the North American ice hockey league during the few short months following the Anaheim Ducks' landmark championship for California.
The league that usually gets noticed when things

go wrong, was glad to let the other Americans sports own the scandal-focused spotlight. Ice hockey escaped embarrassment and turmoil, and now is readying its next attempt to matter in the U.S. sports landscape.
From new streamlined uniforms with peculiar colors and designs, to season-opening games played outside North America, to one played out of doors, the NHL is trying gimmicks and novelty to create buzz.
Having a star like just-turned-20 Sidney Crosby doesn't hurt, either.
It all begins this weekend in London where the champion Ducks begin defense of their Stanley Cup title against their closest neighbor and biggest rival, the Los Angeles Kings.
«Obviously the purpose in going to England is opening up a new building for the Kings' owner,» Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger said, «but at the same time it's a chance for us to go over there and show off our product and try to bring some fan following in England.

Read the rest here - Link

The BBC has coverage as well

Some of North American sports biggest stars will showcase their skills in London over the next month as a roadshow of ice hockey, basketball and American football hits the capital.

October sees NBA and NFL games, but this weekend it's the turn of NHL as the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings meet twice at the 02 Arena in the first regular-season games ever staged in Europe.

"This is an exciting place to be, with an opportunity to showcase the NHL to people in the UK," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, whose team begin the new season as defending Stanley Cup champions.

"We just hope it gives more exposure to the sport. It's a world game and we're playing here in London. I think there are 200-plus media outlets here that are going to cover it, so it's an excellent opportunity," he added.

Billed as the UK Premiere Series, the two sell-out games are being televised in 115 countries and follow three previous successful season-opening games played in Japan in 1997, 1998 and 2000.

Read the rest here - Link

MVN has coverage

The Ducks continue their British jaunt with sightseeing, soccer matches and golfing in addition to their practice schedule. The highlight of the trip, however, is something that the Ducks have been waiting all summer to see - the Stanley Cup engraved with their names. In spite of months of partying and days with the Cup all summer long, the reality didn’t sink in until they saw their names on the Cup. They will be there for the next 62 years until the ring they are on will be removed and retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Amazing stuff!

In other Ducks news, Jean-Sebastian Giguere anticipates being ready to go in the next two weeks, which will cause a great dilemma with Brian Burke. Which goalie will be the back up? Will Jonas Hiller take the job away from Ilya Bryzgalov? Will Burke find a good trade for Bryzgalov? Both Hiller and Bryzgalov have the opportunity this weekend to make the answers easier or more difficult, depending upon how they play.

Read the rest here - Link

The National Post has coverage

How is the National Hockey League being met here in Jolly Old England? Well, put on your best British accent, then say this: "Is that hockey?"

Perfect. Now, you are beginning to grasp the mountain of a job that lies ahead for the NHL--or the National Ice Hockey League, as they need to be reminded here -- as it dips a toe into the waters of the rare Western European capital where the game is still on the fringe of the fringe sports. Even behind what we would call field hockey.

When the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks meet the Los Angeles Kings this Saturday and Sunday evenings at the O2 Arena in East London, they will be the first NHL regular-season games played outside North America. But yesterday, as members of the Ducks used the Tower Bridge as a backdrop for some photos with the Stanley Cup, most Londoners walking past had no idea who they were and why they were carting around that giant silver thing.

"Is that the Carling Cup [an English soccer trophy]?" one fellow asked a reporter, after some discussion with his mate as to what the big, shiny Cup represented. "I'm just wondering, which footballers are these?"

Another man approached Anaheim's Todd Marchant, inquiring as to what they were doing in London.

"We're in town to play the Los Angeles Kings," Marchant explained.

"And who might 'we' be?" the man asked.

Read the rest here - Link

Burke does not mind going to London

LONDON -- The Kings' ownership tie to London's O2 Arena and the Kings' get-accustomed trip to Austria would seem to give them an edge in effusiveness regarding this monster trip to open the season.
But then you might listen to Brian Burke.

"When I come to London, the first thing I think of is how many of the greatest people who have walked this planet have walked here," the Ducks' 52-year-old general manager said Thursday in the lobby of the team hotel.
He mentioned the "soldiers, sailors, authors, poets, leaders."
He glowed about past visits to the Tower of London, where they keep the crown jewels.
During a news conference that preceded his remarks, he sold the need to sell the league in all corners.
Given that the Ducks signed on to this before the Stanley Cup run that consumed them all the way to June 6, it's an unusual start, he agreed.
"Yeah," he said, "but when the league asks you to go, you go. When the NHL asks you to represent them overseas, you go."

Read the rest here - Link

Fox Sports has a preview of the Ducks/Kings games

Nearly a decade has passed since the NHL crowned back-to-back Stanley Cup champions. The Anaheim Ducks' hopes of ending that streak have taken a number of hits even before the team has gotten on the ice.

The league's 90th season kicks off Saturday when the Ducks meet the Los Angeles Kings at the O2 Arena in London in the 2007 Premiere Series, a two-game set that concludes Sunday.

Anaheim is trying to become the first repeat champion since Detroit in 1997 and '98, but the Ducks look like a much different team than the one that defeated Ottawa in five games to become the first Cup winner from California.

Scott Niedermayer, the team captain and Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP, said in June he was mulling retirement and the 34-year-old defenseman was suspended for failing to report to training camp. Veteran forward Teemu Selanne, who scored a team-high 48 goals in the final year of his contract, remains a free agent.

Injuries and defections have also hurt Anaheim. Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere will not play in London while he recovers from surgery on a sports hernia - the same injury that has sidelined forward Samuel Pahlsson. Former Red Wing Mathieu Schneider, signed as insurance against Niedermayer's possible retirement, broke his left ankle during the Ducks' preseason opener.

Giguere may not play until Anaheim's home opener Oct. 10, while Pahlsson and Schneider are expected to return later in the month.

Read the rest here - Link