Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press,
Folks, you don’t see it here in Minnesota, where the Wild are thriving. But hockey is dying in many other parts of the country. And that includes traditional markets such as Boston and Chicago. The sellouts you see at Xcel are the exception, not the rule.
Nashville is typical of the new wave of teams. The Predators may be one of the top two teams in the league, yet they can’t fill their building now that the novelty has worn off. Not that the other owners care. They’ve already pocketed the expansion fees.
Something needs to be done to juice up the competition. And out of all of the above issues, the lack of rivalries can be most easily addressed. This is a totally fixable situation. Of course, the NHL won’t fix it. Its solution to a problem is to try to spin the data.
from Allen Panzeri of the Ottawa Citizen:
Happy Birthday, Ryan Smyth.
As the Edmonton Oilers leave Ottawa for Columbus, Ohio, this morning, Smyth’s teammates will be helping him celebrate his 31st birthday.
It could well be his last one as an Oiler. As tough as Smyth makes it for goaltenders, it’s not a lot of fun to be in his skates right now.
from the LA Daily News:
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles’ hockey savior, grew up in a city of 21,000 people - just more than the capacity of Staples Center. Turns out, that steel-mill town in northern Slovenia gave Kopitar all he needed.
The talent? It blossomed, nurtured by a hockey coach father and assisted by videos of Sergei Fedorov.
The motivation? It came from the desire to put his tiny Eastern-bloc country on the hockey map.
The work ethic? It sprung from the childhood days spent waiting tables at his mother’s restaurant.
In his skating posture, puckhandling abilities, and heads-up play, he’s a spitting image of Sergei Fedorov, circa 1992.
A word to the wise: Stay away from tennis players, kid.
from Chris Foster of the LA Times,
This, too, may be Johnson’s last Hail-to-the-Victors-Farewell-to-the-Wolverines night in Ann Arbor. Students plead for him to stay put, but the woeful Los Angeles Kings, who acquired his rights in a September trade, hope he comes west.
“Last year, they were yelling, ‘Three more years,’ now it’s two,” Johnson said the next day, huddling at the Yost as the temperature outside fought its way toward six, the day’s expected high. “After the game, the seniors [on the team] said I should go out with them to say goodbye. That was funny.”
But California dreamin’, even on such a winter’s day, is on the shelf until his college season ends, which could be as early as next month.
more (reg. req.)
You see, it pays to live in Canada…
Darren Dreger reports the Boston Bruins may be close to re-signing impending UFA forward Marco Sturm to a new four-year contract.
more from Spector…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
On the second day of National Hockey League general managers’ meetings, it was the same old story — all talk and little action. Apart from approving the recommended changes on the instigator rule (suspensions will now follow after five transgressions as opposed to only three) and addressing a few house-keeping matters (teams were warned not to abuse the long-term injury exemption to get more salary-cap space), GMs spent most of the day, circling around each other, trying to lay the groundwork for trades.
It isn’t just NHL fans that want to see more movement, the GMs are in the same boat, playing a game of poker, where the stakes are just too high for most right now.
continued... Wings & Sabres fans, keep reading…
By George James Malik
Amidst the golf cart races, moonlit skinny-dipping (resulting in unconfirmed manatee sightings), and Key Lime Pie and Corona cocktail-chugging sessions, those wild and crazy General Managers actually decided to make recommendations to the Board of Governors. Reducing instigator rule suspension thresholds, refining video review, and at least considering halving overtime penalties all sound downright progressive?
On the surface, anyway.
from Scott Burnside iof ESPN,
The NHL will be doing a lot of investigative work in the coming weeks to make sure teams aren’t trying to hide players on their injured reserve list heading into the playoffs.
Under the collective bargaining agreement, if a player goes on long-term injury, his team can go over the cap by the amount of his salary. But once a player is healthy enough to play, the team has to have enough cap room for that player to return. The tricky part comes in the playoffs, when there is no salary cap in play. Hence, a team could keep a player on the injured list until the playoffs start and not have to worry about the cap hit.
continued... trade talk too…
Nick Kypreos was just on The Fan 590 in Toronto and said they are just sitting around in Naples at the GM Meeting, waiting for a trade.
Everyone complaining the prices are too high and Burke walking around swearing.
Mentioned the Souray talk of this morning, said he talked with Gainey about an hour and a half ago and Gainey said they just took him off the ice this morning to rest him.
Kypreos said he does not see Souray being moved.
from the CP via TSN,
Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland was seen having a quiet moment with St. Louis Blues GM Larry Pleau amid speculation that Blues winger Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin - both unrestricted free agents July 1 - are both up for sale.
‘‘The prices are a bit high right now,’’ Holland said. ‘‘I’ve done a lot of talking, but nothing yet.’‘
more from the meeting, including GMs recommend new instigator rule change…
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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