Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
They aren’t saying anything officially, but it looks as if the National Hockey League’s attempts to revise the schedule for next season will fail. Last week, the NHL circulated three scheduling options to its 30 teams and asked that they be returned to a six-member committee, appointed by commissioner Gary Bettman, to study the issue. With a couple of questionnaires still outstanding as of Saturday, there appeared to be no consensus emerging.
from John Buccigross of ESPN,
Never before has the game and its fans been put through the ringer more than over the past 30 months, since the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup.
As the game still looks to move forward, as it still seems to be in a state of flux, maybe it’s a good time to take inventory of what we have here. Maybe it’s a good time to ask the questions that many ask of themselves and their investments, relationships, CD collections, jobs and futures.
What is right and what is wrong with … the NHL?...
The athletes’ physicality has brought an agility that is mesmerizing. Scoring is a part of the equation, but there is sheer joy by just watching these players skate, stop, skate and power turn. If you go public skating every now and then, it will help you realize what is going on out there in the NHL.
from Wes Goldstein of CBS Sportsline,
Had anyone told the Washington Capitals on opening night they would be a .500 club midway through January, chances are they would have been thrilled….
“We’re not the only team guilty of going through rough spots and we’ve still managed to be at .500, but it’s a really fine line in this league,” Kolzig said. “If there’s an aspect of your game that’s a little off, there’s so much parity in this league, other teams will find that weakness and expose it.
“With as many teams in the playoff race as there are and points being so important, we need to be prepared and ready to go. It hasn’t been the case more times than not in the last dozen games or so.”
from the CP via GlobeSports,
The Chicago Blackhawks are so angry about a disputed shootout goal during Sunday’s loss to Minnesota that they’ve asked the NHL to add the issue of video review to the agenda at the board of governors’ meeting next week.
A possible shootout goal by Denis Arkhipov, Chicago’s third shooter, was disallowed Sunday after a video review. Minnesota goalie Manny Fernandez stopped the initial shot, but what’s at issue is whether or not the puck then trickled over the goal-line. The Hawks lost the game 4-3.
On Monday, the Blackhawks took the unusual step of releasing a statement to the media.
“In light of the situation that took place at the conclusion of last night’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild at the United Center, the Chicago Blackhawks have asked that the topic of video goal judging and the goal review process be added to the agenda at the board of governors meeting which will take place on Jan. 23 in Dallas during the all-star break,” the Hawks said in the release.
By George James Malik
Hockey players and fans are probably the most reflective sports people on the planet. We play and follow the fastest sport this side of jai alai, a game whose intrircacies and subtleties can break the simplest 2-on-1 down into a hundred events, all happening at the same time. We’re unbelievably perceptive, reflective, and sensitive as a rule.
There are no perfect games, for both fans and players, because goals are usually the result of one team capitalizing on the other’s mistakes. As a goaltender, every shot that gets by me is a learning experience (I apparently have quite a bit of learning to do ), and every difficult save helps me refine my technique.
Reflective fans and players translate into a steady stream of rallying cries for change, especially at the NHL level. Given that we’ve got a commissioner whose bases for staging a lockout were “stretches” of the truth at best, owners who’re equally willing to say “Thank You, Fans!” and then jack up ticket prices, and a game that’s doggedly determined to sell itself in markets where hockey is a foreign sport at the expense of its core, in the words of the Roaming Gnome, “All is not well!”
Add in a schedule that most fans dislike, concerns about the crackdown on obstruction and the strict instigator rule sapping passion from the game, the post-honeymoon wake-up by smaller-market fans to the realization that a capped system has nothing to do with allowing teams like Buffalo or Edmonton to “keep their own players,” mediocre TV exposure south of the 49th parallel, and this week’s worries that the “new” NHL jerseys will look like college football jerseys instead of the tried-and-true hockey sweater, and things seem downright gloomy.
Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that the Preds and Blues are in the same boat when it comes to flagging corporate support:
—The modern NHL business plan calls for heavy underwriting from the local business community. That is the only way mid-market teams can sell all those expensive lower bowl seats. Ordinary people have been priced out of the good seats.
—Corporate ticket purchases are notorious bandwagon riders. Nashville rallied its business community around its expansion effort. Those purchasers stayed through the honeymoon period . . . until the novelty wore off. So even as the Predators turned the corner and began to win, they were drifting away.
—The economy in most markets isn’t all that great. How many local businesses are flush with cash? This is not a boom era in America by any means.
—The corporate landscape in St. Louis has changed dramatically since the Blues moved downtown. This market no longer boasts a disproportionately high number of major headquarters. Newer, smaller employers have replaced some of the larger employers like the old Monsanto and the old Southwestern Bell.
—The idiotic NHL lockout sped the decline of corporate sales in markets like St. Louis. And for what? To gain a salary cap that is at least $10 million too high for most hockey markets?
Miss604 has a review of "Road Hockey Rumble", which appears on OLN (yes, not Versus) in Canada.
The idea of roaming around the country and sparking up street hockey games is pretty fun, and I don’t have a problem with the low-budget Canadian programming. If it was more of a documentary style, I think I’d be much more excited. I think the over-compensating cheese and raw manly humour (fit for SpikeTV) is what makes me not like this as much as I should. Although, this is only episode 2 so I’m willing to give it another chance.read on...Too bad we can't see this on Versus in the States.
In case you missed the NBC postgame with Brett Hull, you can view it here.
from the Ottawa Senators,
“It felt really good to be out there, but we’re going to stick to until after the all-star break (for his return),” Spezza said. “I was a little rusty out there, and the guys were laughing at me and having fun because I bobbled a couple of pucks I usually wouldn’t. I’m not ready to play right now. I still have work to do.”
HF Quick Hits asks the question: “Martin Grenier has had a couple of shots at the NHL and is no doubt looking for another, but did have he one shot too many Thursday night?”
From the Lowell Sun,
Police arrested a member of the Philadelphia Phantoms hockey team after they say he urinated on Central Street downtown Thursday night. Martin Grenier was charged with indecent exposure.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org