Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre Lebrun of the CP via Sportsnet,
The NHL’s unbalanced schedule will once again be front and centre at the board of governors meeting in Chicago on Tuesday while talk of possible expansion will also be on the agenda when owners gather for the first time this season.
Few issues have ignited as much passionate debate among owners in recent years as the schedule, which since the lockout has featured eight games versus each divisional opponent—too many according to some—and only 10 games (five on the road) against non-conference opponents.
“We cannot walk away from the debate, it’s critically important to our customers,” Oilers president and CEO Pat LaForge told The Canadian Press on Monday. “We think it’s the same for all Western teams. We think we’re at a huge disadvantage the way the schedule is right now.”
From the San Jose Sharks,
The San Jose Sharks unveiled their new home and road sweaters Monday afternoon as Captain Patrick Marleau, Alternate Captain Joe Thornton, Kyle McLaren and Mike Grier modeled the uniforms at a special press conference on the ice at HP Pavilion at San Jose.
continued… (*includes a photo gallery)
added 11:01pm, PJ at Sharkspage has some more info on the unis, plus pics and video.
from the Chicago Daily Herald,
Maybe the Blackhawks will score more goals on the power play.
Maybe the pieces will fall into place on defense.
But for the Hawks to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002, it’s likely going to come down to whether they get consistently good goaltending from Nikolai Khabibulin.
Now halfway through his four-year, $27 million contract, the richest in team history, Khabibulin hasn’t lived up to expectations - though in his defense there hasn’t been a good team in front of him for those two seasons.
From the CP via Toronto Sun,
The Pittsburgh Penguins set a lofty standard last season and want to take it even farther in the 2007-08, says star centre Sidney Crosby.
Last year’s surprise Penguins finished tied for third overall in the Eastern Conference with 105 points, but were bumped from the playoffs in the first round by the team they tied with, the Ottawa Senators. And Crosby, who won MVP honours after leading the league with 120 points, wants both himself and the team to do even better this season.
From the NY Rangers,
The New York Rangers announced today that individual game tickets for the 2007-08 season sold-out in less than one hour. It is believed to be the fastest season sell-out in team history. Tickets that went o-sale at 10 a.m. on Saturday completely sold out with the exception of an extremely limited number of single tickets.
From Helene Elliott at the LA Times,
The Ducks spent their brief summer vacation showing off the Stanley Cup to their friends and relatives.
The Kings, after missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season, spent five months formulating their 39th annual rebuilding plan.
No matter what happens from here on, the Ducks will always be able to say they won the Cup before the Kings, who had a 26-season head start. Painful though it may be, Kings fans should consider the Ducks’ triumph a source of inspiration, not revulsion.
continued… (*story may require free registration at the LA Times site)
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Dear Gary Bettman,
Please accept this as a formal plea to cease and desist with these outdoor hockey games in football stadiums. The first one in Edmonton left me cold, to employ a pun as painful as your comparison between these games and the players playing on backyard rinks and ponds when they were children, and the rest even colder. Well, if I had lost my mind and actually attended the one in Hamilton last year, it would have left me wet, since it rained like crazy.
The talented DCSportschick is hanging up the keyboard on her hockey blogging life for now:
This blog has been a source of great joy for me, and it’s incredibly hard to give it up. However, I’m faced with other life-changing events on the horizon, and in light of that, it’s time.
You’ll still see me around the rink, around the stadium, around the field. That won’t change; I might not be there as often, but I’ll be there. I’m still a sports fan, after all.
A sad day for her many fans, but our best wishes to her in all her future endeavors.
from Darren Eliot of Sports Illustrated,
But for all of the veteran experience, what may prove most telling is the infusion of youth that is starting to shape the Western Conference. The Stanley Cup champion Ducks must now rely on the continued development of two 22-year olds—Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry—to fuel their attack. The Blues added Paul Kariya, who will be 33 in October, to the veteran duo of Tkachuk and Weight, but equally important is the emergence of winger Lee Stempniak, 24, as an all-around player, as well as the ability of 2006 top overall draft pick Erik Johnson to make a seamless transition from patrolling the blueline for the Minnesota Gophers to doing likewise at the NHL level.
The worst-kept secret in hockey is finally coming out in the open as the NHL makes its announcement about the January 1st, 2008 outdoor game to be played between the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Update 2:09pm ET:
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