Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Build A Great Team - Then Lose It

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

As a spectacle, this year's playoffs were nothing short of magnificent. The games featured everything fans love about hockey -- speed, hitting, goaltending and tension. Rarely was a lead large enough to be considered safe, and to wrap up the season two excellent teams went toe to toe with the outcome in doubt until the final minute of Game 7. But unfortunately, in today's National Hockey League, the off-ice developments are nowhere near as ideal as the off-ice developments. It must be made clear that the two are not interdependent. An astonishing number of people who should know better seem to think the improved product on the ice was the creation of the lockout. In fact, the rule changes that made today's game what it is were put forward in February 2004, long before the lockout. If anything, the lockout hindered the imposition of the new game. It certainly did nothing to bring it about -- other than put the players back on the ice.
continued

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Games Called Right

from the Pioneer Press via the Mercury News,

The biggest shocker wasn't that a team based in Raleigh, N.C., won the Stanley Cup. Or that Peter Laviolette, a flop behind the bench of Team USA's Olympic squad, was the winning coach. It was that the referees did not swallow their whistles and stand by idly during the playoffs. Instead, they called obstruction penalties the way they did during the regular season. Clearly the "new" NHL is here to stay. In the past, the refs seemed terrified of affecting the outcome of a playoff game. If one skater clubbed another over the head with his stick, the officials would be sure to find a way to even up the call. For example, he might give Player A two minutes for high sticking, and Player B two minutes for excessive bleeding. This time, although they let some of the big hits go, which is what the fans want to see anyway, they were good about calling the infractions that hindered the flow of the game.
continued

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30,000 Greet Hurricanes

from the AP via Sports Illustrated,

The Carolina Hurricanes and their fans celebrated the first major pro title in the state's history Tuesday, with the 114-year-old Stanley Cup signifying that hockey has found a home in North Carolina. Less than a day after beating the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 in Game 7 of the finals, the Hurricanes took a victory lap around the RBC Center before taking the stage to thank about 30,000 fans who waited through a hot June afternoon to greet the first post-lockout NHL champions.
continued

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No Buzz In Nashville

from the Nashville City Paper,

Feeling like a social misfit these days, like you’re a square peg trying to fit into a round-peg world? Then like me, you were probably a devoted follower of the National Hockey League playoffs. Loving the Stanley Cup was not a popular pastime the past two months. The NBA is hot and the NHL is not. Want to scatter a crowded street corner? Just bring up hockey. Discussing the game is a lot like talking about Big Foot. It’s just a rumor you hear about secondhand because nobody’s actually seen it in person. Welcome to Must Flee TV. These days in the professional sporting world, NASCAR has replaced the NHL in that elite big four group with MLB, the NFL and the NBA. Nationally, you never hear hockey brought up anymore. On ESPN Radio, it has become a joke and a punch line. On my radio show, other than its cult followers, hockey talk doesn’t generate a real buzz.
more...hmmm, maybe the Preds should move...

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The Blues Can Do It Too

from Jeff Gordon of St. Louis Today,

The Hurricanes now reign supreme over the NHL. Down in ACC basketball country, the hockey newbies get to stage their parade with the treasured chalice. Many Blues fans view this as an atrocity, another punch to their heart.... Now Blues fans hope Dave Checketts can do for them what Karmanos did for Waffle House Nation. In the new NHL, all things are possible. Advancing age and the new salary cap have derailed traditional Western Conference powers Colorado, Detroit and Dallas. If Raleigh can get a Cup, St. Louis can get a Cup. Blues fans should just keep telling themselves that -– and perhaps what happened Monday night will be easier to digest.
more

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Tough As They Come

from Sports Illustrated,

Athletes all claim they play for the love of the game. They say they'd gladly suit up even if their salaries were paid in discarded peanut shells. But hockey players, judging by the way they smile demonically after unloading a round of haymakers or taking a high stick that sends their front teeth skidding across the ice like Skittles, seem to actual mean it. Whenever there's a television cutaway to the Cup, Lord Stanley's handlers, with their Hamburger Helper gloves, are always shown polishing the silver chalice. Perhaps because of this, when the Hurricanes hoisted the old layered trophy above their shoulders, there was no residue, no scum from last season's lockout. And though almost no one was watching, the game looked as good as ever.
more

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Party Time

You may recall I planned to host a SCF party last night. How did it turn out, well, read on... Like most hockey fans would, I jumped at the chance to share my thoughts with the readers of NHL.com. I appreciate Phil Coffey asking me to participate.

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Still Learning

from Terry Frei of ESPN,

It was the NHL's fourth finals Game 7 in five seasons, and all four have ended with the home team hoisting the Stanley Cup, so this should have been familiar. But there just seemed to be something a little different about it this time, including the strangely convivial atmosphere among the tailgating before the game. The many Edmonton fans -- advertising their loyalties on their backs -- were far more likely to end up being offered a Carolina Pale Ale out of a cooler than to hear taunts, whether from the folks whose kids attend school with Rod Brind'Amour's children at the Montessori School of Raleigh or anyone else. One of the things missing in the finals, given the other-planet nature of the conferences, and now more so than ever, is a bitter rivalry. In that sense, the conference finals or even the first two rounds can be more testy, and I'm talking about the fans, too.... The NHL still has problems, and I'm among the many who aren't shy about pointing out what I believe them to be. " The league was too hard to find on television this season and lost the chance to draw in fans who stumbled across a game on a familiar network. " The NHL still doesn't sufficiently promote its stars, bowing to the entrenched culture of the sport rather than entering the 21st century, a step that wouldn't necessarily have to embrace the "me, me, me" attitude more common to other sports.
read on

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Report- Four NHL Officials Let Go

from Hockey Refs,

“There were four officials let go,” a referee speaking on condition of anonymity told HockeyRefs.com on Monday. He was unwilling to disclose the names of sacked officials because they are “close friends” – though he expects the firings to be finalized shortly. Under the NHL-NHLOA collective bargaining agreement, no more than four full-time officials can be fired each year.

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The Business Side

from the Toronto Star,

Fresh off one of the most exciting Stanley Cup finals in years, officials with the NHL and its players' union are scheduled to meet today in New York with several investment banks and insurance companies to discuss how the league's 30 teams might bolster their ties to Wall Street, sources have told the Toronto Star. Under consideration is a proposal that could possibly see NHL teams open their own referral business to act as a liaison between high net-worth individuals and their companies, and financial services companies looking to sell both insurance products, and retail and investment-banking services.
continued

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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