Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Ross McKeon at Yahoo! Sports,
It is time to unveil the final power rankings for the 2007-08 season, and there’s no surprise at the top. The Detroit Red Wings, Presidents’ Trophy winners as the best team during the regular season and, more importantly, Stanley Cup winners for the 11th time in franchise history, are an uncontested No. 1 choice.
The Wings were ranked either first or second in the power rankings all but four of 26 times during postings every Tuesday during the regular season. Detroit was on top of the rankings 15 times, and never fell further than fourth, which happened only four times. The headline for the Dec. 18 rankings served as a hockey fortune cookie, if you will: “Wings and everyone else.”
read on for “everyone else”
The Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee meets next week. Joe Pelletier at Greatest Hockey Legends looks at the names being considered:
The Class of 2008 will be a unique induction. Because of the lost 2004-05 season due to NHL labour issues, there are no first-time eligible candidates as no player officially retired in 2005. Players that did not return after the return to duty, they were deemed to have retired in 2004, and therefor eligible for induction in 2007.
We all know 2007 was perhaps the greatest induction class ever, thanks the incredible pool of eligible players. 2008 is almost a make-up year for the Hall.
Here’s a look at who is likely to get inducted in 2008. I call it the Hockey Hall of Fame Power Rankings.
Doug Gilmour - For a short time in the early 1990s, Gilmour was the best player in the NHL. Besides, Toronto’s love affair with him would make for a grand stage for the Hall’s celebration.
From the National Post,
While some of the sport’s most profitable teams are in the United States—including Philadelphia, the New York Rangers, Detroit, Dallas, Boston and Colorado—its poorest are there as well: Phoenix, Florida, Nashville and Atlanta.
Hockey does not play well in these hot-weather locations. Except for the California clubs and Tampa Bay—which count on plenty of ex-pat and vacationing Canadians to fill seats—sunbelt NHL teams are largely a bust. The league should consider pulling most of these franchises. Indeed, the only reason it hasn’t already is that doing so would jeopardize the dream of a national TV contract.
We suspect that dream is an unrealistic fantasy. Hockey does have immense local popularity in pockets of the United States—particularly in New England, the Great Lakes region and in several northern Atlantic states. But only when all the elements align perfectly…
From Helene St. James at the Free Press,
The Red Wings have called a news conference for 11 a.m. Monday to make an announcement regarding the future of Dominik Hasek.
Based on comments Hasek made after the Wings won the Stanley Cup last Wednesday with Chris Osgood in goal, it appears he is leaning toward retirement.
Hasek, who was in goal for the Wings when they won the Cup in 2002, said of the 2008 championship that, “I’ll be honest, I can’t enjoy it as I did enjoy the Stanley Cup in 2002.”
From Tony Gallagher at Canwest via the National Post,
Now that the Stanley Cup has been awarded to the Detroit Red Wings and any emotion from any one particular game has faded, we would be remiss if we didn’t seriously ask some questions about what actually took place in that final series with respect to the officiating.
From Steve Tilley via the Ottawa Sun,
Sun Media can exclusively reveal that the high-scoring, hard-hitting Calgary Flames defenceman will be the cover athlete for NHL 09, slated for release in September for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 game consoles.
“There are always a lot of options for who we want on our cover, and Phaneuf was a perfect choice for us this year,” said David Littman, lead producer of NHL 09. As with recent years, the game is being developed at EA Canada’s sprawling studio near Vancouver.
“He was very positive, and he was pretty pumped about being able to be on the cover,” Littman said of the Edmonton-born Phaneuf, 23, who has played three standout NHL seasons so far with the Flames.
Note: If you’re the superstitious-type, here’s a recap on the “EA Sports NHL Curse” from Sports Illustrated. Perhaps Phaneuf will be one of the lucky ones.
From the Ottawa Senators via Marketwire.ca:
The National Hockey League Coaches’ Assocation and the Ottawa Senators will present the 2008 NHL Coaches’ Seminar on Thursday, June 19, at the University of Ottawa.
The clinic runs from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and participants will have the opportunity to watch, listen and learn from some of the best coaching minds the NHL has to offer. All presentations will be made by NHL coaches and will cover topics such as skill development, tactics, strategy and systems play. Participants will also receive a seminar handbook.
The day begins with presentations by the guest coaches, highlighted by a welcome from Hall Of Fame coach Scotty Bowman.
Eurohockey.net provides an interview with long-time Finnish goalie coach Jukka Ropponen, whose students (clients?) have included the likes of Niklas Bäckström, Kari Lehtonen and Pasi Nurminen.
Q: You have worked in Finland, America, Switzerland and Russia, which was the best place out of these?
Hockey is hockey, I have enjoyed working in all different countries. They all have pros and cons so it is really tough to say one place is better than the other. I guess I just love hockey and working with goalies.
Q: What are the biggest difference in goalkeeping schools in these countries?
Let’s see, all countries have their own unique characteristics. let me elaborate this a bit more on a country by country basis:
• Finland has the most systematic approach to coaching goalies and most probably more goalie coaches than in any country compared to the number of team and players.
read on for Ropponen’s take on a variety of topics
From Aaron Portzline at Puck-rakers in the Columbus Dispatch:
David Poile is the NHL’s quiet genius.
Last summer, when the Nashville Predators were being purged in advance of a franchise sale and possible relocation, Poile, the general manager, was forced to orchestrate nothing short of a fire sale.
It was the most painful time in his professional career, parting with lots of players he either drafted (Scott Hartnell, Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent) or signed as little-known free agents (Tomas Vokoun, Kimmo Timonen, etc.).
Poile, though, emerged with enough building blocks in place to carry on. He made smart trades and got commodities in return. He signed bargain-basement free agents to fill out the roster, and he continued to stress drafting and development.
Note: For more of Portzline’s off-season team breakdowns, check this KK post for numerous links
Update 7:45pm ET: More on Nashville and payroll issues at the Tennessean.
I just want to reassure everyone who’s written and wondered where Paul Kukla is that he will be back soon but can’t promise exactly when.
Most likely his presence will be on-and-off over the coming days, as he’s recovering slowly from some health problems. Nothing to worry about, but the symptoms make it impossible to work most of the time. (And if you’ve sent him an email and are awaiting a reply, please have patience—he’s limited in that regard for the moment as well.)
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 email@example.com