Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Mankato Free Press,
Professional teams quickly begin signing draft picks and free agents, grabbing some extra help for the playoffs and bolstering their minor-league stables with fresh meat.
They don’t discriminate, either. They don’t care if the players are seniors who have just completed their college eligibility, like Minnesota State’s Travis Morin, or if they’re underclassmen who have been in a team’s future plans, like Morin’s teammate Steve Wagner.
In the case of the underclassmen, the NHL comes along dangling max contracts and $85,000 signing bonuses to lure the youngsters away from school.
from the CBC,
Tuesday’s slate of games could go a long way toward bringing the playoff picture into focus as all seven teams are in action in critical contests.
To give you an idea of how tight things are in the conference, 11 points separate the New York Rangers (sixth in the East with 87 points) and the Florida Panthers (12th, 76 points).
The New York Islanders’ playoff hopes have suffered a significant blow.
Netminder Rick DiPietro is out indefinitely, suffering from post-concussion syndrome. Sources tell TSN DiPietro is not feeling well and did not pass a neuro-psychological exam and will be out of the lineup until he feels better and can pass the test.
added 4:40pm, from On The Islanders Beat,
If the headache that knocked Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro out of tonight’s game against the Devils is gone in time, he will start Friday night in Buffalo.
Contrary to an earlier report by The Sports Network in Canada, DiPietro has not been diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and was not ruled out of tonight’s game because he failed to pass the neuro-psychological exam that was administered. According to a person with knowledge of the situation, DiPietro’s status is based simply on the fact that he reported experiencing a headache following the Islanders’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Rangers Sunday at Nassau Coliseum.
NBC Sports and the National Hockey League today announced an extension of their revenue sharing partnership through the 2007-08 season highlighted by a new, innovative “Game of the Week” flexible scheduling component. The deal includes an NBC option for 2008-09. The joint announcement was made today by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics.
“Flexible scheduling will always allow us to have the best possible games,” said Ebersol. “Nothing could be better for hockey fans, who now will be able to see the best teams and marquee players on national broadcast television each week.”
added 11:24am, NBC release...
Boy do I get emails… and I decided to share some with the readers at my NHL.com blog.
By George James Malik:
I recently spoke to Easton Hockey’s Vice President, Ned Goldsmith, about Easton ‘s present and future equipment line-ups, including their composite hockey skates. We spoke twice, and Formula PR did a stellar job of coordinating the interviews. Mr. Goldsmith was a pleasure to speak to.
Here’s the first part of our conversation:
The Gearhead: I read the press release about the Synergy Elite stick, and there’re dozens of NHL’ers using it. You’ve stuck with the Synergy’s gone through a few generations—the grip, the SL, and the Stealth sticks, but now you’ve gone back to the Synergy name. How is the Synergy Elite a new generation stick, if you will, and what separates it from the original Synergy?
Ned Goldsmith: Easton invented the performance one-piece stick, we’ve driven stick innovation in the NHL, and the Synergy Elite is in fact the next step forward. What makes the Synergy Elite unique is its weight-to-strength ratio; it’s a remarkably light stick that’s also extremely durable. Making sticks is an art, really. Sticks are made with aerospace technology, and while making a stick is 80% science, the other 20% is art. It’s like cooking, to some extent—you can have the recipe, but making grandma’s pie involves a lot of touches and subtleties. In composite stick-making, it comes down to how much pressure you apply, when you apply the pressure, how much heat you use, great ingredients—we’re one of the largest users of aerospace-quality fibre—not all composite sticks are created equal, and we’re the one of the #1 users of Kevlar as well, so the ingredients we use are the best ingredients available.
from Grant Kerr of the Globe and Mail,
“I’ve always been a strong supporter of the twins since they got here,” veteran Trevor Linden said. “They always took some criticism that I felt was unfair.
“Not only are they great players, they’re durable. Their strongest suit is they never seem to get too high, or too low when things don’t go well. They’re just steady. They’re fun to watch for their creativity and intelligence of their playmaking.
“And they’re still getting better. They are so smart and so talented with their sticks and hands.”...
“We’ve been working every summer [to get stronger] and it’s taken a while,” Henrik said last week. “We think we’re strong in the corners and can take pucks to the net, which wasn’t the case a couple of years back.
“I don’t care about scoring goals. If your team is scoring goals, that’s what matters.”
By George James Malik:
You didn’t really think that anything would come of the great fighting debate, now, did you?
Oh, everybody got to weigh in, toss their opinions around, block a few carnage-inducing comments from the nighties, avoid the smarmy jabs of the lefties, watch Grapes get Ron MacLean to turtle on Hockey Night in Canada, and see the smirk on the league’s golden boy journalist’s face.
LeBrun sure was happy on Saturday night, wasn’t he? First it was scheduling, then revising the point system, and now fighting. Ol’ Collie and Pierre are real chummy, eh?
Talk, talk, talk, bluster, bluster, bluster.
A few thoughtful comments from players, a few more from the guy who got leveled, suggesting that scrappers are integral to team “lightheartedness,” and then a rain of lefts, rights, jabs, and uppercuts from the hockey media, in print, online, on the radio, all tuckering themselves out…
In a good, old-fashioned donnybrook.
“The notion that because one player got knocked cold in a fight, that’s going to touch off a debate about eliminating fighting, to me is silly,” said the Anaheim Ducks’ GM.
Burke, whose Ducks lead the NHL with 65 fighting majors this season, said there should be no debate.
“Fighting has been systematically reduced in the NHL,” said Burke. “It’s been reduced to, in my mind, its proper place. It’s no longer utilized as a tactic.
“But the notion that we ever get rid of the players’ ability to regulate what happens, is silly to me.
from the Buffalo News,
It will be another 2½ months before any team skates around a National Hockey League rink, hoisting the Stanley Cup in triumph. But the Buffalo Sabres already can claim they’re No. 1 — in an ESPN The Magazine ranking of all 122 major professional sports franchises.
Called the Ultimate Standings, the listing ranks pro franchises on how well they pay back their fans for all the time, money and emotion fans invest in their teams.
from the Edmonton Sun,
One by one, the Edmonton Oilers filed out of the dressing room after practice yesterday and left for the airport, nearly all of them dressed head-to-toe in black.
Basic black has long been the durable, versatile staple of any extended road trip in the NHL - goes with anything, doesn’t show every little stain - but this time it’s especially fitting.
What else are you going to wear to a funeral march?
With nothing to play for, and six road games left to play, that’s exactly what this is: a badly injured and fatally flawed hockey team wandering off to die.
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