Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bob DiCesare of the Buffalo News,
The NHL has constantly grappled, and without much success, over how best to sell hockey in the United States. It emerged from the lockout of three seasons ago with a new set of rules and promises of strict enforcement. But enforcement waned and scoring diminished and the sport returned to the stranglehold of coaches with defensive bents, spoiling the game’s natural beauty and attraction.
The league needs to find ways to extract and emphasize the talents of its gifted players and capture the imaginations of its fans. The winning shootout goal scored by Crosby fit the script. But the 65 minutes of rag-tag hockey it took to reach that point did little to enhance the league’s allure.
added 8:10am, from The Good, The Bad and The Duthie,
Heck, NHL iceman Dan Craig got more face-time than Crosby.
At one point, he was out there so long, fixing that nasty hole, I thought he was just going to build a shack and drop a fishing line down.
They really should have mic’d him:
“Who’s M@*&!! F*$*#%!? idea was this?!?!?”
But while it must have been a nightmare for Craig and the ice crew (who, all things considered, did an amazing job), the spectacle was something to behold.
Ryan Miller vs. Jean-Sebastien Aubin.
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Consider what happened to the Flyers after just three wins: They went from 13th in the Eastern Conference and last in the Atlantic Division to sixth in the conference and third in the five-team division, trailing first-place New Jersey by only three points. (Pittsburgh’s win yesterday pushed the idle Flyers down one spot in both standings.)
“It can get exhausting to feel like you’re in a playoff race already,” right winger Mike Knuble said. “But I think the fact is that we are. It’s different if you’re chasing it than if you’re in the middle of it.
from the NY Post,
If Jagr is not happy, the Rangers aren’t happy. So Plan A turned to Plans B, C, and D before reverting to Plan A. The Rangers open a three-game trip here tonight against Mike Keenan’s Flames with a Gomez-Jagr-Straka line having scored six goals in the last four games.
“We’re not thinking too much anymore,” said Gomez. “But a guy like Marty adds so much, opens things up for us.
“The guy who should get the credit is Marty, I can’t stress that enough.”
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
But for television, the outdoor game is a tough sell unless it’s framed brilliantly within the context of its surroundings.
In that respect, the CBC and NBC did fine jobs of bringing the enormousness of the spectacle into our homes.
Both networks conveyed the larger-than-life aspect of the game by giving us high overhead shots from an aircraft above the stadium as well as scenes in and around the game.
But the CBC should have given us more crowd shots. The mood and reaction of the spectators, after all, is a large part of the show.
You can watch highlights of the game again or for the first time if you were busy watching football.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The delirious 71,217 fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium, almost all of whom stayed in their seats until the NHL’s brightest star, Sidney Crosby, scored the last goal of the shootout to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 2-1 win, made it official - the league’s second outdoor game, dubbed the Winter Classic, was a roaring success.
There was snow, which ranged from light to heavy, but it was never heavy enough to present a serious problem. There were winds, but not as strong as the weather forecasters predicted. And the temperatures stayed around freezing, making conditions for the game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Penguins as close to perfect as possible for an outdoor game.
Update 8:16pm ET: From Scott Burnside at ESPN, grading the Winter Classic on the crowd, the weather, the warm ups, and so on.
Update 8:32pm ET: Adam Proteau at The Hockey News, pronounces the Winter Classic a success.
Update 10:33pm ET: The “Perfect Snowstorm” says the NY Times.
note: photo credit belongs to Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images
from the BlueShirts Blog,
Not only did 2007 turn to 2008 at midnight last night, but the NHL CBA mandated a change in how it views any contract extensions or new deals. During calendar ‘07, they would be averaged back into this season, potentially hiking a team’s payroll for cap purposes.
In other words, the Rangers now can sign Henrik Lundqvist to the long-term deal that was impossible last summer when they were planning their major dive into the free agent pool.
From the AP and TSN,
Sergei Samsonov cleared NHL waivers on Monday, and was put on re-entry waivers by the Blackhawks on Tuesday.
Samsonov has appeared in 23 of Chicago’s games without scoring a goal. He has four assists, and a minus-seven plus-minus rating. He was acquired last June from Montreal for Jassen Cullimore and Tony Salmelainen. Samsonov is under contract for US$3.525 million this season and can become an unrestricted free agent next July 1.
If a team claims him, they will only have to pay half of his remaining salary, with Chicago paying the rest.
via the Columbus Blue Jackets,
The Columbus Blue Jackets have assigned center Gilbert Brule to the Syracuse Crunch, Columbus’ American Hockey League affiliate, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today.
Brule, 21, has appeared in 31 games with the Blue Jackets this season, tallying one goal and three assists for four point with 10 penalty minutes and a +1 plus/minus rating. Columbus’ first pick, sixth overall, in the 2005 Entry Draft, he has registered 12-15-27 and 38 penalty minutes in 116 career NHL games
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