Kukla's Korner Hockey
via the Arizona Republic, Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said Thursday he thinks the NHL should intervene in the “Vote for Rory” phenomenon to make sure the players who most deserve to play in next month’s All-Star Game in Dallas are included.
“I’m not trying to be controversial,” Gretzky said. “Maybe he deserves to be in the game. I can’t stand here and tell you that he doesn’t deserve to be in the game because I’ve never seen him play. But if he thinks he deserves to be in the All-Star Game, then good for him, he should go. If he doesn’t believe he should be in the All-Star Game, he should stand up and say, ‘You know what, there’s other guys that deserve to be there.’ That’s kind of what my take on it is.”
from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,
In the spirit of the season and because it won’t cost us a penny, we’re happy to hand out gifts to each NHL team. After that, it’s up to them to make the playoffs.
Boston: Retro uniforms. The Bruins need to return full-time to the Bobby Orr-era sweaters when this franchise ruled the NHL world. Failing that, new owners.
Detroit: TV set locked to Comedy Channel. Coach Mike Babcock seems to have a perpetual frown, even when his team wins, so maybe this will cheer him up.
Nashville: Relish. The Preds have hotdog players and mustard-coloured third jerseys. This will complete the trifecta.
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Eager to allay fears the team will leave, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato spoke with National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman by phone yesterday. Afterward, Onorato minimized the NHL’s threats to allow the Penguins to move.
“Nothing’s really changed, other than Mario and Bettman, in their last two statements, have stressed the legal ability for them to move the team, which is not news. We all knew that,” Onorato said. “They have a legal right to shop it around.”
Ravenstahl said he was encouraged after talking to Bettman, but stressed the need to talk with Lemieux.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
It may be early to judge, but Gary Bettman might have really done it this time.
You never know with the NHL owners of course, but this latest fiasco over the Pittsburgh Penguins just might be the one clanger that will open their eyes to who is running their league.
Research in Motion head Jim Balsillie was all set to pay a monstrous amount of money to buy a team with very low revenues, even though if everything went well and the rink had been built by the casino group, it would have been several years before he saw any type of return.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Who is this man? Hitchcock’s life as a salesman is just as simple as Death of a Salesman. He has been content everywhere he has been, yet he has kept moving. He has been sought, he has been fired and he has won championships, including the game’s ultimate prizes, the Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold medal. For his first big job, he submitted a resume written in pencil on a sheet of lined paper. He got his latest job after a 10-hour interview that included much philosophical discourse with a self-made billionaire.
Hitchcock has evolved, and continues to evolve, but some constants remain. As his old boss at United Cycle in Edmonton put it: “Ken is not set in his approach, but he is set in his philosophy.”
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
(Question: When did hockey last appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, that arbiter of mainstream American sports taste? Answer: Aside from a Steve Yzerman commemorative edition produced for the Detroit market, it was Oct. 14, 2002.)
But Bettman is undeterred. He is still trying to accomplish the mission he was hired to perform. He can’t make a hard left turn now, or ever.
When might the NHL add teams in Canada? When the business implodes, or when the vision changes — which might amount to the same thing.
Either would require, or inspire, a change at the top.
from The Hockey News:
William “Boots” Del Biaggio, a former minority owner of the San Jose Sharks and frequent golfing partner of Mario Lemieux, has emerged as a potential buyer for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Sources say Del Biaggio would then attempt to relocate the Penguins to Kansas City, pending approval from the NHL’s board of governors.
Del Biaggio, a prominent San Jose businessman, tried to purchase the Penguins in the summer of 2005 and signed a letter of intent to do so, but the sale was pulled off the table after the Penguins won the draft lottery and the rights to Sidney Crosby.
Del Biaggio headed a group that was poised to buy the Penguins for about $100 million last summer, but then Lemieux and partner Ron Burkle, a California grocery magnate, announced that they would keep control of the Penguins.
from Gerry Fraley at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
There are signs of slippage, which the NHL has inflicted upon itself.
— Entering Wednesday’s play, per-game attendance was down 2.6 percent from last season. Attendance numbers are tickets distributed, not bodies in the building. There are numerous anecdotal offerings throughout the league of in-house totals being far less than the announced attendance.
The six Canadian clubs returned from the lockout stronger than ever and continue to draw well. Edmonton is the laggard, and it is playing to 98.5 percent of building capacity.
It’s a different matter in the States.
Alanah finds the hockey quotes you may have missed.
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
For some NHLers and teams, Christmas came early. Columbus got a new head coach and a new attitude. Mats Sundin potted his 500th goal. Evgeni Malkin successfully got himself out of Russia, and Garth Snow got his dream job.
What else might appear under the tree, and for whom? Here are some hockey suggestions for Santa:
• A long, lingering smile for Brian Burke: You’re winning. Life is good. Enjoy.
• A world without hypocrisy for Rick Tocchet: So being a bookie, or an alleged bookie, is unforgivable. But cozying up to casinos and Internet betting sites is OK. Somebody ‘splain the critical difference, please.
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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.
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