Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from James Christie of the Globe and Mail,
Former National Hockey League president John Ziegler believes current commissioner Gary Bettman and his team have done a good job building the game, and that Bettman’s crowning achievement was to get owners to stand together to forge the last collective agreement with the players.
“They let the costs get out of control for too long and had to address that,” Ziegler, president of the NHL from 1977 to 1992, said yesterday. “But not only did they address it, they got a salary cap in place that’s led to this wonderful parity and a race down to the wire to get into the playoffs. I give a real salute to the people who got the game to where it is.”
from the Detroit Free Press,
“That was outstanding,” Mike Babcock said. “That’s the most fun I’ve had since I was a Red Wings coach. It was good. I was really impressed with Lils and I was really impressed with Sammy. Sometimes I think you think when you’re not from North America, if someone washes your face your supposed to say thanks. Well, they didn’t say thanks, they just responded. They’re big men, and they can look after themselves.”
When Lidstrom was quizzed about the rarity of Swedes fighting, he laughed and replied, “We’ve got the toughest Swede in the league right here. Just ask him.” But then Lidstrom must have figured Lilja might hear about it from Tomas Holmstrom, because Lidstrom added, “Homer might have a big argument.”
more on the Wings…
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero, son of famed coach Fred Shero, grew up with a far greater understanding of the league’s history and tradition than others who have risen to his rank.
He appreciated the difficulty of the playoff gauntlet long before he had his first NHL job, and he can testify to the stages of building a championship team, including the time-honored tradition of a team needing to know playoff failure before it knows playoff success. But he doesn’t necessarily buy the idea that history has an impact on the future.
from the Detroit Free Press,
Joe Rogers is unlike any goalie at this week’s USA Hockey Nationals in Fraser….
He can’t close his glove after catching a puck. That’s it.
Rogers, you see, was born without a full right hand.
And yet the 17-year-old has a 30-1-3 record, a 1.19 goals-against average, a .939 save percentage and 13 shutouts.
“It’s all I’ve ever known,” Rogers said of his birth defect, “so I don’t think anything about it.”
His fingers didn’t fully develop, and he had two surgeries as a young child to strengthen his thumb.
from the Courier Post,
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren confirmed Monday the Flyers were interested in letting LeClair play his final NHL game as a Flyer on the final weekend of the regular season, but with LeClair still interested in resuming his NHL career next season, the idea was scrapped.
more on the Flyers…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Star,
The math is not at all complicated. Tonight is the Maple Leafs season.
It is that simple. You can add and subtract, multiply and divide, but the calculations remain the same.
This is one game for everything. One game to determine whether this is another failed experiment for the Leafs or whether this team has any chance of advancing to the post-season.
Tonight is a best of one against themselves and the equally desperate defending Stanley Cup champions, all at the same time.
A new spot for Gatorade by Downtown Partners DDB in Toronto, airing exclusively in Canada, reveals what happens inside the head of Sidney Crosby, center for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as he prepares to take a shot on goal.
As Crosby, the youngest player with two 100-point NHL seasons barrels toward the goalie, the camera zooms onto, and eventually smacks into, the back of his head.
Inside, we find a group of men dressed like air-traffic controllers gathered around a miniature hockey table with graphics reminiscent of a video game. Crosby’s mind is a hive of activity. In one area, men shovel coal into a blazing blue fire. In another, hundreds of pictures blaze by.
read on...and you can see the video there too…
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