Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Buccigross at ESPN,
• Finally, my friend asked, “State of the NHL: Better or worse than what the casual sports fan thinks?”
The state of the NHL is better than what the casual sports fan thinks because the casual sports fan thinks it’s on par with Arena Football, WNBA and MLS. This is what much of the media tells them. First of all, the media ignores the passion in Canada, and this is irresponsible. In Canada, the NHL has a much stronger brand name than all of those leagues combined. It has history and Maurice Richard’s eyes. Hey, MLB has the Royals and Devil Rays, and the NBA has the Hawks—if your team stinks, people don’t go.
read on... Bucci is right on with a few of his suggestions…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
They were set to hang Mike Vernon’s No. 30 jersey from the rafters at the Pengrowth Saddledome Tuesday night, which was singularly appropriate in some ways. So many times during Vernon’s career with the Calgary Flames, which featured two trips to the Stanley Cup final and more wins (259) than any other goaltender in franchise history, some of the local boo-birds would have just as soon seen his sweater raised to the roof, with Vernon inside.
from John McGourty at NHL.com,
We’re not going to haul out the tape measure, but when Lanny McDonald, Joe Mullen, Al MacInnis, Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Joel Otto, Hakan Loob and the rest of that team turned to congratulate Vernon, the top of his head was at the level of their logos. And, he looked like the happiest man on Planet Earth.
Many of those players will be back in Calgary Tuesday to honor Vernon and to a man they’ll tell you they wouldn’t be wearing Stanley Cup rings were it not for him.
from Allan Muir at Sports Illustrated,
I can’t wait to see what Tavares, Angelo Esposito and the next generation of speedy, creative snipers can do in the NHL. But after repeated viewings of that video on the heels of another relatively listless slate of matches on Saturday, it left me wondering: Where’s the next Wendel Clark? Where’s the next Cam Neely?
There’s so much time spent trying to improve the game. Fix the schedule. Bigger nets. More power plays. Any or all of those may make a difference, but all hockey really needs is an influx of the kind of fury and passion Clark and Neely brought to the rink in 60-minute increments, 82 times a year.
from Eric McErlain at NBC Sports,
So what’s the solution? I admit that I’m at a loss. As Wednesday night’s game in Pittsburgh and the weekend fireworks that followed on Canadian television seemed to demonstrate, it seems as if the choice is between seeing the superstars of the game be targeted for serial retaliation on the one hand, or to cede the rule of law to the ethos of the Wild West on the other. Either way, it seems as if the league is doomed to suffer another black eye in its efforts to expand its fan base while keeping the die hards happy. It’s not a job I’d want.
from Legends of Hockey Network,
“Blogging” has taken over the internet by storm, and the online hockey community is no different. Some blogs have become as popular or even more popular than the mainstream media websites. It used to be the first sites I’d visit would be TSN.ca, Globe & Mail, and NHL.com. Now several blogs have worked their way into my daily routine.
Being a member of the blogging community, I wanted to pay respect to the blogs I read most and aspire to be like. Therefore I have created the Hockey Blogs Power Rankings based strictly on my personal reading habits. Let’s take a look.
continued and thanks Joe…
KK readers, feel free to leave your own suggestions!
NEW YORK (Feb. 5, 2007)—Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Andrew Raycroft, New Jersey Devils right wing Jamie Langenbrunner and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Feb. 4.
Each Monday, the NHL will recognize three players who delivered the League’s top performances over the past week.
FIRST STAR—ANDREW RAYCROFT, G, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Raycroft recorded three consecutive road victories with a 1.33 goals-against average and .960 save percentage as the Maple Leafs (26-21-6) stretched their winning streak to four games following the All-Star break. He opened the week by making 28 saves in a 4-1 victory at Carolina Jan. 30, stopped 37 of 38 shots in a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Jan. 31 and made 30 saves in regulation and overtime, plus four of five in the shootout, in a 3-2 victory at Ottawa Feb. 3. Raycroft improved his overall record to 24-16-4 with a 2.91 goals-against average, .899 save percentage and one shutout.
from the Guardian,
For the most part, kids like to play hockey and have fun, she said.
“The fighting starts within the stands with the parents who are yelling and growling,” she said.
“Then it kind of spreads down to the ice and it gets all the kids all worked up and then they are into it.”
Miller said parents often get verbally abusive at the officials and the players.
“I’ve had a mother scream to her kid to rip my kid’s head off in a game,” she said. “He was 15 at the time.”
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from the Buffalo News,
Are the Sabres nervous? Tentative? Less desperate than the opponent? Victims of tough luck? Unable to shrug things off?
The answer is yes to all of the above.
“We can’t come out on top at the end,” Sabres left wing Jochen Hecht said. “It’s been too many times right now where we’re in that situation. We’ve got to be aggressive. We’ve got to take control of the game in the third.”
The Sabres are tied for the most losses in the NHL when leading after two periods, falling to 26-4-2. (Their winning percentage of .813 ranks 19th, with Boston being the worst at .643 while going 9-1-4.)
“Obviously, I’d love to win all the games at this point, but it’ll be a special game,” Shanahan said. “It’s gonna be strange out there against them, seeing those jerseys and colors.”
With Detroit, Shanahan won three Stanley Cups and built lasting friendships.
“Nik Lidstrom, I hear from Drapes [Kris Draper] and Chelly [Chris Chelios],” Shanahan said. “You don’t talk a whole lot about hockey. I know how their season’s going, they know how my season’s going, so it’s a quick call or a Christmas card. I did wish Chelly a happy 45th birthday the other day. He’s far older than me.”
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.
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