Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Johnette Howard of Newsday,
So is the NHL’s problem Bettman? Or is the problem that hockey is still hockey?
Teasing out the answer is complex, but developments in the past year don’t augur well for Bettman.
His decision to move the league’s TV rights to NBC and the barely known and unevenly distributed Versus network rather than take a concession-laden deal to stay with ESPN could go down as the most disastrous move of his career. Ratings are minuscule; the national audience for Versus games is less than 200,000.
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail, News flash:
The Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes visit the White House today to be honoured by U.S. president George W. Bush.
Aid: “Mr. President, the Carolina Hurricanes will be in the East Room this afternoon for their special ceremony.”
Bush: “Hurricanes in the White House? Get those federal emergency folks ready. We don’t want another Katrina, if you know what I mean.”
Aid: “Ah, no sir. The Carolina Hurricanes are a hockey team. They won the Stanley Cup last season and will be here so you can congratulate them.”
Bush: “Where are these Hurricanes from, anyway - East or West Carolina?”
Aid: “That would be North or South, sir.”
from Vancouver Sun via Canada.com,
The subject cried out for a little investigative work and the questions were simple. Is there too much swearing in hockey? Could anything be done about it?
“Of course, there is too much swearing,” conceded Vancouver Canucks defenceman Mattias Ohlund. “Hockey is an emotional game. You have 20 guys on each team and three or four coaches and they all want to win. Guys are jacked up and, at times, you get upset. It doesn’t matter if you play in Sweden, the NHL, the East Coast League or in a beer league, swearing is just part of the mentality of the game.”
But does it have to be so, uh, frequent? Children may be watching and listening.
from the Ann Arbor News,
That’s similar to how Johnson has analyzed and improved his play in his 1 1/2 seasons with the Wolverines. Johnson said he’s more concerned with just doing his own job in the defensive end instead of running around wherever the puck went as a freshman.
He has also adjusted better to how he’s officiated, dropping his penalty minutes dramatically from the school-record 149 he had a year ago.
Michigan coach Red Berenson points to other improvements in Johnson’s game, such as better puck touches on the power play, better defensive positioning to stop odd-man rushes and his blossoming offense.
via the LA Times (reg. req.),
Scott Niedermayer, who sat out the last two games because of a stress fracture in his right foot, will be back on skates Saturday and could return to the lineup as early as Tuesday when the Ducks play at San Jose.
Niedermayer, who consulted with team physician Ronald Glousman, said he was given the OK to return to the ice after X-rays proved negative.
Niedermayer will travel with the team to Nashville but said he doesn’t plan to play in Saturday’s game against the Predators, even if he doesn’t have any problems with his foot during the morning skate.
Niedermayer played coy when asked if the fracture had totally healed. But he admitted there was some concern over playing on consecutive nights next week against the Sharks.
“You want to … try and be smart about it,” he said. “You want to make sure you’re there for the long haul.”
from the Calgary Sun,
Iginla, sidelined nearly a month with a knee injury, skated on a line in practice yesterday with recently re-acquired centre Craig Conroy. Alex Tanguay rounded out the trio on the left wing.
Iginla and Conroy were a dynamic duo for most of three seasons with the Flames, including the 2001-02 campaign in which Iginla won both the Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies.
If Conroy does skate on a line tonight with Iginla when the Flames host the Colmbus Blue Jackets, it would separate the captain and Daymond Langkow.
You can hear the sound of his skates slicing across the ice, carving and slashing as he builds up speed and executes tight turns.
That sound is accompanied by the echo of a frozen disk being jiggled at the end of a long stick, and occasionally fired against the wooden boards that surround the ice rink.
It’s a sound that resonates throughout Canadian cities every winter.
The sport is hockey.
Here, it’s never referred to as “ice hockey”. It’s just “hockey” and it’s Canada’s favourite game.
from Tony Gallagher of the Province,
With more and more information about the NHL Players’ Association conference call during the all-star break leaking out, it’s beginning to look like Toronto lawyer Sheila Block’s investigation into the union’s affairs from Jan. 1, 2004, is going to be very eye opening to many of the players.
The affair will not be public, as a court case would have been had it gone ahead as the leaders of the upset parties, Dwayne Roloson, Trent Klatt and Chris Chelios, might have liked.
from the Salem News,
“He would tell me, ‘I wish I was going with you instead,’” she said of her famous hockey playing and coaching husband, Bobby Carpenter. “It killed him. He wanted to be home with me and the kids.”
The Peabody native doesn’t have to wish anymore. He is home.
Destined for a head coaching job in the NHL, Carpenter decided that dream, which is still there, can wait.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Bickering on both sides only accentuates the negative for hockey fans
As the 15th anniversary of Gary Bettman’s hiring passes without celebration, the level of unrest in the National Hockey League may be at an all-time high.
Animosity seems everywhere these days. Owners are fighting with owners. Players are fighting with players. If you listen long enough or hard enough to anyone who loves the game or the league, they will tell you what is wrong, instead of what is right.
This is what Bettman’s NHL has become—an argument that is never completed, a debate put off until the next board of governors meeting.
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.
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