Kukla's Korner Hockey
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from the Toronto Sun,
Chris Chelios did not freak out on Ted Saskin. There were no ugly food fights, no fisticuffs, no accusations hurled. In fact, Chelios admits the meeting between Saskin and the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena Thursday was quite informative. So what took so long, the outspoken veteran wants to know? And why has Saskin not held similar meetings with the other 29 NHL teams in order to educate players on the state of the union -- in this case, the NHL players' union? GET A FEEL "Have a fall tour," Chelios said yesterday. "It seems so simple. I wish Ted would have done this and then let the executive committee and the player reps get a feel for what the players want." Saskin came to Detroit at the request of the Wings after an informal team vote determined that more information was required from the union head. "I think the consensus around the league is that guys need to talk to Ted and get some questions answered," Chelios said.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Last week, the NHL sent out a directive to all its teams to amend the shootout process. At the beginning of the exhibition season, the Zamboni came out after regulation play and conducted a dry scrape of the ice, so that players had decent ice on which to skate. Some teams actually put water down, which proved to be a disaster. Both procedures took longer than the league liked, so as of last Friday, the ice preparation was amended and limited to a pair of arena workers, shoveling the snow out of the crease area and in the slot. That approach has had its shortcomings as well. Too many players, attempting the shootout, have lost control of the puck because of poor ice conditions. Accordingly, the league needs to decide what to do: Either take a few extra minutes to prepare the ice properly for the shootout, or move forward without a scrape or a flood after overtime, which would save time, but could diminish the overall show.
from the AP via TSN,
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall will undergo surgery on his left knee and will be out four to six months, general manger Ken Holland said Friday. Kronwall, 24, was injured when Colorado's Dan Hinote's hip checked him along the boards in an exhibition game Tuesday night. Holland said Dr. William Clancy will performed the surgery in Aspen, Colo., after the swelling in Kronwall's knee goes down in two or three weeks. Clancy examined Kronwall on Friday.
These players are as old as the game itself, the kind of players whose very presence on the ice changes the demeanor of an opposing team. Sometimes that change comes in the form of a ripple of hesitation, maybe flat-out fear. Sometimes the change comes in the form of a blood-boiling rage. And even in the new, wide-open NHL, there will always be room for a strong, physical presence.
The new National Hockey League is considering yet another major change in time for the start of this regular season. TSN has learned that all 30 NHL franchises received new jerseys Friday for their goaltenders and while it's a longshot, fans could see them in game action on opening night. The shirts are streamlined in a continued effort to reduce the amount of net they cover, and maybe even more significantly, they are different in colour and pattern like goalkeeper jerseys in soccer and would not match the rest of the team.
from the CP via CJAD,
The biggest misconception about the new-look NHL is that it returns with a bevy of "new rules" this season. That's not totally accurate. "The only thing that really changed is the elimination of the red line, other than that, the old rules have now been enforced more," said Colorado Avalanche defenceman Rob Blake. Well, not exactly. Let's face it, it's all about the crackdown. The rulebook is now being enforced. The NHL's latest attack on obstruction seems to have more teeth to it, with players, coaches and GMs all involved in wanting to make it work. "This is going to be great for the game in general, it's going to increase scoring and increase the excitement and open the game up for sure," said Los Angeles Kings centre Jeremy Roenick, who figures the crackdown will add an "extra year or two" to his career.
Can the NHL go from being No Hockey League for the past 15 months to being the Now Hot League? The question isn't as ridiculous as it seems. When the puck drops next week for the first National Hockey League regular-season game in more than a year, the league will be playing before sell-out crowds, with strong ticket sales in the bank and a new cable network partner that actually values the sport as a key property, rather than an afterthought. Susan Cohig, the league's vice president of strategic development, says 23 of the 30 teams have had 90 percent or more of their 2003-04 season ticket holders renew their ticket packages. Two years ago, only eight clubs had that renewal rate heading into the season. In addition, a third of the teams are reporting at least 2,000 new season tickets, and single-game ticket sales are also well ahead of this point two years ago. "We thought very much we would come back very strong," said Cohig. "Did we think we'd come back this strong? No."
from the AP via The Dispatch,
When it comes to sports in the South, the tradition and history run thick: Football is akin to an autumn religion passed down through the generations, and NASCAR was born of good ol' boy moonshiners racing through the backwoods. But hockey? Pucks and sticks and big-league blue lines have been in the region little more than a decade, and the emotional ties to home ice may not be strong enough to overcome the bitterness of a labor battle that wiped out the entire 2004-05 NHL season. So it's in the South, where plenty of season-ticket holders are first-generation fans and few natives have played the game, that the NHL potentially faces its biggest battle reconnecting with fans.
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