Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Change The Shootout

from the St. Petersburg Times,

Traditionalists hate the NHL's new shootout to break ties. Lightning coach John Tortorella hates the shootout, too. Of course he does. The Lightning can't win one. But most players say they like it. That's good because, Tortorella said, from what he has heard the shootout is here to stay. However, the NHL should consider tweaking it a bit for next season. Instead of having three shooters a team, the league should do what international hockey does and have five shooters each. Nowadays, if a team falls behind by a goal in a round, it almost never comes back to win. Five shooters give teams a chance to come back. There are two reasons the NHL might have gone to a three-round shootout. One, it was worried about the amount of time five rounds would take. Two, there was a concern that five rounds would put too much strain on the goalie.

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What About Integrity

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman loves to preach about the "integrity" of his league. For those not clear what that word means in the new NHL, it manifests itself in many ways: Teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins sending the guy who is far and away their nest goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury, to the minors so they don't have to pay his bonuses. The New Jersey Devils announcing that Alexander Mogilny is a healthy scratch when he is, in fact, suffering from a concussion. Teams like the Vancouver Canucks practising with only one goaltender because the league created a system that would require them to waive the goalie they wanted to call up while the regular starter was injured. Apparently, as far as the NHL is concerned, "integrity" means never compromising the standards of the game -- as long as doing so doesn't interfere with the profit margin.

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Air Under The Puck

via the Bradenton Herald,

We know the NHL season is almost six weeks old, but there's been so much going on in the world of sports, there's been no time to sit down and watch the new-and-improved National Hockey League. There were the baseball playoffs, culminating with the Chicago White Sox winning their first World Series since 1917. The college football season has had the office buzzing since day one. And we're all anxiously looking on, wondering if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can hang in the playoff race. But finally, on Tuesday night, an opportunity presented itself - the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Washington Capitals on the Outdoor Life Network. oy, did we pick the right game to watch. It went the distance, so we got to see our first NHL shootout - and it was not impressive. Players have complained about the ice being bad in the shootout, and it looked like Vinny Lecavalier and Vinny Prospal had trouble getting any air under the puck. The announcers went on and on about Caps rookie Alexander Ovechkin, but he did nothing for the first 58 minutes, 45 seconds. Then he scored the game-tying goal late in the third period and had the only goal in the shootout, handing the Bolts a disappointing 4-3 loss. We were entertained but won't pay much attention until the playoffs.

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Rumors By Bruce

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

There is talk Columbus GM Doug MacLean, who dealt for C Sergei Fedorov last week, has until Christmas to turn the club around or he'll be looking for work. There are rumours the Russian Ice Hockey Federation will bring legal action against the Washington Capitals for signing standout rookie W Alexander Ovechkin, who was supposed to playing for Moscow Dynamo this season.

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Yzerman Wrong

from the Ottawa Sun,

Steve Yzerman has earned respect. The Nepean product and captain of the Detroit Red Wings has been a marvellous player, represented his country with honour and is a lock for the Hall of Fame. But he was wrong when he did a rip job on the NHL product these days. "Everybody keeps saying this is great. It's not great. It's not hockey," he said. Sorry, Steve, but you're in the minority on this one.
continued This by Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Steve Yzerman doesn't like the new NHL. Brendan Shanahan is one of the authors of the new style of play. Wonder how that will play out in the locker room of the Detroit Red Wings?

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This Magic Moment

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

There will be no Zen warriors Tues day in Pittsburgh; no scantily clad women in the locker room helping the athletes dress, at least none that we know of. Rather, when Alexander Ovechkin and the Caps visit Sidney Crosby and the Penguins that night in the first above-the-title matchup of the two marquee freshmen, it will be the new NHL's first big chance, for it will present the new NHL with a Magic-Bird moment, as in Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, two people who may have saved another pro sport two decades ago. Hey, Gary Bettman might even be able to identify. For the sake of everyone invested in the league, let's hope Bettman and the NHL do understand that. Let's hope the NHL understands that it has an obligation to promote each of the two magical kids equally, regardless of their respective birth places. Let's hope the NHL understands how important each one of these rookies is to the league's future.

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Speed Of The Game Skates Past Martin

from the Miami Herald,

In a go-go NHL, the Panthers have a no-no coach. For all of Jacques Martin's hockey knowledge, his discomfort with the unrestrained doesn't fit an NHL that now begs players to let their play shout of creativity. It also doesn't fit a Panthers roster built for a game based on an aggressive use of speed, skill and physicality. What this young team needed was tutoring on defensive zone play and an infusion of character. Shackles were unnecessary.

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Avery

from the LA Daily News, "I'm sick of dealing with these blue-collar stiffs," Avery said Saturday. Avery admits what he says probably raises a few eyebrows - "Some of what I say probably isn't what you hear every day" - but he also thinks some people take things way too seriously. If you expect him to conform to fit the way everyone else thinks, you can forget it. "That's completely irrelevant to me," he said. "Their line isn't even on my radar, really." And if pushing the envelope gives him an edge on the ice, he's all for it. "If it turns into a good thing where I can use it against the other team and they're upset at me, then even better," Avery said. "I don't think that when I initially say something, but usually the trickle-down effect plays out. It's the echo system of the NHL and the managers and the owners and all that. I don't know. All I know is I'm just sick of everybody being such stiffs."

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When 50 Was A Real Number

from the Ottawa Citizen,

It was a lot simpler then. Six teams, one Stanley Cup. If a fan wanted to identify the 50-goal scorers, he could start with the players wearing No. 9 on the back of their wool sweaters: Montreal's Rocket Richard, Chicago's Bobby Hull, Boston's John Bucyk. Fifty goals meant something 50 years ago, didn't it? Now the new NHL, with it's jacked offence, dragging hockey out of the dead puck era, is about to destroy the sanctity of the 50-goal season as happened in the NHL 30 years ago.

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Open Your Eyes

from the Toronto Star,

As far as Tie Domi is concerned, the resignation of Steve Larmer from the NHL Players' Association should have the entire rank and file demanding that executive director Ted Saskin step aside. "If that doesn't open everyone's eyes, I don't think anything will," Domi said. Saskin said he didn't agree with Larmer's reasons for resigning, but thanked him for his service. "I find this very unfortunate since he has not received accurate information on recent events and has never discussed any of his concerns with me," Saskin said in a statement. "Steve is obviously entitled to his own opinions and while I don't agree with his stated reasons for his resignation, I certainly respect his right to do so." Leaf goalie Ed Belfour, a former teammate of Larmer's, is certain he's telling the truth. "If Steve Larmer says that's the way it is, I believe it right down to the last word," Belfour said.

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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