Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Courier Post,
Just when the NHL had turned the corner and was heading down the road to respectability, it swerved off the shoulder, over a bank and into a raging river. And again, those blasted referees were behind the wheel. Here we are, 20 games into the regular season, and a sport that looked to be on the verge of something special has been reduced to a haven for divers, actors and breathless whistle-blowers.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Even though the opportunity to be a free agent is greater now than ever before, the trick for the NHL players association will be to convince more of its membership to take advantage of the new rules. Thus far, the early indications are, not many want to do so — and the ones that do move, tend to do so reluctantly, just because the teams they play for can't find the cap room to sign them.
via Chicago Business,
The lockout that nixed the NHL's 2004-05 season doesn't appear to have dented the Chicago Blackhawks' core fan base. TV ratings for games so far this season are up about 60% from the 2003-04 campaign, to an average of more than 27,000 viewers per game. Average attendance is up 2%, to 14,702, ranking the team 23rd out of 30 NHL teams. "It's a foundation we can build on," says Jim Sofranko, Hawks sales and marketing chief.
So, there's a rich guy in Houston who figures his town would make the perfect home for an NHL team. And there's another one in Kansas City who says Missouri's biggest city would show everybody the NHL can't miss there. Why, then, isn't somebody in Winnipeg making noise, telling whoever will listen that he, too, will do whatever it takes to get the NHL back here?
from the Toronto Star,
When Bob Hartley led the Laval Titan to the Memorial Cup in 1992, he was hailed as a young coaching genius. As his Atlanta Thrashers face the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre tonight, he's reviled by many people around the NHL as a coach hell-bent on creating on-ice mayhem. Today has been circled on more than a few calendars since a 9-1 Leafs win in Atlanta Oct. 14, which was marred by cheap shots and scraps near the final buzzer.
from the Edmonton Sun,
What a mess in St. Louis. They were in pretty much the same boat as Detroit, having to cut their payroll in half to come in under the salary cap, but while the Wings have flourished (winless Northwest road swing notwithstanding), St. Louis is a disaster area. Gross mismanagement in the past has left them saddled with contracts they can't get rid of, like the $11.4 million they have tied up in Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk (between the two of them, they've only made it to the second round of the playoffs six times in 25 seasons).
from the Toronto Star,
That Alexander Ovechkin has emerged from the first quarter of the season as a leading candidate for rookie of the year is a surprise to nobody. That he is already arguably the best player in the NHL, well, we didn't see that coming. But that's exactly what the Russian wunderkind has done with his remarkable start with the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin is the leading candidate for the Hart Trophy because he scores goals, big ones, and has gone from 26th place in the NHL's scoring list (through Thursday's games) to No. 1 in the Campbellnomics rankings.
from the Calgary Sun,
The reaction proves there's still a bit of a kid in Dion Phaneuf. In his nationally syndicated radio show, Don Cherry yesterday picked the Flames blueliner as his early choice for rookie of the year. Phaneuf, when told of Cherry's praise, stopped in his tracks. "Sweet," he beamed. Cherry said he believes the Calder Trophy will go to either Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin -- but his endorsement of Phaneuf proves the Flames' first-year defenceman is being noticed outside of Southern Alberta
from the Edmonton Sun,
How's your groin? It's fast becoming one of the most frequently asked questions in the National Hockey League as more and more players are having to ice in places they're really rather not ice. Steve Sullivan, Scott Thornton, Vesa Toskala, Sergei Fedorov, Kari Lehtonen, Mike Dunham, Glen Wesley, Jon Klemm, Marian Gaborik, Jason Woolley, Robert Esche, Rod Brind'Amour, Dainus Zubrus, Ty Conklin, Jeff Friesen, Olaf Kolzig, Tyler Bouck, Sergei Gonchar and Brian Boucher are either out with groin injuries or came back from them in the last week. You can triple that list if you list all the guys who've missed time since early October.
from the Delaware County Times,
The new NHL has reached the quarter pole and there have been plenty of surprises in the league, both positive and negative. Like where did the first-place New York Rangers come from? And the first-place Carolina Hurricanes? And how about the nearly unbeatable Nashville Predators? On the flip side, why are the Boston Bruins so bad? Why have the Atlanta Thrashers disappointed when they were the sexy pick to be an up-and-coming playoff team? And how about San Jose and Anaheim? Weren’t they supposed to battle for the Pacific Division crown instead of the cellar?
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