Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the NY Times,
N.H.L. Commissioner Gary Bettman was asked recently about his views on the legislation currently working its way through Congress that deals with drug testing in professional sports. If that means we have to test our players to prove that they're clean, we're going to do it - which is why we and the players' association in the collective bargaining agreement have agreed on a performance-enhancing random testing program with severe punishments." Those punishments, Bettman said, would be a 20-game suspension for a first offense, a 60-game suspension for a second and a lifetime ban for a third, with no possibility of reinstatement for at least two years. N.H.L. teams play 82 regular-season games.
from the Pittsbugh Post-Gazette,
Goals and gate receipts have increased. Fighting has decreased, and ties have disappeared altogether. Yet, as the NHL season hits the quarter pole, not everyone is enamored with the radically altered game. An informal survey conducted Thursday in the Penguins' dressing room quickly produced two men who preferred the old league. Not surprisingly, both make their living trying to prevent goals. "It's not a man's game anymore," said defenseman Lyle Odelein. Veteran goaltender Jocelyn Thibault, whose season goals-against average is bloated to nearly twice his career mark, responded emphatically to a questioner. "Do I like the new game? No," Thibault said. "I liked it better before. Right now, you get a free pass to the net."read on update, Sunday 12:33am, While at the Gazette, make sure to check out Shelly Anderson's Slap Shots, where you will find information like this:
Some shootout statistics through Thursday: There were 25 shootouts through the first 281 games this season (8.9 percent). Shooters scored on 51 of 159 attempts (32.1 percent). Five shootouts were decided in four shots, nine in five shots, six in six shots, one in seven shots, two in eight shots, one in 16 shots and one in 18 shots. Nashville led with four shootout games, going 3-1. Washington was 3-0. Tampa was 0-3. Detroit and Philadelphia had not been in one.
Eric Duhatschek, Pierre LeBrun and John Davidson were on the 'Hot Stove' between periods on HNIC. They all leaned towards agreeing with Yzerman comments. They say the refs are calling anything that looks like a penalty and the players would rather have them error on the side of not calling it than calling a penalty when it really isn't. Also, during the Wings game tonight, Yzerman commented again by saying, "just watch the games on TV, even the analysts can't find the infraction on some of the calls." To clarify too many of the people who are discussing this at HFBoards and other forums, Yzerman is not knocking the game and the changes, but said the refs need to bring their judgment into some of the calls, not go strictly by the book even if it looks like a penalty. From Day 1 of the new season, Steve has said there are too many pp opportunities and the flow of the game suffers from it.
Former NHL player Steve Larmer is the latest to voice his displeasure with the National Hockey League Players' Association, re-signing from his post this weekend after seven years with the organization. Larmer, who played for 15 seasons in the NHL, joins a small yet vocal group of current and former players unhappy with the decision-making process of the NHLPA and the selection of Ted Saskin as its new Executive Director.
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).
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