Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Beaver County Times,
The Pittsburgh Penguins' 0-2-4 start to this campaign is starting to get more than a little disconcerting. It's starting to get downright desperate at Mellon Arena. Following Saturday night's 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Mellon Arena, the Penguins failed, yet again, to get two points for the sixth straight game. Afterward, Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk said it was his team's best all-around game this season and that the team was close to turning the corner. At this rate, it appears the Penguins are running in circles. Though the Penguins have recorded a point in four of their first six games (three overtime losses and one loss in a shootout), that's not a very sound strategy for a team with legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations. What's going wrong? "I don't know," a cranky Mario Lemieux said. Well, it's the same old thing every night.
from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,
Confused about how physical a defenceman can be when it comes to clearing out opposing forwards? You're not alone. So are lots of fans. For that matter, so are lots of players and coaches. "That's the one area of the new approach that is the most misunderstood," a veteran referee said. Then he explained what the standard is supposed to be -- although he admitted that even some of his colleagues don't seem to be clear on the point. You may have heard announcers say that if the stick is parallel to the ice when it is put upon an opponent's body, it's an infraction. Not necessarily.
from the Buffalo News,
If a shootout is good enough for Olympic hockey, and for World Cup soccer, it should be good enough for the Stanley Cup playoffs Hockey's old guard (crusty Canadian curmudgeons) can't stand the shootout. They talk about the tie game as if it were a hockey sacrament, a reflection of the game's essentially righteous character. Of course, these are the same dinosaurs who held the sport back for years, content to sit back as suffocating, defensive hockey sucked the life out of their sport and drove casual fans to auto racing and poker. Critics of the shootout say it cheapens the game. They say a shootout is a skills competition, not legitimate hockey. They say it's unfair for a team to be outplayed for a full game and then lose because the opposition has a better goalie. Come on. A shootout tests the most basic of hockey skills. It's a breakaway, an offensive star against a goalie, best man wins. If anything, there should be more breakaways in hockey. They should award more penalty shots in regulation.
from the Miami Herald, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman met with the South Florida media before Saturday's game at the BankAtlantic Center. Here is the complete transcript of the conversation.
Q: Are you happy with what you've seen from new cable partner OLN? A: If you want to put something in perspective, to accomplish what they did on about six weeks' notice is nothing short of phenomenal. This year on OLN will be a work in progress in two respects: 1, as the year goes on they'll get better and better in doing all the things they want to do, and they're not in a fire drill; and 2, the schedule we agreed to put together really won't be in place for a year; that is, on Monday nights have all the hockey in the U.S. to themselves, and two good exclusive games on a lighter schedule on Tuesday nights. Remember we did the schedule before we even announced the deal; we didn't even know what our cable arrangements were going to be. And it wasn't just who our partner was going to be, it was what was the right schedule. And there were a lot of variables because we were talking to different parties. But this year will be a work in progress, and they will only get better, and next year, when people look at what they do and our ratings this will be a very good move both for OLN and for us. Also, look at their coverage at the end of the game; there's a nice studio show, they're not blasting off to somewhere else.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Columbus president/GM Doug MacLean has read the riot act to the Blue Jackets' players. Only five games into a season he promised owner John McConnell and the good fans of Columbus his club would challenge for a playoff spot, sources told the Sun that MacLean blew his top following a 4-3 loss Friday in Anaheim. After watching his club give a halfhearted effort against the Ducks for Columbus' fourth loss in five games, the word is MacLean went ballistic -- especially to winger Nikolai Zherdev -- during an expletive-filled session in the dressing room. Not only is the heat on MacLean -- who signed free-agent defenceman Adam Foote to a $4-million (all figures US) contract -- but there's talk Jackets coach Gerard Gallant is living on borrowed time.
from the Rocky Mount Telegram,
The new NHL was not made for franchises like Detroit, Toronto or Philadelphia. There was never any doubt that the fans of the great tradition-filled franchises would return to the arenas after the year-long lockout. The new NHL, with its rules designed to open up play and increase scoring, was designed to help the struggling franchises, such as the Carolina Hurricanes. Sure the Hurricanes had gone to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002. The fans showed up in droves then, leading to the familiar rallying call of the “loudest fans in the NHL.” However, not much has gone right since then. There was the last-place finish in 2002-03 and the mildly better season the next. Moving or contracting the franchise, just eight years after moving from Hartford, Conn., was an option the talking heads discussed as a way to “fix the NHL” after the lockout.
from the Edmonton Sun,
Have you seen this new game on TV? It's called "hockey" and it's fast-paced and high-scoring and hard-hitting and tremendously fun to watch! And we can't believe that the NHL denied for so long that there was a problem with Canada's beloved national sport! It's only a couple of weeks into the start of the new season of the new National Hockey League, but the earlier reviews are overwhelmingly positive. We certainly can see why. We were skeptical that the NHL lockout would return anything to the ice other than the same old, boring, clutch-and-grab game - except paid by players earning less money than before. It turns out to be anything but the old game on the ice. And boy, are we glad. It seems that the really revolutionary change made during the league's one-year sabbatical from our lives was not the salary cap - although that's helping to make the Oilers a lot more competitive - but the comparatively minor tinkering of the rules. The two rule tweaks that seem to be doing the most to increase the speed and flow of the game are the two-line passes, as the centre red-line is ignored when it comes to passing the puck up the ice, and what the NHL terms "zero tolerance on interference, hooking and holding/obstruction."
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
A lot of the games have been a lot more entertaining and that's good, there's no doubt about that. It's far more difficult, if not impossible, for teams to sit on leads for 30 or 40 minutes, and that's good, too; no doubt about that, either. But at the same time, a number of the games played through the first 10 days of the NHL's return from the dead haven't even resembled hockey, and that's bad. A number of the games have more or less resembled basketball, and that's bad, too, no doubt about that, either. Everyone's all for improving the game. But, after watching too many games in which too many players were permitted to skate freely without fear of being touched as they circled the perimeter while their teammates stood around watching them go one-on-one, we wonder whether Sixth Avenue's motive is to improve the game or whether Sixth Avenue's motive is to change the game entirely in order to try and sell it to consumers who wouldn't know Rocket Richard from Roger Clemens.
from the Palm Beach Post,
Commissioner Gary Bettman defended the NHL's decision to lose the entire 2004-05 season Saturday night as opposed to rushing into an agreement that might have saved part of the year but would failed to have fixed the game's most deep-rooted problems. "We knew we were at the stage where we had to make the right deal," Bettman said in a visit with the South Florida media before Saturday's Panthers-Sabres game at the BankAtlantic Center. "That's why it took as long as it did. ... Rushing to get in half or 40 percent of the season at the cost of not getting the right deal would not have been worth it.
via TSN (will open in wmp video), Hull announces his retirement from the NHL.
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.
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