Kukla's Korner Hockey
Lidstrom out with lower-body injury, day-to-day, Datsyuk still out and Havlat will be playing for Chicago.
Chelios replaces Lidstrom for the Wings.
from Bob Verdi of the Chicago Tribune,
“What’s going on in Chicago is fantastic,” said Dick Ebersol, sports chairman of a network that had a profitable fling during Jordan’s reign. “The Winter Classic at Wrigley Field was the highest-rated regular season game in 34 years. Game 1 of this series was the highest-rated game on U.S. TV, not counting finals or the winter classics, in five years. There is an uptick in hockey, especially in Chicago.”
NBC’s contract is up at year’s end, but in a feeble economy, Ebersol hopes the network and league can continue to partner by sharing risk and reward. Ever the contrarian, he touts Versus as the solution, not the problem. From America’s most powerful TV executive, this is not the stuff of fluff.
“Versus treats hockey the right way, not second fiddle as it was on ESPN,” said Ebersol. “Versus is in 20 million fewer homes, but the holes are tightening. And don’t forget, Versus is owned by Comcast. I like that strength. I also liked Bill Wirtz. The new people in Chicago have done a great job, but Bill was a character, and he cared about the sport.”
more on the Blackhawks…
from Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN,
So I’m standing in the United Center suite with Mr. Hockey himself, Michael Jordan, and his buddy, Kid Rock. We’re killing time between the first and second periods of the Chicago Blackhawks-Detroit Red Wings playoff game, and I’m thinking, “NHL, where have you been all my life?”
I mean, when’s the last time you saw MJ at a hockey game? Even more incredible, when’s the last time Jordan slipped on a personalized No. 23 Hawks sweater (but only after team officials sewed a red patch over the maker’s company logo), walked out to his seat and happily posed and waved to the geeked crowd as the Versus cameras recorded every surreal moment? After all, who thought MJ would commit to the Indian?
“That’s never happened,” says an amazed Jay Blunk, the team’s senior vice president of business operations. “We celebrate the little things.”
“It’s validation,” says Hawks president John McDonough, who has known Jordan for years. “It’s validation.”
Q. Mike, Brian Campbell labeled the Kronwall move as gutless. Whats your response to that?
MIKE BABCOCK: I thought it was a great hockey hit. I thought it was a great hockey hit. So far from being gutless it’s not even funny. He did it right. He didn’t leave his feet. The puck was right in between the guy’s feet. I mean, no way.
Q. Can you update Draper, Datsyuk, their situations for tomorrow? If Draper can’t play, who would replace him?
MIKE BABCOCK: Draper can’t play. Abbie is going to go in his spot. Be good for him. Play his natural position. Datsyuk is going to be the same thing as it was the day before. We’ll see. I noticed his stuff was hanging up. They’re hoping they can get him in his boot and get him going.
Q. What is the update on Khabi and Havlat?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: Khabi is doing better today. We’ll see how he presents tomorrow. But good progress.
And Marty, as well. I thought Marty really looked good today. Hopefully he progresses today in the same fashion for tomorrow and a chance he could play tomorrow.
Q. What did you think on the hit on Havlat?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: It’s a dangerous hit. Same stance as I had last night. You know, he didn’t touch the puck. The guy left his feet. You know, it was a tough hit.
Q. Will Khabibulin possibly start tomorrow?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: We’ll see. We’ll make that determination tomorrow.
from Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times,
But now it’s nasty, too.
Michael Jordan was in the house, wearing a No. 23 Hawks jersey with his own name on it, of course, and one had to wonder what he felt about Kronwall’s crushing blow. Memories of the Pistons’ ‘‘Bad Boys’’ back in the day?
No matter. One more victory at home, and this thing is all even.
Guaranteed, that victory isn’t going to come easy. It might not be pretty, either.
Seat belts, everybody.
from David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
The only thing wrong with the Kornwall hit was that someone truly deserving of such a masterpiece such as Jordan Tootoo, Steve Ott, Matt Cooke, Sean Avery, Ben Eager, Adam Burish or Robyn Regehr wasn’t on the receiving end of it.
The puck came around the boards to Havlat and shortly after it arrived in his skates, Kronwall rammed into him with his shoulder, as if he were Jack Lambert, Mike Singletary, Lawrence Taylor, Scott Stevens and Brian Herosian all rolled up into one ball of explosiveness.
It was a brilliant open-ice hit and, at first, neither referee raised his arm to call a penalty on the play, though that should have happened,...
The apologists at the NHL’s website said that Kronwall “appeared to have left his feet” making the hit.
more and thanks to a KK reader for the screenshot.
added 9:32am, from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,
But in a playoff season in which the NHL has gotten so many calls wrong time after time, Kronwall’s was arguably the worst miscarriage of justice outside the inexplicable non-suspension of Carolina forward Scott Walker for his goon sucker punch on Boston’s Aaron Ward.
Who actually made the call? What was the explanation? The NHL needs to explain itself on this one. And apologize for screwing up so badly.
“It was a hard hit and a dangerous hit when you still haven’t touched the puck,” Quenneville said.
Havlat did not return to the game and is listed with an upper-body injury.
“He looked better after the game,” Quenneville said. “We’ll see how he presents himself (Saturday). We’ll call it day to day.”
Babcock bit down hard on his tongue when asked whether he thought the NHL might take further disciplinary action against Kronwall.
“I’d be shocked,” Babcock said. “I’d be absolutely shocked. You know what? No, I’m not allowed to say that.”
Then he said it anyway. “Players have bad games,” Babcock said. “Coaches have bad games, but (officials) are not allowed to have bad calls or games.”
more on the game last night…
Patrick Sharp with the game-winner early in the first OT.
added 11:31pm, Video highlights from Versus added below…
Niklas Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings delivers a hit to Martin Havlat that resulted in a five minute interference call and a game misconduct to Kronwall.
added 10:02pm, Empty Netters chimes in…
That said, Kronwall’s a head hunter who has a history of leaving his feet to deliver hits. And he charged Havlat. Versus commentators Ed Olczyk, Brian Engblom and Keith Jones kept saying Kronwall didn’t leave his feet to deliver the hit. They must have depth perception issues because this is what we saw:
Kronwall was up in the air for maybe a split second, but that doesn’t matter. According to Rule 43 of the NHL’s rulebook:
“43.1 Charging - A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player or goalkeeper who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner.”
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.
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