Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Spector of the National Post via Canada.com,
Today, in the third season after the lockout that changed so many facets of the game, the NHL finds its popularity waning in three of its gold star American markets: Detroit, Dallas and Colorado. There just may be a price to be paid after all, the league is learning, for the salary cap that has put millions into league coffers over the last three years….
While interest has increased in small markets, where teams now compete on an even economic plane, it seems people in the large markets preferred it when their team had the ability to outspend opponents.
All of the big U.S. markets include competition from the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball. There is an inherent battle for headlines and talk-show time that is being lost by NHL clubs that simply aren’t making news the way they used to under the old collective bargaining agreement.
via the AP,
Stars right wing Jere Lehtinen will be out indefinitely with an abdominal strain, but might not need surgery as the team originally thought, coach Dave Tippett said after Friday night’s 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Earlier on Friday night, the club said Lehtinen would undergo surgery on Monday, but Tippett said that was “premature.”
“We’ll continue to look at it,” Tippett said. “We’ll do some tests and see how it reacts over the next few days.”
From the Dallas Stars,
The Dallas Stars announced today that left wing Todd Fedoruk has been claimed off re-entry waivers by the Minnesota Wild. The Stars and Wild will split Fedoruk’s salary (signed one-year deal for $875,000 in off-season) for the remainder of the 2007-08 season.
added 5:10pm, Tom Lynn, Asst. GM for the Wild on the Fedoruk pick-up via Russo’s Rants,
“The general manager is not happy where we are right now, so he’s made this move (Fedoruk). Some guys will have to step up or there will be other moves.”
He added, “In order to compete against some of the teams in our conference that we need to get ahead of, we need a grittier, more committed physical team. Fedoruk, we didn’t get just to come and fight. He makes us a tougher team.”
From Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,
Is it possible that Brett Hull might save Toronto Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson, Jr.‘s job?
Seems illogical, but then logic rarely is a dominant theme at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, a behemoth in terms of producing revenue, but a consistent failure in terms of on-ice success in the NHL.
The buzz for weeks has been that MLSE’s board of directors has been contemplating Ferguson’s dismissal, but the recent appointment of Hull as interim co-director of the Dallas Stars may have made an impact in Toronto.
The argument in favor of keeping the beleaguered Ferguson has long centered on a simple question: “Who can we get to replace him?” That question gave the board some pause this past offseason when several high profile (and under contract) GMs quietly let it be known they weren’t interested in the board’s plan to bring in an experienced hockey man to “mentor” Ferguson.
continued… including a look at shakeups in Dallas, St. Louis and Florida
From the Dallas Stars,
The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has placed defenseman Mattias Norstrom on the injured reserve list retroactive to November 9. The Stars also recalled defenseman Mark Fistric from the Iowa Stars, Dallas’ primary development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Norstrom, 35, suffered a small fracture to his orbital bone in the Stars’ Nov. 7 contest at San Jose and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
From Pierre Lebrun, CP via MetroNews,
“It’s just part of the business. I’m viewing this as a great time to teach them how to respond to adversity. I have to be strong at home and go out and get another job and let them know that when you have a setback and you have to stand up and get back on your feet. That’s what society demands and that’s what we demand of ourselves.”
Armstrong’s deal with the Stars pays him through the 2010-11 season but he doesn’t plan on sitting on the couch. He wants to work.
He’s already been contacted from numerous friends around the league and given his excellent reputation he needn’t worry.
“Someone said when you get let go, because it’s never if but when, just make a list of names of people that called you and that’ll give you a pretty good feeling of what you’ve done,” said Armstrong. “So I’ve got that list and I’m on the third or fourth page now. It means a lot when people around the league reach out to you and show their support.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
How would Brett Hull the GM have handled the outspoken, larger-than-life Brett Hull as a player. His answer, word for word:
“You know what? That was the problem. Everyone tried to deal with him (Brett, speaking in the third person) instead of just letting him go out and play - or letting him be himself. If there was a Brett Hull out there right now, I would try to get him - because I know, he’s passionate about the game and brings a dynamic into my room…”.
from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
If I am Brett Hull, I call Bob Gainey and ask him about patience as a GM. How developing and sticking with a game plan is better than always being on the lookout for a one-timer.
If I am Brett Hull, I call Ken Hitchcock and get him to thoroughly explain to me the value of teamwork, preparation and defensive play.
If I am Brett Hull, I call Lombardi and ask him how to build and guide a scouting staff.
from the Dallas Morning News,
The Dallas Stars will announce today that Jeff Cogen has been named the new president of the team, according to outgoing president Jim Lites.
Lites is stepping down as president of the Stars, a decision he said was mutual with owner Tom Hicks. Lites will take an expanded role in the Hicks Sports Group.
Note: more on changes with the Stars earlier, here
from the Star-Telegram,
Same coach? Same goaltender? Same guy who hired Armstrong?
Add to that the announcement that Brett Hull was being transferred from the golf course to the interim co-general manager’s office, and it was an odd day at Stars Inc.
Would somebody please explain it to me? I’m wondering what, exactly, does an “interim co-general manager” do? Make trades? Harvest the locker room gossip? Draft the next Sidney Crosby?
Why, after three straight quick playoff exits and after this season’s disappointing start, fire the general manager and not head coach Dave Tippett?
Update 12:16pm ET: Scott Burnside of ESPN weighs-in on the Brett Hull selection.
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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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