Kukla's Korner Hockey
Several days ago, I was invited to a press conference for the OneGoal hockey show, which will be taking place on November 9-11 at Cobo Hall in Detroit, MI. OneGoal, the show’s sponsor, is a grass-roots hockey program with strong ties to the NHL, NHLPA, USA Hockey, Hockey Canada, and several equipment manufacturers, and its goal is to increase participation in yout hockey programs. OneGoal also sponsors the November trade show so that the profits made from said event, which will be open to the public for the first time, go back into promoting youth hockey.
As most of you know, the Detroit Red Wings’ PR staff (and the ever-present John Hahn) prefers not to acknowledge the existence of bloggers, so I headed down to Joe Louis Arena fully expecting to be welcomed at the security desk, have my credentials checked, and then be told to leave the building. I figured, what the hey, I’m going to see the Queens of the Stone Age at 6, and if worse comes to worse, I’ll have five hours to kill in my favourite city on the planet.
For those of us who’ve been laughed at as “conspiracy theorists” and league-critical cynics of a Larry Brooks-like pedigree, Saturday was our Groundhog Day.
As in, we got to peek out of our little bunkers, point at our long shadows, and say, “We told you so.”
We told you that the lockout was about franchise equity, and the concept that a franchise’s bank value would increase exponentially when viewed as an entity with “cost certainty”—theoretically capped costs in terms of salary expenditures, directly tied to league-wide revenues, which effectively renders whether an individual team makes or loses money at the gate, in terms of ticket sales-vs.-expenditures, irrelevant.
by George James Malik
It’s that time of year again—time to prognosticate and make grandiose claims about a team’s potential successes or failures based upon a few exhibition games, last season’s performance, and a “gut feeling” or five. Woo, yeah, party!
Seriously, Dave over at Gorillacrouch.com has kindly invited various bloggers from the Central Division to do team previews of the clubs they cover, and Bill (Mr. Abel to Yzerman), Christy Hammond (Behind the Jersey), John and Steve (Gloveside.net), Matt Saler, (On the Wings), and Dave himself have chosen this particular Monday to bombard you with all the Wings preview-y goodness that you can take.
by George James Malik
It’s that time of year again, that time again for each and every one of us, regardless of the teams we root for. Training camp has ended, and the exhibition season has begun, and whether you’ve seen scrimmages and exhibition games in person, online, or whether all the information you can find is the “official” line from the mainstream media, you think you’ve got a pretty good idea as to which of your team’s prospects, try-outs, and new free agents are going to pan out—especially if you’ve seen them in action.
by George James Malik
As Paul noted on Monday, the inestimable Stan Fischler had some choice words for Chris Chelios, who Fischler believes will succeed Ted Saskin as the NHLPA’s chief executive:
One hopes that some good will come of the Sheila Block-Union probe, which is due for a public revelation next Thursday. If the finger is pointed at Ted Saskin it will be old news. Chris Chelios insists that Block’s report will confirm the hiring of Saskin as the head of the Union was not within the guidelines of the NHLPA’s constitution. What really matters is where the Union goes from here. You can bet that if Chelios becomes the new, chief Association power broker there will be another civil war in two years. …
Ol’ Comrade Stan is barking up the wrong tree in looking to unleash his hatred for the PA upon Chris Chelios.
Chelios never intended to run the NHLPA—first, and foremost, he’s very busy both managing two successful restaurants and playing hockey for the Detroit Red Wings, which he plans on doing so for at least a few more years. Moreover, he never wanted to stage another lock-out—Chelios wanted to get Saskin’s butt kicked out of office, and he wants the NHLPA to act and operate as an honest, open, and accountable union. That’s all.
by George James Malik
I spotted a familiar author’s name while looking at Sport-Express.ru’s hockey page. Igor Larin, who’s basically Russia’s Garrioch, Brooks, and Cox combined, wrote an article suggesting that the Russians have “won” the battle to keep their mid-range players from the clutches of the mean and dirty NHL by not signing a transfer agreement, as proven in the draft, and Larin (who’s such a proponent of the Superleague’s superiority to the NHL that it’s not funny) made some more interesting suggestions.
By George James Malik
For as long as skate blades have been digging into ice, hockey players have tinkered with the way they sharpen their blades. A deeply-hollowed blade is what you need to dig in on bad ice and turn aggressively, but players who have their skates sharpened more shallowly swear by the way that their skates “float” on the ice.
Over the last hundred years, skate blades have become lighter, stronger, less likely to chip or lose their edges, and blades have been designed to bend, flex, and even be replaced readily, whether steel or nylon, but nobody’s ever questioned whether to change the shape of the skate blade.
Rather serendipitously, I stumbled upon a site for CT Edge skate blades—blades that flare outwards—and I emailed them in short order. PR director Dan Pujol graciously scheduled an interview with the CT Edge blade’s creator, Conrad Titzmann, and we spoke at length about the concept.
By George James Malik:
I recently spoke to Easton Hockey’s Vice President, Ned Goldsmith, about Easton ‘s present and future equipment line-ups, including their composite hockey skates. We spoke twice, and Formula PR did a stellar job of coordinating the interviews. Mr. Goldsmith was a pleasure to speak to.
Here’s the first part of our conversation:
The Gearhead: I read the press release about the Synergy Elite stick, and there’re dozens of NHL’ers using it. You’ve stuck with the Synergy’s gone through a few generations—the grip, the SL, and the Stealth sticks, but now you’ve gone back to the Synergy name. How is the Synergy Elite a new generation stick, if you will, and what separates it from the original Synergy?
Ned Goldsmith: Easton invented the performance one-piece stick, we’ve driven stick innovation in the NHL, and the Synergy Elite is in fact the next step forward. What makes the Synergy Elite unique is its weight-to-strength ratio; it’s a remarkably light stick that’s also extremely durable. Making sticks is an art, really. Sticks are made with aerospace technology, and while making a stick is 80% science, the other 20% is art. It’s like cooking, to some extent—you can have the recipe, but making grandma’s pie involves a lot of touches and subtleties. In composite stick-making, it comes down to how much pressure you apply, when you apply the pressure, how much heat you use, great ingredients—we’re one of the largest users of aerospace-quality fibre—not all composite sticks are created equal, and we’re the one of the #1 users of Kevlar as well, so the ingredients we use are the best ingredients available.
By George James Malik:
You didn’t really think that anything would come of the great fighting debate, now, did you?
Oh, everybody got to weigh in, toss their opinions around, block a few carnage-inducing comments from the nighties, avoid the smarmy jabs of the lefties, watch Grapes get Ron MacLean to turtle on Hockey Night in Canada, and see the smirk on the league’s golden boy journalist’s face.
LeBrun sure was happy on Saturday night, wasn’t he? First it was scheduling, then revising the point system, and now fighting. Ol’ Collie and Pierre are real chummy, eh?
Talk, talk, talk, bluster, bluster, bluster.
A few thoughtful comments from players, a few more from the guy who got leveled, suggesting that scrappers are integral to team “lightheartedness,” and then a rain of lefts, rights, jabs, and uppercuts from the hockey media, in print, online, on the radio, all tuckering themselves out…
In a good, old-fashioned donnybrook.
“The notion that because one player got knocked cold in a fight, that’s going to touch off a debate about eliminating fighting, to me is silly,” said the Anaheim Ducks’ GM.
Burke, whose Ducks lead the NHL with 65 fighting majors this season, said there should be no debate.
“Fighting has been systematically reduced in the NHL,” said Burke. “It’s been reduced to, in my mind, its proper place. It’s no longer utilized as a tactic.
“But the notion that we ever get rid of the players’ ability to regulate what happens, is silly to me.
By George Malik:
Collie “Keep Your Head Up” Campbell, who applies selective justice with all the deftness and aplomb of Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazzard, has declared that it’s time to start pondering whether the dangers of fighting outweigh its benefits:
‘‘This year we’ve had two players carried out on stretchers because of fair, consenting fights that had taken place. . . . It scares you,’’ said Campbell.
‘‘I think we, the players and the managers, have to look at this aspect of the game.’‘
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