Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Neil Stevens of the CP via the Globe and Mail,
Heated skate blades that are supposed to enhance performance are being used by four anonymous NHL players.
The four teams they play for asked that their names be kept secret so the Thermablades on their feet didn’t draw media attention and their use become a distraction, says Kris King, the NHL’s Toronto-based senior manager of hockey operations.
Of all the people to bang the “let’s pick on the goalies because we only need to pick on thirty guys to increase goal scoring” drum, Eric Duhatschek certainly went on the attack last Tuesday afternoon:
Two years after the NHL introduced rule changes in order to spur offence - limits to obstruction, no more centre red line for offside, a trapezoid behind the net to limit goalies handling the puck — it appears as if goaltenders are in the ascendancy again.
Scoring is down almost a goal per game since the early post-lockout days. The rule changes — and rule enforcements — may have changed the game for the better, but it did nothing to help the bottom line. For anyone who wanted to see an up-tick in scoring, it just hasn’t happened.
“As a retail team, we asked, what should a hockey store be?” said Boge, a principal at Gensler, which was the interior designer of the new headquarters of The New York Times. “Everybody started reminiscing about skating in a rink or a pond, playing high school hockey or going to games. We remember the sticks, playing or watching the game. And people respond to the sticks. It might be from bending or shaping or taping them.”
He added: “We wanted something that said, this is the center of it all. This is where it happens.”
Each ring of the sculpture contains more sticks than the one above it. The top tier has 100, the middle one 145 and the lower one 190, so the full entity feels like something that is spreading its bulk toward those viewing it. The hollowed-out plastic sticks are smaller than regulation, but the blades are standard size. In each tier, the sticks are grouped in fives, with each stick hanging at a slightly different level than the others to create the illusion of movement — a “swishing quality,” Boge said. The structure is held together with an intricate rigging that he compared to an upside-down umbrella.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
In an era of pro leagues seemingly trying to curtail individualism through rules about what can’t be worn or done on the field, the NHL celebrates, even promotes, the goalie’s right to turn essential equipment into works of art.
“Like snowflakes and fingerprints, no two masks are alike anymore, which is fabulous for the goalies and fans,” says Frank Brown, the NHL’s group vice president for media relations.
from the News & Observer,
The Hurricanes switched two games ago to the modified jerseys, which feature a looser fit on the arms, more air-knit fabric and less of the “bead-away” water repellency technology touted by Reebok.
“I think there were enough complaints league-wide that obviously there was a noticeable difference,” Wesley said Tuesday. “So far, it’s been a good change.”...
The newest jerseys have the same necklines, are cut the same way and offer few visual clues to the changes in materials used. But the adjustments are enough to prompt some praise.
“I think everyone likes the new ones a lot better,” Carolina center Matt Cullen said. “It was just funny to go back to the old material, and it feels better.”
Jason Kay of The Hockey News is banging the drum of what seems to be hockey journalists’ favourite pet project—proving that the hockey media “knows what the fans want” by convincing the NHL, through the sheer will of proffering a stance, and bolstering it through endless iterations of the same damn column, to make bigger nets a reality, given the collective theory that more goals = a more entertaining product.
From Allen Panzeri at CanWest News,
To get Sherwood-Drolet to keep making his sticks in Canada, Spezza had to play his trump card as a longtime, valuable customer. He has been using the company’s sticks since his final years in junior hockey, and he’s also featured on the company’s home page.
“I made it clear with them that, if I was going to continue using their sticks, I wanted to make sure they were still made in the same place they’ve been made for the last seven, eight years,” Spezza said on Monday.
Spezza goes through 300+ sticks a season. As mentioned recently, Sherwood will be discontinuing its production of wooden sticks in Quebec, and having them made in China and Estonia starting in January.
Currently up for auction at NHL.com are four, one-of-a-kind, hand-signed, HHOF Tribute Masks.
One featuring each of Ron Francis, Al MacInnis, Scott Stevens and Mark Messier. Bidding opened this week at $750 each (although Messier’s has already shot up in value) and will continue until December 7th.
Money raised will be used to support the Shoot for a Cure program:
Shoot For A Cure Hockey is a campaign of the American and Canadian Spinal Research Organizations, which is directed at and led by the hockey community. The goals of the campaign are spinal cord injury awareness, prevention, research and cure. We seek to raise funds for spinal cord research, to promote prevention of hockey-related spinal cord injuries through the Play It Cool™ prevention program, and to raise awareness of spinal cord injuries in hockey.
Fox Sports’ Al Strachan went to town in bashing the deficiencies of composite sticks on Wednesday, espousing a popular belief that all the NHL’s scoring woes can be attributed directly to the proliferation of composite sticks.
Strachan used the comments of two wood stick adherents in Sharks GM Doug Wilson, who has to write the checks to cover his team’s stick budget, and Al MacInnis, who used wood sticks for the vast majority of his career, to bolster his argument that players simply cannot take passes using composite sticks, and, moreover, that players are wasting teams’ money while using sticks that perform to the detriment of the game.
I have had a few emails asking for an update on the Thermoblade testing….
via the Edmonton Journal,
Marty Reasoner took the new Thermoblades for a spin in the morning but figured it would take a game or two to see the benefits.
The blades, fuelled by a rechargeable battery pack, heat up to 5 C and are designed to reduce friction.
The NHL has agreed to test the technology.
“The concept is that it melts the ice, just enough to create less friction,” Reasoner said. “You actually don’t dig down as deep so it makes turning easier and it’s supposed to alleviate the lactic acid in your legs.”
Reasoner changed back to his traditional skates for 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.
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