Kukla's Korner Hockey
This hot-and-cold argument has raged almost from the time composite sticks became popular, early in the 2002-03 season. It was very much a topic in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ dressing room Friday after defenceman Pavel Kubina’s stick disintegrated as he leaned into a wide-open slapshot in Tampa on Thursday, which might have provided the visitors with a last-minute victory.
Instead, the Lightning broke away on an odd-man rush and Vincent Lecavalier slapped in the decisive tally with 41.6 seconds left in regulation time.
“Yeah, a broken stick probably cost us a game the other night,” forward Matt Stajan said.
from the Daily News,
Their company, Skillz Systems, has developed an interactive stickhandling training system delivered in a gaming format. QuickStickz provides immediate feedback and allows players to keep score.
Confident it will revolutionize the hockey world, the men say that other devices on the market help players work on their skating and shooting, but so far there has been nothing available beyond balls, pylons or videos for improving stickhandling.
from the Toronto Star,
“We’re always looking at new things that come across our desk,” says Mike Murphy, vice-president of hockey operations for the NHL. “There’s always a package with something in it, a new puck ... and in our due diligence, we take a look at them.”
Sitting on Murphy’s desk at the NHL’s Bay St. offices are several pucks mailed in from inventors with ideas on improving the puck and its performance.
Among the versions Murphy studies are discs with 30- and 45-degree angles planed into the edges. The inventors claim the shaved pucks bounce less than standard models, especially when they rebound off the boards.
Bouncing appears to be the chief complaint against the puck, and the target of individuals attempting to refine it.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
“I just think there’s going to be a steady, dramatic increase in visor usage,” said Kelly, hired by the NHLPA in October to replace ousted former NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin. “Players are getting the message that they should put a visor on, there are more young guys and European guys coming into the league, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 20 (percent) spike in the number of players wearing visors next year, and another 15 percent spike the year after that.
“Even left to its own natural evolution, visor use will become pretty much unanimous in a matter of two or three years.”
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
Evidently frictional drag from skates is a huge problem in the NHL, which makes me look at Wade Belak totally different now (not slow, just heat-deprived). Warming tiny strips of metal surely seems like a semi-rational answer, although I likely would have suggested a telethon to raise public awareness as a better first option.
And the technology is so involved and precarious it raises as many questions as it does provide answers….
What if one of the blades goes all haywire and starts melting ice at a brisker pace? Would the dude just go around in circles?
And will the technology become so advantageous that not having it will render a player virtually useless? Little Jimmy hasn’t seen a minute of overtime cause he’s recharging.
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.”
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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