Kukla's Korner Hockey
From an interview the Ford Performance Group did with Jimmy Howard recently. You can also find a stash of their photos here.
FPG: “Can you tell us what the inspiration was behind the mask’s design? Obviously it has a lot to do with cars and the Motor City, but is there anything in particular you can share with Mustang fans
JH: “I wanted to capture the city spirit and the auto industry being such a big deal here, so I wanted the design to involve that. And when I saw the movie ‘Gone in 60 Seconds,’ I fell in love with the ‘Eleanor’ Shelby Mustang, so I wanted to put that on the mask as a symbol of the Motor City.”
FPG: “So if you were playing for another team in another city, does that mean you probably wouldn’t put a Mustang on your mask?”
JH: “You know what, probably not (laughing), but I really think the car is sharp, so when I had a chance to be here and play in the Motor City, I’m proud to put a Shelby Mustang on it.”
Alright KK readers, I’ve got a scoop for you. I was recently approached by MLX Skates to test, review and keep a pair of their hockey skates. In the coming days I¹ll be taking them out for a spin and giving you an inside look into what MLX Skates can do.
I’m certainly no skate aficionado, but I was familiar with the product before I was contacted, and perhaps you are too. They are the brainchild of former Olympian Dave Cruishank, who sought out to make a more comfortable, maneuverable and effective skate for hockey players. The skates are currently worn by a slew of NHLers, such as Dustin Byfuglien, Sergei Gonchar, Jonas Hiller and Daniel Alfreddson, to name a few.
I’m looking forward to giving you a full report on what they can do. Keep an eye on this space for a full account of my MLX experience sometime in the next week.
Until then, enjoy the playoff hockey!
from Damien Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
Steve Yzerman at the end of the season will ask Lightning players who do not wear visors to consider adding them for 2011-12.
“We don’t want people getting injured,” Tampa Bay’s general manager said. “We want to keep their eyesight and noses in place, so it’s something we would like to push moving forward.”
Yzerman’s statement came two days after C Vinny Lecavalier was hit in the right eye with a stick blade during Sunday’s victory over the Blackhawks.
from Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,
He sure doesn’t look much like Alexander Ovechkin — and at a little over three feet tall, he won’t strike fear into the hearts of National Hockey League goaltenders.
But SlapShot XT could be the next big thing in hockey.
The prototype robot could revolutionize the production of hockey sticks and maybe, eventually, produce better slapshots.
The robot is the brainchild of University of Waterloo engineering professor John McPhee and his team of students. They believe that once their robot gets his slapshots up to 110 miles per hour — he topped out at 60 in his unveiling last month — he’ll help solve the perplexing mystery revolving around the high failure rate of composite hockey sticks.
Regular KK readers may recall the Sens Hobo has spent his waking hours on this project.
TORONTO (April 4, 2011) - The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) today announced new five-year apparel agreements, highlighted by the continuation of its partnership with Reebok, a long-standing NHLPA licensee. In addition, the NHLPA is expanding its roster of apparel licensees to include Old Time Hockey, Knights Apparel, and Elmau & Associates.
from David Pollak of the Mercury News at the Bellingham Herald,
Patrick Marleau tried the cut-resistant socks for a couple practices, then decided against using them. But he was open to giving them another try during the offseason.
“I don’t know what it was, it just felt a little different,” he said. “It is something I’ll have to get used to in the summer probably.”
Devin Setoguchi, on the other hand, had no problem adjusting to cut-resistant socks that feature fluorescent orange or green toe areas. And he didn’t need an actual injury to make the move - just a near-miss after he started wearing the tongues out of his skates, not held close to his upper foot and ankle by the laces
“I came back to the bench and felt a skate hit the top of my tongue,” Setoguchi said. “I had a big cut on the top of my skate and if it would have been on the front of my foot it would have been pretty bad.”
To this point, neither the NHL nor its players association have gotten deeply involved in the issue of cut-resistant gear, leaving teams to sort through the various equipment now in the marketplace.
From Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette (via Calgary Herald):
“What we’re saying is that the helmet is the most important piece of performance equipment we have,” Mark Messier said. “So The Messier Project is about trying to change that whole philosophy and the education that goes behind it.”
But the M11 helmet hasn’t been very popular with NHL players (only 12 of them are wearing it this season), partly because of “the look” and possibly because it is marketed as providing extra protection.
“The NHL still continues to be our greatest challenge,” Mary-Kay said. “One of the things we’re really working on is changing the culture of hockey so that head protection becomes a priority. The No. 1 criteria for selecting a helmet should be the protection a player gets and that it fits well to optimize performance, and not just limiting it to the look of the helmet. Part of the culture (in the NHL) is that if you choose a more protective helmet, does that in some way make you a weaker player?”
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
In February, the NHL put its stamp of approval on a new type of padding that soon will wrap stanchions inside an NHL rink near you.
The Fusion Safety Pad is taller, thicker and denser than the current industry standard and was developed by Minneapolis’ Sports Resource Group.
Over the past three weeks, the company has been negotiating a contract with the NHL. Once that’s finalized, “We can pull the trigger on production instantly [in Fridley] and have these in the hands of arena operators in seven to 10 days,” said Chris Guertin, President of Sports Resource Group. “Our goal would be to get these in the arenas for the playoffs.
“Unfortunately, if this [Pacioretty’s] hit happened April 8 instead of March 8, it probably would have been a non-factor and he would have skated off,” Guertin added.
Take a look at some famous pucks.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
For the first time since THN began compiling visor statistics in 1998-99, the number of NHLers wearing eye protection has plateaued. And a pair of personal stories from two players on opposite sides of the issue sheds light as to why.
First, though, the hard numbers: of 647 players polled this year, 59 percent (381) wore a visor, while 41 percent (266) did not. That is the same percentage as our 2009 visor poll. Of course, the overall numbers of visor-wearing players has skyrocketed since 1998-99, when just 15 percent donned a shield, and the percentage had risen each year until now.
But in talking to current players who have put a visor on, or taken one off, the overall message is clear: players still want the choice. Washington defenseman Tom Poti began wearing a visor this season after sustaining a serious eye injury (and a temporary loss of vision) in the first round of the 2010 playoffs.
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 email@example.com