Kukla's Korner Hockey
NHL ANNOUNCES FIRST ROUND OFFICIALS
The NHL announced the officials for the First Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
provided by the NHL PR department
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Call Paul Devorski’s cellphone, and the last of the old guard’s ringtone is ... Meghan Trainor’s “Lips Are Movin.”
“I’ve got a 9-year-old. Guess who put that on my phone,” Devorski said, with a big laugh, moments after arriving in San Jose on Tuesday to work his second-to-last NHL game the next night. “Elle loves it.”
Sunday afternoon in Philly will be the end of an era.
When you think of Devorski, you think of Bill McCreary and Don Koharski, Kerry Fraser and Don Van Massenhoven, Mick McGeough and Rob Shick, Terry Gregson and Dan Marouelli.
Old-school, helmetless, visorless refs, guys who used to work solo with two linesmen and nameplates on the back of their striped jerseys.
All those personalities have retired, and Sunday, when the Penguins meet the Flyers, the orange-banded “Devo” will officiate his 1,791st and final NHL game with a hand-picked crew that includes his 45-year-old brother and linesman, Greg.
continued plus more hockey topics...
via Dave Hodge of TSN,
Thumbs down to the ongoing confusion about what constitutes a "good goal" that is propelled into the net by a skate.
The first goal in yesterday's 4-2 win by the Boston Bruins over the New York Rangers was a deliberate attempt by Boston's Milan Lucic to score a goal that way. He slid his right skate to make contact with the puck, thus, changing its direction, and sending it into the net. "No goal" was the call on the ice. Video review changed the call and the Bruins were ahead 1-0.
The ref's opinion was easily supported, but so was the decision to award the goal. If that sounds crazy, it fully explains the problem the NHL has dealt with for what seems forever. And there is only one solution, which is to allow all goals scored directly from skates.
You hear it said that players, especially goalies, would be in danger if kicking at pucks became legal, but kicking at pucks is legal. You just can't kick them into the net. It doesn't mean players don't use their skates to try to control pucks, to free them from scrums. What players don't do is kick wildly with their skates, near the crease or anywhere else on the ice. They wouldn't start doing that if a rule said they could score goals with their skates in any fashion. As it is, they try to score goals with their skates and hope they get the benefit of the rule that nobody really understands.
You can review the goal here...
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Sharks coach Todd McLellan has the numbers on his board in his office in San Jose.
When he broke into the NHL as an assistant coach with the Red Wings, he ran the power play. In three years, the Wings had 461 power-play opportunities, then 398, then 391. That was right after the 2004-05 lockout, when the NHL tightened enforcement of infractions like hooking, holding and interference.
In 2005-06, teams ranged from 541 power-play opportunities to 411. The average team had 480. This season, no one is one pace for more than 297 power-play opportunities. One team is on pace for as few as 211.
Another way to look at it: The average NHL game had 11.7 power plays in 2005-06. The average NHL game has had about 6.2 this season.
But that doesn’t mean hooking, holding and interference have crept back into the game to a large degree and the referees have been swallowing their whistles. It means hooking, holding and interference have left the game to a large degree. The referees have less to call.
more plus other NHL topics...
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
A player is not allowed to "make himself bigger" with the use of his stick and/or hands to detain or restrain an opponent as you describe in your question. Should this occur, it is a clear violation of Rule 56 and should be penalized as interference. At training camp in September, the referees were instructed to apply a strict standard with regard to interference of this nature once the puck was chipped past a defender. The mandate was put forward to allow attackers clean and legal access to pursue the loose puck and generate offence.
There are legal methods available for a defender to delay, contain, or even eliminate an attacker with contact through establishing proper "body position." Body position is determined as a player in front or beside an opponent, traveling in the same direction. A player is allowed the ice he is standing on (body position) and is not required to move in order to let an opponent proceed. A player may "block" the path of an opponent provided he is moving in the same direction. Moving laterally and without establishing body position, then making contact with the non-puck carrier is not permitted.
The key to legally detaining an attacking player who has chipped the puck past a defender is for that defender to immediately turn and skate in the same direction as the attacker. If executed properly, this considerably lengthens the distance his opponent must travel to get where he is going (to the puck). The defender must keep his feet moving in the same direction as the attacker and attempt to take the ice away as he moves forward.
from Slava Malamud of IIHF.com,
The first Russian (and only the second European) referee in the history of the NHL has gotten off to a great start and hopes more are coming in his wake.
This might not be quite the same kind of milestone as the one in the late 1980s, when the Iron Curtain broke in international hockey and Soviet players were first allowed to go over to the National Hockey League. That one was a milestone to end all milestones. But it was mainly a political breakthrough, as nobody in the 1980s had any doubt at the stars from the Big Red Machine could, given a chance, acquit themselves pretty well in the world’s best league.
This milestone, however, is of a different kind. One could argue that the barrier the Russian official Yevgeni Romasko is breaking, in a way, may be a harder one than the old Curtain. While the NHL has had a solid three decades’ worth of success by European players, Old World officials have found it so much more difficult to get the proverbial foot in the door. In fact, Romasko is only the second European referee in the league’s history and, of course, the first Russian, having begun his NHL career earlier this month at a game in Detroit between the Red Wings and the Edmonton Oilers. One can rest assured that the momentous nature of this occasion wasn’t lost on anyone, Romasko included.
“I was nervous to the extreme,” said the 33-year-old native of Tver, Russia. “It was a very important day in my life and in the history of Russian hockey. But the emotions were mostly positive ones, because the NHL created a celebratory atmosphere around it. The NHL officials, the teams, the players met me warmly, congratulated me. I have never experienced anything like this in my career.”
from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
Ray Ferraro, the TSN hockey analyst, was prepping for a broadcast recently when the starkness of the change struck him.
“I’m looking at the game notes, copying down the number of power play goals teams have. And I’m like, ‘There aren’t many power play goals anymore,’ ” Ferraro said. “I’m thinking, ‘Didn’t teams used to have, like, a power play goal a game?’ ”
They did, indeed. As recently as 2005-06, the average NHL contest saw clubs combine for about two power play goals. But 10 seasons on from the post-lockout crackdown on obstruction, teams are combining for about half as many — 1.1 a game. The downturn in man-advantage offence can be attributed to a few things, the improvement of the league-average save percentage from .901 to .914 among them. But it’s largely the product of a gradual decline in the number of power-play opportunities being handed out by referees. This year, the teams are averaging just 3.1 power-play chances a game, the lowest number in at least 50 years according to hockey-reference.com.
Some see it as a sweet spot. In the bulk of a decade since the “new” NHL produced a freer-flowing version of the game — and with it an historic high of nearly 12 power-play opportunities per game in 2005-06 — the referees have used their whistles more sparingly. Some are happily applauding.
“I think every coach in this league appreciates how the games are being called right now,” Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the St. Louis Blues, was saying recently. “The referees are allowing us to play.”
from Tim Leone of PennLive,
He said he made the decision to retire following the 2013-14 season.
"I'm ready to go," Devorski said. "It's so fast out there now. Once I said I'm done, I realize that I am done. And I see the guys that are coming up and how fast and strong they are."
The final tour has been nostalgic and sentimental, filled with farewells to buildings and members of the NHL community.
"Going up to guys and coaches," Devorski said, "saying, 'Hey, I'm not going to see you again.'"
He said he had to stop Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville two weeks ago.
"He said, 'Hey, you know ...,'" Devorski said. "I said, 'Hey, I've still got you two more games. I'm not saying my good-byes yet.'"
Monday night's Edmonton at Detroit game marked his final contest involving Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock.
"There's a lot of good guys out there you want to say good-bye to," Devorski said. "There's a lot of good players. That part of it, yeah, it's kind of tough. But I'm kind of looking forward to the end."
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Romasko was so excited about his NHL debut, he couldn’t take a pregame nap. Devorski asked if he was going to sleep.
“No,” he said. “I read rule book.”
Joe Louis Arena was the perfect venue. The Red Wings were among the leaders in bringing over players from Russia. They had the Russian Five. They had the first Russian winner of the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player, Sergei Fedorov. Romasko’s first hockey coach used to tell the team he once had a young player named Vladimir Konstantinov.
Romasko dropped the first puck, with Russian star Pavel Datsyuk lined up for the draw. He called that first penalty – high-sticking on the Wings’ Marek Zidlicky. Then he called the second penalty – roughing on the Oilers’ Ryan Hamilton. Devorski reassured him, telling him those were the kinds of calls he had to make.
As the game went on, Devorski was impressed. Man, the guy could skate. He could sprint forward and glide backward effortlessly, keeping up with the play, finding angles to view the action.
“I’m watching him tonight like, ‘Oh, geez. No wonder I’m leaving’,” Devorski said.
from Martin Merk of IIHF.com,
Yevgeni Romasko called his last KHL game between Salavat Yulayev Ufa and SKA St. Petersburg (3-1) on 26th January, soon after his 33rd birthday.
Few knew then that it would be his farewell game in Russia, but a few days later Romasko was back to work in North America. In a few hours’ time, he is set to take to the ice in Detroit for a game between the Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers, an assignment that will make him the first Russian referee in history to call an NHL game.
It’s a historical milestone that’s been years in the making, but for Romasko, his journey to the NHL began when he landed in North America in late 2014, officiating a couple of AHL games in November and December before returning to Russia.
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