Kukla's Korner Hockey
Elliott Friedman did another great interview with retiring referee Don Koharski last night in the ‘Inside Hockey’ segment of the HNIC pre-game show.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
He’s the last on-ice link to the WHA, worked nearly 2,000 NHL games, was stung by pucks in every part of his anatomy, watched Mario Lemieux’s Canada Cup winner up close, got a shout-out in Wayne’s World and turned down Jim Schoenfeld’s advice to consume another beignet on national TV.
Referee Don Koharski will have a relatively quiet exit in a couple of weeks, but this tough old zebra won’t leave the game entirely. League director of officiating Stephen Walkom says a supervisory or instructional position will be discussed with the 53-year-old during the summer….
With his first game on Oct. 14, 1977 (the Cleveland Barons, Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Flames were still in the 18-team NHL), Koharski embarked on an eventful career. He’s recognized not only for his longevity, but working so many big games, such as the multiple Stanley Cup finals and at the Russians’ request, Game 3 of the ‘87 Canada Cup final.
read on and of course, whenever you hear ‘Koharski’, you think of the ‘donut incident’ which you can watch below…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The text message was from an NHL general manager. Rob Shick’s cell phone had reached its limit in voice mails, and the team executive was frustrated he couldn’t leave one for the man affectionately known as “Shicker.”
“Fitting, right? One last profanity-laced message from a GM,” Shick, laughing, told ESPN.com this week. “But he was just joking. A lot of people reached out to me last weekend, and that was really nice. I wasn’t expecting it.”
No, the humble referee would have been just fine had his last NHL game on Saturday, the Wild-Kings tilt in Los Angeles, attracted no fanfare. But once word got around late last week that Shick was working his 1,321st and last NHL regular-season game, the phone calls came flooding in from players, coaches, officials and various hockey people.
Mike Robitaille of the Buffalo Sabres TV crew sits down for part one of an exclusive interview with NHL Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom.
Watch the 2nd part of the interview here.
from Japers’ Rink,
My suggestion is not for more instruction from the NHL head office (although that may help). My suggestion is that all referees be paired into teams that will work together through the course of the season. NFL, NBA, and MLB all do that and arguably all of these sports require less communication and implicit understanding among crew members. NFL and MLB officials have regular breaks where they can get together and discuss the call. That is simply not an option in the NHL. The officials need to know the tendencies of their partners, need to know how the other official calls games and know under what circumstances the backside official should be making a call.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
You know an NHL referee has done a good job when you don’t notice him during the game but realize later that he let the players play and kept everyone in line.
Rob Shick is one of those good referees, but the Temecula resident is retiring after he officiates the Kings’ game against Minnesota Saturday afternoon at Staples Center. He’s scheduled to have 22 friends and family members in the audience.
from Curtis Stock of the Edmonton Journal,
New research confirms what many NHL hockey fans have long suspected, that referees consistently call more penalties on visiting teams.
In a sampling of more than 2,300 power plays from Jan. 1 through mid-February, home teams had 11.5 per cent more man advantages than did visitors.
National Hockey League teams have won 55 per cent more points and games at home than on the road this year — a statistic which fits nicely into the 54- to 56-per-cent advantage home teams have enjoyed throughout this decade.
from Dave Caldwell of the New York Times,
Game No. 793 of the 1,230-game N.H.L. schedule included a first-period fight between Devils right wing David Clarkson and Rangers defenseman Erik Reitz, who shed their helmets and wrestled each other before finding the leverage to throw several hard punches. Clarkson fell atop Reitz, ending the fight.
Two officials, Tony Sericolo and Derek Nansen, swooped in to separate Clarkson and Reitz, and just as important, keep them apart. Each player received a five-minute penalty for fighting, and the fans of both teams at the Prudential Center in Newark cheered the fighters. Sericolo and Nansen later had to break up another fight, between the Devils’ Mike Rupp and the Rangers’ Colton Orr. Their job went almost entirely unnoticed.
That is the way it goes with linesmen, the most anonymous men on the ice.
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
,,,Granted, the Flyers-Blues game was over the top, but in the 12 games played Saturday night, there were a total of 139 penalties called.
Does anyone but me think that this is out of hand or believe that referees today are trying to be a bigger part of the game than they should be? I’ve been on this rant before, especially after the lockout when the obstruction rules went into play. It was crazy in the first few months and then seemed to settle down.
Now it seems crazy again, and some of these calls - sorry, make that most - are really nitpicking, borderline BS….
This game is supposed to be decided by five-on-five play. Special teams are a huge part of it, but they should not be the determining factor in every single one. The league has to start looking at this again and find a way to rein it back in.
from Mark Moore at the Toronto Star,
The reason why the NHL and its players are resisting a simple ban on all hits to the head is this: Bodychecking is part of hockey, and it isn’t just for show or intimidation. Defending in hockey depends on playing the body. Playing the puck is too risky, because skilled players can move it around and leave you chasing air. You defend by stopping the puck-carrier with body contact as far from your net as possible….
However, I believe there are ways to eliminate the problem of hits to the head. Here is my proposal, fully explained:
1. Create a rule banning “high hits” the way we ban high sticks. A high hit could be defined as:
a) Any time a player leaves his feet to make a check;
b) Any part of the checker’s arm being extended above his own shoulder prior to or at the moment of impact;
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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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