Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will be in the hot seat today.
Bettman will be surrounded by lawyers acting for players suing the league over concussions suffered while playing, who will be asking him all about what he and the league know or believe about repeated head trauma, and what he did or didn’t do to protect those players.
Bettman’s deposition promises to be the most significant development so far in the concussion lawsuit that is plodding its way through the U.S. legal system.
Like all that have been deposed before him — including Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan — Bettman’s testimony about what he knew and what the league knew about the effect of repeated head trauma on players will be sealed, hidden from public scrutiny.
U.S. district court judge Susan Nelson will rule — perhaps before NHL training camps begin in September — whether to unseal the depositions to allow the public to know fully what both sides have been arguing.
from the CP at TSN,
Quebecor Inc. says it's recruiting partners for its bid to bring the Nordiques back to Quebec City.
The media and telecom company said Thursday it has opened talks with some sponsors and signed contracts but has yet to secure another investor willing to help foot the US$500 bill it costs to launch an NHL expansion franchise.
"Submitting this application is one more step towards our ultimate objective of making sports an additional growth segment," president and CEO Pierre Dion told analysts on a conference call after the company posted its latest financial results.
"We will soon be approaching potential partners, which we believe will attract high interest levels."
from Devon Heinen of Vice Sports,
Russell Levine fought back tears. So did his wife, Susan. It was a snowy, bitterly cold January night at Citizens Bank Park, in Philadelphia. Russ, a National Hockey League executive, was there for the league's 2012 Winter Classic, between the Flyers and the New York Rangers.
"Can you believe this?" Russ said.
Susan cut him off with a look: "I know."
The Roots were playing a mini-concert in the outfield before the game's third period, but the Levines were focused instead on an auxiliary rink by home plate where a group of kids played hockey. Skating among them was an 11-year-old boy wearing a Rangers jersey and a black helmet with a T made out of white tape. It was Trevor, Russ and Susan's son.
"That was not an experience I thought I would ever get to have," Russ said, recalling that night.
Russ is the NHL's Vice President of Digital Production, making a living immersed in the sport he loves, a sport he started playing when he was four years old. When Trevor was born, in 2000, Russ dreamed of having his son in skates by age 2.
via John Dzenitis of WPBF,
Four Russian immigrants, including a former NHL hockey player, have been arrested for suspected Medicaid fraud after an undercover operation.
Florida’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit said Sergei Berezin and his wife paid a Boca Raton-based company, American Advisory Associates ,to obtain Medicaid and food stamp benefits for which they were unqualified and ineligible for.
Berezin was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1994 and played for a number of NHL teams, including the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks, before he moved back to Moscow to play hockey in Russia.
According to Berezin’s arrest affidavit, during the course of the undercover investigation, Berezin told a confidential informant that he was making $100,000 in income from rental properties and training hockey players.
American Advisory Associates allegedly paid a pair of DCF workers $500 each every two weeks to authorize benefits for the company’s clients.
Investigators said that in total for Berezin’s benefits, the Medicaid program was billed more than $67,000 from January 2010 through December 2013.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
It's the one phrase that can send a chill down your spine on the sweatiest summer July day.
Rest easy, for now: the NHL and NHL Players' Association has guaranteed labour peace for each of the next five seasons, through the 2019-20 campaign.
While another hockey work stoppage may not be on the radar of most - the lost half-season of 2012-13 still all too fresh - a group of the league's highest-paid players are already gearing up for the possibility.
New York Rangers forward Derek Stepan became the latest player to negotiate protection in his contract in case of labour strife when he inked a six-year, $39 million deal on Monday.
Technically, the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement runs through Sept. 15, 2022 - or shortly before the opening of training camps for the 2022-23 season. But either the NHL or NHLPA can opt out of the agreement on Sept. 15, 2020.
That's why quite a few players, like Stepan, have negotiated hefty signing bonuses to be paid on July 1, 2020 - before any side could possibly opt out.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
And if the new Nords have to play in the West to earn admission, well, you can bet they’ll happily bite the bullet. But surely that inelegant solution isn’t the only one on the table.
Probably the best option is to create an eight-team all-Canadian division. It’s one that would guarantee the extension of some of the best rivalries in the game—Edmonton vs. Calgary, Toronto vs. Montreal, Toronto vs. Ottawa, Montreal vs. Quebec City—and would see the popular Eastern Canadian teams make more visits out west. The league would have to make some accommodations in terms of scheduling and, possibly, offer compensation for higher travel expenses, but it’s a sensible approach for those teams. It would also allow for simple geographic division of the remaining 24 American-based teams and would ensure that a Canadian market would be involved in the final four—a boon for broadcast partner Rogers.
It’s also conceivable that Quebec could be placed in the East with another team, possibly the Blue Jackets, moving back to the West.
from Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe,
Though the NHL is willing to do its best to cut down on shootouts — enter the five minutes of three-on-three overtime that will kick off next season — the shootouts themselves remain non-negotiable, according to Gary Bettman. As he said, “I think to the extent some people wanted to see fewer shootouts, this will get us there, and that’s fine. The shootout isn’t going anywhere. You go to a building during a shootout, everybody’s on their feet, nobody is leaving, which is what it was designed to do. It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s entertaining, and so if we’re going to try and reduce the number of shootouts, this may do it.”
Despite the anecdotal evidence — the legions of fans (and media, and GMs) that are vocally anti-shootout — Bettman pointed to fan research that says “overwhelmingly fans like it.” He added, “I think you see some people in the hockey community say they’d rather see fewer shootouts, but this is a sport that had ties for so many years and nobody liked that. And we’re not in the position in the regular season for a whole host of reasons to play games to the end in sudden death the way we do in the playoffs.” If nothing else, three-on-three should be a boon for the Bruins, who certainly would rather see any other way of deciding a game than the shootout.
more topics including expansion talk from Gary Bettman, the Leafs and more...
via Slava Malamud tweets,
"Corsi. A goalie coach who gained brief notoriety in early 21st century for a now unknown reason" - the Big NHL Plasmapedia, 2130 edition.
The Corsi geeks' problem isn't their object of devotion. Nothing wrong with having a metric to tell you one specific thing occasionally....
Corsi geeks problem is Corsi geeks themselves. Their willingness to attack anyone who dares to watch hockey and humans playing it without...
... necessarily citing their one arbitrary stat and (oh noes!) passing any kind of judgement w/o appealing to it as lazy narrative pushers.
We know the game, we see more in it than you, we love it for what it is. We are not lazy narrative pushers. You are self-important bores.
Anyone who's ever said "lazy narrative" to insult a reporter is someone who wanted to be one but couldn't string two words together #Corsi
So, please, don't push your inferiority complex on us. Go learn some grammar, get some writing talent. Maybe you can push a narrative, too.
Editorial from the Globe and Mail,
Quebec City recently completed a major public infrastructure project ahead of schedule, and under budget. The normal course of events would see its spanking new, $370-million arena occupied by an NHL team. That’s why so much (public) money went into the building. The timing even looks to be ideal, as the league is in the midst of receiving applications for expansion franchises; two cities could advance to the next stage. What’s more, there are only two bidders – aspiring owners in Quebec and Las Vegas – for those maximum two expansion slots. The return of hockey to hockey-mad Quebec would seem to be as easy as scoring an empty-net goal from inside the crease.
Anyone distracting themselves from the summer heat with daydreams of a revived Nordiques vs. Montreal Canadiens rivalry (The Battle of Quebec! The Good Friday Massacre!) had best take a deep breath. Just because Québecor principal shareholder/aspiring premier Pierre Karl Péladeau and irrepressible Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume built the Vidéotron Centre (with, we again note, a massive helping of taxpayer dollars) doesn’t mean the NHL will come.
If anything, the NHL appears eager to avoid Quebec City, or any other location in hockey’s northern homeland.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
This summer the NHL has its plate more than a little full with off-ice issues that will require more than a little deft stickhandling from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
The NHL has already decided that there will be no further sanctions against former Los Angeles Kings forward Jarret Stoll, who was charged with felony cocaine possession after being caught with drugs at a Las Vegas resort pool in April. Stoll, an unrestricted free agent, pleaded guilty to reduced misdemeanor charges relating to the incident and was sentenced to probation and community service.
The league is also waiting for Stoll's former teammate Slava Voynov to complete his sentence after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor domestic abuse charge relating to an incident involving his wife last October. The defenseman is serving a 90-day sentence. He was also sentenced to three years' probation.
In another Kings-related situation, the NHL is aware of the information the team used in deciding to terminate the contract of Mike Richards after an incident at the Canada/U.S. border earlier this summer. The league simply considers Richards an unrestricted free agent....
Finally, the league is also awaiting the resolution of the case involving new Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly, who responded to being awarded the richest contract in team history by allegedly drunkenly driving a vintage pickup truck into a Tim Hortons coffee shop near London, Ontario, in the middle of the night and then fleeing the scene.
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.
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