Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
- My favourite Scotty Bowman line: “We have two goalies, Osgood and no good.” ... My second favourite Bowman line, after making the Danny Gare for Mike Foligno three-for-three trade in Buffalo. As his new players walked onto the team bus after their first game, Bowman looked at them and said: “Nothing for nothing.”
- Joe Bowen said it in jest, but he’s right. NHL penalty killers should consider using wood sticks for those shifts. Too many composite sticks are breaking on the PK, turning one-man advantages into two.
- A well-known former NHL player, a star who does not wish to be identified, is dying of cancer. But that’s not the story here.
The story is the one-time hockey great had to borrow $20,000 to pay for recent medical expenses. He didn’t have the money. He may need more in the months to come, assuming he lives that long.
He couldn’t find immediate support of any kind from the NHL Players’ Association or the NHL Alumni. He played 13 years in the NHL — most of it at a very high level, before the real big money kicked in for players — and he has a pension, I’m told, that pays him just over $1,000 a month. That, by itself, is troubling.
Athletes, just like the rest of us, make bad investments, poor financial decisions, don’t always end up in the right kind of situation. But unlike us, their sport should take better care of them....
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
- Just a horrendous and all-too typically arrogance-based missed call from an NHL referee on Friday night in Newark with 1:08 to go in a one-goal game, when Frederick L’Ecuyer cited Cory Schneider for playing the puck outside the trapezoid when everybody else in the building could see the goaltender had done no such thing.
That’s a no-judgment call that should be subject to video review, as should be delay of game for shooting the puck into the stands inside the defensive zone and a double-minor for drawing blood.
These aren’t calls open to interpretation, such as goaltender interference. These are he-did-or-he-didn’t issues that could be resolved almost instantaneously and without intruding on the game’s flow. That’s assuming there is a flow, which is a leap of faith in many rinks.
- Yes, it’s true, many general managers had no idea how the NHL playoff format would work prior to their league meeting a couple of weeks ago. When they learned the structure, many were aghast.
Expect the GMs to push for a change over the summer, but the format is part of the three-year realignment agreement the NHL has with the NHLPA, and it was the union that insisted on the wild-card/crossover as a means to achieve some sort of math-based equality between seven- and eight-team divisions.
“If that’s what the players wanted, there couldn’t have been any players involved in the decision,” one prominent player said this week.
more topics including Laviolette/Islanders talk...
“I don’t know if I’m in the minority, but I’m hesitant; there’s no accountability for these random people making these predictions the cap is going to be $80 million. I might be wrong. I think there’s folly. There’s so many factors that go into the salary cap.
“Because there’s a new television deal, I’m not going to assume it’s going to be $80 million. I don’t operate that way. If you base your assumptions on predictions and you’re wrong, I can’t say, ‘They said it was going to be $80 million.’ I’m going to wait to see where it goes. I think it’s safe to say it’s going to go up. It’s think it’s a little bit irresponsible to say where it’s going to be unless you have intricate knowledge of the cap.”
-Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman on the future of the salary cap. Scott Powers of ESPN Chicago has more from Bowman on the cap in regards to siging Toews and Kane.
from Christopher Botta of SportsBusiness Daily,
A look at the past week in the NHL and a glimpse at what’s ahead:
• The Numbers
104,173: That’s the Guinness World Records-certified attendance mark for a hockey game the NHL hopes to top at Michigan Stadium for the Winter Classic between Detroit and Toronto. The league office will be working with Guinness staff to verify the more than 106,000 fans they believe will attend the Jan. 1 game. The current record also was established at Michigan Stadium, for the “Big Chill at the Big House” between Michigan and Michigan State on Dec. 11, 2010.
2: As in, are two games too many for Yankee Stadium? Tickets went on sale two weeks ago, and plenty of seats remain available for the pair of games at Yankee Stadium during Super Bowl week that make up part of the NHL’s Coors Light Stadium Series. The Rangers play the Devils on Jan. 26 and the Islanders on Jan. 29. One challenge could be team performance: The Islanders are in last place in the Metropolitan Division, while the Rangers and Devils have hovered around the .500 mark so far this season. High prices also could be a problem: As of Wednesday night, it was not difficult to find eight seats together via Ticketmaster in the $198, $238, $288 and $308 price ranges for the Islanders-Rangers game.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
My journalism career began toward the end of Gino Odjick’s NHL career, so I never had a chance to cover him in any great depth. But thanks to his Twitter account, I’ve come to know him a little bit.
And what I’ve seen from him I love a whole lot. He’s a proud and caring First Nations leader, an incredibly positive person and, perhaps most of all, a protector. That’s who he was on the ice for 12 NHL seasons. That’s who he is to this day.
And that’s why it was so tough to hear about Odjick’s recent mental health struggles. Odjick’s stay in a Quebec psychiatric hospital – his second trip to such a unit since September – alarmed his close friends and business partners. According to the article, Odjick and his friends attribute his woes to the concussions he suffered as one of hockey’s most feared enforcers.
But now that the 43-year-old is in a vulnerable state, who is the enforcer protecting him? That’s supposed to be the rest of us, folks. And by “us”, I mean the same fans who stood and cheered him with every thrown and absorbed punch; simply because we purchased tickets to watch him play doesn’t mean we can forget about him now, too. Yes, Odjick is responsible for his actions and the choices he made, but anyone who callously says “he knew the risks” and just forgets about him hasn’t owned up to their complicity in the post-career condition of players.
But more importantly, by “us”, I also mean the NHL, which profited off of those punches.
from Craig Custance of EPN,
WHAT WOULD NHL LOOK LIKE IF FIGHTING DISAPPEARED?
I'm not sure I can even envision the premise. I'm not sure, regardless of what rule changes may over time be made, I'm not sure if fighting is ever eliminated from the game. I think fighting will continue to be part of the game regardless of what your rules are and it is parts of other games as well.
I really can't envision it from that perspective but I'm also not in a position [to] really hypothesize it. It's something that's been part of the game for a long time. Regardless of what our rules are, it's going to remain part of the game in some form or fashion. It's not a question that's easy to answer.
HOW WOULD FANS RESPOND? DO YOU POLL?
Yesterday I was under the weather and missed posting this in a timely manner, today I am feeling much better...
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
Last summer, NHL general managers wanted to eliminate the spin-o-rama from shootouts. But the NHLPA blocked it. If you can't get agreement on that, you certainly aren't going to get agreement on Pavelski's move. So we get mass confusion and a prominent player ripping the game.
How, exactly, does the sport benefit from that?
The NHL and NHLPA fought over goaltending equipment. The union was annoyed that several GMs thought the league could unilaterally change the playoff system at a November meeting (they were reminded there is a three-year commitment to the setup). The NHL was furious at the players for waiting until the last possible minute to approve hybrid icing.
I get that there's a lot of mistrust between the two sides. It's deep-rooted and it's not going away any time soon. But the owners, league office, franchises and players will never have an opportunity to make more money for themselves than they will in the next decade.
Last summer, they worked together to clarify Rule 48, a smart move that ended confusion. But too often, it becomes, "If we do this, what will you give us?"
If the NHL and NHLPA maximize the on-ice product, they will maximize wallet fatness.
more plus 30 Thoughts...
Wayne Gretzky will be repaid money he was owed by former Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes, the NHL agreeing to cut a check to the Great One after reaching a tentative deal with the legend, sources tell TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com.
Sources would not confirm the exact figure, but it's believed to be around $7 to $8 million.
The NHL for the past few years had sought to get the money owed to Gretzky from Moyes via a lawsuit but a judge threw out most of the league's claims from the suit against Moyes in early October.
In light of the delays associated with the Moyes litigation, the Audit/Finance Committee from the NHL's Board of Governors approved a plan to make Gretzky whole for deferred compensation owed to him by Moyes, and which was never paid as a result of the Coyotes bankruptcy back in September 2009, source have told ESPN.com.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, the deal is worth between $7 and $8 million.
By Tom Murray,
What a treat it was last Saturday night to come across Ken Dryden being interviewed on MSG’s post-game show. He’s well into his 60s these days, still boyish and bookish even decades removed from that magical spring of 1971. That’s when the Cornell graduate suddenly appeared in the Montreal Canadiens net, just in time to lead them to an improbable upset of the Boston Bruins on their way to the Stanley Cup. Dryden won the Conn Smythe Trophy in the process and launched a Hall of Fame career that was as brilliant as it was abbreviated: six Stanley Cups in just seven years--during which he took a year off to prepare for the bar exam--before walking away from it all, after his final championship in 1979.
Always thoughtful and cerebral in his playing days, Dryden was a terrific post-game interview and, it turned out, an even better writer. In 1983 he produced a book called The Game, which gave readers a fascinating insiders look at that final championship season of 1978-79 as well as the demands and challenges he faced on and off the ice. Sports Illustrated ranks the book, which really reads as a soulful memoir, as one of its Top 10 of all time. Dryden is making the rounds these days to not only celebrate the 30th anniversary of the book, but also mark the publishing of the commemorative edition of what is truly a hockey classic.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Hockey refs, sports writers, your boss—the moment they start to act like they never get one wrong is the moment you start to wonder about them. The thing about referees, however, is that you rarely meet one away from the rink.
Sure, they portray complete confidence under the spotlight of an NHL game. They have to. But away from the glare, they will admit to missing the odd call, and in fact receive weekly, morale-boosting video highlight packages from their boss, Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom, “that reinforce the positives. What we’re doing right.”
Call it “Chicken Soup for National Hockey League Referees.”
Walkom follows that up with a video quiz at game speed, where the entire roster can have a run at a few of the tricky calls experienced over the past week by individual crews. “Our big thing is, we always get labeled as inconsistent,” Walkom says. “Well, how do you get consistent? You work at it.”
And, in the Year 2013, you get more video help.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org