Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP at TSN,
Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel's presence alone at the NHL's pre-draft scouting combine next week is enough to spur league-wide buzz.
There's more. Aside from having two highly touted players included among the 120 prospects scheduled to attend, the combine is finally entering the 21st century.
After spending the past 25 years in stuffy and carpeted hotel and convention centre ballrooms in suburban Toronto, the weeklong event is moving for the first time into an actual hockey facility in downtown Buffalo. Starting Monday and running through June 6, the combine will be held at the newly built hockey/entertainment HarborCenter complex connected to the Sabres home arena.
"This is taking the combine to a whole other level," Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said. "I'm looking forward to getting in there and seeing how it's run this year and, maybe going forward, that's the way it's going to continue to be run."
Anything would be an upgrade after last year, when the hotel air conditioning didn't work during the team-player interview portion of the combine.
"I felt bad for the kids, because it was like we were sweating them out," Benning said, laughing.
The $200-million facility, funded by Sabres owner Terry Pegula, opened in November. It features two NHL-sized rinks, a training centre, meeting rooms, a bar and restaurant, and will eventually include a 200-plus-room hotel.
from Bob McManaman of azcentral,
If LeBron or Steph Curry have a bad game, there's a pretty good chance their teams are going to lose because of it. Let's face it, NBA teams rely on two or three players to get the job done. But in hockey, it's never just the marquee players that save the day with a big play or a game-winning goal. It could be, and usually is, just about anyone that happens to be on the ice at any given time. It was a third-line center, Markus Kruger, who scored the game-winner for the Blackhawks in their triple-overtime victory against the Ducks in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. That series wraps up Saturday night in Anaheim and don't be surprised if a role player emerges as the star.
This one isn't even fair. In the NBA, you'll get the occasional thriller. But in the NHL, they happen with far more frequency and the intensity level is ratcheted up a hundred times over. One mistake can kill you. It's sudden-death overtime. In basketball, you can miss a free throw or a three-point shot early in OT and still survive. There has been a combined seven periods of overtime so far in the Stanley Cup Conference Finals – with two games to go. Only one game went into overtime during the NBA's Conference Finals. Playoff games can go on for so long in hockey, you can actually have a pizza delivered to the locker room between periods like Rick Tocchet once did when he was playing for the Penguins. Now that's cool.
Press release is below...
Is Jack Eichel ready to make the jump from the NCAA to the NHL? Boston University Associate Coach Steve Greeley says without a doubt, in fact he says, "I thought he could play for any NHL team in January of this year."
While the hockey superstar from Chelmsford, Massachusetts has yet to definitively say whether he will leave B-U next season or not, Buffalo Sabres fans are drooling over the prospects of having Jack Eichel in blue and gold next season. Eichel led the nation in scoring this past season with 26 goals and 45 assists for 71 points in just 40 games. He won the Hobey Baker Award as the nation's top college hockey player and developed even beyond expectations of the coaching staff at this institution known for producing great hockey players.
Greeley says that the thing they were most surprised about was how quickly he became a leader on the ice, on the bench and in the locker room. When Jack arrived at Boston University he was just 17 years old, in a college hockey world where 19 or 20 year old freshmen are the norm.
Greeley says that by November the seniors were listening to him, and he was listening to the seniors. There was a sense of mutual respect that developed quickly. "We were extremely impressed. You talk about what our expectations were, that wasn't one of them", Greeley added "He had a confidence to lead our team whether it was in between periods, in between whistles.. our seniors were listening to him and he was listening to our seniors. I think it is going to be very similar in the NHL. It'll take some time for him to become a leader, doesn't happen overnight when you are playing with men, but he will be a leader in the NHL and a guy who can be captain".
“There was no other sport! In Toronto, you played hockey, period. There are two sports, there’s hockey and there’s street hockey.”
from Aaron Elstein of Crain's New York Business,
If you've followed the Rangers' quest for the Stanley Cup, then you've had a few options if you've wanted to watch.
You could buy a ticket, though the cheapest seats for playoff games at Madison Square Garden cost around $400.
You could watch on TV from home, which would require forking over about $100 a month for a cable package, depending on the plan.
Or you could watch the games online. For nothing.
It takes only a few minutes of surfing the Internet to find a live Rangers game courtesy of someone who is streaming the NBC Sports cable network and Mike Emrick's electrifying play-by-play for free.
These pirate sports sites—some of which even make money from advertising—are taking advantage of technology that's making it easier to live-stream high-definition TV feeds, enabling them to expand their audiences beyond diehard fans willing to put up with choppy video and erratic sound. In short, the same kind of bandits who attacked movies and music are now assaulting the multibillion-dollar world of sports.
continue with MLB worked in the article...
... the NHL policy in which draft-pick compensation now can be attached to the hiring of coaches and front office personnel after they’ve been fired with term remaining on their contracts is a disgrace — immoral, or close to it, as labor relations go.
Imagine firing someone then stopping them from going somewhere else unless the hiring party antes up. The rebuilding Oilers likely will be forced to surrender two draft picks — either a second- and a third-rounder, or two thirds — to hire fired Boston GM Peter Chiarelli and fired San Jose coach Todd McLellan. Two steps forward, two steps back.
Where is Jimmy Devallano now that we need him to announce that coaches and managers are just cattle on the owners’ plantations?
-Larry Brooks of the New York Post where you can read more on this topic plus a look at the Mike Babcock hiring in Toronto.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
There was a smarter way for Gary Bettman to handle a question about the existence of any connection between contact in hockey and the brain damage condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The commissioner should have replied that the league is currently involved in litigation and then declined to speak any further. Evasive, sure, but perfectly understandable.
Instead, he told reporters in Chicago on Thursday this:
“From a medical science standpoint, there is no evidence yet that one necessarily leads to the other,” Bettman said. “I know there are a lot of theories, but if you ask people who study it, they tell you there is no statistical correlation that can definitively make that conclusion.”
It was a page ripped from the climate-change denial playbook, a classic head-in-the-sand defense. Appalling ... but then again exactly what you’d expect the man to say.
more plus other hockey topics...
Linesman Brad Kovachik left Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final on Monday in the second period with a sprained knee after a collision along the boards.
The NHL said he will be out indefinitely.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos checked New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein, who hit Kovachik with 7:41 left in the period.
Kovachik, who was helped off the ice, was replaced by Greg Devorski. The game was delayed about five minutes.
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