Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eben Novy-Williams and Gerrit De Vynck of Bloomberg Business,
The NHL has a loonie problem. The Canadian dollar fell to 68¢ last month against the U.S. dollar, a 13-year low, and analysts think it could drop an additional 13 percent in 2016. The weakened state of the currency may cost the NHL hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.
The NHL does all its business in U.S. dollars, and all players are paid in greenbacks. The league also computes its total annual revenue in U.S. currency. Revenue for the league’s seven Canadian teams comes in the form of Canadian dollars, which is then converted into U.S. dollars. This season it’s going to take many more of the weak loonies to help the league reach its revenue target, estimated to be $4 billion. Chances are growing slim that the league will hit its mark.
That has implications for more than team owners. The teams and players split revenue 50-50. Money is withheld from each NHL player’s paycheck and kept in escrow. If league revenue at the end of the season doesn’t meet its target, money is taken from escrow to ensure an even split with the owners.
For the 2011-12 season, the players’ haircut was 0.5 percent of their annual salaries. At the start of this season, the players’ escrow accounts withheld 16 percent of salaries: That number just rose to 18 percent, as the Canadian dollar declined. Representatives are warning the players not to expect much back. “No one is happy about it,” says NHL players agent Allain Roy.
via Mark Lazerus tweets,
Gary Bettman says the NHL is "extraordinarily pleased" with the challenge system. Calls it close to perfect.
Gary Bettman says it's supposed to be a judgment call. Says the NFL doesn't do replay for pass interference, so it's a new idea.
Bettman brushes aside criticism of http://NHL.com , saying people always resistant to change. Says people need to "play with it."
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from Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune,
Before this season, officials had to rule interference on the ice and could not consult replay. If you ask Quenneville, the new process is not going well.
"It has gone to a different level," Quenneville said. "I don't know the rules anymore or something has changed. … I think everybody has an interpretation, what's a good goal, what's a bad goal. But I can't believe it."
Quenneville did not stick around to elaborate on his point.
But it seems Quenneville was trying to say the seven sections in the NHL's Rule 69, which covers interference, is not ironclad in its current state. The lengthy explanation describes a number of scenarios in which a player could interfere with a goaltender.
But now that interference is a reviewable call it has muddied the waters, much like replay review in the NFL has caused controversy over what constitutes a catch or an incomplete pass. What may seem like a good goal to the naked eye can become interference when a play is slowed down with every instance of contact displayed frame by frame on video.
According to the rule, any contact with a goaltender in the crease will result in a disallowed goal, as will intentional contact when he is outside the crease.
But it is not cut and dry. Incidental contact can be allowed when the goaltender is outside the crease and when he is inside the crease during a rebound or loose puck situation. But just what constitutes incidental contact?
Booing then Louing...
"I don't ask a lot of questions. I understand they want to get it right. And I don't blame them. This is a huge decision that is going to affect the NHL for years to come. But I'm not a patient guy by nature. However, I've learned to be patient. At least for this project.
"I don't want to upset the other owners because I want to be one of them one of these days, so I try to keep my mouth shut."
-Bill Foley, prospective owner of an NHL team in Las Vegas. More from Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Of the 12 names that were added to the NHL’s concussion lawsuit yesterday, the one that stands out the most is that of Paul Stewart, the first American in history to make it to the NHL as both a player and a referee. According the lawsuit, one of the more gregarious and easy-going personalities in the game, Stewart now suffers from depressive and anxiety disorders, anger, impulse and temper control issues and a loss of memory.
And more importantly, Stewart also has had a brain tumor. Last April, Stewart had a golf-ball sized benign tumor removed from his brain at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He had spent much of the previous three seasons in Russia as a judicial and discipline consultant to the KHL. “When I got home from Russia, I promise you, things were not pleasant,” says Stewart, who turns 62 next month. “At first I thought it was because I was gone so long. I’m better since the surgery, but every day I really have to work at it.”
from Joe O'Connor of the National Post,
Ivan Irwin’s hands are big as bear paws and they are trembling. “Parkinson’s,” he grumbles. But the disease he was diagnosed with two years ago is not what is bothering the 88-year-old.
It is the game. Hockey. The NHL. The pros. Not the money those bozos are pulling in nowadays, since who wouldn’t love making good money, but the way they actually play the game. Holding the puck facing the boards, crosschecking, hitting from behind, doling out concussions to one another while failing, in Irwin’s view, to grasp the fine art of self-preservation.
“Look here,” he says, gesturing at a black and white photograph on the back wall of a Shopsy’s deli in suburban Toronto. “I am ready for him.”
He means Maurice Richard. The Rocket — the Montreal Canadiens legend. The photograph shows Richard swooping in on goal, eyes ablaze, and with his stick raised menacingly toward Ivan Irwin, otherwise known as “Ivan the Terrible,” of the New York Rangers, whose stick is likewise raised menacingly.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Let's call it the lament of the modern-day NHL general manager.
"The league is so close now, there's so much parity now, every game is a battle," one GM said plaintively. "It's so hard to make the playoffs now. So hard."
Too hard? Perhaps.
It's not lost on the men who live and die with every win or loss or loser point in today's game that in the heady days (circa 1979) of the ‘Original 21,’ 16 teams made the playoffs. Today, with 30 teams, and, quite possibly, soon to be 31 - hands up anyone who seriously doesn't think Las Vegas won't be awarded an expansion franchise - it's still the same number (16) going to the post-season each year.
Should it be more?
It was during a rather routine conversation with a GM recently when I asked myself that very question but only after the GM raised the issue himself.
"Maybe there should be more than 16 in the playoffs or maybe there should be more opportunities for more teams to make it as one of the 16," he mused. "Maybe we need a 'play in' game. Something like that."
If that isn't the basis for a flash poll of NHL GMs, I don't know what is.
So the question I posed to the thoughtful 30 over the last 48 hours was as follows:
Yes or No to a "Play In" single-game elimination to determine the final wild card spot in each conference?
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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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