Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP at Sportsnet,
General Fanager merely fills a void the NHL has opted not to occupy. Commissioner Gary Bettman mused last year there wasn't interest to merit the league running its' own comprehensive site, though traffic for General Fanager (which has over 47,000 Twitter followers) would suggest the contrary. The site topped one million visitors July 1 and usually draws in the tens of thousands daily, according to Poraszka.
Poraszka says he has strong relationships with about 20 teams, keeping in close contact with them as well as members of the media to ensure information presented is as accurate as possible. Details, such as the terms and conditions of Jakob Chychrun's first deal with the Arizona Coyotes, are offered almost immediately after news breaks, though sometimes Poraszka has to chase down specifics....
Given the importance of the salary cap, there's certainly merit to the league creating an official channel. The NHL, though, has been slow to such ventures in the past, only delving into advanced statistics on their website last year.
Poraszka says he'd love to partner with the NHL on such a project -- "there's no more reliable source than the league itself," he says -- and from conversations with the league believes there's interest to do something eventually, just not yet.
The NHL didn't respond to interview requests.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The division between Gary Bettman and those who play in the National Hockey League has never been so extreme. If there was once trust between players and commissioner — and when was that? — there is almost none now.
Bettman’s continued denial of the link between concussions and the brain disease, CTE, have had many shaking their heads since a 24-page letter to a U.S. Senator became public this week. The letter showed Bettman at his stubborn worst, continuing to argue that the Earth is flat.
Sometimes with Bettman, it isn’t always what he says but how he says it and sometimes when he says it. In this situation, the NHL is facing several lawsuits relating to brain injuries and premature death of certain ex-players. Always the lawyer, Bettman is taking the denial stance, which best serves the commissioner and the owners in the NHL.
But at what point does he speak for the game, the sport, the people playing it? Or is that day and that belief completely gone?
a bit more
added 7:22am, from Daniel J. Flynn of Breitbart,
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
- Veteran NHL linesman Don Henderson, brutalized by Dennis Wideman’s blindside assault during a game on Jan. 27, three weeks ago required neck surgery to repair damage from the hit and friends of his worry that his officiating career may be finished.
Henderson, 47, was near the boards, with his back to Wideman, when the Flames defenseman skated into him, inexplicably lifting his arms and knocking Henderson to the ice. Typically not one to engage in rough stuff, particularly during his four-year stint with the Bruins, Wideman appeared to leave his feet when making contact — a move that usually would bring a charging call and/or game misconduct if it were perpetrated against another player....
- ... If Holland is convinced Mrazek is his No. 1, the most obvious salary “fix’’ would be to move Howard, the 32-year-old ex-UMaine Black Bear. Howard is on the books for three more years at $5.3 million per, a fairly comfortable number for a No. 1, especially with his solid résumé. One possible move would have the Wings retaining, say, a third of his salary. The acquiring team would have a proven No. 1 for roughly $3.6 million (cheaper than Mrazek) and the Wings would have to carry only $1.7 million of his cap hit.
- Once the Oilers moved Taylor Hall to New Jersey to acquire puck-moving defenseman Adam Larsson, it meant all of the top six picks in the 2010 draft were no longer with the clubs that drafted them.
No. 7 that year, Jeff Skinner, remains in Carolina, where GM Ron Francis has opted instead to move out virtually everyone else — notwithstanding the somewhat curious move to bring back struggling goaltender Cam Ward on a new two-year deal.
To recap the 2010 top six:....
more on each of the above topics plus other hockey topics...
Bettman is doing the bidding of the NHL’s 31 owners and fighting the suit with everything he can muster. It might save money in the short term, but the long term is a different story. The NFL’s case is instructive. Litigation, discovery and the power of the federal government eventually directed king football to dedicate $1 billion to the health and welfare of its former players. Bettman has this case history with which to contend. What is more, he has a peeved U.S. senator after him. It cannot end well for the NHL.
Bettman is waiting for a scientific consensus for legal reasons. Meanwhile, he is telling 4,300 former players that the league does not care about them — and, by ignoring what is known, and by making only token efforts to improve player safety, he is telling 700 current players that odds are the vast lot of them probably won’t commit suicide. It is a craven message to the sport, its athletes and its fans.
-Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch on the class-action lawsuit the NHL faces on concussions. Read more from Arace on this issue.
from Mike Commito of Sportsnet,
Plus-minus is the most polarizing statistic in hockey. There’s no quicker way to draw battle lines in the hockey community than by starting a dialogue about plus-minus. Some still look to it as a way to measure a player’s defensive value, while others see it as the most useless number in the box score.
And it’s not just fans and writers who are dismissive of it. Plenty of players have gone on record over the years to voice their disdain for it. When asked about it this past March, Boston Bruins defenceman Torey Krug said that he personally hates it and finds it to be misleading.
While plus-minus has certainly come under fire in recent years with the advent of more sophisticated metrics, it has a much longer, complicated history that includes criticisms about its usefulness dating back to its inception.
Today, many argue that plus-minus is meaningless because it depends on far too many variables. These include quality of linemates, team systems, deployment, personal shooting percentage, team shooting percentage, team save percentage and sheer luck.
“[It is] the most useless statistic ever devised,” says Brian Burke, President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames. “It’s pretty simple. If your team stinks, so does your plus-minus. And it’s compounded if you play against the opposition’s top players.”
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
Almost one year into a landmark digital media rights partnership, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Wednesday they believe the deal has benefited both sides.
The six-year contract, which was signed Aug. 4, 2015, allows Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), the technical arm of Major League Baseball, to serve as the host of all of the NHL's digital properties, among them NHL.com, NHL.TV and NHL Network.
"[MLBAM] has been extraordinary," Commissioner Bettman said during an appearance with Manfred at Paley Center for Media in Manhattan. "Bob Bowman (MLBAM president and chief executive officer), who not only created but presided over it since its inception … has made it the leading enterprise for streaming live sports. They're cutting edge, extraordinarily professional. They're great at what they do."
Commissioner Bettman said a review of the NHL's digital-media presentation led him to MLBAM. There also was a comfort level professionally and personally with Bowman, whom Commissioner Bettman said he's known for almost 25 years.
"We were reviewing all of our options both on the strictly vendor side and also what other more integrated solutions or possibilities were there for us," Commissioner Bettman said. "Based on our knowledge and understanding and respect for what [MLBAM] had accomplished, we thought that this would be the best opportunity for us to provide the best experience for our fans to connect to the game using technology both today and into the foreseeable future.
from Claire Rogers of GolfDigest,
There are several big names in this week’s RBC Canadian Open field, but Garrett Rank is one you probably haven’t heard. The 28-year-old Ontario native, cancer survivor and NHL referee has been able to balance and pursue his passion and his profession with grace and determination. After winning the 2015 Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship for the second straight year, Rank earned an invitation to Glen Abbey Golf Club. His amateur record includes finishing second in the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur, making it to match play in the 2014 and 2015 U.S. Amateur and reaching the semifinals in this year’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Winged Foot.
To reach his country’s biggest golf tournament speaks to Rank’s persistence. After being diagnosed with testicular cancer during his collegiate golf and hockey careers, he continued to stay involved in both sports, going on to lead a double life: one on the course, the other on the rink as an NHL referee.
Hockey had always come before golf in Rank’s world. At age 4, Rank stepped onto his family’s backyard rink where he learned to skate. While Rank failed to qualify for his provincial golf championships, his junior hockey team made the Ontario finals three years in a row.
from Jared Clinton of The Hockey News,
James Oldham’s most notable decision as the NHL and NHLPA’s neutral arbitrator appears as if it will also be his last.
According to the Sports Business Journal’s Liz Mullen, the NHL has dismissed Oldham from his post as neutral arbitrator. Oldham, a law professor at Georgetown University, was the arbitrator assigned to the Dennis Wideman suspension case. Oldham’s decision on the suspension saw the Calgary Flames defenseman have his 20-game suspension for checking linesman Don Henderson reduced to 10 games.
It was well within the NHL’s power to relieve Oldham of his duties, and either side would have had the power to do so if they believed it was time for a change in neutral arbitrator. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Oldham’s time with the league is up, though, considering the NHL has since sought to have Oldham’s biggest decision, the reduction of Wideman’s original 20-game ban, overruled.
from Travis Yost of TSN,
If you needed any evidence that another NHL lockout might be on the horizon, look no further than the type of free agent contracts executed during the 2015-2016 off-season.
Admittedly, this is attempting to project the future, the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) is fully binding until September of 2019, at which time both the NHL and NHLPA will decide if they want to “opt out” of the contract. Under this scenario, the first season threatened would be 2020-21 campaign. Considering the lack of labour peace the sport has historically experienced, cynics would point out that such opt-out clauses essentially mean that there are just a handful of seasons left before the situation gets dicey.
It’s that type of forward thinking though that has created a lot of these quirky contracts signed this summer by players such as Steven Stamkos, Andrew Ladd, Loui Eriksson, and a number of other high-end talents these past few weeks. If you sift through the details, these contracts are comprised largely of money paid by way of signing bonuses as opposed to strictly annual salaries.
There are two notable mechanisms that signing bonus-laden contracts effect on teams. The first is that the higher the signing bonus amount, the more difficult it is to buy contracts out. Despite general managers stipulating to these contracts all of the time, we have seen this become a point of cap consternation for a number of teams, most notably with the Toronto Maple Leafs and David Clarkson’s deal a couple of seasons ago.
from Peter Gobis of the Sun Chronicle,
The odometer on Ryan Daisy’s 2007 Ford clicked over to 200,000 a few weeks ago when he had just crossed the border into Massachusetts, heading home to Mansfield.
Ask Daisy for a roster of restaurants that serve a home-cooked meal or establishments with late-night hours and he can rattle off more than a handful. Twenty-four hour gas stations, cold arenas and screaming fans, the differing styles of play between the USHL, the ECHL and the AHL — Daisy has an answer for them all.
“It’s been a long six years of pounding pavement, a lot of roads, a lot of miles,” said Daisy, who is newly minted as an NHL linesman for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
“It’s every kid’s dream to one day play in the NHL. I knew in my teenage years that dream was not going to come true.”
Now, it is Daisy who is wearing the striped shirt — in the NHL, no less.
The 28-year-old Daisy was one of four officials appointed to assignments at NHL arenas next season. Last season, the NHL saw the retirements of referees Rob Martell, Greg Kimmerly and Dennis LaRue, along with linesmen Mike Cvik, Brad Lazarowich and Andy McElman.
Daisy is a product of the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program.
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.
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