Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
This past off-season, in these low-scoring days of the 2010s, the NHL mandated the skyscraping goalie pads of recent vintage be shortened. Using a formula corresponding to each goaltender’s dimensions, the aim was to make the pads more “anatomically proportional.” The result was that some goaltenders were required to lop as much as a couple of inches off their pads — a move the league hoped and expected would lead to fewer saves and more scoring.
Last year, the league average save percentage was .909. This season, heading into Friday’s games, it has shot up to .912, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Goaltenders have been better, not worse, since one of their defining pieces of equipment was altered.
Meanwhile, if the overriding intention of the goalie-equipment tweak was to produce more goals — well, so far it hasn’t had the desired effect. Scoring is at its lowest level since the 2004-05 lockout, down to 5.30 goals a game this season from 5.31 the season before.
Smaller pads, in other words, are so far shaping up to be a big flop.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL Alumni Association calls itself “Hockey’s Greatest Family,” but it is far from hockey’s happiest family.
A lot of former players feel like poor relations, complaining about a lack of communication and support from an association they say only concerns itself with a small group of members in the Toronto area.
“It’s become a Toronto clique,” said former Buffalo Sabres star René Robert, who was one of the founders of the alumni association in the mid-1990s and served as its executive director until he resigned several years later. “We’ve got guys who don’t know we exist. They’ve never been contacted and don’t have a clue what this is about.”
A group of ex-players is unhappy enough to have sent the association’s executive director, Mark Napier, a five-page list of questions concerning various matters.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
There is some disagreement over the details of how it all happened, but a lot of people connected to the negotiations for the new Canadian NHL television contract think it was a question of attitude as much as the dollars behind the NHL’s decision to dump BCE Inc. and TSN for Rogers Communications Inc. and Sportsnet.
Separate sources say when negotiations opened between the NHL and TSN to extend its contract for the broadcast rights in Canada, executives from the all-sports cable network and its parent company could have showed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman a little more respect. Instead, sources say, the message delivered to Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly was TSN carried the NHL’s water for many years and the network was prepared to pay only so much to carry on the relationship – so the league should sit down and sign a contract.
For example, sources say, BCE president and chief executive officer George Cope never became involved in the negotiations. At the same time, Rogers president and CEO Nadir Mohamed played a “very” important role in the talks, according to someone close to Bettman. Those who know Bettman say he has a keen idea of how important the NHL is to certain businesses and markets.
Also, Bettman takes a dim view of those who do not share that view – especially those who are supposed to be partners of the league.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
The number of former NHL players involved a class-action concussion lawsuit against the league is growing at a rapid rate. Within 48 hours of the suit being filed in a Washington federal court, the original group of 10 plaintiffs had inflated to more than 200, according to one of the lawyers working on the case.
Steven Silverman told Sportsnet on Wednesday afternoon that he expected the total to climb even further by the end of the day.
That revelation came a few hours after Mel Owens, another lawyer representing the players, told Sportsnet in a separate interview that some big names might eventually join in. He also pointed out that the relatively low profile of the 10 initial players named as plaintiffs shouldn’t in any way diminish its importance.
If Mel Owens rings a bell, former Michigan football player and played in the NFL with the LA Rams.
from Jason Kay of The Hockey News,
When a defending team’s goalie freezes a puck, or one of its defenders tips it out of play, his club gets a 50 per cent chance of getting possession back immediately. If an attacking team causes a delay of game by going offside, they, too, get invited to win back the disc right away.
No other sport operates with such benevolence. When the ball goes out of bounds in soccer or basketball, possession goes to the opponent. When a team is flagged for delay of game in football, they are penalized yardage. In baseball, when you hit the ball foul, it’s a strike against you. In hockey, all is forgiven. Instantly.
If we like this about ourselves, then carry on. Just stop jeering linesmen for trying to keep the faceoffs fair. If, however, it gives you pause for thought, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the role of the draw in our game.
The solution? Somehow give immediate possession of the puck to the non-offending team following whistles, without drastically altering how the game is played. Easier said then done, perhaps, but we’ll hand the baton off, very politely, to Brendan Shanahan’s R&D department. Ummm, sorry Brendan.
from Michael Grange of Sportsnet,
... there is probably a number of NHL players locked into long-term deals that might be regretting the security they have when compared to the seemingly ever-expanding pool of revenue they could be digging into if the new NHL universe unfolds according to Rogers’s multi-billion dollar bet.
Some of the richest players in the NHL might be underpaid in a few years as the growth of the game makes the 13-year, $124-million deal Alex Ovechkin is labouring under seem like servitude, and Shea Weber finds himself wondering what could have been a few years into his 14-year, $110-million contract and its average salary of $7.857 million.
If, as expected, the cap rises by more than $10-million here within about 18 months, there are going to be a lot of teams flush with cash, especially considering how many high profile players are locked up on long-term deals already.
-James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail, Read on to find out why...
from Tony Keller of the Globe and Mail,
Dear hockey fans in Hamilton, Quebec City, Markham, Saskatoon etc. dreaming of a National Hockey League team: Your prayers will not be answered any time soon.
The United States has a bunch of financially weak NHL franchises, and investors have long kicked those tires, trying to figure out how to move them to Canada, where the fans are. But Rogers Communications Inc.’s $5.2-billion, 12-year deal for the league’s national Canadian television rights changes that game.
Those money-losing U.S. teams once at risk of being relocated north? They’re getting a big cash infusion. NHL teams compete on the ice, but they equally share national TV revenues – and since 23 of the league’s 30 teams are American, most of Rogers’s money is heading south....
Thanks to big subsidies from taxpayers in most U.S. cities, some give-back from the players and now a windfall from Canadian TV viewers, the NHL’s Sunbelt strategy is more of a success than ever. And the day when the NHL grows to more than seven Canadians teams is growing more distant.
Friedman appeared on Hockey Nigh Online today and discused a few topics, one being the new Rogers NHL broadcast deal.
NEW YORK (November 25, 2013) -- Bill Daly, Deputy Commissioner of the National Hockey League, today released the following statement in response to the filing of a class action lawsuit by a group of former NHL players:
"We are aware of the class action lawsuit filed today in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of a group of former NHL Players. While the subject matter is very serious, we are completely satisfied with the responsible manner in which the League and the Players' Association have managed Player safety over time, including with respect to head injuries and concussions. We intend to defend the case vigorously and have no further comment at this time."
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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