Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Category: NHL-Talk

Morning Line- Stan Fischler, Larry Brooks And Kerry Fraser




If you missed the comments by Prust, watch below...

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Needed- More Playoff Goals

from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,

No other major North American sport would tolerate such a dramatic decline in scoring. What is happening in hockey is the equivalent of returning baseball to the dead-ball era, or the NBA to a time before the shot clock. It’s as though the NFL was playing an endless series of 10-7, 7-3 or 3-0 games.

If the NBA’s scoring leaders were averaging around 15 points a game instead of 28, the league would act. If Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers topped the NFL with a dozen touchdown passes in a season, the league would force defensive backs to tie their shoes together. But the NHL looks on, and shrugs, and tries another tweak, and nothing works.

The rules brought in to amp scoring following the 2004-05 lockout (a crackdown on clutching and grabbing, the silly, awkward trapezoid behind the goal, abandoning the two-line pass rule) resulted in a temporary uptick in scoring, followed by a resumption of the long, slow decline.

It’s a measure of the brilliance of Jacques Lemaire that 20 years on the league still hasn’t figured out how to beat the defensive system patented by Lemaire with the New Jersey Devils and copied by virtually every coach since. Lemaire, the great offensive centreman, killed offence in the NHL and all the league’s great minds put together can’t figure out a way to bring it back.


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Fixing The Power Plays

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

Two changes would make the power play more of a must-watch event than a two-minute window to scurry to the fridge. First, the shorthanded team would be penalized for icing the puck. It’s too easy for penalty killers to gain control of the puck and fling it 200 feet. It’s much harder to advance the puck properly out of the defensive zone.

This year, the USHL tried a two-game stint in which icing was called during power plays. Leaguewide, power play success was 22 percent during the two games, double the USHL’s 11 percent average in 2013-14. The NHL should advance this one step by calling an additional minor penalty if a shorthanded team ices the puck.

Second, the opening faceoff should be in the power-play team’s defensive zone. It would give the power play an opportunity to gain speed through the neutral zone, push back the penalty killers, and start the offensive-zone sequence with momentum.

The way it is now, it’s too easy for the shorthanded team to identify an upcoming play based simply on how the power-play team lines up for an offensive-zone drop. For example, if a right-shot center takes a faceoff at the left dot, it’s likely he’ll backhand the puck to a left-shot wing for a quick snapper on goal. Set plays are predictable. It’s not as easy to plan against five skaters barreling through the neutral zone.

These would be big changes. The NHL has the perfect test lab in the AHL to see how they’d work.

many more hockey topics...

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Use The Video Review Process

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

There is no reason that another NHL playoff game should end with a goal scored following a missed offside call the way that Game 1 of the Tampa Bay-Montreal series did on Friday night.

Literally, there is no reason. Commissioner Gary Bettman and the Board of Governors must have the authority within its panoply of overreaching powers to institute immediate video review for, a) either every goal scored in the playoffs, or, b) if starting slowly is the idea, every overtime goal from now until the Stanley Cup is hoisted in June.

Yes, Plan B.

It always is interesting to note what embarrasses the league. When the powers-that-were-and-still-are didn’t care for Sean Avery’s antics in front of Martin Brodeur in Game 3 of the Rangers-Devils first round in 2008, the NHL invented a rule pretty much overnight to address the matter.

But a tainted overtime goal? Not so much.

continue plus addtional hockey topics...

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On The Kronwall Hit And Playoff Officiating

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

... But full marks to the DoPS, a group that too often falls short on the common sense scale. Then again, Kronwall's actions didn't leave them much wiggle room. By any definition this was a dangerous foul, a hit that involved leaping prior to the collision and the victim's head as the primary point of contact.

In fact, the infraction was so obvious that it leaves only one question: how did the on-ice officials miss it?

Given what was involved this was impossible to defend as a legitimate hockey play. And yet neither Dave Jackson and Steve Kozari, who can be seen in various replays to be looking directly at the two players at the moment of contact, thought it crossed the line. No penalty was called.

It's not like their whistles were stashed away. The pair called a total of 17 infractions on the night. All were minors, and not all of them blatant. In fact, many appeared to be of the “game management” variety. You know the type—send a couple guys to the box specifically to prevent a heated situation from escalating.

Those aren't bad calls. Some of them are ticky-tack, sure, but they suggest the officials are in control.

So given that apparent level of vigilance, how do they miss the single most blatant and dangerous violation of the rules on their watch?

But hey, at least they were consistent. They also overlooked a clear charge by Ondrej Palat that culminated in an elbow to the head of a vulnerable Luke Glendening behind the Detroit net.

Letting the boys play is one thing. Letting them play recklessly is something else entirely. The standard they set is one that could get someone seriously injured. If the league has any real interest in player safety, neither Jackson nor Kozari should be allowed to call another game in these playoffs.


added 8:25am, Below is the hitg on Glendening Muir is referring to...

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Larry Brooks On The Pittsburgh Penguins

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

Can’t find many folks who believe Mike Johnston will get a second go-round behind the Pittsburgh bench.

Evgeni Malkin is in at a $9.5 million annual cap charge through 2021-22, so good luck to the Penguins trying to start their rebuild/retool by moving No. 71 for a package that might include the elite winger Sidney Crosby desperately needs by his side.

How many times in the five-game series against the Rangers — and how many times throughout the year — was Crosby wide open in great scoring position but failed to get the puck?

Seriously, it’s not like Wayne Gretzky ever had, say, Bill Berg on his line.

Oh wait. Yes, he did. Never mind.

Though you would have to say that No. 87 bears some responsibility of his own for having scored in two of the Penguins’ last 23 playoff matches.

more topics including concussions and 'Katy Perry'...

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Morning Line- Mike Peluso

In December, 1994, I suffered a major concussion thanks to a bare-knuckled fist to the head. I was knocked unconscious as my head slammed against the ice, and carried off the rink. In the locker room I took multiple showers, because I kept forgetting that I had already showered. However, the team quickly cleared me to play despite signs of a serious concussion. A few weeks later, I experienced a grand mal seizure during a workout.

As I convulsed, my teammates restrained me from hurting myself any further, but the damage to my brain had already been done. Incredibly, it was a team orthopedic surgeon who treated me after my seizure. I sat out for just two weeks before the team doctors again pushed me back onto the ice. I was never seen by a neurologist.

-former NHL player Mike Peluso at the Globe and Mail where you can read more on this topic...

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Gary Bettman Likes The Sound Of $500 Million For An Expansion Team

from the CP at TSN, 

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman might not yet have anything definitive to say about expansion, though he does have a fee in mind.

How's $500 million sound?

Without committing to what the price might be, Bettman told a meeting of Associated Press Sports Editors on Friday that he considers a half-billion dollars to be a reasonable figure.

"From your question, you seem to be inferring that would be a lot of money for an NHL team," Bettman said, when the $500 million figure was posed to him. "I happen to believe that number — not that I'm confirming or denying it — would be not a lot of money. I think NHL franchises should be worth at least that."

That would be a significant increase from the $80 million price tag Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus and Minnesota each paid the last time the NHL expanded in the 1990s.

Bettman cautioned the fee will be determined by the league's Board of Governors, and the time for that discussion has not yet arrived.


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Those Injury Reports

from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,

This is the time of year when we get to hear phrases like “overall body soreness,” and watch as NHL coaches wince and shake their heads defiantly when asked about injuries.

This is playoff time, the time of secrecy and subterfuge and subterranean X-ray rooms manned by men who carry cyanide pills just in case they’re captured.

Really, it’s all so silly.

There is no hiding the fact it makes a reporter’s job significantly harder when the specifics of a player injury are kept hidden, so of course I’m frustrated. But by not disclosing all information available, you’re really keeping it from the fans, the people who pay all of the bills. All of them.

I understand teams think the more information they give out, the better it is for the opposition. If you don’t know how hurt a guy is, you can’t really game plan for him. But if they were honest with themselves, they would know injuries are not hidden from those within the league. It’s one big web — coaches talk to other coaches, who talk to agents, who talk to players, and very little is kept entirely under wraps. If just about everyone the ice knows what an injury is, why shouldn’t the people in the stands?

Transparency, then, is the answer.


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Not Surprised A Former MLSE Executive Would Be Concerned About Income

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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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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