Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
NHL general managers discussed diving and embellishment, the potential for more video review including goaltender interference and emergency-goaltender protocol on the first day of their annual March meeting.
The big topic of three-on-three overtime will wait until Tuesday.
GMs didn’t make any decisions Monday, instead breaking up into three groups to talk about some of the issues that most fans see as small but are important to those in the game.
added 4:20pm, from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
NHL senior vice president Colin Campbell said there was lengthy discussion on Monday about crease presence. It comes down to how much should be allowed.
"We don't want to go near 'toe in the crease.' We don't want to go near that again," Campbell said. "But we want to be able to instruct the referees. We want these guys to tell us what is crease presence. When should a play be called off, i.e. that's a goaltender who plays like (Henrik) Lundqvist. He hugs the goal line. Maybe there's another goaltender who plays atop the crease. Does that matter if the goalie leaves you room? So we talked about crease presence. These things seem anal until you get into Game 6 and 7 in the playoffs. They're not anal anymore. They're important."
A potential coach's challenge was brought up again.
"If we introduce coach's challenge, should we expand it to pucks over the glass?" Campbell said. "It's a difficult one to assess from our vantage point in Toronto. But do you guys want us to help the officials in that case? We would never add a penalty. We would only take one down."
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Fix the draft lottery? Of course not.
But if you could…well of course you’d give Connor McDavid to the Maple Leafs.
It’s tough sometimes to discern whether the NHL is a sports league or a business, but if it were pure business, putting the game’s next attraction in its biggest market would naturally provide the biggest boost possible.
This isn’t 1985 where everybody could just sit back and laugh at Harold Ballard and the Laffs. The way the NHL’s business is set up now it benefits the owners AND players to have Toronto maximizing it’s revenue potential, which clearly isn’t the case right now.
If the Leafs make more, the pie gets bigger, and both the league and the players get half of that. With Toronto out of the playoffs again this spring, TV ratings, for starters, will take a significant hit, which hurts the Leafs, the league and hits the players in their wallets as well.
Fix the draft? Of course not. But the league’s GMs will be discussing ways to present this year’s draft lottery in a different way over the next few days, and if one of the mock scenarios were to have McDavid land in a Leaf uniform, you can bet that Dave Nonis won’t be the only executive in the room thinking that would be good for business.
continue for more hockey topics...
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
It is now or never for three-on-three overtime in the NHL.
“It is, isn’t it?” said Ken Holland, who has been banging the three-on-three drum for years and knows the moment of truth is at hand.
The Detroit Red Wing general manager has long been an advocate of going to three-on-three overtime if four-on-four overtime fails to produce a winner. The goal, of course, is to reduce the number of NHL games that go to a shootout.
At face value, it looks like, and should be, a slam dunk for the NHL.
The American Hockey League has this season been using three-on-three overtime when four-on-four overtime ends. The results have been noteworthy.
Seventy-eight per cent of all of overtime games in the AHL end with a goal in OT. In the NHL, where there’s only four-on-four OT, the OT resolution rate is just a shade over 50 per cent.
Using more understandable numbers, roughly one in four AHL games that are tied after 60 minutes go to a shootout while approximately one in two NHL games tied after regulation get settled by a shootout.
So what are we waiting for? The NHL has no desire to do away entirely with the shootout, but most right-thinking individuals would like to see fewer games decided by the equivalent of a skills competition.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
- Just about every coach would say no to pulling their goalie on a power play other than late in the game. They believe it’s too risky to leave the net empty in other situations. Their rigidity on this subject is exactly why a maverick should buck the trend and go six on four in the second period, for example, if his team is down by several goals. Coaches like predictability. They do not like havoc. Their penalty killers would not be prepared if they were outnumbered by two men in the second period of a 3-0 game. Coaches and players insist that gaining puck possession down two men is hard, to say nothing of scoring. Emptying the net would be risky. But it would be a calculated risk.
- When Steve Yzerman arrives in Boca Raton, Fla., for the GM meetings on Monday, he might have some visitors. A handful of GMs were puzzled because they weren’t aware of Brett Connolly’s availability on the trade market. It’s possible the Bruins might have had to a pay a higher price than two second-rounders to grab Connolly from the Lightning.
- Kris Russell is earning attaboys around the league for his shot-blocking. Through 65 games, the Calgary defenseman was credited with 228 blocks, 15 of which came in the Flames’ 4-3 shootout win over the Bruins March 5. The thing with blocks, however, is that they emphasize how much time a player spends in his own zone. Duncan Keith, for example, had only 89 blocks through 65 games. But that’s partly because the Blackhawks are on the attack more with Keith on the ice than the Flames are with Russell.
more hockey topics...
The topics from Elliotte Friedman and Damien Cox of Sportsnet include the Joe Thornton situation in San Jose, the GM meetings, the KHL saying they will not participate in the World Cup and the last topic was college free agents.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
Next week at the GM meetings, the assembled minds will (once again) discuss the possibility of video replay review on goaltender interference.
There are several concerns with the idea. The NHL is always worried about games going longer. When the commissioner saw people leaving Madison Square Garden during the dry scrape, it was gone faster than a Kardashian marriage. There is always debate about who should oversee the review.
There is this beautiful control centre in Toronto that is now being copied by MLB and the NBA. Shouldn’t it be there? But others worry about the officials having a better feel on-site, and don’t want an “eye in the sky” deciding everything.
And there’s the age-old question: how many types of plays are going to be eligible for review?
If they don’t mind, a suggestion. A compromise.
A couple of years ago, the league gave the officials permission to huddle as a group before making a final on-ice ruling about disputed goals or plays. It was a smart idea. Last week, there were two critical examples on crucial games for the teams involved.
continued including 30 Thoughts...
from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
Ray Ferraro, the TSN hockey analyst, was prepping for a broadcast recently when the starkness of the change struck him.
“I’m looking at the game notes, copying down the number of power play goals teams have. And I’m like, ‘There aren’t many power play goals anymore,’ ” Ferraro said. “I’m thinking, ‘Didn’t teams used to have, like, a power play goal a game?’ ”
They did, indeed. As recently as 2005-06, the average NHL contest saw clubs combine for about two power play goals. But 10 seasons on from the post-lockout crackdown on obstruction, teams are combining for about half as many — 1.1 a game. The downturn in man-advantage offence can be attributed to a few things, the improvement of the league-average save percentage from .901 to .914 among them. But it’s largely the product of a gradual decline in the number of power-play opportunities being handed out by referees. This year, the teams are averaging just 3.1 power-play chances a game, the lowest number in at least 50 years according to hockey-reference.com.
Some see it as a sweet spot. In the bulk of a decade since the “new” NHL produced a freer-flowing version of the game — and with it an historic high of nearly 12 power-play opportunities per game in 2005-06 — the referees have used their whistles more sparingly. Some are happily applauding.
“I think every coach in this league appreciates how the games are being called right now,” Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the St. Louis Blues, was saying recently. “The referees are allowing us to play.”
I've been saying in this space for 14 years: If you want more goals, you have to make the net bigger or get goalies in space-age/ultra-safe padding that is smaller, especially the jersey. Jack Black should get the scientists working not only on the Tube Technology, but also this tender technology.
I've been skeptical that the NHL can go backward in terms of equipment type and size because of possible lawsuits/unsafe-work claims. That's why I've advocated a slightly bigger net (an inch or so) to offset human size (we are getting bigger and likely will continue to get bigger) and improved skill and performance at the position.
Baseball lowered the mound, basketball took out hand checking, added a 3-point line (that's more for comebacks, leveling the playing field and exciting game-ending shots than pure production) and the NFL made it more difficult to defend. Is it a coincidence that the popularity of college and NFL football has exploded as offense and the passing game exploded, making stars out of quarterbacks? Even golf has gotten smart and added the drivable par-4 at most tournaments.
Imagine if the NHL did that with its most talented and marketable. When a goalie -- a player who stands on one tiny slither of the playing surface -- is being pushed as MVP of a league, I believe something is wrong.
-John Buccigross of ESPN where you can read more as he answered some questions via Twitter.
from Tim Leone of PennLive,
He said he made the decision to retire following the 2013-14 season.
"I'm ready to go," Devorski said. "It's so fast out there now. Once I said I'm done, I realize that I am done. And I see the guys that are coming up and how fast and strong they are."
The final tour has been nostalgic and sentimental, filled with farewells to buildings and members of the NHL community.
"Going up to guys and coaches," Devorski said, "saying, 'Hey, I'm not going to see you again.'"
He said he had to stop Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville two weeks ago.
"He said, 'Hey, you know ...,'" Devorski said. "I said, 'Hey, I've still got you two more games. I'm not saying my good-byes yet.'"
Monday night's Edmonton at Detroit game marked his final contest involving Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock.
"There's a lot of good guys out there you want to say good-bye to," Devorski said. "There's a lot of good players. That part of it, yeah, it's kind of tough. But I'm kind of looking forward to the end."
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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