Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Donald Fehr is still the executive director after earlier declaring he didn’t think he would be in the job for very long, but if he wants a project to consider, he might start working on what must surely be annoying to the players — the NHL’s persistence in markets where hockey is obviously not working.
We refer here mostly to Florida and Phoenix, and to a slightly lesser extent, Carolina. And if you really wanted to cast the net wide here, New Jersey as well, although their New York market television deal keeps them in solid shape in the revenue game.
Commissioner Gary Bettman is loathe to move any franchises out of what he claims is loyalty to the fans in these cities, and to some degree, that’s laudable. But let’s be clear here, it’s also to make sure he doesn’t have to move these teams into markets they have targeted for expansion. Why move Florida or Phoenix into a ripe city for expansion when there is no way a transfer fee could be anywhere near as high as an expansion fee for the owners, a source of revenue in which the players do not share? They do, however, get the increase in jobs, and like any union, this one is all for increasing its membership and thus their own revenues, so expansion is essentially a win-win for both parties.
from Cathal Kelly of the Globe and Mail,
Fewer than a quarter of Nevada residents were born in the state. It’s a transient place, and no spot within it is more transient than Vegas. Once you get off the Strip, it’s amongst the most depressing cities in the United States. It’s hot as hell most of the year.
Big one-offs aside, there’s nothing to suggest it’s suited as a sports town. There’s a great deal to suggest it isn’t a good hockey town.
All Vegas has is money, and that’s transient, too.
Given Nevada’s gambling connections, none of the Big Three leagues wants to go anywhere near the city. The NHL – which operates in the southwestern United States as though it’s a strip-mall purveyor of subprime mortgages – doesn’t have those scruples.
They have a product to sell. Las Vegas is willing to buy it on consignment. If it ends up rotting in some empty barn, well, that’s their problem.
via Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
If this Las Vegas/NHL effort ever actually makes it to the ice, the club could do worse than to be called the Gamblers. Pigeons probably wouldn’t fly.
Yes, sports leagues are all wary of actual gamblers getting their hooks into players and influencing results, but who’s kidding whom? Vegas is for gamblers and assorted messers-around, and the latter group doesn’t suggest anything in the way of a plausible team name. (The Las Vegas Johns? Cheetahs?)
Then again, considering the number of hockey players who are into it, maybe the team could be the Las Vegas PokerStars. You know, with Roberto Luongo in the .net.
from Brian Deka of the Las Vegas Sun,
It's showtime for Las Vegas to determine whether it can host a major professional sports team.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was at the MGM Grand today as ownership group Hockey Vision Las Vegas launched a season-ticket drive with a goal of 10,000 deposits. Billionaire Bill Foley, who leads the group, is optimistic the effort will show the league that the city can sustain an expansion franchise.
"I'm confident that we will demonstrate that Las Vegas is a viable NHL city," Foley said.
The ownership group's website, vegaswantshockey.com, began accepting deposits at 1:30 p.m. The league hasn't given Foley a deadline to secure the deposits.
Bettman said a team for Las Vegas isn't guaranteed, regardless of the result of the ticket drive. Still, Bettman said, he supports Foley's effort.
"One, he's very successful, and two, he's very persuasive," Bettman said.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
It’s been a quiet night in the NHL’s player safety room so far, and Patrick Burke is okay with that.
“Brendan Shanahan used to say this job is a lot like being at an airport waiting for a plane to crash,” Burke says dryly. “You hope nothing bad happens.”
It doesn’t stay that way. Late in the Edmonton-Pittsburgh game, Penguins forward Chris Kunitz trips Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry dangerously in the corner. Kunitz seems to be reaching for the puck, but his stick bounces off Petry’s and back toward the Oiler, who falls awkwardly. No penalty, but it looks bad.
Burke, son of former Leafs president Brian Burke, is one of two directors of player safety on the league’s eight-man team, third on the command totem pole and the senior man this night. He springs into action: pausing the game on his laptop, rewinding, looking at it close up. He’ll watch the replays — both the home and road feeds — in a room with 25 monitors linked to all of the night’s action. He’ll listen to what the announcers are saying and monitor Twitter.
“Good non-call,” he mutters to himself after reviewing the play. But now he’s listening to the TV coverage and both the home and road crew analysts are wondering if the hit from behind might require supplemental discipline.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
The Vancouver Canucks weren’t very good at Rogers Arena Thursday night — but then neither was referee Chris Rooney.
You see, his ‘game management’ wasn’t very good, judging by what NHL referee Tim Peel has been saying when he chats with bloggers on the record.
According to Puck Daddy, Peel says that the NHL evidently tells it’s referees when certain penalties are appropriate and when they’re not. And while we are not privy to these ‘game management’ guidelines or whatever they might be called, we would assume that when the home team is down 2-0 late in the second period having had only two scoring chances in 38 minutes, calling an unsportsmanlike penalty on one of the most sportsmanlike captains in the history of the NHL from afar to put them down two men for a full two minutes wouldn’t be recommended.
What could Henrik Sedin possibly have said to bring about such a severe, game-impacting call? We’ll let your imagination run with it while you consider the ramifications of what Peel really said to Greg Wyshynski in a story that went largely unnoticed around the league. Instead, everyone got all excited about a picture of Peel with Wyshynski hoisting a drink which went viral, something the officials and media have done for years, albeit without the pictures and quotes.
While the NHL referee wasn’t quoted directly in the story other than the ‘game management’ reference, the pretty clear implication from the piece was that there are times in certain games when a penalty should be called, but not in others. You know, flexible rules depending upon who is winning and what the game situation is. No word on whether that ‘management’ stretches as far as which teams are playing but there are certainly no end of fans who might think it does....
“I was surprised he called it,” said Henrik, who indicated he didn’t think he had ever received an unsportsmanlike penalty in a similar situation in the past. “I used the “F” word but I’ve said a lot worse things to a referee than that. As I said, I was surprised.”
Watch the game highlights below...
AHL President Dave Andrews joined Prime Time Sports to discuss the new California Division and its affiliates and also the plan for the NHL to adopt the AHL’s overtime rules.
The TSN Insiders talked about, drum rolllllll.. The Toronto Maple Leafs available players for trade.
The Ottawa Senators were also mentioned and Pierre LeBrun states Chris Neil is drawing interest.
Then Bob McKenzie talked about the advance stats that will hit NHL.com on Februay 20th. Bob McKenzie says "massive changes".
Watch here... US readers too...
from Sean Gentille of The Sporting News,
The Tim Peel "summit" apparently had a casualty: Tim Peel.
The NHL indefinitely suspended Peel, an official since 1999 and more recently an object of scorn over a series of high-profile blown calls, for meeting with Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski at a New York bar,according to a report by Montreal's 98.5 Sports. Wyshynski, Peel's loudest critic, wrote a nice piece that ran on the website, focusing on Peel's side of the story and what it's like to speak, face-to-face, with someone you rip as part of your job.
My only comment is when I saw the interview Wyshynski did with Peel, my first thought was the NHL is not going to like this.
added 9:27am, via Elliotte Friedman tweets,
1) Regarding reports NHL referee Tim Peel is indefinitely suspended because of @wyshynski interview, I'm told he is on "active status"...
2) and is therefore eligible to referee a game at any time. Peel did not work PIT/NJ as scheduled last Friday, but did work CAR/NYR Saturday
added 10:56am, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet with more on this...
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
NHL players have reservations about a potential move to use three-on-three play in overtime next season to decrease the number of games decided by shootouts.
"My real concern is that top guys are going to be put in these situations, and there will be more wear and tear on them," NHL Players' Association executive Mathieu Schneider told USA TODAY Sports.
The rules change, to be discussed at the annual general managers meetings in March, has gained traction with GMs because the use of three-on-three this season in the American Hockey League has resulted in 74.8% of overtime games being decided before the shootout. That figure is 45% in the NHL.
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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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