Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Dave Hodge of TSN,
Thumbs down to the ongoing confusion about what constitutes a "good goal" that is propelled into the net by a skate.
The first goal in yesterday's 4-2 win by the Boston Bruins over the New York Rangers was a deliberate attempt by Boston's Milan Lucic to score a goal that way. He slid his right skate to make contact with the puck, thus, changing its direction, and sending it into the net. "No goal" was the call on the ice. Video review changed the call and the Bruins were ahead 1-0.
The ref's opinion was easily supported, but so was the decision to award the goal. If that sounds crazy, it fully explains the problem the NHL has dealt with for what seems forever. And there is only one solution, which is to allow all goals scored directly from skates.
You hear it said that players, especially goalies, would be in danger if kicking at pucks became legal, but kicking at pucks is legal. You just can't kick them into the net. It doesn't mean players don't use their skates to try to control pucks, to free them from scrums. What players don't do is kick wildly with their skates, near the crease or anywhere else on the ice. They wouldn't start doing that if a rule said they could score goals with their skates in any fashion. As it is, they try to score goals with their skates and hope they get the benefit of the rule that nobody really understands.
You can review the goal here...
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
So, how to bring back the scoring? Cutting down the size of goalie equipment would be the place to start, but that has become a fool’s discussion. The league has talked about it for nearly 20 years, the goalies have pushed back, and tiny nips and tucks have led to status quo offensive stifling. The goalies won’t give up their pads and the Lords of the Boards don’t have the temerity or common sense to stand up to the puck-stopping brotherhood who have taken the game’s offense hostage. Sad, really.
I see two ways out of this:
1. Maintain the icing standard throughout the game. If a team must kill a penalty, it gets no relief — it must play the puck just as if the sides had equal manpower. No question it will result in more power-play goals. The team that committed the penalty will suffer the consequences. How novel. As of late last week, 22 of the league’s 30 teams failed to score on more than 80 percent of their power plays.
2. Borrow from lacrosse’s rulebook a bit and prohibit clubs from skating five players in their defensive end during five-on-five play. In this scenario, the team that advances the puck into the attacking zone will have five skaters battling against four skaters and one goalie. That sounds like even strength to me. Truth is, under current rules, all clubs are really shorthanded in the attack zone during five-on-five, with five skaters opposed by five skaters and one goalie (who wears the pads of nearly two skaters). We call that an even deal?
For a game that often appears to be in a state of mayhem, with players darting around faster than ever before, there rarely is much mayhem around the net. Passing and shooting lanes are typically sealed up, and goalies, overpadded and too influential in the game’s outcome, too easily prevent fat rebounds. The two changes suggested here would bring on the mayhem.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
- There is one way to avoid the sad spectacle of dumping teams playing dump games at this time of the year, and that is to freeze the standings relating to lottery seeding at the trade deadline.
- The more numbers and the more information the better, but I will allot more value to the points-per-60-minutes stat when players begin to play 60 minutes a game.
- Sidney Crosby is an outstanding player, but is anyone honestly trying to suggest he is having a better season than Ryan Getzlaf? Stop. Just stop.
- Boy, that Tom Wilson of the Caps has sure made a splash in the NHL, hasn’t he?
Tough call. But we want to try to limit the amount of reviews.”
“I saw the broken stick incident, tough call for the ref. In my opinion this should be another call for the guys in the war room. It’s no different than being kicked in.”
“In a perfect world it would be nice to have all goals reviewed. Problem is, that goal is easy to make a decision on. Once you go down the path of reviewing all goals, etc.. there are issues that will arise on calls that are not as clear cut.”
“Boy, that’s a tough one. Seems like logic would say that it should be reviewable.”
-a few NHL General Managers when asked about the 'broken-stick' goal by Justin Abdelkader. More from John Shannon of Sportsnet.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Once again, there’s a seismic shift going on in the hockey world.
The last major one, you could argue, came in the late 1980s and early 1990s when European players started coming overseas in large numbers to play in the NHL, minor pro, U.S. colleges and in the Canadian Hockey League.
At around the same time, the seeds were being planted in the southwestern United States for a harvest that would take more than two decades to be realized, but is now coming into plain view for anyone paying attention.
The indicators are all around. Since 1992, the registration of hockey players in the Pacific, Rocky Mountain (Arizona, Colorado, Texas) and southeastern U.S. has increased by 240 per cent, more than half of that has come over the past 10 years.
In the same time period, there have been NHL teams added in Florida, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, Anaheim, San Jose and Nashville, joining the Los Angeles Kings, whose acquisition of Wayne Gretzky in 1988 undoubtedly accelerated interest in the sport in virgin territories.
Not surprisingly, all these NHL teams and registered skaters have started to produce more and more elite players.
The commissioner wanted parity in the league and he's got that whole-heartedly. There are 16 teams that get into the playoffs and legitimately any one of them could get out of their conference this year. That's what the league wanted and they did a nice job. But I don't know if they anticipated the parity of the top 8 or 9 top players, how similar and how valuable they all are to their own teams; how valuable a guy like Tavares is to the Islanders, Voracek to the Flyers, Crosby to the Penguins, and so on. I don't know if we've ever seen in hockey so many superstars that are so equally matched at this point in their careers. It's parity in teams, and it's parity with the superstars, that's pretty good for hockey."
-Wayne Gretzky. More from and on Gretzky from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
"There will be a formal announcement soon," is how prospective NHL owner Bill Foley responded when asked if his group is moving closer to expansion to Las Vegas.
Foley won't divulge specifics, but says he hopes to be in position to make the announcement in a month.
"We're really pleased with how it's going," Foley told TSN. "Now we want to expand our base to ensure the support we have is as widespread as possible."
Sources familiar with this process suggest the corporate sector, including the many casinos in Las Vegas represent the next phase of the ticket drive and overall market study.
Chicago Blackhawks senior advisor Scotty Bowman joins Prime Time Sports to talk about coaches challenges, the lack of scoring and reducing the size of goaltending equipment.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
While the decision on whether or not to trigger the annual 5 percent growth factor on the salary cap has often been treated like a foregone conclusion, it should not be this season.
The issue on the growth factor, commonly referred to as the "inflator" or "escalator," has become a hot topic of conversation amongst players with growing concerns about increasing escrow rates and the potential implications on revenue with the falling Canadian dollar.
Several sources told ESPN.com that there is a divide between two camps of players: those who are already under contract for next season and those who are pending unrestricted free agents. Those already set on their current deals may be against the idea of increasing the salary cap, deterred by the thought of another season of high escrow (the players were hit with 18 percent this season). Those players up for new deals, however, would ideally like more money in the pot. The current salary cap is at $69 million. At last week's General Managers meetings, the rough projection provided by commissioner Gary Bettman was $71.5 million -- assuming the inflator was triggered.
For players, there is a growing sense of skepticism about areas of potential revenue growth, such as television deals, outdoor games, etc., compounded with concerns about the devaluation of the Canadian dollar.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Sharks coach Todd McLellan has the numbers on his board in his office in San Jose.
When he broke into the NHL as an assistant coach with the Red Wings, he ran the power play. In three years, the Wings had 461 power-play opportunities, then 398, then 391. That was right after the 2004-05 lockout, when the NHL tightened enforcement of infractions like hooking, holding and interference.
In 2005-06, teams ranged from 541 power-play opportunities to 411. The average team had 480. This season, no one is one pace for more than 297 power-play opportunities. One team is on pace for as few as 211.
Another way to look at it: The average NHL game had 11.7 power plays in 2005-06. The average NHL game has had about 6.2 this season.
But that doesn’t mean hooking, holding and interference have crept back into the game to a large degree and the referees have been swallowing their whistles. It means hooking, holding and interference have left the game to a large degree. The referees have less to call.
more plus other NHL topics...
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