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Category: NHL-Talk

NHL Participation In The Olympics Is Fading

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

Like a time bomb set to go off, the clock is ticking on the NHL’s potential participation at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

And it’s looking more and more as if any aspirations the players have of attending the Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, are on the verge of blowing up.

“If the status quo remains I don’t expect us to be in the Olympics,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Saturday.

Judging by the fact that commissioner Gary Bettman said the subject of the Olympics came up “for about 10 seconds” during the board of governors meetings here Saturday, it certainly paints a pessimistic picture.

Daly’s doom-and-gloom tone came just minutes after Bettman’s state of the union address to the media, one in which the commissioner showed an emotional edge when it came to the subject of the Olympics — and, specifically, the International Olympic Committee.

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The Brad Marchand Decision

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

It sure seems as if there is something fishy about the NHL’s decision not to suspend repeat slew-foot offender Brad Marchand for his dangerous kick/trip/takedown from behind of Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall last Tuesday, instead of allowing him to escape with a slap-on-the-wrist $10,000 fine.

Understand. It is not only that Marchand previously had been suspended once and fined another time for slew-foot infractions among the four times he had been suspended and seven times he previously had been disciplined by the league’s Department of Player Safety.

It is also that Marchand was the 12th player this season to be summoned by vice president Stephane Quintal for a hearing per the Department’s Twitter announcements and the first — the first and only — not to be suspended in its aftermath.

The first 11 not only were suspended but all suspended for at least two games.

And then came Marchand.

Of course, there was no video (or audio or written) explanation of the leniency afforded Marchand, who is thus free to participate in this weekend’s All-Star festivities for Chairman of the Board of Governors Jeremy Jacobs’ Bruins.

When an anomaly such as this occurs, it is my sense there probably is more to it than Quintal doling out charity.

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NHL Short Notes

NHL ALL-STAR GAME TAKES OVER HOLLYWOOD . . .
A $1-million prize is on the line during the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game, which takes over Hollywood and STAPLES Center on Sunday (12:30 p.m. PT / 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).
 
For the second straight year, all four divisions will compete in a 3-on-3 tournament, with each game 20 minutes in length. Teams – comprised of six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders – will change ends at the 10-minute mark of each contest. Games that are tied after 20 minutes will be decided by a shootout.
 
The Atlantic Division won Saturday’s 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition and opted to face the Metropolitan Division in the second semifinal. The Pacific Division will play the Central Division in the opening game of the tournament. The two winners will advance to the final to determine the overall tournament champion.
 
Click here for rosters by division.
 
. . . GRETZKY STEPS IN AS COACH OF METROPOLITAN DIVISION
The NHL announced that Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky will serve as the head coach of the Metropolitan Division for Sunday’s 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game in place of Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella.
 
“The League came to me [Friday] night and said, ‘Would you like to coach?’ and I said, ‘Sure,’” Gretzky explained. “Playing in the All-Star Game is a privilege and a pleasure, and the chance to be around it and part of it [today] . . . I’m excited and I’m really looking forward to it.”

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Topics Of Interest From Gary Bettman’s Media Conference Today

from Curtis Zupke of the LA Times,

Bettman all but squashed thoughts of having advertisements on hockey jerseys, like the NBA will do with its jerseys as a pilot program starting with the 2017-18 season.

“It would take an unusual circumstance for us to even think about it,” Bettman said.

In regard to the NHL schedule, Bettman said they are looking at changing the “bye week” that was implemented this season and give half the league a bye week and then the other half a bye on another week.

Bettman liked the buzz that helped Los Angeles secure this weekend’s All-Star festivities, the first such weekend at Staples Center since 2002. He noted the growth of hockey in California in regard to the increase of registered players in the state, from 3,400 in 1981 to 17,000 in 2002 to 28,000 currently.

Bettman denied speculation that the Carolina Hurricanes are for sale amid reports that owner Peter Karmanos is open to selling the team.

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Trimmed Down Goalie Pants Won’t Equate To More Goals

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Goal scoring in today’s NHL is on par with what it was in the early ’60s. For all the game’s added speed, power, and flash, goal scoring today is where it was in the leather-skate and wooden-stick era. One of the game’s greatest entertainment factors has been greatly diminished.

Will the nip and tuck in goalie equipment help change that trend? Probably not.

“We have no expectations with regards to goal scoring,” said Whitmore, “and realize it could actually make the goalies quicker and better.”

He could be right. The use of lightweight, highly protective material in the manufacturing of goalie equipment over the last 30-plus years has helped revolutionize the position. Trimming back pants and various pads may take away a goalie’s bulk blocking ability, but it could allow the goalie to be faster, more agile, potentially negating whatever net gain in goal scoring might have been realized from downsized equipment

Goalies in Davidson’s playing days, for instance, wore heavy leg pads filled with horsehair. Wrapped in leather, they absorbed water, adding weight that made it more difficult to move.

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Criteria For Choosing The Top 100

from John Shannon of Sportsnet,

The show ended at 11:07 ET, 8:07 in Los Angeles. And social media exploded. As expected. As it should.

Where was Jarome Iginla? And Joe Thornton? And Evgeni Malkin? Modern-day players of greatness. Just as old timers could ask where was Dit Clapper? Or Nels Stewart? Or Bill Cowley?

Let’s face it, there are more than 7,000 men who have had the honour of playing in the National Hockey League. All of them — yes all of them — were the best of the best. Some were just better.

To choose 100, from that pool, was a difficult a task.

The criteria? Numbers of all sorts, championships and longevity were all part of it. A Hall of Fame induction certainly had to have some weight, as well.

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The 100 Greatest Players Of All-Time

from Helene Elliott and Curtis Zupke of the LA Times,

No matter when they played, no matter which team they played for, many players selected as members of the top 100 of the NHL’s first 100 years had a similar reaction to winning that honor.

“I never really expected it,” Hall of Fame goaltender Billy Smith, who won the Stanley Cup four times with the New York Islanders, said of the announcement made Friday during festivities related to Sunday’s All-Star Game at Staples Center and the NHL’s centennial.

“I didn’t see myself as being one of the top 100,” Bobby Clarke said, though he was the heart of the Philadelphia Flyers’ Broad Street Bullies and is a Hall of Famer and two-time Cup winner. “It’s pretty humbling to be honored this way. It’s so special, I can’t describe it.”

Grouped by eras (starting with the 1970s) rather than ranked, 67 players were introduced Friday at the Microsoft Theater. The first group of 33, mostly players who excelled during the NHL’s first 50 years, was honored on New Year’s Day. Overall, 24 players were honored posthumously.

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If you missed the full list and those who participated in the selection, here you go.

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Some Of The Top 100 On Today’s Game

from Matt Larkin of The Hockey News,

Not every top-100 selection sees the game as picture perfect, however. Mike Gartner, who ranks seventh in NHL history with 708 goals, recognizes that one too many games is a war of attrition and offered a fascinating theory as to why.

“The one thing I would like to change, you can’t change: I would like to ban coaches from the game,” said Gartner, 57, with a laugh. “The coaches are so good right now and the coaching staffs are so good that the game gets choked out sometimes. Obviously we can’t change that. But I think the game is in good shape right now. I really do. A lot of the things they brought in after the last number of years to open it up have been very positive.”

Not to be outdone Friday was a man forever known for being unorthodox. Dominik Hasek never did anything the way anyone else did, especially when it came to his trademark “floppy” goaltending technique. It helped him win six Vezina Trophies in his career, including five over a six-year stretch, not to mention back to back MVPs in 1996-97 and 1997-98. Naturally, ‘The Dominator,’ 51, had an out-there idea to jumpstart offense.

“I would put the net closer to the boards,” Hasek said. “Just because it brings more goals. You cannot score a goal from behind the net. Only Wayne Gretzky can do it. But there are 800 players who cannot do it. So bring the net two or three feet closer to the back boards. And one more thing: the goalies will hate me for it – but take the cheater from the glove (laughs).”

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All About Today’s 2017 NHL All-Star Celebrity Shootout

LOS ANGELES -- Pop superstar Justin Bieber and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane have been added to the rosters for the 2017 NHL All-Star Celebrity Shootout, a friendly hockey game featuring 21 members of the 100 Greatest NHL Players list and celebrities from the worlds of movies, television and music. Team Gretzky and Team Lemieux, under the direction of Hockey Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzkyand Mario Lemieux, will face off on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 2:15 p.m. PT, prior to the 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition™ at STAPLES Center. NHL.com and the NHL App will live stream the charity game.

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Meeting The Top 100

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,

Even they were in awe. Even the legends themselves couldn't believe the company they were keeping. Over here were Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr. Over there were Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Jonathan Toews.

"Every time I see a face," Bryan Trottier said, "it's like another wow."

When a blue-ribbon panel selected the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian, it formed the most exclusive club in hockey history, more exclusive than even the Hockey Hall of Fame. When the League revealed the full list at "The NHL100 presented by GEICO" at Microsoft Theater on Friday, it gathered more hockey talent than ever before, with more than 60 of the players in attendance.

Total the numbers. This group has combined for 34,821 goals, 56,394 assists, 91,215 points and 5,445 wins by goaltenders in the regular season. It has combined to win the Stanley Cup 307 times, the Hart Trophy 68 times, the Art Ross 58 times, the Vezina 49 times, the Norris 46 times, the Conn Smythe 36 times, on and on, and counting.

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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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