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Category: NHL-Talk

Connor McDavid The Student

from Alex Ballingall of the Toronto Star,

“I’ve had a lot of other players come in with some bravado,” said McQuaid, a 45-year-old teacher at McDowell Senior High School in Erie, Pa., home of the OHL’s Erie Otters.

“More often than not their academic quality is embarrassing, and I’m pretty tough on them,” McQuaid said. “Within a week’s time, I knew that was not going to be the case with Connor.
“It was almost like he was a student first.”

Almost. Because, even though he won the CHL’s Student of the Year twice in a row, we’re still talking about Connor McDavid. You know, hockey’s next Chosen One?

But his academic prowess is undeniable. He got straight As in Grade 12 this year, according to McDowell principal Tim Rankin, acing courses:

academic algebra
creative writing
social studies class on contemporary issues
English 12
personal finance
digital design

Hardly basket weaving or underwater bubble blowing.

“He’s just been awesome around here,” Rankin told the Star this week. “His focus is so much on hockey, in terms of making himself the best he can be, and then academically, he clearly wanted to be very devoted to academic integrity and quality work.”

read on

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  Tags: connor+mcdavid

Opening Up The Defensive Zone

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

You would think that 6,375 square feet of ice is enough office space for the planet’s most skilled hockey players to enjoy as an offensive playground. Coaches, systems, goalies, and equipment, however, have turned the attacking zone into a pit of quicksand.

This season, NHL teams averaged 2.73 goals per game. In 2005-06, the first season after the lockout, the league average was 3.08 goals per game. Scoring chances don’t just die on the vine. Not enough of them happen in the first place.

Defense rules, to the point where the game’s stewards are studying the rules themselves.

During their formal meetings and in casual conversations, general managers have chatted about outlawing zone defense. The idea has not progressed to a degree where the GMs are considering how to implement such a change. It would be a radical departure. But that GMs are discussing the concept at all indicates their concern over scoring’s waning rate.

continued plus more hockey topics...

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NHL Linesman Thor Nelson Hopes To Return To The NHL

from KXNews,

A Minot man who's officiated games in the NHL for two decades is hoping to return to the ice this winter.

Thor Nelson has been out of the league for most of two seasons because of an injury suffered while officiating a game in Winnipeg in 2013.

Jim Olson caught up with him this week to find out about his recovery.

It was a game in Winnipeg in 2013 that changed Thor Nelson's NHL officiating career.

"I remember leading up to the incident, I stepped in between two guys who were fighting and I don't remember the rest which happened to be a right cross that caught me instead of one of the players."

That right cross gave Nelson a concussion - something that erased his memory of finishing the game - which he did - and driving home from Winnipeg to Minot - which he also did. He fought through it - staying on the ice, but knowing things were not right.

"I was in Vancouver and couldn't see my partner across the ice, it was all blurry, and I went to a team doctor and said we gotta talk."

That was in the 2013-14 season and he had to hang up his skates, leaving behind his life in the NHL.

continued and watch the interview below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: thor+nelson

Morning Line- Tom Gulitti

Forget for a moment that the Coyotes’ long-running instability is a red flare for adding a team in a similar non-traditional hockey market such as Las Vegas.

Adding a team anywhere when the league doesn’t have its house in order with its 30 existing teams seems foolhardy.

Of course, for a share of the potential $500 million expansion fee from the Las Vegas ownership group, those 30 teams might be convinced to approve putting a team on Mars regardless of its practicality.

If the NHL has not committed to anything so far with expansion – as Bettman has repeatedly stated – it would hurt no one to wait on Las Vegas until this latest soap opera with the Coyotes plays out.

-Tom Gulitti of The Record where you can read more on this topic.

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What Is Gary Bettman Thinking?

via Dave Hodge of TSN,

Not that I'm looking for things to pick on from a Gary Bettman TV interview, but here's one - the NHL commissioner said the following last night as part of an answer that dealt with the possibility of expansion and/or franchise relocation: "Bear in mind we have 14 teams in the Western Conference and 16 teams in the Eastern Conference. I don't know how we would deal with that - I haven't given it any thought."

But you're not, of course. He knows where Quebec City and Las Vegas and Seattle are, and he knows how the NHL might deal with its geographical imbalance if it felt the time was right to do that, or if the league was forced to do that in conjunction with other developments, such as expansion or relocation.

So why would he say he hasn't given it any thought?

I don't know. He's Gary Bettman?

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Statement From The NHL On The City Of Glendale

NEW YORK (June 10, 2015) – The National Hockey League today released the following statement regarding actions taken by the City of Glendale:

“We have been advised by the Coyotes that the City of Glendale’s contentions are without merit and we fully expect the Coyotes to continue to play at the Gila River Arena and for the City to continue to honor its obligations to the Coyotes. After everything that has transpired, it is extremely disappointing that the City of Glendale would do anything that might damage the Club.”

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About The ‘Players Should Shave Their Beards’ Comment

from Mark Whicker of the LA Daily News,

The immediate result of Lazarus’ comments was the roar of 35 million hyenas from the north.

Canadians think Americans are idiots for ... well, for lots of reasons, but particularly when it comes to hockey. In their minds Americans were responsible for Peter Puck, the digitally-enhanced puck, the shootout and the idea of a team named after a movie.

When Gary Bettman came over from the NBA to run the NHL, and when he said, “Well, it’s time to go to the skatearound,” during the 1993 Finals in L.A., you could hear Mike Myers and Martin Short regurgitating.

It has been hard for our northern friends, and even some of us, to reconcile the fact that the NHL is better than it has ever been, from every standpoint, with Bettman at the top.

Fighting has disappeared completely from the playoffs and is leaving the game altogether. The post-2005 rules have sped up the game and let the players shine; you would not have seen Victor Hedman’s brilliant Game 3 stretch pass to Ryan Callahan in the pre-lockout days.

The lockout itself was the most bitter and yet the most effective laxative the game could have swallowed, because the hard salary cap has rewarded the savvy executives instead of the spendthrifts.

The main NBC crew, with the nonpareil Doc Emrick and Ed Olcyzk in the booth and Pierre McGuire at ice level, has used its awesome array of camera angles to educate the great unwashed.

So what is Mark Lazarus’ problem?

more

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Scotty Bowman On The Lack Of Offense

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

When he is asked about how the game is today, and specifically about how teams now leave the points open and collapse down low to take away chances in the actual scoring zones, he pointed out how while the change in the placement of the blue-lines some 10 years ago was made to generate offence, these changes never seem to have the desired effect.

“What happened when they moved the blue-lines out four feet on each side toward the red line, they thought they were creating more room in the offensive zones where the goals were scored,” said Bowman. “But it wasn’t long before the coaches figured out that when defending in your zone, it’s now too big to do everything, so they said, let’s leave the points open and close down toward the net to take away chances closer to the net. Now you can’t get anything through.

“Before they changed it, the defending team used to play its forwards higher out toward the point, which meant once their team got the puck they were out of the zone quicker and there was more room in the neutral zone to make things happen on the rush. Now, unless you’re really good on the stretch pass the way (Victor) Hedman made that one last night, not much happens on the rush. So maybe that was better, but all the changes they make, like taking away interference the way they did, when they enforce it, was supposed to open the game up for more goals but it doesn’t always work out.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: scotty+bowman

Alan Eagleson An Unexpected Visitor At The Stanley Cup Final

from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,

As Alan Eagleson made his rounds at the morning skate at the United Center before Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final, some of the many former players on hand felt uneasy. Others were angry. One former player refused to shake Eagleson’s hand. Eagleson asked for a picture with another and he reluctantly agreed so as not to make a scene.

Twenty-three years after Eagleson stepped down as the executive player of the NHL Players’ Association he was instrumental in starting and 17 years after he was convicted of fraud in two countries and of embezzling funds in Canada, the 82-year-old Eagleson has resurfaced in the hockey world during the Stanley Cup final. Eagleson has been around the United Center during the playoffs. He is not a guest of the NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks media department said it was not certain whether he was a guest of the team. Eagleson is friends with longtime Blackhawks executive Bob Pulford, who was the first co-president of the NHLPA along with Bobby Baun and he had close ties with late Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz, whose family still owns the team. Eagleson managed to get into the building and that has rankled some of the many former players who are around right now.

 

“I don’t like it,” said former NHLer Barry Melrose, an analyst for NBC Sports. “He shouldn’t be allowed to be here. I can’t believe he’s here. I can’t believe the NHL lets him be here.”

continued

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  Tags: alan+eagleson

Breaking Down The NHL Combine

from Gare Joyce of Sportsnet,

It wasn’t the first time that Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel went head to head and it certainly won’t be the last time. That said, unless they decide to race each other in the Tour de France or make the Olympics as decathletes, we won’t see anything like it.

What I’m talking about here, in a very roundabout way, is the NHL combine, certainly one of the weirdest spectacles on the hockey calendar.

I’ve gone to it for 15 years or so and every time I watch it, I say: “I know why they’re here, but why am I?” For entertainment value, it would rank somewhere behind the average beer-league game and an NHL warm-up.

Fact is, you don’t even know what it is you’re watching. Results of the physical testing aren’t posted or announced at the venue. You only know when the final numbers come out, which they did on Monday.

continued

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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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