Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
It wasn’t until 1965-66 — ancient history to most of you, but well within my frame of reference and experience watching from the side balcony at the old Garden — that the league allowed teams to replace skaters on coincidental majors.
So there was a fair amount of three-on-three hockey following brawls. Obviously it was a different time and the game wasn’t immediately on the line, but most teams played very conservatively.
As I remember it, there was little breakneck, end-to-end action. Games seemed to be in holding patterns.
And I think a half-century later, that will be the case as often as not, and surely if we’re talking the final three minutes of a potential seven-minute OT.
If the league is committed to gimmickry to produce a guaranteed winner (and partial loser), then let’s get straight to three-on-three.
Chances are it will be more difficult under that scenario for coaches to reign in their top talent. But you can be sure, some will try.
more plus addtional hockey topics...
from Dave Hodge of TSN,
Thumbs down to half measures, which is the best way to describe most of the decisions made when NHL general managers gather.
The move to add coaches' challenges is hardly a bold one.
A goal can be wiped out because of goalie interference but a penalty can't be assessed. Shooting the puck over the glass is subject to review, but only to determine if a delay of game penalty should stand, not if one should be called.
Coaches aren't allowed to challenge a goal preceded by an offside, a hand pass, a puck touched by a high stick, or too many men on the ice.
Video review should be simple when it comes to a coach's challenge. If a coach believes his team has been victimized by an incorrect call of any sort, he should be allowed to try to prove it with the help of video evidence. He should have one or two opportunities per game to do so, but no more.
In the sophisticated age of video technology, there is no reason to hear that a call is not reviewable.
There is every reason to write a rule that says anything can be reviewed.
read on for another Thumbs Down from Hodge, this time regarding the Vancouver Canucks...
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
BILL DALY ON THE DOLLAR, TANKING AND MORE
On the falling Canadian dollar: “The Canadian clubs have all prepared themselves for this … eventuality,” he said. “I’m not saying it isn’t a hardship. It is a hardship. But, it’s not as if the sky is falling.”
Our take: Canadian teams will survive, but they make up nearly half of the Top 15 revenue teams in the league. Fifteen to 20 per cent off of their bottom lines will have a tangible effect on the cap, and league revenues overall.
On Tanking: “I certainly agree that there has been a higher focus than I have ever seen it. Having said that, I don’t think it’s an overriding concern for the league. I don’t think any of the teams are actively tanking, and we have new rules. The odds of the lowest finishers have been reduced dramatically to win a top pick, and beginning next year you could finish last and still pick fourth. We’ve taken steps to address the perception.”
Our take: Depleted rosters in Arizona, where its top centre is Mark Arcobello, and Toronto suggest tanking on an organizational level. But Buffalo’s win over Boston, Edmonton’s 47-shot night versus Columbus, and the Jackets’ win at Vancouver Thursday reaffirm that the players and coaches are never part of any tanking process.
more including Las Vegas...
from Geoff Kirbyson of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Two of Terry Sawchuk's sons fought back tears as they touched the goalie mask their late father wore in his last game more than four decades ago.
Jerry Sawchuk, 60, and Terry Sawchuk, 51, were just kids when their legendary father died in the spring of 1970, so the pilgrimage they're taking to his birthplace this weekend is both educational and emotional.
After arriving in Winnipeg Friday morning to participate in the filming of a documentary on their dad, they stopped by the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, which inducted him in 1982. One of the Hall's prized possessions is the bare-bones mask -- which bears no resemblance to the facial protection in today's NHL -- he wore late in his career.
"We just touched the mask. It was very emotional," said Jerry Sawchuk. "Both of us looked at each other and said, 'do you want to touch it?' and we did. To think dad had worn that..."
"It was a bonding moment," echoed the younger Terry Sawchuk.
There will be many more such moments this weekend as they visit their father's boyhood home and stomping grounds, including Strathcona School and the Terry Sawchuk Arena.
from Jonathan Willis of Sportsnet,
... But while 3-on-3 overtime will help, it’s not a solution in and of itself because there’s still massive incentive for teams to go to overtime. The NHL system is structured so that there are two points available to be handed out to the teams involved in a game decided in regulation; there are three available in overtime/shootout games. So when the game is tied with 10 minutes left in the third period, both teams have an incentive to play low-event, defensive hockey the rest of the way to ensure that they at least collect a point. In a league that is constantly combating a tendency toward low-scoring games, the very structure of the scoring system encourages them.
Holland pointed to the Swedish Hockey League as an example of the merits of three-on-three overtime, telling NHL.com that the league went from roughly 38 percent of its games being decided in overtime rather than the shootout to something in the 75-80 percent range. What he didn’t point out was that the SHL operates under a very different point system than the NHL does—three points awarded for a regulation win, two for an overtime/shootout win, one for an overtime/shootout loss and none for a regulation loss. The same number of points is available in every game; no extra point magically appears for managing to make it to overtime.
A team that plays defensive hockey still guarantees itself a point, but in so doing it also guarantees the sacrifice of a point to its opponent. The incentive is to do everything at all points to win. The Swedes instituted the three-point system in the late 1990s and saw an immediate five percent bump in scoring. The NHL of the same era watched scoring fall for half a decade before the rule changes and power plays of 2005-06 briefly reversed the low-scoring trend.
None of this is to say that 3-on-3 overtime is a bad idea. On the contrary, making overtime more decisive is one way to lessen the corrupting impact of the shootout on the NHL standings. It simply isn’t enough; the NHL also needs to remove the obvious incentive that every team in the NHL has to force games to overtime. A 3-on-3 overtime in concert with a three-point system is a much better idea than the former on its own.
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
A player is not allowed to "make himself bigger" with the use of his stick and/or hands to detain or restrain an opponent as you describe in your question. Should this occur, it is a clear violation of Rule 56 and should be penalized as interference. At training camp in September, the referees were instructed to apply a strict standard with regard to interference of this nature once the puck was chipped past a defender. The mandate was put forward to allow attackers clean and legal access to pursue the loose puck and generate offence.
There are legal methods available for a defender to delay, contain, or even eliminate an attacker with contact through establishing proper "body position." Body position is determined as a player in front or beside an opponent, traveling in the same direction. A player is allowed the ice he is standing on (body position) and is not required to move in order to let an opponent proceed. A player may "block" the path of an opponent provided he is moving in the same direction. Moving laterally and without establishing body position, then making contact with the non-puck carrier is not permitted.
The key to legally detaining an attacking player who has chipped the puck past a defender is for that defender to immediately turn and skate in the same direction as the attacker. If executed properly, this considerably lengthens the distance his opponent must travel to get where he is going (to the puck). The defender must keep his feet moving in the same direction as the attacker and attempt to take the ice away as he moves forward.
GMs have endorsed Ron Francis' plan of making the defensive zone player put his stick on the ice first.
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
On the final day of the NHL general managers meeting, the Players’ Association got its first look at rule changes being proposed for next season, most notably adding some three-on-three play to overtime.
Players will have give their input on three-on-three, expanded video review and faceoff changes and must sign off before anything becomes official.
General managers were split on whether to go to the American Hockey League model of four-on-four for the first three minutes and then three-on-three from the next whistle to the end of a seven-minute overtime or to simply play three-on-three for the existing five-minute overtime.
One concern is that the extra two minutes a game, while likely to reduce shootouts, would put more of a strain on top players.
from Slava Malamud of IIHF.com,
The first Russian (and only the second European) referee in the history of the NHL has gotten off to a great start and hopes more are coming in his wake.
This might not be quite the same kind of milestone as the one in the late 1980s, when the Iron Curtain broke in international hockey and Soviet players were first allowed to go over to the National Hockey League. That one was a milestone to end all milestones. But it was mainly a political breakthrough, as nobody in the 1980s had any doubt at the stars from the Big Red Machine could, given a chance, acquit themselves pretty well in the world’s best league.
This milestone, however, is of a different kind. One could argue that the barrier the Russian official Yevgeni Romasko is breaking, in a way, may be a harder one than the old Curtain. While the NHL has had a solid three decades’ worth of success by European players, Old World officials have found it so much more difficult to get the proverbial foot in the door. In fact, Romasko is only the second European referee in the league’s history and, of course, the first Russian, having begun his NHL career earlier this month at a game in Detroit between the Red Wings and the Edmonton Oilers. One can rest assured that the momentous nature of this occasion wasn’t lost on anyone, Romasko included.
“I was nervous to the extreme,” said the 33-year-old native of Tver, Russia. “It was a very important day in my life and in the history of Russian hockey. But the emotions were mostly positive ones, because the NHL created a celebratory atmosphere around it. The NHL officials, the teams, the players met me warmly, congratulated me. I have never experienced anything like this in my career.”
At a time when NHL scoring in general is down and the scoring championship may go to a player with less than 100 points, getting more goals in OT is very much needed. People don’t seem to find it as gimmicky as the shootout, and it offers the most skilled players in the sport more opportunities to show off those skills.
Who doesn’t want to see more of Pavel Datsyuk, Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko? Seeing them unshackled at least for some of the time by enemy shadows and checkers is appealing.
For me, I once loved the idea of the shootout. Now, I’ve just seen too many. Unless they turn into marathon sessions, they offer no compelling narrative. We just keep count and declare a winner. An overtime goal, on the other hand, is the product of a play, or a blown save, or a perfect shot, or a timely hit. Three-on-three will still produce breakaways, but ones where the potential scorer has an opponent in hot pursuit.
Now, what the union has to say about all of this will be interesting. This relationship is still adversarial by nature, and when the union is asked to give something, it usually, and understandably, looks for something in return.
-Sportsnet's Damien Cox on 3-on-3 in OT. Read more on today's general managers meeting.
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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