Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL’s general managers agreed Wednesday they will make a rule change dealing with hits to the head at their major annual meeting in March.
But at this point they have not agreed on how the change will be made, other than the goal is to eliminate blindside hits and perhaps contact between a shoulder and a player’s head.
What the league’s GMs did agree to do when their meetings in Toronto ended Wednesday was to establish a committee that will study the issue and make a report to the GMs at the March meeting. At that point, all of the GMs surveyed at the end of Wednesday’s meeting agreed there will likely be a rule change after further discussion.
from the CP via TSN,
The NHL is thinking about trying to renegotiate the contentions lease agreement between the Phoenix Coyotes and the city of Glendale.
The league recently paid US$140 million to purchase the team out of bankruptcy and is currently looking for a new buyer. The Coyotes have a 30-year lease with Glendale—the suburban city where Jobing.com Arena is located—that potential bidders will likely find troubling.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says the league is considering trying to negotiate a better lease to make the team more attractive.
“It’s one possibility of moving toward resolution whereas now all of the potential purchasers have this big elephant in the room,” said Daly. “What’s the lease going to look like?”
from the CP via TSN,
The group sits down together four times a year and examines several issues around the sport. A variety of items are put on the agenda for discussion.
“Some of them take literally 30 seconds,” said Maloney.
One discussion that is sure to take much longer than that is headshots, which will be examined at length on Wednesday. It’s the current hot-button issue around the league and there are a variety of opinions about what could be done to curb blows to the head.
While some are in favour of the status quo, others are anxious for change.
“I’m more concerned long-term about what’s going on,” said Tampa Bay Lightning GM Brian Lawton, who recently lost rookie Viktor Hedman to injury after a big hit from Ottawa’s Chris Neil.
“I had raised some of the concerns long before Viktor got hurt. So I think it’s very timely and I don’t want to deviate from that (issue). I’m more interested in the long term, what are we going to do, because it costs the teams a tremendous amount when players are injured. That’s the bottom line.”
much more from the GM meetings including some Chelios and Forsberg talk…
added 8:49pm, Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside of ESPN also report on Day 1 on the meetings.
from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail,
I have no problem with the fact the Toronto Maple Leafs want to play host to the NHL All-Star Game, as much of a fraudulent cash grab disguised as an afternoon skate as it is anyhow. But, honestly: by what stretch does BMO Field deserve to be the site of the annual outdoor game, an event that has had a surprising shelf life and if nothing else seems to be about the only time during the year anybody in the U.S. watches the game? Putting the game in as non-descript a facility as BMO Field would cheapen the event – although I’m sure that’s the only way the word “cheap” would be associated with it, since the mind boggles at how much Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment will charge for the game.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur is among those hoping the NHL general managers decide at their meetings over the next two days to remove the trapezoid behind the nets.
The trapezoid was implemented in the NHL following the 2004-05 lockout to limit the goaltenders from handling the puck in the corners behind the net. It begins at the goal line with angled lines six feet from each goal post and widens to 28 feet at the end boards.
Former Flyers general manager Bobby Clarke was one of the leaders in getting the trapezoid implemented. It was commonly known as the “Martin Brodeur rule” because it was clearly aimed at the Devils netiminder, who was one of the best at getting behind the net to handle the puck.
But, now general managers are looking for ways to cut down on the number of injuries on defensemen who are being hit hard by forechecking fowards.
added 5:01pm, via Darren Dreger’s Twitter,
NHL gm’s discussed removal of the trapezoid, but have decided to leave it in.
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
For Gretzky, Monday night was not about the fallout from the sale of the Phoenix franchise, but rather a celebration of the career achievements of the Hall of Fame inductees—Luc Robitaille, Brian Leetch, Steve Yzerman and Brett Hull.
“It is what it is right now,” Gretzky said. “Right now, it’s just my time to sit back and enjoy my kids. You know what? The game is bigger than any individual or any person. Right now, it is just not a part of my life. It’s as simple as that.”
And, contrary to the speculation, he says he harbors no bitterness.
“No, not at all,” Gretzky said. “What’s there to be upset by? It’s the greatest game in the world. There’s nothing better than our sport. I’m very proud of it. Life goes on.”
from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,
Lou Lamoriello’s 67-year-old eyes did not deceive him. He did see Wayne Gretzky in his downtown Toronto hotel lobby on Monday morning, and the Great One will attend the Hockey Hall of Fame formal proceedings in the evening, according to Gretzky’s agent, Darren Blake.
Whether Gretzky will grace the induction ceremony with his presence in the Great Hall has been a talking point surrounding this year’s festivities.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
Well, it doesn’t take a lot to cause a maelstrom in Montreal and Allan Walsh’s twitter sure accomplished that on Saturday night.
In case you missed it, after the loss to Tampa, Walsh pointed out Price is 10-32 in his last 42 starts. His numbers are slightly off, but the only question that matters is: What does Jaroslav Halak think about this?
Walsh has one responsibility here, and that’s to his client. No one would be surprised if Halak, who doesn’t seem the type to create shockwaves, is beyond frustrated with his status in the organization. On merit, he deserves more opportunity, but Price is a first-rounder and Halak went 271st. It’s not always fair, but it happens.
The difference between hockey and other sports is that this usually happens in private.
continued and much more hockey talk from Elliotte…
from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,
So, with the NHL’s general managers – the rulemakers – meeting this week in town, there’s some expectation they’ll recommend a rule change to address either or both issues.
Like a ban on head shots? Or a non-bodychecking zone on the ice?
Not likely. No, a guessing man would look for an appropriate half-measure.
Like getting rid of the trapezoid behind the net.
Yeah, that’s the kind of move the GMs would like. Simple, not drastic.
Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail also contributes to the topic,
Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland may advance a compromise plan to bridge the gap between the league’s hawks and doves. His view – echoed this week by Toronto coach Ron Wilson – suggests that for a straight-on collision, the onus remains on the puck carrier to protect himself, but on a hit from the blind side, the responsibility shifts to the player delivering the contact, on the grounds that the intended target is most vulnerable when he doesn’t see contact coming. Makes almost too much sense to be adopted unilaterally without a major brawl.
more hockey talk…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
• Please don’t quote me, but it appears as if Jacques Lemaire is back where he belongs, behind the bench in New Jersey, able to get more out of what appears to be less.
• Now it’s the Blue Jackets who need the public to chip in their tax dollars in order to ensure that the privately owned franchise that caps its employees’ wages remains in place. The NHL is filled with franchises that simply cannot produce enough revenue to thrive and please, please, let’s not always blame “the lease.”
There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the league would be in substantially better condition had it adopted a meaningful luxury tax plan with those proceeds plus revenue share money flowing to small market teams, instead of the hard cap.
But then the NHL wouldn’t have its cost certainty, under which the only certainty is that small-market, U.S.-based clubs always will be on life-support.
• I’m sorry, but Phil Kessel became Frank Mahovlich, when?
more NHL talk including Brooks taking on the head shots debate…
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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.
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