Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Capitals symbolized a dynamic year for the NHL, on the ice. The season featured three engaging playoff rounds including the Caps’ seven-game loss to eventual champion Pittsburgh in the second round, the revitalization of a pair of Original Six teams (Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks), a successful Winter Classic, and the emergence of a genuine rivalry – Sid the Kid versus Alex the Great.
Since June though, most of the news has focused on the boardroom and courtroom dramas, including the battle for control of the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ alleged veto power, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s ownership implosion, the NHL Players’ Association axing its third executive director since July of 2005, Dany Heatley’s pending divorce from the Ottawa Senators, and an unexplainable purge in the Blackhawks front office.
Forever it has been said the NHL must be great to survive the people who run it.
And mercifully for the league, the summer of discontent ends this weekend as training camps open for the 2009-10 season, with the Vancouver 2010 Games on the horizon.
Let’s Play Hockey does a Q & A with Minnesota Wild Owner Craig Leipold…
LPH: There have been media reports of a possible lockout/strike when the current CBA expires which stems from the unrest within the NHLPA ranks, what are your thoughts?
CL: We have a great relationship with their union. There may be some unrest within the NHLPA. The NHLPA cannot do anything for two years when the existing CBA expires. The current issues with the Players Association have nothing to do with the current CBA or ownership.
LPH: The Phoenix Coyotes’ situation seems to be ever changing, do you believe they will play in Glendale, AZ all season?
CL: Yes. I believe they will be playing NHL hockey in Glendale, Arizona, this year.
LPH: Any news on the National TV front?
CL: The NHL and VERSUS made a commitment to each other. The NHL likes VERSUS. Other opportunities may come up in the future and we will take a look at those broadcast opportunities at that time.
You can also follow these people on Twitter for updates throughout the day.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
People have got this whole story wrong – and I’ve had it up to here (picture me with my hand stretched high above my satellite-sized noggin) with the outrageous amount of player bashing that’s followed Kelly’s dismissal.
I’ve got nothing against Kelly, by far the most humble, progressive and thoroughly decent man ever to hold the PA’s top post. The players may yet come to rue the day they cut him loose.
But how team owners and league brass have evaded any sort of blame for the environment that led to Kelly’s firing is beyond me.
from Don McGowan at the National Post,
The next step in the Phoenix Coyotes saga could be determined in the next 48 hours, when U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Redfield T. Baum is expected to rule on just who can take part in an auction for the flagging National Hockey league team….
“It’s unlikely this is the last step,” said Gabriel Feldman, an associate professor of law and director of the sports law program at Tulane University in New Orleans. “We might be just at the introduction to this case.”
If Baum sides with Balsillie, the league has vowed to appeal.
If Balsillie - who’s making a third try at landing an NHL franchise with the intent to move it to Southern Ontario - is barred from taking part in the auction, it would likely prompt an antitrust lawsuit that some observers believe would be tied up in the courts for years.
“This is just a nightmare for the professional leagues if this goes they wrong way for them,” said Jeffrey Standen, a professor of sports law at Willamette University in Oregon.
from DrugMonkey at ScienceBlogs,
Getting back to my discomfort with the lack of completeness in the vignettes provided by Gladwell, the comment thread at FSP’s blog points to the fact that Gladwell might have been wrong, slightly. This comment points to a hockey blog that objects to the Gladwell implications. Specifically:
If we only look at former Canadian junior players who were in the top sixth in NHL scoring, which was anyone with 42 points or more last year, the ratio of early-to-late birthday players over the last decade is about 1.20:1….. It turns out that the group where players with early birthdays are most over-represented is the league leaders in penalty minutes per game, and I can’t see anyone getting up in arms about whether some kid’s December birthday kept him from becoming the next Ogie Ogilthorpe.
My first thought is that it does not necessarily falsify the general point. If this analysis is true (and there are complications having to do with age cohorts, definitions of good performance, etc) it may simply point to the fact that NHL players are the outliers of the outliers of the outliers.
more, but it only confuses me…
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
Terry Gregson, who spent 25 years as an NHL referee, was named the League’s Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Tuesday. In his new position, Gregson, who officiated 1,427 regular-season and 158 Stanley Cup Playoff games, will assume overall management of the officiating staff.
“I’ve watched and been a part of the direction the game has taken in the last four years and have been excited to be a part of it,” Gregson told NHL.com. “We’re going to stay the course. It is a great opportunity to continue on and keep things going in the right direction.”
Enough bids, bankruptcies and other off-ice topics. The game is close to being back on the ice.
more at my NHL.com submission today…
I’m just not convinced another lockout three years down the road – or any other time – would automatically spell the doom and gloom others predict.
-Ken Campbell of The Hockey News. More from Ken…
from Don Martin of CamWest Services via the National Post,
Canada’s six NHLteams are scrambling to find alternative travel arrangements south of the border after the U.S. Department of Transportation banned Air Canada’s charter fleet from flying between U.S. cities.
In a furious exchange with the Obama administration over the mid-August ruling, Canada has launched its own investigation and will soon close its skies to U.S. sports team charters in retaliation, warns Transport Minister John Baird.
The sticking point is an eight-year-old exemption that had allowed sports and celebrity charters to make several pit stops in American cities. Under existing open skies agreements, regular Canadian airline flights can only visit one U.S. city before returning.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly warns the charter ban will create a complicated “patchwork” of travel that could “wreck havoc” with the oncoming hockey schedule, including early league games in Europe, as teams scramble to book flights under the new rules.
“It’s potentially a very significant impact,” Daly said Friday. “It’s crazy and very destabilizing to our business. We’re operating on a long-standing interpretation and for it to change overnight on the eve of our season is creating a huge problem for us.”
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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