Kukla's Korner Hockey
From an NHL press release today:
If the puck were dropped today, the first shift of the 57th NHL All-Star Game would look a lot like a Montreal Canadiens home game—or a latter-day version of the early All-Star games that pitted the defending Stanley Cup champs (often the Canadiens) against a team of luminaries from the rest of the League.
One major difference: Should current voting trends ultimately prevail, the Canadiens would become the first team in the history of NHL All-Star fan balloting to ice an entire starting lineup when the NHL All-Star Game faces off in Montreal’s Bell Centre Jan 25.
So the current starting lineup is: Alex Kovalev, Saku Koivu, Alex Tanguay, Andrei Markov, Mike Komisarek and Carey Price.
Below is the complete list of Eastern Conference nominees and their current voting numbers:
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Felix Potvin jumped on the ice for a mid-morning practice, but noticeably absent were the goalie skates.
“They’re long gone,” he said.
Four and a half years after Potvin made his last NHL start and slipped away without any fanfare, we found him on the ice at the Arena de Magog, a classic, throwback rink that, with its wooden seats, could have easily been a stand-in for a “Slap Shot” remake.
You see, The Cat is now The Coach, an assistant for the Midget AAA team, les Cantonniers de Magog.
From Paul Kukla at NHL.com:
On Monday, Dec. 1, 2008, I unofficially proclaim that day be one of Happy Hockey Talk.
I want to read on that day, and hopefully others will agree with me, only good things about the game of hockey. I feel it is time let the sporting world in on our little secret, the game of hockey is good, really good.
Can I pull this off? Only with your help. First off, to all the bloggers and main stream media (MSM) types who are reading this, I ask you post, online, a positive hockey story on Monday. It doesn’t matter if the story is about the NHL, the AHL or four kids playing shinny on a frozen pond. Just write it and make sure to let me know about it by emailing me at email@example.com.
To those of you who would like to participate, but don’t have a blog or a way to publish the story, fear not, just email me your Happy Hockey Talk story and I will find a way for people to read it.
I plan to point to all the hockey stories I receive notice about and also discover on my own next Monday. If all goes well, my [NHL.com] blog next Tuesday will be one filled with hundreds of links filled with wonderful hockey stories.
From Ross McKeon at Yahoo! Sports, the quarter-pole power rankings across the NHL. Starting from the bottom, we’ve got:
Florida 29. Florida Panthers (8-11-1, Previous: 29) – The Panthers are still searching for an identity, probably because they’re just 20 games in with a new coach. The slow start by Jay Bouwmeester is disappointing, both for the team and the unrestricted free-agent defenseman who hasn’t done as much with his league-leading ice time totals as he would have liked.
Tampa Bay 30. Tampa Bay Lightning (6-8-6, Previous: 30) – You really don’t know what to expect one night to the next with this group. Obviously the assessment starts over after the recent coaching change. Roles will change, minutes will be redistributed. The real problem, still, is the personnel on defense. Nothing positive is going to come about until the blue line sorts itself out.
read on to find how the top-NHL teams shake out on the list
From John McGourty at NHL.com:
Bottom line: Equipment is there to protect, not make saves.
“We came to the conclusion that we should move forward with some subtle changes for the 2008-09 season,” said NHL goaltending supervisor Kay Whitmore, who played goal in 155 NHL games for the Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames. “There will be more changes next year with more proportional fittings for protection only. We have to get back to the beginning of what equipment was for in the first place.”
NHL officials are responding to feedback from players, coaches and management to reduce the size of goalie equipment.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
“Bank robbery,” Marc Poulin says, hopefully in jest, “is still in planning.” On Poulin’s kitchen table in Lachine are probably 15 masks he could use for a heist. Sadly, he’d probably not get far - it wouldn’t be hard to find a fleeing Ken Dryden, Terry Sawchuk, Eddie Giacomin or Gerry Cheevers with a sack of loot in his fist.
For the past three years, Poulin has used his hands and imagination to produce dozens of styles of vintage fibreglass goalie masks, painstakingly detailed masterpieces of a bygone NHL.
Upon close inspection of his work, you marvel at the courage of the men who wore the genuine article. And the guts of those before them who had lumbered barefaced and scarred into action.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
• Yes, scoring is up, and it’s most likely the result of the pared-down goalie equipment - even if there is no way to prove it. Through games of early last week, clubs were combining for 5.9 goals per game, up from 5.6 over the same number of games in 2007-08. In 2003-04, the number stood at 5.1 over the same period. Me, I’m good with 5.1, as long as there is plenty of action and at least a little bit of hate.
• Brian Burke’s stepping down as general manager in Anaheim was abrupt but not unexpected. Look for the ex-Boston agent to get into serious talks in Toronto this week about taking over the Leafs. If there is a hiccup (read: money too light), watch for either the Blackhawks or Senators to get after him. Total dark horse: Habs.
I would think another reason scoring is up is the face-off always taking place in the defensive zone when a penalty is issued and the no TV timeout when an icing takes place. Your thoughts?
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
• Take it for what it’s worth, but you might want to know that Len Barrie, pres ident of the Lightning, has been telling people in the industry that Mats Sundin will be playing for Tampa Bay when and if No. 13 resumes his career.
Yeah, right. As if.
• Wonder how the NHL’s general managers feel about Brian Burke announcing his candidacy for one of their jobs - and by Thanksgiving, no less! - after being granted accelerated free agency two weeks ago by Sixth Avenue?
If the Ducks’ ownership wished to release Burke from his contract that originally ran through the season, that was mighty magnanimous of them, but it doesn’t mean Gary Bettman or the NHL was obligated to allow Burke to seek employment at this time.
more hockey talk…
The Inside Hockey Radio Show this week features host James Murphy with Conor McKenna of TEAM 990 broadcasting live from Montreal. They’ll be joined by guests Michael Farber (Sports Illustrated), Brian Daccord (Stop It Goaltending) and Raphaël Doucet (Le Hockey Magazine).
Live from Wayne Gretzky’s
After Inside Hockey, at 4pm ET you can tune into Live From Wayne Gretzky’s. This week, hosts Gord Stellick & Troy Murray talk to Pat Burns, Wendel Clark, Phil Esposito, Pat Quinn, Russ Courtnall and Mike Van Ryn.
From Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News,
Whether by coincidence or design, Toronto, Atlanta and Florida have no captain at all right now and none of those teams are slated to make the playoffs at this juncture.
Yeah, maybe the captaincy is symbolic. Just because you don’t have a letter on your jersey, doesn’t mean you can’t be vocal in the dressing room when things are going pear-shaped. But a look at what even some of the newest captains are doing these days sheds a little light on how symbolism often bleeds over into reality.
Earlier in the week, an unlikely fight occurred in Phoenix when Coyotes young gun Martin Hanzal squared off for the first time in his NHL career with Chicago captain Jonathan Toews. For Toews, it was his first fight ever, according to hockeyfights.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org