Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
Call it a dog’s breakfast or a fantastic race, but I can’t remember the last time five teams were neck and neck for the Eastern Conference title with only three and a half weeks remaining in the regular season.
“Isn’t it something?,” agreed New York Rangers head coach Tom Renney.
Oh yeah, in case you haven’t noticed, the Rangers have knocked down the front door to the first-place party and are dancing with New Jersey, Montreal, Ottawa and Pittsburgh in the bid for the No. 1 seed in the weaker Eastern Conference (let’s be honest, Detroit, San Jose, Dallas and Anaheim would walk away with this conference… but I digress…)
from Marty Henwood of Hockey.com,
Call me sentimental, a purist or just plain old, but there are times when I just miss those grand old ladies.
Some of you may remember them, others probably choose to say good riddance in an era of luxury boxes and eight-sided scoreboards.
Maple Leaf Gardens. Montreal Forum. Boston Garden. Chicago Stadium. The Olympia. The Spectrum.
Buildings with character. With memories. With ghosts.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
Owen Nolan called it “nuts … I’ve never been a part of something this tight.” Alex Tanguay ventured that there were “no easy games” anymore. Jarome Iginla calculated that it would take 96 points to guarantee his Calgary Flames team a playoff spot. Coach Mike Keenan acknowledged once again that he is no fan of the three-point game, in which two teams can — and frequently do - earn a valuable point if a game goes into overtime or a shootout.
All of them were talking about the crazy playoff race in the NHL’s Western Conference which — in the past week or so — sorted itself out into hockey’s version of musical chairs, with nine contenders essentially vying for eight spots. The usual cast of also-rans have fallen far enough off the pace that they retain only the slim, Leaf-like hope for a miracle finish and a spot in post-season play.
New York/Prague—The dream of bringing NHL hockey to Prague, Czech Republic, became a reality today as Prague Mayor Pavel Bem hosted representatives from the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and the National Hockey League at the city’s Old Town City Hall. The group officially announced that as part of “NHL Premiere 2008” the Rangers and Lightning will open the 2008-09 NHL regular season with two games against each other Oct. 4th and 5th at the newly-named O2 Arena in Prague.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators will also open the 2008-09 regular season Oct. 4th and 5th in Europe, with two games in Stockholm, Sweden.
I have received a lot of emails today from people asking me about the talk of playing the next NHL outdoor game at Yankee Stadium.
My repeated answer, nothing has been decided yet and don’t look for an official announcement from the NHL in the near future.
They have put out feelers but way too early to make any site a lock for the game.
From David Amber at ESPN,
It’s not an accident that the average NHL player measures in at 6-foot-1 and 204 pounds. Still, in a game of strength and force, speed and grace are equally important. In this week’s 10 Degrees, we look at the best players under 6-foot and 200 pounds.
10. Ray Whitney, Carolina Hurricanes (5-foot-10, 180 pounds)
With 900 career NHL games under his belt, Ray Whitney has been one of the league’s more effective wingers. The seven-time 20-goal scorer made huge plays for Carolina during its Stanley Cup run two seasons ago, and Whitney continues to impress this season, ranking second in team scoring with 59 points.
From Jeff Marek at CBC,
If you ever find yourself in a disagreement over hockey fights with someone make sure the first question out of your mouth is “if they took fighting out of the game, would you start to buy tickets?” If the answer is “no,” then the argument is over, walk away. Those are people that some in the NHL can reach and become the “new” hockey fan, I personally believe quite the opposite is true.
In the league’s quest to grow the sport and reach out and absorb more fans, they have also run the risk of alienating the ones who are paying the freight and keeping the lights on now. Thankfully the NHL has taken the right approach to fighting and quietly let it exist. Of course, there is the not-so-little issue of the instigator penalty, but that’s for another day.
more… including video links to a number of fights referenced
Sometimes I am just left scratching my head. Read about it at my Hockey.com blog today.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
The simple fact is this: Unless the NHL alters its style radically in the next few years — and there is absolutely no reason to believe that it will — every single one of Gretzky’s meaningful records will still be intact.
Crosby might be able to overtake one of Gretzky’s regular-season marks, but only because the rules have changed since Gretzky’s day. And even that one is still very much in doubt. If Crosby does manage to take over any of Gretzky’s spots in the record book, it will almost certainly have to be in the area of All-Star records, a relatively meaningless category since the annual game is played without almost any intensity.
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
The day after the Buffalo Sabres got away with a goal despite having too many men on the ice, there was a cry for more video replay in the league.
But there are only certain goals that are reviewable, and a goal scored on a missed call by the referees on an offsides, or too many men on the ice, isn’t one of them. Well, it should be.
How do you argue against that? More delays in the game? Fan distraction? Sorry, but if an illegitimate goal is scored then it should not count, and if the officials fail to see it but the bench coach does, it should be reviewed in Toronto, just as kicked-in goals or goals scored on high sticks are.
more NHL topics…
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