Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
Question: My situation is one in which the Kings have hired me to provide unfiltered coverage of the team, just as I would have for the newspaper. Knowing that there will be some stories and issues that won’t put the team or the league in the best light, do you have any thoughts about a job such as this one?
(Bill) DALY: “I think there’s been an evolution of thought on that. Obviously, as a league, we’re interested in having people cover our sport and being able to communicate and offer content, around our sport, to our fans, both existing fans and new fans. I think we recognize, and have come to recognize over time, that an important element of that is independence in reporting. I think it builds to the credibility of coverage and, as a league, I think we’re generally supportive of independence in reporting.”
from Jeff Z. Klein of SlapShot,
The N.H.L.’s cockeyed system of awarding standings points has led to all sorts of problems: players not trying that hard at the end of regulation, confusion over what constitutes a “.500 record,” the theft of a playoff spot from deserving teams, and just generally wrecking things.
Most fans hate the 2-2-1-0 system — either they think teams that lose in overtime or shootouts shouldn’t get any points at all, or teams should get 3 points for a regulation win and just 2 for an OT/shootout win, or they think games should just be allowed to end in ties again — yet the league sees nothing wrong with it.
Well, if the N.H.L. is going to persist in stubbornly ignoring the complaints of fans, the least we can do is try to reform the misleading way league standings are listed.
from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,
Only two weeks? The NHL season is only two weeks old?
So much, it seems, has happened already. And the next round of NHL Players’ Association bloodletting is just around the corner.
So, after two weeks, here’s some of what we know:
• It’s too early to count the Red Wings out, even after two losses in Europe to start the season and the loss of super-scorer Johan Franzen. As long as they have the combination of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg up front, and a fellow named Lidstrom on the blue line, they’re not going to turn into an also-ran any time soon.
• Funny how the Boston Bruins are a little slow out of the gate, huh? Losing Phil Kessel from their attack doesn’t seem to have helped the B’s.
• Somebody named Davis Drewiske is yet another promising blue-line face on a Kings defence that already boasts Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson.
Some of Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume’s opponents are accusing him of overplaying the possibility of resurrecting the Quebec Nordiques, saying it’s a ploy to win more votes in the upcoming municipal election.
Quebec hockey fans are still buzzing after a meeting between Labeaume and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Friday over the potential return of a professional hockey franchise to the provincial capital.
Labeaume’s NHL ambitions are running offside with opponents such as Langis Harvey, who is running for mayor as an independent.
added 12:21pm, from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
The NHL has just spent the better part of the past year propping up the Coyotes and spending all sorts of time and resources in a bid to keep the team from being moved and just last May, Bettman proclaimed that when it came to the league’s struggling franchises, “We fix the problems. We don’t run out on cities.”
So let’s get this straight. The league essentially puts its credibility on the line for a franchise that has been bleeding red ink for years and has almost no hope for long-term success and it’s suddenly going to start moving franchises or expanding to places such as Quebec City and Winnipeg?
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Be it Tuesday or Sunday, depending on ongoing office politics at the NHL Players Association office in Toronto, the player representatives, including Mark Stuart as Boston’s new spokesman, are expected to hook up on a long conference call. Their aims are to figure out:
1. What to do with the PA’s existing leadership group (Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, and Groucho) in Toronto; 2. How to eliminate the many pitfalls in the language of the PA’s constitution; 3. How to go about finding a new executive director; 4. How fast to pay Paul Kelly, dumped some six week ago as union boss, the nearly $2 million he is due on his contract, before, as noted here from the start, it turns into a multimillion-dollar lawsuit. No one is laughing at these guys more, players and current union leaders included, than the folks at the NHL offices in New York and the club owners.
many more hockey notes…
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
• How many times do you think the Hawks wish they didn’t have to pay Brian Campbell $7.6 million when Cam Barker and centre Patrick Sharp are on the points on Chicago’s power play? They have to re-sign Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (that’ll be about $20 million a year for the three), and they can’t move Campbell at that price.
• The Stars are definitely looking for a high-end puck-moving defenceman who can play the point on the power play, but they apparently won’t trade winger James Neal or Loui Eriksson to get one. Fabian Brunnstrom could be had, however.
• It’s not surprising the NHL is sniffing around Quebec City and Winnipeg these days, looking for a warm landing place to plunk the Phoenix Coyotes next year.
Quebec City has plans for a new rink, and super salesman Marcel Aubut, who made a tidy sum selling the Nordiques to Denver interests in the mid-‘90s, but is there enough corporate support there to support the NHL, even with new digs? That was the problem before. And they would have to play in the Colisee for several years first.
• There will be another team in southern Ontario some day but it will be an expansion franchise for about $400 million and they’ll be playing out of the Air Canada Centre with the Maple Leafs as landlord, but giving the expansion whatevers a good slice of the revenue pie.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• Greedy owners have contributed to the early problems of the Maple Leafs. Not the Leafs owners—they are greedy enough on their own—but all NHL owners, who insist on too many pre-season games played which doesn’t leave enough time for practice. When you change almost half your roster, the way the Leafs have, you don’t get better playing meaningless games, you get better practising.
• Funny, the Maple Leafs’ so-called tampering of Canucks players is huge news in Vancouver and sidebar stuff in Toronto. If every general manager who leaked a name or two of players available, or in this case broadcast it, is thought to be tampering, the whole league would end up in jail ... If the NHL wants to deal with tampering, why not hammer some of the teams that sign players in the first minutes of free agency?
• The more I see of Steven Stamkos’ shot, the more I think the Canadian Olympic people have to seriously consider him for a place on the Olympic team in Vancouver.
more hockey notes…
I think the club needs to continue to work to improve its performance ... but they should be OK. Barring something extraordinary that nobody anticipated and I’m not suggesting that’s going to happen, they should be fine.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman of the state of the Florida Panthers. Much more from Bettman on the Panthers and the league by Sarah Talalay of the Sun-Sentinel.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
• This season, we were supposed to see the integration of “size-to-fit” or “form-fitting” goalie pads to go along with goaltenders’ size-to-fit pants and upper-body equipment.
But the pads, the most controversial item, have not been changed. Two NHL governors I spoke with are upset about it. The governors voted for these changes back in June 2008. Hockey operations man Kay Whitmore, who is the goaltending supervisor for the league, has done a ton of work on this. All the equipment manufacturers were on board with the new pads, but the NHL Players’ Association has put it in limbo because it balked last spring at how the new pads were measured….
• There’s a Jack Adams Award for top coach of the year, so why not an award for GM of the year? Last season, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke proposed that the league establish an award for the GMs, and the GMs agreed to move on it in June. But it wasn’t clear when exactly it would happen. It now appears as though it is a go for this season and should be awarded for the first time in June at the NHL awards.
• The Penguins met with Sergei Gonchar’s agent, J.P. Barry, just before the season started, but both sides have agreed to postpone the next round of talks until January, when GM Ray Shero will have a better idea of next season’s salary cap.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
• Stan Bowman could end up being his own worst enemy.
The Blackhawks GM did Maple Leafs counterpart Brian Burke a favour by giving him back his second-round pick in 2010 to make the trade for restricted free-agent centre Phil Kessel.
The Leafs signed Kessel, 22, to a five-year, $27-million (all terms US) contract — a deal that could come back to haunt Bowman when he tries to lock up pending RFAs Patrick Kane, 20, and Jonathan Toews, 21.
“You have to think that Kessel’s contract is going to be the absolute minimum those two will accept,” said a high-profile agent. “If (Bowman) doesn’t give Burke that pick back, then the Leafs can’t do the (Kessel) deal.”...
• The Thrashers have held contract talks with pending UFA Ilya Kovalchuk, but the two sides are nowhere near a deal….
• There are whispers the NHL is talking to teams about a mandatory $10-million deposit to finance operations and minor-league teams during a potential lockout in three years. Yes, relations with the union are getting worse.
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.
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