Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Theresa Tedesco of the National Post,
As many as eight National Hockey League teams have been in discussions or made overtures to Jim Balsillie in recent months about a possible sale or minority partnership with the Canadian billionaire, sources say.
A struggling U.S. economy, strong Canadian dollar and weak hockey markets south of the border have combined to make the deep pockets of the 47-year-old co-founder of the BlackBerry device too irresistible to some NHL owners, despite Mr. Balsillie’s tempestuous relations with the league’s head office in New York.
Update 1:26pm ET: (alanah) The ‘war of words’ continues via TSN,
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly was quick to address the quote from Balsillie’s camp, maintaining that the league’s decisions on the matter are based from what the owners want.
“That certainly is inconsistent with anything I have ever heard the commissioner say,” Daly told TSN on Wednesday. “Ultimately, Mr. Balsillie’s ability to be an owner in the NHL will depend on his ability to find an existing owner who wants to sell him a team, and his ability to persuade the 29 other team owners - his prospective partners - that he would be a good owner and good partner in the league venture. That’s not something the Commissioner decides. Maybe Mr. Rodier would be better off confining his comments to subject matters as to which he might have some small level of knowledge; this subject isn’t one of them.”
From Mike Smith at The Hockey News,
The new CBA has been successful in creating, while not in excess, a healthy supply of free agents. The growing number of “Powerball lottery” contracts for players entering restricted free agency for the first time results in older players, either free agents or those making too much money, being more readily available.
The art is to pick the right ones, the ones who want to play and play well, not just be paid well. All managers make judgment errors signing players; the good ones make fewer.
I have had different free agent signing experiences as a manager. While in Winnipeg, we did not place much, if any, emphasis on free agents. To put it simply, Winnipeg had no money to spend on the older free agent.
From Helene Elliott at the LA Times,
The general managers’ meetings produced many discussions but little news.
Among the issues debated were whether to disclose injuries and whether to adopt no-touch icing. The consensus was no and no.
“We play the number of games that we play and reporting injuries sometimes could be a detriment to the players’ health rather than a positive,” said Lou Lamoriello of the New Jersey Devils.
“We report the player as possible he’s playing or not playing, our practices are open every day. Everybody sees who practices, who doesn’t practice. I’m one who believes you shouldn’t report injuries.”
plus more on the GM meetings, and some words from Brian Burke on his contract status.
Note: Burke also told an interviewer on HNIC on CBC during Game 5 that the meetings produced some positive discussion on the possibility of limiting OT penalties to one-minute in length. He indicated the issue will be passed onto the AHL for further approval and testing.
From Terry Frei at ESPN,
In prime time, this could have been an effective infomercial for the NHL and the sport in the United States on NBC, from Game 3 and beyond.
It still can be—if the Penguins stop looking for conspiracy theories, cease being so paranoid about the officiating and can overcome what in some cases seems to be a curious lack of focus, as in Malkin’s case (in the series with the Cup on the line). Maybe, even if it ends Monday night, if the Penguins stop looking like a team that can’t yet handle the ultimate pressures, this still can go down as a great series. If they extend it, it truly can be…
A dream series.
The Columbus-Dispatch Blue Jackets beat reporter Aaron Portzline has been staying busy over the last month+ on his (and Tom Reed’s and Michael Arace’s) blog Puck-rakers, building up an excellent collection of off-season analyses of teams around the NHL. The list so far includes the items linked below.
A good resource for anyone who wants an overview of their favorite team, and a great resource to get a general understanding of what’s in store for teams you don’t get much exposure to.
- Off-Season Los Angeles
- Off-Season Florida
- Off-Season Edmonton
- Off-Season Detroit
- Off-Season Dallas
- Off-Season Colorado
- Off-Season Calgary
- Off-Season Carolina
- Off-Season Buffalo
- Off-Season Boston
- Off-Season Atlanta
- Off-Season Anaheim
From Jamie Fitzpatrick at About.com,
To devoted American hockey fans, Canada can be insufferable at times.
In the eyes of some, Canadian hockey pride often descends to arrogance, parochialism, and dismissiveness towards others.
But if Canadians nurture an annoying sense of entitlement about the game we invented, at least we come by it honestly.
Consider the Dan Cleary story.
continued… with a look at the hockey connections in a random small Canadian town—Fitzpatrick’s own.
From CBC’s Satellite Hotstove Notebook,
Hollywood is calling Brian Burke. Yes, Hollywood.
On the heels of, or perhaps in-between, the Toronto Maple Leafs twice asking the Anaheim Ducks for permission to speak with their general manager, now comes word that Jerry Bruckheimer, the famous Hollywood television producer has also asked.
And three times the Ducks have said no, still intent on having Burke honour the final year of his contract
What is interesting about the Bruckheimer call, though, is that he doesn’t have a team. Yet.
From Bruce Dowbiggin at the Calgary Herald,
Paul Kelly, the Boston lawyer who’s now the executive director of the NHL Players Association, believes Canada should have at least one—and perhaps more—NHL franchises if the league relocates a team or expands.
“I think it would be a huge error not to relocate one of the existing franchises to Hamilton or Winnipeg,” Kelly told the Toronto Star when asked about where failing U.S. franchises might move.
Kelly then pointed out that it’s folly for the league to blackball RIM billionaire Jim Balsillie, who wants to bring another team to southern Ontario.
“He built his company from nothing into an $80-billion company. We would be foolhardy not to see his efforts happen.”
(Kelly subsequently told the Herald by e-mail that this is an issue he will be pursuing, and that getting teams to Canadian markets where they can be more profitable is in the NHLPA’s interest.)
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The NHL no longer is about referees who call games by feel and on instinct and who recognize that an elastic clause must be part of any rulebook, even if written in invisible ink.
Instead, it’s about referees who color by number, who are working not to please the participants but rather their supervisor who deducts points for every incident in which some player raises his stick parallel to an opponent’s and is not whistled for a penalty.
Missing significant and blatant penalties? That apparently doesn’t count for as much in this administration.
[Gary] Bettman told interviewer Ron McLean before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final in Pittsburgh that interest in Canada is helping drive revenue but that it was partly a reflection of market forces and not cause for concern.
“It’s a little disproportionate and I think that may be a good thing, because if you go back seven or eight years ago when people were saying we’d only have one club left from Canada, the revenues were disproportionate the other way,” said Bettman.
“What it means is we’ve done a very good job of getting the Canadian clubs healthy. Frankly revenues are growing across the board — it isn’t just the Canadian dollar and it isn’t just the Canadian clubs and any suggestion to the contrary is somebody trying to get a headline.”
Note: McLean’s questions were motivated by this article from Rick Westhead in last Thursday’s Toronto Star. There’s also an audio online at FAN 590 featuring an interview with Westhead about his report.
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