Kukla's Korner Hockey
NEW YORK (December 31, 2007) – Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin, New York Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr and San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov have been named the NHL’s Three Stars for the week ending December 30.
from Jeff Z. Klein of Slap Shot at the NYT,
But there is a way for the NHL to make all games meaningful again: more competitions, beyond just the Stanley Cup. It’s not a new idea — soccer was going through a similar crisis of fan and media interest 25 years ago. But after it developed this concept, interest in soccer boomed, clubs became enormously wealthy and the sport prospered as it never had before.
Here’s how the NHL can invest the hockey season with meaning for fans and media, not just at playoff time, but throughout the entire calendar.
1. Commit fully to the Victoria Cup.
2. Make the Presidents’ Trophy a one-off championship game.
3. Create a new season-long cup competition, open to all pro clubs in North America.
from the CP via the Globe and Mail,
A new poll suggests that about half of Canadians believe performance-enhancing drugs are used by “many” or a “fair number” of National Hockey League players.
The Canadian Press Harris/Decima survey also indicated Canadians want to see drug cheats caught and punished, although they are split on what the sanctions should be.
The poll suggested that 17 per cent of Canadians believed many NHL players use performance-enhancing drugs while 36 per cent said a fair number used them.
You know, it’s very difficult to define what hockey necessarily was in 2007. There are so many futile, diverse opinions that I find it fails me to even try.
I feel these stories will do a pretty good job.
10. The NHL’s Rap Sheet
Ryan Clowe’s the most recent alcohol-influenced problem the league has had to deal with in what was a quite inebriated 2007. While they ranged in seriousness from the Staal Bros. drunken bachelor party, to Mark Bell’s uncomfortable legal situation, the NHL might want to do itself a favor and start wrangling in the amount of drinking their players do, at least during the season when they can try to control it. We’ve lost at least one would-be current player (Dan Snyder) and two former athletes (Keith Magnuson and Steve Chiasson) to drinking too much, and driving while intoxicated. The NHL has a lot of problems, but beating it into the heads of their millionaire athletes to call a cab at the end of the night should be (one would think) one of the easier ones to solve.
from Ross McKeon at Yahoo,
With that in mind, here are some New Year’s resolutions for those who chase vulcanized rubber on a frozen pond.
Gary Bettman: I resolve to get on my soap box and … well … stand six inches taller.
Scott Niedermayer: I resolve to play at least through the All-Star break before thinking about retiring again.
Teemu Selanne: I resolve to keep the promise I made to my wife and retire once I won the Stanley Cup.
Brian Burke: I resolve to never speak to Kevin Lowe again. Oh, wait, I already said that last summer.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
It’s just so funny to watch the folks at Hockey Night in Canada passionately call for changes to the instigator rule every week when nobody else is really debating the topic. They insist this is what the majority of NHL players want, and dismiss out-of-hand the fact the players on the league’s competition committee voted down the minor change to the instigator rule forced through by Brian Burke last winter.
The reality is most players mindlessly mouth what they believe to be the company line. Players on the competition committee - Rob Blake, Jarome Iginla etc. - are individual thinkers, less likely to be swayed by the mob mentality.
from the Epoch Times,
...Footage of the brawl posted online showed many in the team pushing and shoving, and two of the tikes throwing punches like typical NHL enforcers (a.k.a. goons)—which is exactly the problem, says Dr. Gordon Bloom an expert in sports psychology at McGill University.
Professional hockey players set a violent example that younger players try to emulate, says Bloom. “What happens in the pros trickles down.”
Bloom has seen a dramatic change in youth hockey over the last thirty years and says players don’t respect each other the way they used to.
from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
The NHL will never, ever get rid of the instigator penalty. It would be so politically incorrect it defies consideration. The league says repeatedly it is comfortable with where fighting is now, largely because stiff penalties have eliminated nasty brawls. Fact is, we see more brawls in baseball than we do in hockey these days.
You think Gary Bettman is going to stand before a microphone and tell the world the league has decided, for the good of the game, the NHL will let goons run the show? Ain’t gonna happen, folks.
read on... I don’t think the “rest of the world” even knows what the instigator rule is….
from Morris Dallas Costa of the London Free Press,
There has been growing discussion—and growing unease—in recent weeks about this lack of scoring. There’s no need to wear out one’s jowls discussing why it’s happening.
The reason is as plain as the hooking, holding, interference and obstruction that’s taking place on the ice.
Yes, ugly hockey is working its way back into the system.
What was almost eliminated with the establishment of new rules and new levels of enforcement after the lockout, is slowly reappearing.
from Pierre :LeBrun of the CP via Yahoo,
The current IIHF-NHL deal was a four-year agreement that began last season, but gave both sides the option to re-open it before Jan. 1, 2008.
Since they have, a crucial meeting will be held on Jan. 16 in New York between the NHL, IIHF and the European federations. And if they can’t agree to a new agreement?
“It wouldn’t be a good situation for hockey,” IIHF president Rene Fasel was quoted on his federation’s website. “The transfers to and from the NHL would not be regulated. This means that the NHL could offer contracts to European players basically all year and try to lure them in January or February which with the agreement is not possible. The European club would not be compensated.
“It could potentially create a transfer chaos where nobody would be a winner, with the exception of maybe agents and lawyers.”
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