Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Jeff Z. Klein at the NYT Slap Shot,
Can you name the last time a defenseman was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy, the honor for the league’s most gentlemanly player?
As you think about that — and about the NHL Award ceremonies Thursday night — bear in mind that according to league criteria, the Byng is to go to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” Nothing in there says “forwards only.”
Give up? The last time the Lady Byng was awarded to a defenceman: 1954. Red Kelly was the winner.
The NHL has provided the following list today, showing the current order of selection for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Friday, June 20 (round 1) and Saturday, June 21 (rounds 2-7) at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa
Detailed notes on the draft order are also included, below the list.
Alan Ryder at the Globe & Mail:
The Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player judged to be “the most valuable to his team”. Although a literal read of this clearly means that a goaltender ought to win this prize each year, the award has typically (nearly 90% of the time) been presented to the NHL’s most impactful skater, as judged by the voters. And the Hart has usually gone to a forward (about 80% of the time). This year’s ‘nominees’ (the top three vote getters) were forwards Jarome Iginla, Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin.
The Lester B. Pearson Award is awarded to the player judged, by his peers, to be “the most outstanding player”. In the voting for the NHLPA’s award the players have shown an even greater bias towards forwards than do the hockey writers who choose the Hart winner.
continued with Ryder’s picks and analysis of all the contenders
Update 3:20pm ET: Allan Muir at Sports Illustrated also Handicaps the NHL Hardware today.
Spector has been busy today, gathering together all the latest speculation on where the coaches will end up; Leafs, Penguins, Blues and CBJ rumors; and of course, free agency rumors from around the NHL.
From Larry Wigge at NHL.com,
Hockey bloodlines, you see, are notoriously accurate in predicting which players you might take a harder look at in the annual draft. This year is no different. For instance:
* Alex Pietrangelo will be the first player picked in this draft who has ties to the game. His dad’s second cousin is Frank Pietrangelo, who was a goaltender in the NHL for many years with Pittsburgh and Hartford.
* Colin Wilson is the son of former NHL center Carey Wilson.
* Philip McRae is the son of former NHL winger Basil McRae.
Three years after the league shut down amid concerns of skyrocketing salaries, the average NHL player is now making more than pre-lockout levels.
Sources tell TSN the average salary for NHL players this season was $1,906,793, an increase of more than 11% over last year ($1,708,607).
Not surprisingly, league revenues have also increased by close to $600 million since the lockout, translating into escalating salaries.
Yesterday I posted reference to Joe Pelletier’s list of potential HHOF candidates this year. Today, David Staples at the Edmonton Journal took issue with Joe’s remarks about Glenn Anderson, whom Joe inferred might not be a good candidate because of his personal life history. Staples’ response:
Anderson was an offbeat guy, not the best interview, not a favourite of the media. He also had a major issue with child support payments, which will make some people think less of him as a man and certainly as a father.
Now, I would never argue Glenn Anderson belongs in the Fathers Hall of Fame. He has had his struggles in that regard and he has to live with his failings and, one would hope, make amends as he can.
But other players have black marks on their personal lives, from problems related to cocaine use to allegations of having sex with minors, from issues of tax evasion to just being a plain old jerk. If the committee investigated every player thoroughly, it would likely find some blemish on every man, some more serious than the problems caused by Anderson, some less serious.
But should issues of morality really be the deciding factor with Anderson? That doesn’t seem consistent or fair.
It’s a good question in general: How important should one’s personal life be when it comes to entering the HHOF?
From Rick Westhead at the Toronto Star,
Toronto lawyer Richard Rodier is part paranoid, part Canadian patriot. Both personality traits surface when he discusses his partnership with Jim Balsillie and their efforts to bring a NHL team to Hamilton.
His past clients?
“I can’t tell you. Solicitor-client privilege.”
His relationship with Balsillie?
“I don’t know. We work together.”
However, suggest that he and Balsillie would both be a lot closer to getting an NHL team if they were more diplomatic with the league, and Rodier warms considerably.
From Ken Warren at Canwest via the Vancouver Sun,
“Guys get fast-tracked because of free agency at 27. You need cheaper players. You’re going to see lots of players come right out of junior who are going to play on the big team.”
More and more, NHL teams appear to be building around a core of franchise-type players, signing them to multi-year contracts while filling in the rest of the roster however possible.
“You’re locking up five or six guys long-term, with big money, and your other guys are moving on,” Murray said. “That’s why we’ve increased the amount of people on our amateur scouting staff. Every team has over the years. Since the new [collective agreement between the NHL and the players’ association], you have to draft guys who can come up and play. You can’t have a draft where you get nobody. That kills your organization.”
From Stan Fischler at Game On,
Let’s not get carried away with the Marc-Andre Fleury phenom stuff. One prominent goalie coach tells us that if anyone cost Pitt the series, it was the Pens’ netminder. “He started the series badly and that’s how he ended it—with two terrible goals in Game Six. The second [rebound] goal was bad and he had no business letting the puck go through his legs before he eventually knocked it in on the winner. By contrast, Chris Osgood made the saves that he had to make.” The bottom line on Fleury is simple; his consistency is missing.
plus more NHL notes
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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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