Kukla's Korner Hockey
Eurohockey.net provides an interview with long-time Finnish goalie coach Jukka Ropponen, whose students (clients?) have included the likes of Niklas Bäckström, Kari Lehtonen and Pasi Nurminen.
Q: You have worked in Finland, America, Switzerland and Russia, which was the best place out of these?
Hockey is hockey, I have enjoyed working in all different countries. They all have pros and cons so it is really tough to say one place is better than the other. I guess I just love hockey and working with goalies.
Q: What are the biggest difference in goalkeeping schools in these countries?
Let’s see, all countries have their own unique characteristics. let me elaborate this a bit more on a country by country basis:
• Finland has the most systematic approach to coaching goalies and most probably more goalie coaches than in any country compared to the number of team and players.
read on for Ropponen’s take on a variety of topics
From Aaron Portzline at the Columbus Dispatch,
The Hockey News projects that four of the first six picks will be defensemen, which hasn’t happened since the 1982 entry draft.
In fact, no more than three defensemen have been taken among the top 10 picks in the last 10 drafts.
“This is the finest crop in the history of the draft,” said Grant McCagg, who covers the draft year-round for McKeen’s Hockey, an online news service.
“And it comes at the right time for a lot of clubs, too. There is a real shortage in the league right now when it comes to defensemen who can carry the puck. Lots of teams are looking for one or two of those guys. That makes this even more attractive.”
*Related article previously on KK
From Terry Frei at the Denver Post,
It’s impossible to dispute [Gary Bettman’s] “new” point — that with teams chartering and with fuel costs so high, anything that lessens travel makes economic sense. That still comes off like reaching for a rationalization after the fact, rather than considering all the evidence and making a decision.
But if that’s the way it’s going to be, then the NHL should consider altering its playoff system, not just copying the NBA’s 2-3-2 Finals format, but using it in every round.
It was less important this season because of the proximity of Pittsburgh and Detroit, but the 2-2-1-1-1 format in the Finals, and the inability to do much advance planning, has provided excuses for many newspapers to skip sending writers to the league’s championship series.
and more NHL talk
With the NHL’s 2007-08 campaign in the books, the drama now shifts from the ice to the front office as the league’s 30 teams begin their mad scramble to prepare for next season.
As of Friday, half a dozen teams are still in need of a new head coach, with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Atlanta Thrashers, San Jose Sharks and Ottawa Senators conducting searches. And the list of ‘free agent’ bench bosses is impressive to say the least.
Names being circulated over the last month include…
read on for an overview of the coach quest, and other matters on the NHL summer agenda
from Ted’s Take,
The NHL had a great year. Can you name me one other media oriented company that can say they grew and grew fast across the board in terms of:
Ratings - both nationally and locally;
Season ticket renewals and season ticket sales;
Overall ticket sales;
Overall ticket pricing;
The salary cap will move up again as the players share in more than half of the revenues so the players are happy.
For the most part, the product has improved.
from Alan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
Here we are three years into the collective agreement that was going to save the NHL, make it a better, more viable business, and you can still see fires on the horizon. Some are manageable burns; some are close to raging out of control. All require attention.
Follow the smoke and you’ll see what we mean:
In Buffalo, the Sabres business practices are rattling their NHL partners who think the team is deliberately keeping the cost of its tickets low so it can qualify for league revenue sharing.
from the Hockey News,
“It’s unfortunate that he would say that, because there’s a guy I really admire,” Hull told THN.com Wednesday. “I look to him as a Wayne Gretzky type of person that always does the right things and says the right things, not only for his sport but as an ambassador for sport in general.
Woods’ insults seemed particularly baffling to Hull given his previous experience meeting the world’s No. 1 golfer when Hull was still an active player for the Stars.
From Mike Heika at the Stars blog at the Dallas Morning News:
A report in Canada’s National Post says that the Stars are one of eight teams who have been in contact with Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who is trying to buy a team and move it to Hamilton, Ont.
So I called Tom Hicks to ask about it.
Hicks said there is no truth to the report, and that the team is not for sale. He said he has no idea how the Stars were linked to this.
Note: The report in question mentioned earlier today.
From Scott Cullen at TSN:
Using hits, blocked shots, giveaways, takeaways and face-offs, then, here are the top “intangible” players in the 2008 NHL playoffs.
Top Intangible Ratings - Playoffs
Brooks Orpik, D, Pittsburgh (2.66)
Brenden Morrow, LW, Dallas (1.86)
Stephane Robidas, D, Dallas (1.67)
read on for Cullen’s complete list
From Mike Brophy in The Hockey News,
NHL referees are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. While they don’t like the idea of calling goalie interference in overtime, let alone twice in extra time, they also don’t relish the idea of a goalie being hit by an opponent and the winning goal being scored while the fallen goaltender is unable to do his job. It is a discretionary call.
“We don’t want the Stanley Cup-winning goal being scored with the goalie on his back after being crashed into,” said NHL executive Kris King.
The Red Wings were rightfully ticked off about the two calls against them, but you just know if the skate was on the other foot and Chris Osgood had been bumped rather than Marc-Andre Fleury, resulting in a goal by the Penguins, Detroit would be screaming bloody murder.
and more on various topics
Note: More on the issue of the refs at MLive, with links to what the Detroit pundits have to say on the matter.
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