Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province,
We know the game-day skate was already well established in the NHL by the mid-1970s.
What is less clear is how the ritual became so entrenched in the fabric of the league.
After contacting a number of former NHL players and managers, it appears the skate grew out of a number of factors, including: a natural progression from morning meetings at the rink on game day; growing rosters that meant “extra” players needed to skate when not playing that night; and even some influence from the Soviet national team—who were known for their hard practices the morning of a game.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
• How hilarious, meanwhile, that Detroit’s GM Ken Holland, who led the misguided charge to limit information released to the media concerning player injuries, now believes it appropriate to tell the world that one guy’s got a bad hip and the other’s got a bad elbow. Guess that whole thing about protecting his players isn’t quite as critical as Holland posited last June.
• Tampa Bay management can deny, deny, deny in the best tradition of all sorts of scoundrels, but it is most certainly true that 2008 first-overall draft pick Steven Stamkos is available for trade, at least according to two franchises that have been in contact with the Lightning and have no reason to fib about it.
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
...despite the ‘all’s well’ speeches from both management and the player’s union, the undercurrent is one of great unhappiness with what’s gone down so far.
Sources told Sportsnet.ca that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s decision to suspend Detroit Red Wings Nik Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk for bowing out of the festivities was viewed as a challenge to NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly. Conversely Kelly’s decision to use the gathering to announce that the players had voted not to reopen the contract and his thoughts on international play was a partial affront to the Commissioner as it came on his showcase turf.
According to one source the player’s union felt Bettman’s suspension was a part of a hastily devised policy that came without input from the PA and that it was arbitrary aas well as being patently unfair. They also felt Bettman’s statement on the players’ decision to extend the collective bargaining agreement was structured to read that he was pleased that the players were on board with the program as crafted by him in the wake of the lockout and that that was a subtle jab to let Kelly know who’s running the show here.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The NHL will indeed be taking their annual awards ceremony from downtown Toronto to the Las Vegas Strip.
A league source tells ESPN.com that plans are now coming into focus for the awards show to make its first visit to Las Vegas on June 18, shortly after the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs and before the NHL draft in Montreal.
The ceremony is expected to be hosted by the Palms Casino and Resort.
continued with a charity, celeb game…
from Sam McCaig of the Hockey News,
As part of the NHL All-Star Game weekend festivities, The Hockey News and the NHL threw a party in Montreal on Friday night – and all the stars came out.
Well, a bunch of them, anyway.
About 600 people turned up, including NHL players and alumni, GMs and team executives, media members and fans…even a certain NHL commissioner and NHL Players’ Association union boss made an appearance (uh, not together).
• Hey look, there’s NHLPA boss Paul Kelly, cornered by fast-talking THN senior writer Ken Campbell. Oh well…Kelly’s a lawyer; he’s heard fast talk before.
• Speaking of Kelly, isn’t that his nemesis over there, NHL commish Gary Bettman? Why, yes it is; thanks for coming out, Gary. But…where’s his suit? For the first time, well, maybe ever, Bettman was spotted suitless – he opted for a casual sweater-and-pants combo instead. (Figures…the one night a year I show up in a suit, and Mr. Suit himself decides to let his hair down and enjoy the party.)
(Full disclosure: Bettman was another one who I didn’t actually see with my own eyes at the party, but several co-workers mentioned that he was there. And then after they told me that the next thing out of their mouth was, “And he’s wearing a sweater!”)
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
So, as the injuries get more serious and the scary incidents work their way up the hockey ladder, it’s clear the league will do nothing concrete about fighting until someone in the NHL suffers the same fate as Don Sanderson. In the back of my mind, I think Colin Campbell is convinced exactly that is going to happen someday. Bettman talks about taking a “good, hard look at it,” but offers no structure of how that’s going to happen and no timeline for any changes.
In other words, the NHL is basically giving the issue lip service because of the perfect storm that has happened lately, but don’t expect anything drastic.
“Based on the conversations I’ve had with lots of constituencies – players, owners, managers, coaches – I don’t think there’s any appetite to abolish fighting in the game,” Bettman said. “There are lots of reasons for that, including that it has been a part of the game.”
more and Bettman talks about other hockey issues…
from Noah Love of the National Post,
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman held his annual All-Star news conference following the NHL Board of Governors meeting, and said he thought that if the league was to expand or forced to consider relocation, Toronto could probably handle a second team.
Mind you, he’s not thinking about it, doesn’t want you to think about it and seems to dread the thought of doing the legwork to make it happen.
“I’m not sure what level of research anybody has done on the subject, because we haven’t done any,” Bettman said at Montreal’s Windsor Hotel, coincidentally the same place the league was founded in 1917. “While we haven’t done a formal market study, intuitively, my guess is, on some basis somewhere it might work. You don’t make what could be a billion dollar decision — the combination of buying a team and building a building — on intuitive instinct.”
more from Bettman…
It’s time for the weekly edition of the Inside Hockey Radio Show with hosts James Murphy and Todd Carroll. Here’s a note from Murph, for anyone in Montreal today:
This week we are live from Montreal and the 2009 NHL All Star celebration! We will be broadcasting from the XM stand under the “All Star Jamboree Tent” across from the Bell Centre and we will be joined by numerous NHL stars in person. So if you’re in Montreal this Saturday, do drop by the “Jamboree” tent to say hello and listen to some good hockey talk.
from Mark Moore at the Toronto Star,
The reason why the NHL and its players are resisting a simple ban on all hits to the head is this: Bodychecking is part of hockey, and it isn’t just for show or intimidation. Defending in hockey depends on playing the body. Playing the puck is too risky, because skilled players can move it around and leave you chasing air. You defend by stopping the puck-carrier with body contact as far from your net as possible….
However, I believe there are ways to eliminate the problem of hits to the head. Here is my proposal, fully explained:
1. Create a rule banning “high hits” the way we ban high sticks. A high hit could be defined as:
a) Any time a player leaves his feet to make a check;
b) Any part of the checker’s arm being extended above his own shoulder prior to or at the moment of impact;
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Zach Parise is 24 years old, one of the brightest young stars in the NHL and a pro athlete pulling down millions of dollars in annual pay.
Yet as of yesterday, Parise seemed unaware he was already out almost $170,000 in salary for this season, with another $310,000 or more still to lose.
The New Jersey Devils forward, a participant in tomorrow’s NHL All-Star Game, is one of hundreds of NHL players who are about to be struck by the bombshell that the deteriorating North American economy is about to take enormous bites out of their paycheques.
According to the projections of NHL Players’ Association boss Paul Kelly, his members will collectively return about $217 million back to the league this season as NHL revenues plummet.
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