Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Buccigross of ESPN,
This midwinter classic should continue. It should be fun, joyful, intimate and creative. And it should always be viewed by the NHL and NHL Players’ Association as a vital vehicle that is important to the game. This takes energy and vision, and anyone who doesn’t have that in the NHL offices should get out.
The NHL does a professional, classy job in the overall staging of its big events. It’s the one area the current regime does not get enough credit for. The league has elevated the game in that regard. Now, just relax and incorporate some love and fun into the festivities on Saturday and a little incentive on Sunday, and this hockey weekend will return to what it should be—a fun, joyful get-together that celebrates the most joyous game in the world and the players who play it.
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
The incident occurred late last season and though Nieminen was ejected from the game and later suspended, in old-school fashion, he wasn’t forced to answer for his crime within the arena.
In the press box, former Blues tough guy and current team radio analyst Kelly Chase scowled.
“When I played, I didn’t have to call (National Hockey League commissioner) Gary Bettman to find out what the punishment was for running a guy from behind in Detroit,” Chase said. “The punishment was (Bob) Probert and (Joe) Kocur.”
According to popular logic, the reason why this form of capital punishment is no longer delivered is the instigator rule. That’s Rule 56 (a) in the NHL rule book, if you are inclined to look it up.
From Sam McCaig at The Hockey News,
Here’s a team-by-team look at NHL rookies who are making some noise this season:
There isn’t a Calder candidate in Anaheim; left winger Drew Miller was leading the Ducks rookies with two goals and five points in 26 NHL games played through Jan. 28. Bobby Ryan, the second overall pick behind Sidney Crosby in 2005, made his big-league debut this season and had three goals and five points in 13 games.
The Thrashers feature one of the most surprising rookies of 2007-08 in Swedish defenseman Tobias Enstrom. He’s among the freshmen leaders in assists and ice time, and may make it onto the Calder ballot.
From Scott Burnside at ESPN,
General managers ... recharge your BlackBerrys, update your Rolodexes and confirm your speed-dial lists. It’s trade-deadline season.
With the All-Star break beyond us, the Feb. 26 trade deadline looms large, and serious wheeling and dealing will begin in earnest as teams try to restock for the future, a charge to the playoffs or a run at the Stanley Cup.
Here’s a look at 25 players who could be on the move in the coming weeks, what impact they might have and their contract status after this season.
continued… Olaf Kolzig, Michael Ryder, Sergei Fedorov, and more…
Have a question or comment regarding anything NHL? Well, here is your chance to get the correct answer.
Read my NHL.com blog today to find out more. I normally don’t ask KK readers to get involved, but today I ask you for your participation to make this post one for the ages!
from Fox Business,
So what’s in store for the NHL?
That all depends on whether or not the league finds ways to increase its revenue and get back on ESPN or a similar network.
If there is no alteration in the TV deal, “in the next five years they will look just like they do now,” said Fort.
The league could be forced to relocate franchises struggling to bring in revenue, such as Nashville’s Predators (Houston and Portland have been mentioned as potential destinations), said Brook.
The biggest battle the league might face over the next few years could be a public relations one.
“In the next five years I don’t see hockey making great strides but I also don’t see it making a great decline. I think the league is doing everything they can to make hockey better. It’s an issue on the perception side,” said Brook.
From Cory Wolfe at Canwest News via the National Post,
Education and hockey were intertwined all along for Quinn. Following high school, he accepted a scholarship to Michigan Tech. However, he was ruled ineligible for American collegiate hockey because he had previously signed over his hockey rights to the Detroit Red Wings.
“I ended up back at home and I got a job with the steel company which is where most of my pals were working,” says Quinn. “It was a good job; it was Stelco at the time. But I quickly figured out that’s not where I wanted to spend the rest of my life, working shifts.”
Quinn headed west to Edmonton and joined the junior Oil Kings for the 1962-63 season. The club went on to win the Memorial Cup. The Oil Kings’ success didn’t propel Quinn directly into the NHL spotlight.
...and more of a brief biography on Pat Quinn, not quite ready with a “retirement plan” as yet. A happy birthday to Quinn who turns 65 on Tuesday.
Ottawa Senators right wing Daniel Alfredsson, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin and Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Pascal Leclaire have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending January 27.
Go here to check out their video highlights.
From Ray Slover at the Sporting News,
Young talent is, like cream, rising to the top. And like cream, it’s pretty sweet. They may struggle a bit with English, but Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin, Anze Kopitar and other 20-something foreign-born players have a language all their own. Better yet, it’s a common language, one shared by Eric Staal, Rick Nash and the cast of characters who have something to say. And it comes across loud and clear, even without poster-boy Sidney Crosby on the scene.
We saw plenty of the NHL’s future here and it, like the Georgia morning sun, is bright.
From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News,
It has been very easy and convenient to rip the NHL All-Star Game for, oh, the past 20 years or so, but for at least one night, the league and its players seemed to grasp the importance of showcasing its stars by actually staging a competitive game.
Update 9:04pm ET: The THN story above was changed since I originally linked it. An important feature near the top of the piece was Campbell’s concern about access to Eric Staal after the game. There has been some suggestion that the original article was altered. Perhaps not a big deal, but it’s worth mentioning now because the allegations prompted this official response from Mike Sundheim of the Carolina Hurricanes later in the day.
Finally, below is a transcript from post-game Q&A’s with All Star MVP Eric Staal and goalie Tim Thomas.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Every year the game is played and every year the same questions are asked. What can be done to make it more competitive? What can be done to make it more relevant? What can be done to make it more like a real NHL game?
And here’s the answer. Nothing. There’s nothing that can be done; nothing that will turn the all-star game into a showcase event that captures hockey’s best qualities.
You can hope for some speed and skill and a close, competitive affair, but you can’t replicate those things that make the sport attractive.
Once you accept this, you are free to appreciate this affair for what it is and even revel in its unique qualities.
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