Kukla's Korner Hockey
Over at NHL.com, I take a look at the 2nd half of the regular season. The race is on for the playoffs!
As you know, my life is consumed with hockey. I check websites, listen to online hockey radio stations and watch as many games as possible on a nightly basis.
Lately, I have been hearing and reading the words “Top 5 player”. “He is one of the top 5 players at his position”, “without a doubt, he is a top 5 player”. Well, I have heard at least 40 names lately that are in the ‘Top 5” How can that be, only five players can be in the top 5, right?
So, and I am asking you to go into this with an open mind, take your ‘homer glasses’ off and name your Top 5. Let’s break it down by forward, defense and goal and to clarify, you can include last season into this equation, but can’t go back any farther than that.
List your Top 5 in the comments below.
from Katie Thomas of the New York Times,
WHITBY, Ontario — As a rookie defenseman for the Whitby Dunlops, a storied amateur hockey team in this Toronto suburb, Donald Sanderson impressed his teammates as a passionate and intense competitor.
Every time the puck dropped, the 21-year-old Sanderson shed his otherwise fun-loving demeanor and focused on the game. He was the type of guy, teammates said, who seemed to care more about the team than he did for himself.
“He was fierce,” said Matt Armstrong, an assistant coach. “He would do anything it took to win the game.”
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Fighting – from its role in hockey to whether it has a future in the game – will be up for debate when the NHL’s general managers meet in March.
“When we review a rule, we review all aspects of it, including the obvious and the not so obvious,” said Colin Campbell, the NHL’s director of hockey operations. “There are some aspects to fighting we would like to ask the GMs about and we will leave no stone unturned.”
While Campbell believes questions about fighting need to be asked, Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has his answers ready.
“I think it’s a very important historical and present part of our game,” said Burke. “If it comes to a vote, Toronto is certainly not going to vote to eliminate fighting. That’s certainly not going to happen while I’m here….”
from Tripp Mickle of SportsBusiness Journal,
For the first time since the 2004-05 lockout, the NHL has increased both its attendance and ratings at the midpoint of a season.
Through 628 games this season, average reported attendance is up 1.5 percent from 2007-08. The increase came despite the fact that the 2009 Winter Classic in Chicago at Wrigley Field held 30,000 fewer fans than the 2008 outdoor game in Buffalo, a game that drew 71,000.
“We’re particularly pleased this year because the world around us is a lot different than it’s been in a long time,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “Most businesses would have reasons to be concerned about a downturn, and so far we haven’t seen it.”
continued and thanks again goes out to SBJ for releasing the links to a normally paid subscription site.
Also from Tripp Mickle of SBJ,
The economy may dampen the party scene at this year’s Super Bowl, but it won’t dampen the celebration at the 2009 NHL All-Star Game.
At a time when other leagues are pulling back on travel and sponsors are curtailing activation at events, the NHL is poised for its biggest all-star celebration in years. The league has increased its budget for the event, which is taking place in hockey-mad Montreal this weekend, to more than $5 million, a 5 percent increase from Atlanta in 2008. NHL officials also claim that corporate partners will spend more than $10 million on activation in Montreal, a 50 percent increase from 2008.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
Given the coverage the issue has received, it seemed fitting that NBC’s first Sunday of the NHL regular season would feature a fight.
The battle in this case, however, wasn’t on the ice.
It was in the studio where commentators Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury traded verbal blows over the pros and cons of fisticuffs, with Milbury ending it by giving McGuire a sharp slap to the chest.
“Keep your head up,” he said.
“I always keep my head up,” replied McGuire.
It was heated, but for the Canadian audience, there wasn’t much new presented in the debate,...
continued and not just for the Canadian audience Mr. Houston, hockey fans world wide have been following the fighting debate…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We fully understand why most hockey fans’ eyes glaze over whenever we update them on labor issues in the NHL. But this little bit of news, we believe, will grab some attention.
We’ve been told the NHL Players’ Association will hold a conference call with the players’ executive board (30 player reps) on Thursday night in which the group will ultimately decided whether or not to opt out of the current collective-bargaining agreement. (The players’ union, as per terms of the CBA, has the right to opt out after the fourth season of the deal, which is this season).
If the answer is yes to opt out, who knows if there’ll be hockey next season. If the answer is no, then it’s at least two more years with the current CBA and labor peace.
continued with more hockey topics… If you watched the Hot Stove on HNIC last night, you heard most of the additional topics…
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
The players, said union boss Paul Kelly, remain eager to work with league officials on adding penalties for those who target opponents’ heads with checks. “The trick is to do that without reducing the amount of contact that is part of what makes this such a great sport,” he said.
The five players on the Competition Committee: Jason Spezza, Mathieu Schneider, Brian Campbell, Jeff Halpern, and Ryan Miller. To sum up their dislikes: 1. whistles (needless stops in play) and 2. defensive, trapping hockey. Sounds like a group that gets it.
more hockey notes…
Paul Kelly talked with Ron MacLean last night on numerous topics. Watch the ten minute interview below…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The NHL will continue to send teams to Europe to kick off its regular season, and the world’s best players will meet in the 2011 World Cup of Hockey after the league and players’ association reached a compromise on how revenues from those international efforts will be divvied up, ESPN.com has learned.
Those international events—important to the league’s efforts to increase a worldwide presence and generate revenue—were in jeopardy as the two sides could not agree on how the players’ union was going to be able to use the money it receives for taking part.
A handshake agreement between the two sides has been reached, however, and barring some dramatic turn of events, the NHL will send six teams to three European cities to kick off the 2009-2010 season.
Today, check out the Inside Hockey Radio Show with hosts James Murphy and Todd Carroll and their guests: Greg Wyshynski (Puck Daddy, Yahoo! Sports), Damian Cristodero (St. Petersburg Times), Bob Snow (NHL.com) and former NHL enforcer Jim Cummins.
Live from Wayne Gretzky’s
After Inside Hockey, at 4pm ET you can tune into Live From Wayne Gretzky’s. This week, hosts Rod Black and Bob McGill talk to Steve Mason (Columbus Blue Jackets), John Stevens (Flyers Head Coach), Phil Esposito, Tom Renney (Rangers Head Coach) and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa.
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