Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
After subtracting the NHL’s top two teams (the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators) and its bottom one (the Washington Capitals), there were 27 teams separated by 10 points as of Thursday morning, when the first quarter had officially concluded. In the West, only eight points separated the bottom-dwelling Los Angeles Kings from the No. 2 team in the conference, the San Jose Sharks. In the East, 10 points separated the 14th-place Buffalo Sabres from the second-ranked New York Rangers — and the Sabres held three games in hand.
In the old way of measuring a .500 record, in which a team earns as many points as games played, 20 clubs were above that mark and a 21st, the Calgary Flames were right at it, or until they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks later that night. The Capitals may turn it around now with a new coach behind the bench, but at nine points out and with six teams to leapfrog, their playoff hopes are hanging by a thread.
Mathematically, however, the other 29 teams could all legitimately argue that they’re still in midst of the playoff race.
From Scott Cullen at TSN,
As we move past the quarter point of the season, teams are starting to have a good idea what they have and what they’re lacking on their current roster. Here’s a look at team needs throughout the NHL.
Around the Rinks:
Anaheim: Need a decision from Scott Niedermayer and could use second-line scoring help, whether it comes from Todd Bertuzzi, Teemu Selanne or someone not currently on the Ducks roster.
Atlanta: Now that the offence appears to be clicking, the Thrashers could use at least one more reliable defensive defenceman.
In our “Friday Faceoff,” ESPN.com NHL writer Scott Burnside (based in Atlanta) and Toronto Star columnist and frequent ESPN.com contributor Damien Cox (based in Toronto) duke it out over any given hockey topic. Let the games begin!
This week’s topic: The Vancouver Canucks’ Mattias Ohlund slashed Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild, and Koivu suffered a cracked bone in his left leg. For his actions, Ohlund received a four-game suspension. Was the suspension enough?
Damien: So, back to suspension. Here are my two ideas. First, no suspension should ever be less than 10 games. If somebody’s been a bad boy, that’s the only way you’re really going to get his attention and spread the gospel of deterrence. Second, coaches serve half the suspension time or maybe sit out the same number of games.
from Brad Holland at NHL.com,
Nashville’s Game Presentation: I had a chance to sit low in a very good seat last night, and watched the game with an ice-level view instead of a bird’s-eye. Outstanding! The Nashville fans were energetic, into the game, and right on top of the action. They were courteous, asking questions of me and even weren’t shy to give a few tips on how to make NHL.com better (I spent the third period sitting next to a young Predators fan and youth Nashville hockey player who knew as much about hockey-at-large as any Canadian kid…
more on Brad’s hockey weekend… and I think I may have to have a sit-down with young Bradley!
from the Ottawa Citizen,
No one wants to return to the pre-lockout days, when players water-skied off opponents, particularly grievous in the neutral zone. Still, must the NHL call the love taps on shin pads?
In some games, officials do.
On Hockey Night In Canada’s Coach’s Corner last Saturday, Don Cherry showed a set of highlights to illustrate the dubious nature of many slashing and hooking calls. On any given night in the NHL, a player brushing his stick against another player’s shin pads or pants can result in a penalty.
from the Toronto Sun,
Maurice yesterday gave a brief eulogy for Hanlon, the second NHL coach fired this season, but dismissed the notion that any employees feel safer when the turkey and leftovers are gone and the goodwill of Christmas approaches.
“I think a while ago, yes, but not so much (in the new NHL’s CBA),” Maurice said. “You don’t hear as much talk and there’s not as much action.”
Indeed, most trade banter has been just rumours so far. Many salary cap-strapped teams such as the Leafs have eliminated themselves until the Feb. 26 trade deadline when buying and selling is made easier, at least for some expiring one-year deals at reduced cost.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
NHL Players Association Executive Director Paul Kelly and his entourage have visited with seven of the league’s 30 teams on their fall tour.
Issues discussed include bigger nets, smaller goalie equipment and mandatory visors, to name a few. But the one topic that interests players most right now is removal of the instigator penalty.
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
Yes, I’m in sunny Florida and – get this – I’m supposed to be writing a hockey column.
Before you start whining and berating me for writing another tired “Americans don’t get hockey” piece, please understand that I’ve – in this short time – come to understand and empathize with the plight of the southern American hockey fan (yes Virginia, there are some – although I’m doubting there are many in Virginia itself).
Thing is, being a hockey fan in a place like this is extremely difficult. Frankly, I’m pushing for the NHL to provide some sort of tax incentive for fans who live in places where the mean temperature is greater than 12 degrees Celsius (around 280 degrees Fahrenheit, I believe).
from George Gross of the Toronto Sun,
“I try to watch what’s happening on the ice and then discuss it with Mike Murphy (former Maple Leaf head coach and now vice-president of hockey operations), Kris King (former Maple Leaf player and now director of hockey operations) and Jim Gregory (former Maple Leaf general manager and now senior vice-president of NHL hockey operations),” offered Campbell.
“There is a lot happening in NHL hockey these days. You have a lot of games and even some outdoor games. We are trying to keep discipline in the game. Then we have to keep an eye on the length of the game, actions of the game officials because people can see the games in super slow motion and in high definition.”
via the Tennessean,
Steve Violetta, executive vice president of business affairs for the Predators, will leave the organization in early December to take a similar position with the Detroit Red Wings, a Predators spokesman confirmed.
A Detroit native, Violetta is in his third season in Nashville, where he’s helped boost attendance and season-ticket sales even as the Predators have raised ticket prices.
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.
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