Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Bruce Dowbiggin at the Calgary Herald,
Paul Kelly, the Boston lawyer who’s now the executive director of the NHL Players Association, believes Canada should have at least one—and perhaps more—NHL franchises if the league relocates a team or expands.
“I think it would be a huge error not to relocate one of the existing franchises to Hamilton or Winnipeg,” Kelly told the Toronto Star when asked about where failing U.S. franchises might move.
Kelly then pointed out that it’s folly for the league to blackball RIM billionaire Jim Balsillie, who wants to bring another team to southern Ontario.
“He built his company from nothing into an $80-billion company. We would be foolhardy not to see his efforts happen.”
(Kelly subsequently told the Herald by e-mail that this is an issue he will be pursuing, and that getting teams to Canadian markets where they can be more profitable is in the NHLPA’s interest.)
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The NHL no longer is about referees who call games by feel and on instinct and who recognize that an elastic clause must be part of any rulebook, even if written in invisible ink.
Instead, it’s about referees who color by number, who are working not to please the participants but rather their supervisor who deducts points for every incident in which some player raises his stick parallel to an opponent’s and is not whistled for a penalty.
Missing significant and blatant penalties? That apparently doesn’t count for as much in this administration.
[Gary] Bettman told interviewer Ron McLean before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final in Pittsburgh that interest in Canada is helping drive revenue but that it was partly a reflection of market forces and not cause for concern.
“It’s a little disproportionate and I think that may be a good thing, because if you go back seven or eight years ago when people were saying we’d only have one club left from Canada, the revenues were disproportionate the other way,” said Bettman.
“What it means is we’ve done a very good job of getting the Canadian clubs healthy. Frankly revenues are growing across the board — it isn’t just the Canadian dollar and it isn’t just the Canadian clubs and any suggestion to the contrary is somebody trying to get a headline.”
Note: McLean’s questions were motivated by this article from Rick Westhead in last Thursday’s Toronto Star. There’s also an audio online at FAN 590 featuring an interview with Westhead about his report.
From Michael Traikos at the National Post,
After Stamkos, the next five North American skaters are all defenceman. But the order in which they will be drafted depends on whom you ask and when.
According to Central Scouting, Peterborough’s Bogosian is ranked the highest at second overall. Four months earlier Guelph’s Doughty (third) was the top-ranked defenceman. One league scout believes Kelowna’s Tyler Myers (fourth) has the potential to become the best of the bunch five years down the road, while another puts Kelowna’s Schenn (fifth) and Niagara’s Pietrangelo (sixth) at the top because they are the most NHL-ready.
“There’s no slot after No. 1,” said Rick Dudley, assistant general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks. “With most organizations, there’s a difference of opinion over who’s the second to sixth player in this draft. That’s a little unusual.”
Trying to choose between five defencemen who have the capability of becoming franchise players is so difficult that teams are asking the players themselves for advice.
From Scott Burnside at ESPN,
During the playoffs, we often talk about the sacrifices players make to reach the Stanley Cup finals; the commitment, the good fortune. NHL officials are no different. This series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings represents their ultimate competition. Only the best of the best are chosen to call these games. This is their Stanley Cup as much as it is the players’.
So, every day, when O’Halloran steps out of the shower and notes the meandering scar that runs from his stomach around to his back, he is doubly thankful to be here, not just professionally, but at all.
“You wonder about karma sometimes,” the 44-year-old O’Halloran told ESPN.com this week. “March 13, 1983 was the day I was shot. So that’s why I wear No. 13.”
From Erik Erlendsson at Bolts Report,
I’m currently up in Toronto for two purposes. The first was to have the chance to meet Steven Stamkos and his family, which I did on Thursday night. The other was to swing by the combine today for the physical testing of the top prospects, including Stamkos, to find out about this VO2 bike test they put the prospects through, which has barf buckets right next to the bikes. Look for that story in Saturday’s paper.
As far as Stamkos goes, he certainly seems like one of the nicest high-profile teenagers you might ever meet. Spent just over two hours at the family house outside of Toronto and had some great conversations. Very humble family and you can see how that has carried over to Steven. Despite all the heavy marketing the Lightning have already done with Stamkos, they still answer everything with “if Tampa Bay drafts’’. They are taking nothing for granted, and that’s just how they are, they don’t want to get ahead of anything.
more on Stamkos
From Randy Turner at the Winnipeg Free Press,
It’s difficult to forget how in the immediate aftermath of the Jets’ departure to Phoenix, the sense of mourning—for most hockey fans, at least—was palpable. There were fond and fresh memories of white-outs, now a staple in the land of the Penguins. Then there were long-standing feelings of bitterness and cynicism toward a league that never really wanted Winnipeg in the first place.
Not to mention the subsequent hundreds of millions of dollars frittered away to finance the facade of the NHL someday operating a successful franchise in the Arizona desert.
But now, with the passage of time, there’s a void replaced by… what? Ambivalence? Acceptance? Disinterest?
*thanks to a KK reader for passing this on
PITTSBURGH—National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement:
“The National Hockey League family grieves with the family, friends and teammates of Luc Bourdon. We send heartfelt condolences to the Vancouver Canucks’ organization and the community of Shippagan, N.B. To honor a young life ended long before its promise could be fulfilled, a moment of silence will be observed Saturday night prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.”
Over 100 of the top prospects available in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft are in Toronto to take part in the league’s Combine. The players will take part in physical testing and most have a series of interviews set up with representatives from NHL clubs.
TSN is at the combine, too, and will file reports on the various activities throughout the day in this Combine Blog.
9:39 - The NHL annual meat market is already well underway with one group having completed the physical testing portion. The prospects are all wearing heart monitors so their heartbeats can be tracked during the workouts.
updates being added throughout the day.
Citing the apparent trend of NHL teams toward dividing GM duties amongst several executives, Adam Proteau at THN poses a question…
Naturally, the question is, ‘where will the specialization end?’
My answer: I hope it doesn’t end. I hope NHL bigwigs further compartmentalize GM responsibilities until you need a program, trail of breadcrumbs and DNA evidence to decipher who’s doing what in any one organization.
With that in mind, here are a handful of potential new GM roles.
Pre-Draft Fluff Artist: This is the guy who moseys on up to the podium, thanks the host town for its hospitality – and congratulates the Stanley Cup champion – before a team makes its first pick.
Capologist: This person hands a team’s baseball hat to each of its newly selected draft picks.
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 email@example.com