Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Marcia C. Smith of the OC Register,
He’s not the commissioner of America’s most, second-most or even third-most popular professional sports league.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wasn’t even close to being the tallest figure – counting pre-teen children, ice sculptures and hockey sticks on their ends – on Saturday night at the Discovery Science Center’s opening gala for its “Science of Hockey” exhibition.
But there’s big story about Darwinian survival for the little guy running what many consider an American niche sport. Bettman and hockey aren’t hurting as much as the big three behemoths of the NFL, Major League Baseball or the NBA in this economic recession.
While the other major pro sports leagues trim luxurious budgets, lay off workers and raise some ticket prices, hockey endures largely unscathed because Bettman already had instituted belt-tightening practices after the 2004-05 season lost to a work stoppage.
From Jeff Angus at Dobber’s Hockey, a 5 part series featuring his “prime cuts” of the 2008-09 season.
[The] Prime Cuts squad is chalk-full of intangibles such as heart, determination, hockey IQ, two-way play, grit, and clutch scoring ability. Most of the players on this squad are also under appreciated (in both fantasy and real hockey circles). There are obviously some big stars on this team – the usual suspects – but there are also some under-the-radar players who you may not have noticed this season for whatever reason
Remaining parts to be published at Dobber’s over the coming days.
Elliott Friedman did another great interview with retiring referee Don Koharski last night in the ‘Inside Hockey’ segment of the HNIC pre-game show.
from Peter Adler at The Cult of Hockey,
Gary Bettman, quite correctly, in my humble opinion, replies he has a terrible difficulty finding one single advantage for the NHL. It’s not as if people will start playing hockey somewhere in Africa, just because they saw top professionals plying their trade somewhere in Russia.
Let’s get to basics here.
Of course, many suspect Bettman is trying to twist the Russians’ arm: sign the player transfer deal, and we’d be willing to listen.
No matter what you think of the current commissioner, he can hardly be THAT shortsighted. After all, even if the Russians signed the agreement tomorrow, there’s still five years to go to Sochi, and one can’t fathom they would be willing to commit to that long a term. And it wouldn’t be the first time in modern history that the Russians would sign on a dotted line, win concessions from the other side, and then find a way to get their side out of the deal. That’s just their way of doing things.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Matt Gilroy, the highly regarded Boston University senior defenseman who will become an uncapped free agent the moment his Terriers either win the NCAA title or are eliminated from the tournament, likely will become an early indicator on whether the uncertain NHL economy will depress the summer market.
Two dozen NHL squads informally recruited Gilroy, a 24-year-old out of North Bellmore, last summer when it appeared he would leave school following his junior year. But he returned to lead Hockey East defensemen in scoring while earning a nomination for the Hobey Baker Award.
On Inside Hockey Radio today:
We’ve got another great lineup for you this week as we talk to Conor McKenna (Team 990), Bob Snow (NHL.com), Jim Cummins (Former NHLer), Alanah McGinley (Kuklskorner.com) and go Toe to Toe with Todd Carroll.
Conor will give us the latest on the Habs push for the playoffs and take a swing around the Northeast Division. Bob Snow will be live from the NCAA Hockey Northeast Regional in Manchester, New Hampshire to help us dissect the NCAA tournament. Jim Cummins will help us tackle some of the hot topics around the NHL and the playoff chances of his beloved Blackhawks. Alanah McGinley who is based in Vancouver will give us the latest on the Canucks and we’ll finish off by going Toe to Toe with Toddy Carroll as we examine the tug of war between college hockey and Canadian Juniors, as well as the drawn out response to Alexander Ovechkin’s goal celebrations. Enough already folks!
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
While the players initially benefited from the new labour deal — increases in league revenue led to an increase in the salary cap — they feel they’re once again bailing out bad owners and poor marketplaces.
“Why should we pay for the owners’ negligence?” remarked one player. “The players have gone out of their way to promote the game, do interviews and commercials. There are some owners doing the job and doing it well, but it’s all done individually, not by the league.”
The longer the players live with the labour pact, the better they understand its shortcomings. In the NBA, the players’ escrow contributions are capped at 10 per cent. In the NHL, there is no cap and potentially no limit to how much the players could lose.
From Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News:
For a number of veteran players, that elusive Lord Stanley is the one piece of the puzzle left in what could be a Hall of Fame career. Let’s look at the candidates.
Mats Sundin, Vancouver – As my colleague Brian Costello has posited in the past, Sundin is not quite a Hall of Famer just yet. But the way I see it, clinching a championship would put him in. The big Swede’s next goal will put him past former teammate Joe Nieuwendyk for 20th all-time in NHL history (Teemu Selanne passed both of them and Mike Bossy this year) and he also ranks 33rd overall in assists (passing Jean Ratelle, but getting passed by Mike Modano) and 25th all-time in points.
Stats aside, I really get the sense the Hall of Fame wants him in.
And while you’re at THN, you can check out Risto Pakarinen’s piece on Jonas Gustavsson, the netminder in the Swedish Elitserien finals, and on a record shutout streak which currently resides at 240 minutes and 25 seconds.
from Reuters via the Globe and Mail,
Speaking at the SportAccord convention, Fasel and Bettman had a frank and sometimes heated exchange that underscored the difficult negotiations ahead for the NHL to remain part of the Olympics.
“It can be a challenge or a nightmare (bringing the NHL, IIHF, NHLPA Players’ Association and IOC together) and I take it as a challenge, a fantastic challenge and I will work day and night to have them (NHL players) in Sochi,” said Fasel.
The 2014 Games will be held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi following next year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
But Bettman said: “It’s not so easy to simply say ‘Let’s go to the Olympics’. We shut down our season for two weeks to 17 days and there is a momentum to our season that is lost…it all comes to a screeching halt and we go off to the Olympics.
“No other league stops to go do this. In fact, baseball doesn’t do it and it’s no longer an Olympic sport. This is hard, it’s not always a good experience and the benefits we’ve sometimes seen were not always worth what we’ve had to sacrifice.
“I don’t think we get enough credit and I don’t think the IOC (International Olympic Committee) tends to recognize how difficult it is.”
from DarrenM of Silver Seven,
In 1987, Marsh brought his flexible goal pegs, made out of a mixture of rubber and plastic, to the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL. Ed Chynowth, then president of the Western Hockey League, became a big supporter of Marsh Pegs, and helped draw the NHL’s attention to the invention.
Finally, in July of 1991, the NHL made the Marsh Peg system the standard in every arena. Marsh joked that at 56, he was the oldest rookie in the NHL that year.
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