Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Scott Burnside at ESPN,
Sixteen teams, eight series, one dream … and a thousand story lines. Welcome to the most compelling postseason tournament in sports. Here’s a look at 10 story lines to follow once the pucks drop Wednesday. [...]
The M.A.S.H. factor
Sometimes, it can be a galvanizing force; other times, it can be a crippling blow. But rest assured, injuries will at some point play a significant role in shaping the story lines that will unfold in the coming weeks.
from Jeff Z. Klein of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
It’s hard to see the benefit of the guaranteed point, since it doesn’t even make the standings closer. As we’ve shown several times this season, the standings would have been just as close or closer under a 3-2-1-0 system, or simple W-L, or even if zero points were given to shootout losers — which takes away perhaps the main rationale that the league offers for the guaranteed-point system.
One bright spot, though. This year, teams averaged 18.1 regulation ties, the lowest number since the guaranteed point was introduced for the 1999-2000 season.
Tony over at Skate 2 Stick has created a series of playoff bracket wallpapers, available for download if you like (the image on this post is one of Tony’s).
Note: If anyone else knows of other playoff brackets they want to share, please feel free to add them to this post. People are always looking for them, and I haven’t stumbled across many this year so far.
NHL.com has their 2008 Playoffs preview section up.
Each quarter final matchup is broken down and additional features and updates will be added throughout the playoffs.
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com,
Throw the regular season out the window. Do it now and don’t try to find it- ever! All stats are a big zero right now, both team and individual ones. No win streaks, no point streaks, no hot goalies, no scoring slumps.
It is the second season and everything is reset to zero.
continued… (though the headline of that piece sure doesn’t sound like Paul!)
Lew Serviss at the NYT Slapshot blog has prepared a breakdown of the first round:
Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins
After the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrims and the Indians rode into town to watch the Bruins face the Canadiens. Well, it sure seems like this rivalry goes back that far. The Habs and B’s will go at it for the 25th time in the playoffs. This time, it hardly looks like a fair fight.
more… with a brief analysis of every team, including injury reports etc.
NEW YORK – A season of suspenseful races and outstanding performances on the ice was accompanied by historic levels of attendance at National Hockey League arenas in 2007-08. Total attendance of 21,236,255 and the per-game average of 17,265 set records in each category and marked the third consecutive season of growth.
“Our fans have outdone themselves, and everyone at the National Hockey League is extremely appreciative,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “This unprecedented support is only the latest affirmation that our fans are the best fans anywhere.”
from Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
Entering Sunday’s regular-season finale for each team, the Ducks have given up 182 goals, four more than the Detroit Red Wings and one fewer than the San Jose Sharks. The NHL, however, also charges teams with a goal against every time they come out on the losing end of a shootout. The Ducks have dropped seven shootouts, San Jose six and Detroit five. When that math is factored in, the “goals-against” numbers become 183 for Detroit, and 189 each for the Ducks and Sharks….
For all the hype the NHL gives shootouts, and for all the supposed excitement they create, the whole scenario has created nothing but a statistical conundrum that only begins with the difference between a regulation loss and a shootout loss. If nothing else, the NHL needs to rethink its Jennings formula.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Time for bigger nets? Not yet. Not before one last look at the brotherhood of Stay Puft Marshmallow goalies and their arsenal.
In about eight weeks, a nine-member committee, dubbed the Goalie Equipment Working Group, will wrestle with this age-old question: Does size really matter? Comprising four general managers and five players, the group intends to convene for one day (June 11 in Toronto) and settle once and for all what, if anything, can be done about modifying goaltender equipment, in hopes of leading to more goals and more entertaining hockey.
“Maybe some of the equipment can be squeezed smaller, or maybe there’s a way of scaling it specifically to body size,” said Paul Kelly, executive director of the NHL Players Association. “What we know for sure is that everyone wants to resolve this, once and for all.
more and other NHL topics too…
Montreal will host the NHL’s awards show and entry draft in June 2009 as part of the Canadiens’ 100th anniversary festivities, a source has told CBCSports.ca.
The league is expected to announce the events at a media conference Saturday afternoon.
Montreal’s Bell Centre has already been named the site of the 2009 NHL all-star game, which will take place in January in the middle of the Canadiens’ centennial season.
The annual NHL awards show gala has traditionally been held in Toronto.
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