Kukla's Korner Hockey
From the CP,
ART ROSS: When Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up his first Art Ross Trophy last season it was widely believed that it would be the first of many consecutive NHL scoring championships for the 20-year-old superstar. And that’s not to say he won’t end up winning it again this season, because he wasn’t that far away when the league hit its official halfway point over the weekend.
But kudos to Tampa Bay Lightning centre Vincent Lecavalier, who led the league in points for much of the first half. He’s en route to a career season and has sparked some healthy debate about whether he, not Crosby, is the top player in the game right now.
more… including storylines to watch for in the 2nd half of the season
From Jim Kelley at Sportsnet.ca,
Best Team - Detroit Red Wings: There is no second place; only a three-way* tie between Ottawa in the East and San Jose in the West.
The Red Wings are just a joy to watch and at the half have 67 points, and just eight losses. Heck, the Senators, a good team, earlier this season nearly lost that many in a row. Give the Sharks some credit here, almost from the moment certain media types wrote them off as frauds, they’ve started tearing it up and are starting to show that they have grit as well as some talent.
more “bests” and a couple “worsts”
*presumably, that’s meant to read “two-way tie”
From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News,
With the signing of Mike Ribeiro by the Dallas Stars, you can scratch another name off the list of impact forwards who will be available July 1. That list is growing smaller and less impressive by the day, which means the ones who will be available will get better deals because of the laws of supply and demand.
Here are the top forwards who will be available July 1, provided they don’t sign with their teams before then.
Kristian Huselius, Calgary: The hottest player in the NHL since early December, Huselius is incredibly talented with the puck. Jarome Iginla deserves some of the credit here, but Huselius has been outstanding on his own.
plus lots more to pick from…
From Kukla’s blog at NHL.com,
Well, the e-mails have started. I heard the Senators are going to get Mats Sundin. Why do the Bruins want to move Glen Murray? Can Rob Blake still play? I was told the Hurricanes are going to move Eric Staal. Did Alex Ovechkin demand a trade? Will Jaromir Jagr play in Edmonton? Is Markus Naslund on his way out in Vancouver?
The time has come to tell every one of you to relax. The vast majority of the rumors you are hearing are just that – rumors, often made up to attract your interest! Maybe people are bored and want to “stir” the pot a bit. Maybe they really believe what they write. Maybe, just maybe, they are trying to draw you in.
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
What was once a workable arrangement — a group of 34 men and women banding together for a common good — has now become a pit of slithering vipers.
Depending on whom you listen to, the Edmonton Investors Group is either going to sell the Oilers to local billionaire Daryl Katz or tell him to take another hike. The remaining shareholders are either going to buy out those who want to sell, or perhaps a splinter group will form and make an independent offer for the team.
Anything and everything is in play, including the gamesmanship, which is running at an all-time high. Consider what’s happened in the past few weeks.
via the CP,
KITCHENER, Ont. -Being an NHL referee can be trying at times. But Cambridge native John Ashley never let the crowd get to him.
“My dad’s commentary was, `if they’re watching me, they’re missing one helluva good game,”’ Ashley’s daughter, Kristine Bailey, recalled. “I think I heard him say that hundreds of times.
“Most people don’t like officials. You either love them or hate them. He used to just laugh it off and say it’s apart of the game.”
Ashley, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and called more than 650 NHL games, died of heart failure Saturday at St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener. He was 77.
Mr. Ashley’s Biography at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
With the first half of the season in the record books as of Saturday, it looks as if the NHL’s most valuable player race is going to mirror the playoff race — too close to call at the moment.
Even if you discount goaltenders (dangerous to do, considering two of them were Hart Trophy finalists last season), there are at least six skaters making the case for MVP honours and once again, the debate will probably come down to this:
Does the vote go to the NHL’s best player? Or, as the award is written, to the player adjudged most valuable to his team?
continued and some Jagr talk too…
Adam Proteau of the Hockey News concludes his interview with Paul Kelly. In case you missed the firat part, a link is available on the page….
THN: Improving the marketing of the game has been a common goal of the NHL for decades, yet little progress has been made. What are some of your opinions on ways to finally make some headway in this area?
PK: I’ll make three or four quick points:
One is U.S. television. I commend Versus for their broadcasts, but we need broader reach, broader coverage, reaching a greater number of homes, on more nights, with more highlights. We need something that’s even half of what you have here in Canada, and we don’t have it in the United States.
If I’m in a certain city and I want to watch a hockey game, I go hunting around the TV dial, I go past ESPN – which has a poker game on – and I can’t find a hockey game because many of the places I go to don’t have Versus on the dial. It’s unacceptable.
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[This link broadcasts a live audio stream at show time.]
from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
The philosophical underpinning for the Brodeur Plan, floating around since the early years of the NHL’s Dead Puck era, is unassailable: By being allowed to ice the puck without consequence, the penalized team is inherently rewarded….
“If you ice the puck now, you can’t change,” Brodeur said, “so you’d get tired penalty killers out against a fresh power play. That’s a better advantage [for the team with the extra skater]. It’ll force [penalty killers] to flip the puck like the in old days, land it soft, without icing it. They have to manage the game better, which is also a skill.”
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