Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,
Save for a couple of innovative ideas like the Winter Classic – which unfortunately is being milked to death – the NHL is probably the least cutting-edge professional league in the world: Same ice size for 100 years. The same boring TV angles that slow the game down. Dumb all-star game formats. Tight, boring checking systems.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the game and grew up following the NHL as close as any other kid in the neighbourhood, but I don’t buy the myth that the NHL is going through some kind of Renaissance and people around the world are starting to embrace the game like they’ve embraced basketball in places like China and the Philippines.
The big talk in the NHL these days is expansion. The NHL seems bound and determined to expand by at least two more teams, further diluting and already diluted product - all for the sake of greedy owners getting a one-time expansion fee. Never mind that adding two new teams will likely hurt the game long-term when fans realize that the guys on their favourite team playing on the third and fourth lines should be in the AHL. And to expand to a place like Las Vegas is just stupid and short-sighted.
Instead of expanding, why not invite some of the already established and healthy franchises in the Swedish, Swiss, Czech or German leagues to join the NHL?
from Gary Lawless of TSN,
A big part of the issue is the NHL doesn’t have a direct feed for offside challenges and must rely on the network broadcast and replays to make their decision.
So what you’re watching at home, that’s what the linesmen are looking at from their vantage point in the penalty box. You have the luxury of a 60-inch plasma screen at home and you often get replays of the play prior to an official challenge.
So the linesmen have fewer looks on an inferior screen. The viewer at home has better info than the official making the decision.
Linesman, and hockey ops in Toronto for that matter, have to wait for the TV show to collect replays and different angles and then relay them to the viewers which in these cases includes the decision makers. It’s awkward and needs to be made more efficient.
The NHL has direct feeds to hockey operations from both net and overhead cameras which they use for goalie interference and puck over the goal-line challenges. They don’t have to wait or rely on the networks. So it’s quicker and more definitive.
There’s been talk of installing blue line cameras with a direct feed to hockey ops but it hasn’t happened yet so there’s a disparity in technology for offside reviews which can become apparent in the application.
Offside challenges were expected to be rare but that hasn’t been the case.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
- All-Star weekend is no more and no less than a promotional, marketing, sponsorship event for the NHL, so excuse me if I can’t find the logic in omitting Sidney Crosby — still the biggest name in the sport — from this year’s event in Nashville, Tenn., because there wasn’t room for him on Team Metropolitan.
Great for Nicklas Backstrom that he can play three-on-three with his linemate Alex Ovechkin, but would it not have piqued some intrigue to have had No. 87 and No. 8 together as a forward unit?
Wayne Gretzky with Mario Lemieux? Nah, let’s watch Gretzky and Jari Kurri, like we do every game.
- So let me get this straight: Mike Richards committed such a grievous act that the Kings, last June, were permitted by the NHL to void the final five years and $22 million of his contract for “material breach,” an act unprecedented in league history…
… Yet he was permitted by the league to sign a one-year pro-rated $1M free agent deal with Washington this week without any attached discipline even though the center — confirmed by The Post as previously having been placed in Stage One of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse Program — still faces charges for possession of a controlled substance while attempting to cross the Canadian-U.S. border?
Baffling, from beginning to end.
more topics including the Ryan Johansen trade...
from James Eli Shiffer of the Star Tribune,
There's a ferocious hockey fight going on in downtown Minneapolis these days. You'll find it at the federal courthouse, where some former players are suing the National Hockey League over the brain damage they suffered on the rink.
They accuse the NHL of promoting violence and turning a blind eye to the consequences: players who leave the game with shattered minds and wrecked bodies. The NHL contends it takes the problem seriously and has already changed the game to make it safer.
Whether this case ever goes to trial, or settles like the far better-known NFL players' lawsuit, is unknown. For now, the sides are scrimmaging over whether thousands of pages of internal NHL documents should be made public.
So far, those records have been shielded from view by a "protective order," a heavily used and much-abused power of judges to hide what's filed in court from public scrutiny.
Lawyers for the former players have already pounced on a number of e-mails that have emerged through the litigation, including this zinger from the NHL's deputy general counsel, discussing in 2009 the league's approach to retired players' long-term health: "I'd rather focus on the here and now and leave dementia issues up to the NFL!"
from Dave Hodge of TSN,
"Thumbs down" to what amounts to a rather large disconnect between NHL referees and the league's Department of Player Safety. The Washington Capitals are playing without two forwards, who were both recently suspended for acts that bothered NHL officials in the video room more than they did the refs on the ice. Zach Sill was given a two-game suspension for boarding and injuring Boston's Adam McQuaid, while Marcus Johansson will be out for two games after hitting Thomas Hickey of the Islanders in the head.
Sill received no penalty for hitting McQuaid at the time and Johansson sat in the penalty box for two minutes. The league's decision to suspend Johansson was a clear message that a minor penalty wasn't sufficient punishment.
So, there are a few things wrong here.
According to the league, the refs aren't making the proper calls. Corrections made after the fact do nothing to satisfy the teams that deserved better during the game.
Where video review and coach challenges are concerned, it's all about transparency and getting the calls right, but that's not the case with penalty calls. It should be.
continued plus a look at the Johansen/Jones trade...
from Denis P. Gorman at the News & Observer,
Walk into the office on the 12th floor of the of the league’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters and you would think you are in the middle of a hockey fan’s dream.
There is a wall-sized projection screen surrounded on the left and right by four large flat screen televisions mounted on a wall. Work stations are equipped with smaller televisions and laptops.
But the people in this room are not watching the televised games for fun. They are waiting to see if there are acts of violence on the ice that might require punishment beyond what the refs can levy.
“A good night for us is when nothing interesting happens,” says Patrick Burke, Director of Player Safety. “We don’t get to enjoy the game like a fan does or even like a lot of media does. We’re just sitting around, waiting for somebody to do something stupid.”
The department was created in 2011 when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman decided that the league’s increasing emphasis on dealing with violence created too much work for the Hockey Operations staff to handle and needed to administered by a separate agency.
from Darren Dreger of The Dreger Report,
Sources tell The Dreger Report the NHL's executive committee is planning a “special” meeting in New York City between now and the end of January. Expansion will be the primary agenda item as the league and its designated leadership continues to work through the information compiled from Las Vegas and Quebec City, the two official expansion applicants.
Details of the meeting are limited. It's highly unlikely the executive committee will emerge with a formal decision, but the fact the NHL has called this meeting suggests it is inching toward a conclusion. The meeting is designed to be somewhat secretive, so the NHL won't provide a post-meeting progress report or announce its direction until the process is finalized, which could still be months away.
Kay Whitmore, the NHL's goalie supervisor, continues to work with equipment manufacturers on developing slimmed-down prototypes of goaltenders’ pants, chest protectors, and shoulder/arm pads.
conitnued, more topics...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
A year into the making, the NHL and NHL Players' Association have launched an education initiative that features presentations to players on all 30 clubs aimed at raising awareness of domestic abuse and sexual assault and harassment.
The presentations began with three teams Monday and will run through late February with a specific focus on prevention, said Jessica Berman, the NHL's vice president of special projects and corporate social responsibility.
The NHL and NHLPA have been working on the education initiative since last year. While the Ray Rice 2014 incident in the NFL raised the issue to new heights in pro sports, the NHL had its own cases over the past year and a half, including Slava Voynov's arrest while with the Los Angeles Kings.
added 10:12am, Press release on the sweaters is below...
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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