Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
- Just about every coach would say no to pulling their goalie on a power play other than late in the game. They believe it’s too risky to leave the net empty in other situations. Their rigidity on this subject is exactly why a maverick should buck the trend and go six on four in the second period, for example, if his team is down by several goals. Coaches like predictability. They do not like havoc. Their penalty killers would not be prepared if they were outnumbered by two men in the second period of a 3-0 game. Coaches and players insist that gaining puck possession down two men is hard, to say nothing of scoring. Emptying the net would be risky. But it would be a calculated risk.
- When Steve Yzerman arrives in Boca Raton, Fla., for the GM meetings on Monday, he might have some visitors. A handful of GMs were puzzled because they weren’t aware of Brett Connolly’s availability on the trade market. It’s possible the Bruins might have had to a pay a higher price than two second-rounders to grab Connolly from the Lightning.
- Kris Russell is earning attaboys around the league for his shot-blocking. Through 65 games, the Calgary defenseman was credited with 228 blocks, 15 of which came in the Flames’ 4-3 shootout win over the Bruins March 5. The thing with blocks, however, is that they emphasize how much time a player spends in his own zone. Duncan Keith, for example, had only 89 blocks through 65 games. But that’s partly because the Blackhawks are on the attack more with Keith on the ice than the Flames are with Russell.
more hockey topics...
The topics from Elliotte Friedman and Damien Cox of Sportsnet include the Joe Thornton situation in San Jose, the GM meetings, the KHL saying they will not participate in the World Cup and the last topic was college free agents.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
Next week at the GM meetings, the assembled minds will (once again) discuss the possibility of video replay review on goaltender interference.
There are several concerns with the idea. The NHL is always worried about games going longer. When the commissioner saw people leaving Madison Square Garden during the dry scrape, it was gone faster than a Kardashian marriage. There is always debate about who should oversee the review.
There is this beautiful control centre in Toronto that is now being copied by MLB and the NBA. Shouldn’t it be there? But others worry about the officials having a better feel on-site, and don’t want an “eye in the sky” deciding everything.
And there’s the age-old question: how many types of plays are going to be eligible for review?
If they don’t mind, a suggestion. A compromise.
A couple of years ago, the league gave the officials permission to huddle as a group before making a final on-ice ruling about disputed goals or plays. It was a smart idea. Last week, there were two critical examples on crucial games for the teams involved.
continued including 30 Thoughts...
from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
Ray Ferraro, the TSN hockey analyst, was prepping for a broadcast recently when the starkness of the change struck him.
“I’m looking at the game notes, copying down the number of power play goals teams have. And I’m like, ‘There aren’t many power play goals anymore,’ ” Ferraro said. “I’m thinking, ‘Didn’t teams used to have, like, a power play goal a game?’ ”
They did, indeed. As recently as 2005-06, the average NHL contest saw clubs combine for about two power play goals. But 10 seasons on from the post-lockout crackdown on obstruction, teams are combining for about half as many — 1.1 a game. The downturn in man-advantage offence can be attributed to a few things, the improvement of the league-average save percentage from .901 to .914 among them. But it’s largely the product of a gradual decline in the number of power-play opportunities being handed out by referees. This year, the teams are averaging just 3.1 power-play chances a game, the lowest number in at least 50 years according to hockey-reference.com.
Some see it as a sweet spot. In the bulk of a decade since the “new” NHL produced a freer-flowing version of the game — and with it an historic high of nearly 12 power-play opportunities per game in 2005-06 — the referees have used their whistles more sparingly. Some are happily applauding.
“I think every coach in this league appreciates how the games are being called right now,” Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the St. Louis Blues, was saying recently. “The referees are allowing us to play.”
I've been saying in this space for 14 years: If you want more goals, you have to make the net bigger or get goalies in space-age/ultra-safe padding that is smaller, especially the jersey. Jack Black should get the scientists working not only on the Tube Technology, but also this tender technology.
I've been skeptical that the NHL can go backward in terms of equipment type and size because of possible lawsuits/unsafe-work claims. That's why I've advocated a slightly bigger net (an inch or so) to offset human size (we are getting bigger and likely will continue to get bigger) and improved skill and performance at the position.
Baseball lowered the mound, basketball took out hand checking, added a 3-point line (that's more for comebacks, leveling the playing field and exciting game-ending shots than pure production) and the NFL made it more difficult to defend. Is it a coincidence that the popularity of college and NFL football has exploded as offense and the passing game exploded, making stars out of quarterbacks? Even golf has gotten smart and added the drivable par-4 at most tournaments.
Imagine if the NHL did that with its most talented and marketable. When a goalie -- a player who stands on one tiny slither of the playing surface -- is being pushed as MVP of a league, I believe something is wrong.
-John Buccigross of ESPN where you can read more as he answered some questions via Twitter.
from Tim Leone of PennLive,
He said he made the decision to retire following the 2013-14 season.
"I'm ready to go," Devorski said. "It's so fast out there now. Once I said I'm done, I realize that I am done. And I see the guys that are coming up and how fast and strong they are."
The final tour has been nostalgic and sentimental, filled with farewells to buildings and members of the NHL community.
"Going up to guys and coaches," Devorski said, "saying, 'Hey, I'm not going to see you again.'"
He said he had to stop Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville two weeks ago.
"He said, 'Hey, you know ...,'" Devorski said. "I said, 'Hey, I've still got you two more games. I'm not saying my good-byes yet.'"
Monday night's Edmonton at Detroit game marked his final contest involving Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock.
"There's a lot of good guys out there you want to say good-bye to," Devorski said. "There's a lot of good players. That part of it, yeah, it's kind of tough. But I'm kind of looking forward to the end."
via Darren Dreger tweets,
Video review for goalie interference and 3 on 3 OT consideration about the more interesting items expected on the agenda in Boca.
Also expect Flames gm, Brad Treliving to carry Burke's torch into the meetings and revisit a proposal for 1 min penalties in OT.
The NHL General Managers Meeting is March 16-18 in Boca Raton, FLA.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Romasko was so excited about his NHL debut, he couldn’t take a pregame nap. Devorski asked if he was going to sleep.
“No,” he said. “I read rule book.”
Joe Louis Arena was the perfect venue. The Red Wings were among the leaders in bringing over players from Russia. They had the Russian Five. They had the first Russian winner of the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player, Sergei Fedorov. Romasko’s first hockey coach used to tell the team he once had a young player named Vladimir Konstantinov.
Romasko dropped the first puck, with Russian star Pavel Datsyuk lined up for the draw. He called that first penalty – high-sticking on the Wings’ Marek Zidlicky. Then he called the second penalty – roughing on the Oilers’ Ryan Hamilton. Devorski reassured him, telling him those were the kinds of calls he had to make.
As the game went on, Devorski was impressed. Man, the guy could skate. He could sprint forward and glide backward effortlessly, keeping up with the play, finding angles to view the action.
“I’m watching him tonight like, ‘Oh, geez. No wonder I’m leaving’,” Devorski said.
from Ray Brewer of the Las Vegas Sun,
The group attempting to bring a National Hockey League expansion franchise to Las Vegas hit another milestone in their season-ticket deposit drive.
Hockey Vision Las Vegas announced today deposits for more than 8,000 season tickets have been secured since the campaign launched Feb. 10. They are aiming for deposit money for 10,000 season tickets.
“This announcement is great news,” said Bill Foley, the Florida businessman who heads Hockey Vision Las Vegas, in a statement. “The goal of the season ticket drive is to demonstrate the long-term viability of an NHL franchise in Las Vegas. Securing more than 8,000 season ticket deposits – in less than one month – helps demonstrate that Las Vegas wants hockey. There is significant momentum in this campaign and we are looking forward to the day we can announce that we have hit our goal.”
from Martin Merk of IIHF.com,
Yevgeni Romasko called his last KHL game between Salavat Yulayev Ufa and SKA St. Petersburg (3-1) on 26th January, soon after his 33rd birthday.
Few knew then that it would be his farewell game in Russia, but a few days later Romasko was back to work in North America. In a few hours’ time, he is set to take to the ice in Detroit for a game between the Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers, an assignment that will make him the first Russian referee in history to call an NHL game.
It’s a historical milestone that’s been years in the making, but for Romasko, his journey to the NHL began when he landed in North America in late 2014, officiating a couple of AHL games in November and December before returning to Russia.
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