Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
TSN conducted a flash survey of NHL general managers to get a sense where they currently stand on the issue - and it’s clear that change will not come easily.
Asked if they favoured “stiffer punishment” for any player who fights, only two of the 18 executives who responded to the survey said yes. And of those two, neither said they would be in favor of automatically ejecting any player who fights in an NHL game.
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
So when it comes to the topic of the day — what to do about fighting in hockey — the general manager of the Stanley Cup defending champions will admit two things: Personally, he’s not opposed to two equally matched players dropping the gloves and pitching knuckles in the heat of a moment. (Fans enjoy it, he said.) But it’s time.
Time for the NHL to open its mind and ask tough questions because things have changed. They changed the moment 21-year-old Senior A defenceman Don Sanderson died as a result of a hockey fight. Even before that tragic incident, there were shifts and nagging trends that caught the eye.
Update 1:58pm ET (alanah): From Jeff Marek at CBC,
One side has been labeled “dinosaurs” and the other, “pansies”.
Both labels are inaccurate and do nothing more than shut down debate and polarize opinion even further. When I start to hear name-calling I tend to feel the debate has run its course don’t you? Which is probably where we’re at once again with the fighting discussion.
*original post time was 8:15am ET
According to La Presse, former NHL head coach Pat Burns has been diagnosed with cancer for a third time.
The report indicates Burns was told of the news earlier this month when he returned from the World Junior Hockey Championship in Ottawa.
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
The NHL is experimenting with different-shaped posts and crossbars to see if more shots that normally clang off the iron might instead be directed into the net.
It’s a way the league might be able to increase scoring without changing the size of the nets.
Mike Murphy, the league’s vice-president of hockey operations, described the new post as a “teardrop” shape, like the rim of a paper coffee cup that has been squeezed.
The league did its first testing of the new nets at the Air Canada Centre during yesterday’s Leaf practice, filming the workout to see how pucks reacted when they hit the posts. A DVD of the experiment will be studied internally and then passed on to the league’s general managers.
“It’s a little bit of research and development to see if, without changing the size of the nets, we can make the nets more rewarding offensively,” said Murphy.
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
Obama said that the challenges for America are many, but that “those values upon which our success depends - honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.”
It takes both leadership and co-operation, but the hockey world could also live by those words.
If it did both we and the game would be better for it.
New officials’ uniforms from Reebok to be unveiled at the All Star Game in Montreal this weekend. From Market Watch:
Features on the officials’ uniforms include stretch mesh in the underarm and back of the jerseys, a zipper-less neckline, numbers on the back and sleeve and an enhanced Referee arm bar design to allow for greater on-ice visibility. The uniform also features a microphone channel that allows the officials to maneuver seamlessly across the ice with their microphones securely fastened to them.
Today on NHL Home Ice XM204, Paul Kukla will be joining Mick Kern and Dan Blakeley of the War Room to talk about the All Star Game, about the NHL in general, and to take phone calls and answer question from hockey fans.
Paul will be on at approximately 11:25 am ET, but the show runs from 11-12pm. If you don’t already have an XM subscription, you can register for a free, 3-day trial, here.
Update 2:07pm ET: Here is the audio of Paul’s conversation on XM Radio this morning.
Note: Original post-time was 10:00am ET
Over at NHL.com, I take a look at the 2nd half of the regular season. The race is on for the playoffs!
As you know, my life is consumed with hockey. I check websites, listen to online hockey radio stations and watch as many games as possible on a nightly basis.
Lately, I have been hearing and reading the words “Top 5 player”. “He is one of the top 5 players at his position”, “without a doubt, he is a top 5 player”. Well, I have heard at least 40 names lately that are in the ‘Top 5” How can that be, only five players can be in the top 5, right?
So, and I am asking you to go into this with an open mind, take your ‘homer glasses’ off and name your Top 5. Let’s break it down by forward, defense and goal and to clarify, you can include last season into this equation, but can’t go back any farther than that.
List your Top 5 in the comments below.
from Katie Thomas of the New York Times,
WHITBY, Ontario — As a rookie defenseman for the Whitby Dunlops, a storied amateur hockey team in this Toronto suburb, Donald Sanderson impressed his teammates as a passionate and intense competitor.
Every time the puck dropped, the 21-year-old Sanderson shed his otherwise fun-loving demeanor and focused on the game. He was the type of guy, teammates said, who seemed to care more about the team than he did for himself.
“He was fierce,” said Matt Armstrong, an assistant coach. “He would do anything it took to win the game.”
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Fighting – from its role in hockey to whether it has a future in the game – will be up for debate when the NHL’s general managers meet in March.
“When we review a rule, we review all aspects of it, including the obvious and the not so obvious,” said Colin Campbell, the NHL’s director of hockey operations. “There are some aspects to fighting we would like to ask the GMs about and we will leave no stone unturned.”
While Campbell believes questions about fighting need to be asked, Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has his answers ready.
“I think it’s a very important historical and present part of our game,” said Burke. “If it comes to a vote, Toronto is certainly not going to vote to eliminate fighting. That’s certainly not going to happen while I’m here….”
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 email@example.com