Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
“Shots from the perimeter,” San Jose coach Ron Wilson was saying on Wednesday, “they’re no longer dangerous.”
He could have said that 10 years ago, and likely did.
So the NHL is now officially chasing its tail. The major plank of the lockout rebuild—an effort to increase offence—is the most worrisome bit of regression.
Through Tuesday’s games, the average NHL game featured 5.4 goals. It was 6.2 per game at this point of the first post-lockout season,
“I told them expressly, it is my view that any labour interruption in this sport would be devastating,” Kelly said, “and that the public, particularly in the United States, would turn away in disgust. And that we owe it to the game and to the fans to work through issues and to avoid any discussions of lockouts and strikes. I sensed a positive agreement from the owners to that comment.”
read more from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail, including the league may look at an 84 game season. The players will approve it as long as the exhibition season is shortened.
added 7:50am, from Terry Frei at All Things Avs,
...but when word arrived tonight of the NHL Board of Governors’ decision on a scheduling format for next season, I thought it was a joke. The much-reviled format is only being tweaked in what is essentially a return to the pre-lockout format, not overhauled. What the league needed to do first and foremost — send every team to every arena every season — is not part of the plan. The league is telling the fans they are No. 1 — but with the wrong finger.
Everything else being equal, this is going to cost the Avalanche and other Western Conference franchises even more season ticket accounts.
The National Hockey League’s Board of Governors have approved the sale of the Nashville Predators to a local group headed by David Freeman.
The Freeman group is expected to close on the sale within the next few days.
The group came together to make an offer to owner Craig Leipold after he originally announced a deal to sell his team in May to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie for $220 million. Balsillie’s deal fell through in June when he started taking season-ticket deposits in Hamilton.
Marketing plan by the new ownership group noted earlier today on KK.
From Mark Spector at the National Post,
“I understand the different arguments to keep the schedule the way it is, the travel and the expenses, but we need more variety,” said Colorado’s John-Michael Liles. “If Ovechkin is out west, it’ll draw more people to the buildings. There’s a lot of great players in the West, but the ones in the East - maybe seeing them only once every three years, that’s not right.
“Crosby came into our building this year, got two goals in the first period, and our fans were going, ‘All right, we should get this guy out west more often.’ We’re still talking about the spinarama move Crosby put on Rob Blake in Crosby’s rookie year when we went to Pittsburgh. Blakie came to our bench and said, ‘What was that?’ “
Updated 8:48pm ET— From TSN:
For its new-look schedule, the National Hockey League will be going to an old look.
Sources tell TSN the NHL has approved a schedule that will have each team play 24 divisional games, 40 in-conference matchups, 15 games against non-conference teams and three wild card games against out of conference teams.
The new schedule, which received the necessary two-thirds majority vote, will swing into play next season. The format - which was used prior to the NHL lockout - allows for every team to play every team at least once in a season, but it would still be every other year before a player like Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin would play in every building.
Update 9:30pm ET— More from Pierre LeBrun at the CP (via Globe & Mail)
I believe most of you have had enough Leafs talk in the last week or so, but Spector covers it today along with some trade and signing talk…
from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
I’m working on a project where I need to study old playoff scoring stats, so the NHL’s stats whiz Greg Inglis has been digging in its archives and he sent me a batch, which I’ll now share with you. These stats aren’t readily available elsewhere. They’re not in the NHL Offiicial Guide and Record Book.
So, here we go, Top Five Stanley Cup playoffs scoring stats 1927-49.
NHL PLAYOFF POINTS LEADERS, 1927-1949
from the Windsor Star,
Last season, defenceman Sean Hill was suspended 25 games by the league after testing positive for steroids.
For his attack on Moore’s brother, Bertuzzi - like Shore a player with a history of violence - missed only 20 games.
In other words, in a span of more than 70 years, not much has changed when it comes to the NHL disciplining its violent offenders.
Hockey remains the only sport where the rules vary as the game progresses. Penalties in football and fouls in basketball are called the same way no matter how much time remains on the clock.
“Make the rules black and white and enforce them as they are written,” is Moore’s challenge to the NHL.
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
“There are a lot of Next Ones,” said David Andrews, chief executive of the American Hockey League, the N.H.L.’s top minor league. “And that’s not to say John Tavares isn’t. But there are 200 first- and second-round draft picks in the A.H.L., and none of them thought they were going to play in the American Hockey League.”
For now, Tavares deals with his fame by staying in a protective circle formed by his team, his coach and his family. His father, Joe, and mother, Barbara, and his two younger sisters make the drive from their hometown, Oakville, for most of Oshawa’s games.
from the Examiner,
Resch, who resides in Lyndhurst during the hockey season, signed copies of his new book, “Chico Resch’s Tales from the Devils Ice,” which he penned with Holmdel-native Michael Kerwick….
Donna Stralkus, a Devils fan from East Brunswick, said she is eager to read Resch’s book.
“I’m interested in the locker room stories and the stuff you don’t catch on the sports pages,” she said.
Kerwick said that the book is an inside look at the Devils team from the perspective of a former player who was with the team during its first four years in the Garden State.
“It’s a collection of stories from Chico’s time with the Devils to his times announcing Devils games, and all of the games in between,” he said.
If you are interested in the book, “Chico Resch’s Tales from the Devils Ice,” it is available at Amazon.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Here’s a suggestion for the governors to chew over before the Pittsburgh Penguins get too far along in their plans for a new building or before the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames complete their construction plans.
Why not allow clubs with new buildings on the horizon to adopt a slightly larger ice surface than the current 200-by-85-foot sheet that is standard in the NHL? The idea of expanding the width by as little as five feet makes sense in an era when players are bigger, stronger and faster. Almost every time someone mentions making the game better, that’s a talking point, that you need to go not necessarily to the international width (100 feet, too wide by some standards), but to 90 feet, just so it isn’t so crowded out there.
This topic was brought up on the NHL Hour yesteday, and there was no mention of altering the ice surface for new buildings. Bettman did say changing the ice surface in current rinks would also change the site lines for the fans in the seats, so no to changing the ice dimensions in current rinks.
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