Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adam Thompson of the Wall Street Journal,
People are starting to watch again, and they should be. The game is as fast and fun as it’s been in years, and this year’s playoffs have made good use of its young stars. Names like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin continue to inch into crossover territory with each impossible deke, thread-the-needle pass and goal….
The NHL still has a laundry list of problems, from its placement on the still-obscure Versus to its continuing inability to penetrate much of the Sun Belt. Its outdoor game in Buffalo between the Penguins and Sabres lived up to the hype – but the burden remains for the league to prove that wasn’t a one-off success.
The league and union ought to swallow their pride, retreat from a few markets that have consistently failed to gain traction – the NHL remains an afterthought in Nashville and South Florida – and, for the love of all things decent, permanently table any talk of further expansion to hockey hinterlands like Kansas City and Las Vegas. A game already taking positive steps would look even better with a more concentrated talent pool free of talent-poor fourth-liners.
All that said, the present game looks great. With Mr. Cherry shouting this to Americans at the top of his lungs, maybe a few more will notice.
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com,
Do I really need to know, and why should I even care, how many bags of peanuts will be sold, or who has the greatest team-orientated men’s room, complete with flashing goal light? Soon I expect an overhead view from the local news chopper chasing a car on the highway that is displaying the home team’s flag flapping from the window.
There will soon be pictures plastered on the web of five-year-old kids, with their faces painted, a feature of some guy who mowed the team logo into his lawn, even live broadcasts by a radio station giving away free tickets to anyone who can do the stupidest thing involving worms and raw eggs.
Drop the puck. I am ready for hockey and just hockey.
(I dunno, Paul. Personally, I kinda like the idea of U.S. television stations so excited about the NHL playoffs that they’ve got choppers chasing down cars with team flags…!)
NEW YORK (May 7, 2008)—To venerate its past, to celebrate its present and to anticipate its future, the National Hockey League has scheduled four major events in conjunction with the 2008 Stanley Cup Final:
* The League will honor members of the Detroit Red Wings dynasty that won four Stanley Cups in a six-year stretch from 1950 to 1955. Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Red Kelly, Alex Delvecchio, Marty Pavelich, Johnny Wilson and Marcel Pronovost have been invited to attend a dinner on an off-day during the first week of the Stanley Cup Final.
from John Buccigross of ESPN,
Back to the “Hockey players are the best guys” thing. I have worked at ESPN for close to 12 years, and I can tell you this: Jalen Rose is as nice and pleasant as Darren Pang. John Kruk is as fun to golf with as Ray Ferraro. I filmed one of those “This is SportsCenter” commercials with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson last week. While waiting for some other part of the commercial to be done with the Vikings mascot, Peterson and I sat in an office and talked alone for about a half hour. It reminded me of hanging out with Dany Heatley at the 2002 YoungStars game in Los Angeles. Both were humble, grounded and completely in love with their jobs.
Yes, hockey players are human and no different from other professional athletes. Uncensored hockey history would show that (depending on the topic we were talking about) some players cheat on their wives, have children out of wedlock, get in bar fights, smoke crack, drive while intoxicated, run through an AHL city naked, overpay Ted Saskin, and jump into the stands and fight fans, along with other crimes and misdemeanors. They are the same as other athletes in that regard.
But I think the cliché lives because of hockey’s otherworld status among most in the mass media.
From Marty Henwood at Hockey.com:
How many times must it be said that the NHL shootout sucks?
No, I didn’t stutter. It sucks, much like a working Hoover. The shootout should go the way of lava lamps, ‘80’s hair and Thomas Dolby. Just gone, yesterday’s news. Period.
Maybe I’m in the minority, but the shootout just doesn’t do it for me. They’re bad enough in the regular season.
But don’t even get me started if you are one of those who actually believe, while sober, that the league should mandate shootouts in place of these overtime marathons that last three, four, five extra periods.
NEW YORK (May 6, 2008)—Following is the order of selection for the first 26 picks of the 2008 Entry Draft, June 20-21 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.
The four remaining selections in the first round of the draft—picks 27 through 30—will be allocated based on the results of the upcoming Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final.
NEW YORK/TORONTO (May 6, 2008)—The following nine referees and nine linesmen have been named to work the third round of the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs. Their career playoff games are also listed (updated through round one).
Bill McCreary (262); Paul Devorski (144); Brad Watson (88); Kevin Pollock (78); Dan O’Halloran (57); Marc Joannette (49); Kelly Sutherland (28); Mike Leggo (25); Mike Hasenfratz (24).
Brian Murphy (173); Brad Lazarowich (162); Jean Morin (131); Jay Sharrers (111); Shane Heyer (94); Tim Nowak (83); Pierre Racicot (80); Derek Amell (47); Steve Miller (30).
from Dan Daly of the Washington Times,
Caps owner Ted Leonsis, still binding his wounds after the loss to Philadelphia, isn’t entirely supportive of the NHL’s new penal code. “I think in OT of [the] playoffs there should only be penalties that impede a goal being scored. No ticky-tack calls,” old school Ted said in an e-mail yesterday.
He’s hardly the only one who holds that opinion. Indeed, the officials themselves seem torn between The Way Hockey Used To Be and The Way The Board Of Governors Wants It To Be. In the Dallas-San Jose finale, for instance, they went more than an entire game — 70 minutes, 52 seconds, to be exact — without sending anybody to the box. Then they called hooking against the Stars’ Nicklas Grossman in the third OT and tripping against Campbell in the fourth. San Jose couldn’t cash in on its power play, but Dallas (or rather, Brenden Morrow) did.
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
Billionaire Jim Balsillie contacted the owner of the Buffalo Sabres about buying the team earlier this season, a sign the Research in Motion co-founder is still seeking an NHL franchise after two previous high-profile flameouts.
Balsillie phoned Sabres owner Tom Golisano around Christmas, according to a source familiar with the matter. Golisano indicated he would be open to selling the club – but not if Balsillie intended to relocate it.
From David Yasvinski at the National Post,
Sunday’s game was the longest since the Vancouver Canucks beat the Stars 5-4 at the 78:06 mark of overtime on April 12, 2007, but it was well short of the almost two hours of extra time Detroit needed to beat Montreal 1-0 on March 24, 1936.
A look at the 10 longest overtime games in NHL history:
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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