Kukla's Korner Hockey
Colorado Avalanche right wing Milan Hejduk, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending December 9.
One of many complaints that casual sports fans have about hockey is that there are too many “foreigners” in our league. Which, by the way, is utter bunk because they support the NBA’s European and Asian outreach, and the Major Leagues are now making Hispanic players the norm.
But, they do have a point. The NFL, a league with 99.9999999% Americans in it, is the man in the United States right now. The NHL needs some new and talented red, white and blue blood.
from Jason Kay of the Hockey News,
While I don’t believe hockey is in dire straits or in need of an overhaul, there are areas of concern that shouldn’t be glossed over.
Let’s start with what’s transpiring on the ice. The entertainment value this season is, on the whole, OK. I’ll give it a C+....
From this vantage point, it would seem there are more dud games now than during the season after the lockout ended and longer stretches within contests when not enough is happening to captivate the audience….
This doesn’t mean the NHL is on its deathbed; the product is still relatively solid and the bottom line isn’t brutal. But erosion is taking place, the U.S. market is still apathetic and it would be foolish for the game’s guardians to ignore the warning signs.
from Pat Connolly of the Daily News,
On the one hand are the hockey purists and more learned observers found mostly in Canada who like the game played hard and clean at high speeds.
On the other hand is the vastly larger number of American fans less enthused about game quality than physical violence, with insatiable appetites for bare-knuckle brawling.
With only six Canadian governors out of 30 sitting at the NHL board making decisions concerning the direction of the league, guess which side wins?
A prime example of how influential one governor can be is Bettman confidante and boardroom bully Ed Snider, owner of the Philadelphia Flyers, the team that has reinvented itself as the 1970s’ Broad Street Bullies.
But No trades!!!
Spector breaks down the latest trade talk. More denials than actual trades these days.
from Devon O’Neil of the Boston Globe,
By 1996, most of the sports world - and, for that matter, the rest of the world - had forgotten about Willie O’Ree. Which explains how he found himself working in San Diego at the historic Hotel del Coronado as a security guard, making about $9 an hour, a soft-spoken black man with gray wisps of hair from the Canadian province of New Brunswick, creeping through his 60s politely and privately.
Every so often, O’Ree would bump into someone who knew who he was. Like the time before he took the job at the hotel, when he was assigned to work security for Michael Jordan at a pro-am golf tournament. Jordan grinned when he saw O’Ree. He knew he’d been the first black man ever to take the ice in an NHL game, that he was, as it’s said, the “Jackie Robinson of hockey.”
read on (take some time out to read this lengthy story) & more hockey bits.
Garry Bettman answered some fan email with Stan Fischler and Al Trautwig last night.
This was a 2-part Q & A and the first part can be viewed here...
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
Sweden’s hockey federation voted last night to formally sever ties to the IIHF agreement. Finnish Ice Hockey Federation managing director Heikki Hietanen says a similar discussion will take place Wednesday in Helsinki. Hietanen says Finnish teams are similarly vexed over losing young players to North American junior teams. He says Finnish teams also aren’t pleased the agreement sees them receive U.S. dollars as compensation. Euros would be a more appropriate currency, Hietanen says.
It’s troubling news for the NHL because free agency in countries like Russia, particularly, could prove elusive.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see every young NHL-calibre player basically forced to sign a long-term contract and never win the right to free agency,” says one NHL player agent with several Russian clients.
From the Nashville Predators,
Predators Holdings LLC announced today that the group’s purchase of the Nashville Predators and Powers Management (the company that operates the Sommet Center) for $193 million from Craig Leipold has completed, and the local ownership group will immediately take over the day-to-day operation of the National Hockey League team and the Sommet Center.
“On behalf of the ownership group, we are thrilled to complete the sale,” said David Freeman, chairman of Predators Holdings LLC. “We look forward to contributing to the Predators’ success on and off the ice and solidifying the franchise’s future in Nashville.”
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
Usually a pointless exercise, in the gridlocked NHL, except in the week of Scott Niedermayer’s return to the Anaheim Ducks, the team he helped to win the 2007 Stanley Cup. Before they can activate Niedermayer, the Ducks need to trade away a player signed to a contract through to the end of the 2008-09 earning around $900,000 to make the salary-cap numbers work. It would be easiest to move defenceman Mathieu Schneider, for a whole lot of reasons: First, Schneider was signed as Niedermayer’s replacement; with Niedermayer returning, the need to have him in the line-up is greatly reduced.
more… NHL talk, including Sid the Kid, Mark Recchi, etc.
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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