Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Darren Dreger at TSN,
Six of the 13 overtime games last year were decided in the first overtime period, while the remaining seven needed a second overtime period or longer.
No such marathons this year with the average overtime this year clocking in at 6:48, with 13 of the 14 games decided in the first 12 minutes and three ended by the winning teams first shot.
No one is complaining, but it’s a trend that is difficult to explain. Experts are required, coaches, managers, NHL executives.
One NHL coach contends lackluster goaltending is the reason why OT’s are ending so quickly. There may be something to that. Goalies have combined for a weak .880 save percentage in overtime this spring.
Of course now that Dreger’s addressed this, the basis of Murphy’s Law would argue that at least two games in the coming round are destined to go 6 periods or more, just to make up for the shortfall.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News writing about today’s Rangers/Penguins game…
I think the Hockey Gods are trying to call you out, Stephen Walkom. There can be no possible rationalization for your officials continuously putting their hands in their pockets in third periods of games.
I’m normally one of your biggest defenders, but what’s going on is casting everything – the officials, the players, and the game itself – in a not-so-positive light.
more on the game…
via the 2008 Stanley Cup Blog at CBC,
“We have made 200 to 250 calls on kicking plays,” (Mike) Murphy said. “What we have come to determine is that the difference between a kick and a deflection is the force of the puck. If the force of the puck was going to put it into the net at the same speed or a decreased speed, then there wasn’t a kick.
“But if the motion of the leg increases the force or speed of the puck, then we believe that is a kick. We believe (Morrow’s) kick propelled the puck forward and made it go into the net.”
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
You don’t have to be a Roone Arledge or Phil Mushnick to recognize the first thing that needs to be done on the USA-based hockey telecasts is to get rid of all the Americans who obviously have no idea how to produce and execute these shows and replace them with the Canadians who do such a superior job on all their networks.
Either that or bring in the people from MSG who year after year after year make Rangers New York Rangers games about the best watch there is on sports television - SNY Mets games are right there - and thus must have dual citizenships.
more NHL bits…
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL’s second-class status when it comes to arena dates and television schedules, on U.S. TV anyway, has resulted in a familiar problem in the playoffs. And it will get worse the deeper you go in the playoffs, where fatigue becomes a bigger factor with the players.
I’m talking about the back-to-back games, often in different cities, that are part of almost every playoff series.
The problem is that often NHL teams do not have first call on their arena’s availability, especially when that arena is shared with an NBA team.
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald,
I know the elimination of the Calgary Flames by the San Jose Sharks has naturally sucked some of the air out of the balloon hereabouts. And with the Toronto Maple Leafs out of the playoffs once again, they might as well not be happening for many east of the Lakehead. That’s understandable (in a pathetic sort of way).
But since when did Mr. Freeze put his glacial hand upon the rest of the post-season, cryogenically rendering the battle to win the Stanley Cup into a bad ice sculpture at some hillbilly wedding? Granted, the playoffs go on four weeks longer than any attention span this side of Stephen Hawking can bear.
But where’s the sizzle? Where’s the steak?
from the CP,
Tretiak says he’s hopeful that the NHL and European hockey federations can come to some sort of agreement on player transfers.
“I think there should be friendship between the NHL and the Russian leagues,” Tretiak said. “That is what I hope.”
Tretiak says his hope is that other Russian-born players are not denied a chance to play in North America as he was.
Sitting in Le Colisee Pepsi, where Tretiak played a handful of games, he says not playing in the NHL was his greatest regret.
May 2, 1967 • With the oldest lineup in Final history, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in Game Six to win the 1967 Stanley Cup. The Leafs’ roster included 42-year-old goalie Johnny Bower and 41-year-old defenseman Allan Stanley as well as seven others at least 30 years old.
Toronto center Red Kelly played his 65th game in Final competition, setting a Stanley Cup record later tied by Montreal’s Henri Richard.
*historical info courtesy of the NHL
*photo from Legends of Hockey.net
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
How much of a factor was fatigue in the slight, but discernible decline, in the overall performance of some of the NHL’s leading goaltending lights?
Or to put it another way, do NHL teams play their starting goaltenders too much in the regular season, only to discover there isn’t enough left in the tank to get them through four grueling playoff rounds?
more… *an in-depth look at goalie performance in the playoffs
From Michael Farber at Sports Illustrated,
And that is probably the most miraculous thing about the Cup: It has the unique ability to turn men into little boys.
Like the 6-year-olds they once were, NHLers really are playing for the trophy at the end of the season. Their salaries stop when the regular season does. There is, of course, a monetary prize, a playoff payout, that goes to all teams, but if you break it down per hour for the intense, all-consuming work the finalists will put in over eight weeks, they would probably make out just as well if they had been manning the deep fryer at a burger joint.
The game is distilled to its purest form during the playoffs. Stanley of Preston, whose farsighted vision was as long as his title, really did reward the top amateur team because in the spring, hockey is about the love of the game.
more… about what makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs special
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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