Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Lyle Richardson (Spector) at FoxSports:
With the NHL trade deadline less than a month away and the race for playoff berths in both conferences heating up, several teams could soon find themselves in the market for roster depth to improve their postseason chances.
Here’s a look at several of the Eastern Conference clubs struggling to nail down playoff positions. We’ll examine the Western teams next week.
Montreal Canadiens: They’ve blown hot and cold throughout this season and have only two victories in their last seven games since mid-January. GM Bob Gainey signaled a month ago he was interested in adding an experienced puck-moving defenseman. With top-scoring center Robert Lang out for the season he might also need a first- or second-line center. Ignore those silly rumors of Gainey selling the farm for Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier. That’s not going to happen.
From Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News:
Hockey and Black History Month have a sort of awkward relationship. Inevitably, February serves as the convenient time to tell stories of diversity in the NHL’s past and present, but also consequently reminds the reader how these plotlines are largely ignored during the other 11 months of the year.
This presents much hand-wringing amongst members of hockey’s media, who, by and large, have the diversity of a John Mayer fan club. The result? Wishy-washy columns about how skin color shouldn’t matter anymore backed up by testimonials from black NHLers forced to confirm a loaded question: Hockey’s not racist, right? Your teammates, the 20-plus guys you see every day for nine months and will no doubt hear your answer to this question, aren’t racist, right?
Talk about a Catch-22.
From Brian Compton at NHL.com:
With many successful coaches in the NHL, it can be difficult for aspiring coaches to reach the most prominent League in the sport. This season, though, there’s been somewhat of a breakthrough, and it’s due to the number of talented coaches the American Hockey League has produced.
Entering this season, nine coaches who began the 2007-08 campaign behind an AHL bench were at the top level. With only 30 teams in the NHL. Just last week, Cory Clouston became the ninth when he took over for Craig Hartsburg behind the Ottawa Senators bench.
NHL.com takes a closer look at the 10 AHL head coaches who have moved to the NHL this season.
Cory Clouston— Cory Clouston was at the halfway point in his second AHL season with the Binghamton Senators when he got the call from Ottawa General Manager Bryan Murray to replace Craig Hartsburg.
continued… with the other nine coaches who’ve made the NHL jump this past year
from the CP via TSN,
The head of the NHL Players’ Association believes it’s time to consider a rule mandating helmet use during fights, and to examine the role of one-dimensional enforcers in the game.
While a “clear majority” of players want fighting to remain a part of hockey, Paul Kelly feels his constituency is open to new restrictions on how the gloves are dropped.
“A couple that we’ve talked about that ought to be looked at anyway is, do you consider a rule whereby players need to keep a helmet on during the course of a fight, and perhaps require officials to step in if a helmet comes off during a fight,” Kelly told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s Conn Smythe Celebrities Dinner and Auction….
Kelly, however, didn’t stop there.
Acknowledging the role fighting has in policing the tenor of play on the ice, he added that so-called “staged fights” between two players with skill sets limited to chucking knuckles may no longer have a place on the ice.
From John Grigg at The Hockey News:
This week we’re paying homage to those players who were repeatedly told they were too small to play big-time hockey. The one’s who were passed over and pushed aside (figuratively) before making it to the best league in the world. This is THN.com’s Top-10 NHL Little Guys. [...]
10. Nigel Dawes, Left Wing, New York Rangers, 5-foot-9
The diminutive Dawes is having a disappointing sophomore season, but is one of just four players with a positive plus-minus on the Blueshirts. He’s on pace to put up almost the same totals as last season, but his points-per-game pace is down.
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com, NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman met some of the top leaders in the Canadian business community at The Business Lecture Series presented by the Speakers Forum at The National Club in Toronto, a downtown institution founded in 1874. Bettman met the hockey issues of the day head-on in a 20-minute speech that was followed by 20 minutes of interaction with the audience.
In each forum, he said the NHL is a vibrant business, projected to experience real economic growth somewhere in the five percent range this season. Bettman also acknowledged the NHL is not immune to the challenges affecting the global economic climate.
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
,,,Granted, the Flyers-Blues game was over the top, but in the 12 games played Saturday night, there were a total of 139 penalties called.
Does anyone but me think that this is out of hand or believe that referees today are trying to be a bigger part of the game than they should be? I’ve been on this rant before, especially after the lockout when the obstruction rules went into play. It was crazy in the first few months and then seemed to settle down.
Now it seems crazy again, and some of these calls - sorry, make that most - are really nitpicking, borderline BS….
This game is supposed to be decided by five-on-five play. Special teams are a huge part of it, but they should not be the determining factor in every single one. The league has to start looking at this again and find a way to rein it back in.
February is Hockey is for Everyone Month as the NHL recognizes the diversity of players and fans.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
...because NHL owners couldn’t bear the prospect of giving a portion of their revenue-share money to the Blackhawks back in 2005 when Bill Wirtz was doing his very best to drive his historic franchise into the ground, they concocted a clause in the CBA that prohibits teams in television markets with more than 2.5 million homes from eligibility to participate in Bettman’s socialism.
It is a clause that disqualifies the Islanders, even though they are about as big-market as Edmonton, and far more needy. It’s a clause that discriminates against the Islanders, even though they are as much in need of aid as the Coyotes, who are receiving advances from the NHL even while employing the top-paid coach in the league.
more and a few more hockey topics too…
Today, check out the Inside Hockey Radio Show with hosts James Murphy and Todd Carroll and their guests: Brad Park (NHL Hall of Famer), Derek Wills (Hamilton Bulldogs play-by-play), Jeremiah and Josh Gordon (World Outdoor Hockey Championships), Bob Snow (NHL.com) w/the Campus Buzz brought to you by Suffolk University, Mark Hughes (Easton Hockey), and Conor McKenna (Team 990).
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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