Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
The bottom line is that Bettman did it his way and it worked. The National Hockey League that was on display here this weekend is a far happier, healthier place than it was in the fall of 2004 when Bettman locked out the NHLPA.
All our dire predictions that Bettman was going to trash the league, that the fans would never come back, that a league like the NHL could never survive another labour stoppage, much less a lost season? Forgotten.
Just like all those hundreds of emails I received during the lockout from fans who declared that they would never, ever buy a ticket to a NHL game again.
Stupid me. I believed them. Bettman didn’t, which is why he is the commissioner and I am an ink-stained media wretch.
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
...But that party’s over.
There will still be glorious hockey celebrations – imagine Canada winning two gold medals at next year’s Vancouver Winter Games – but no more spectacular bashes that suggest the revenue streams are as endless as the water that flows here from the Great Lakes.
“We are having a good season,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told a news conference here on Saturday.
“It’s a wonder no one threw a shoe at him,” a francophone reporter muttered.
from Daryl Reaugh of Razor With An Edge,
Let me get this straight, the league office endorses NHL teams hiding injuries from the media and fans or disclosing them as very vague “upper body” or “lower body” – but its not OK for a player to have one of these slight or near-phantom injuries keep him from attending the corporate elbow-rubbing autograph session known as All-Star Weekend.
Hmmmm. That’s curious.
Does the “H” in NHL stand for hypocrisy?
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The All-Star weekend isn’t going away, though, as much as some reporters might grumble about having to cover things such as the trick shooting event. It’s an important date on the NHL calendar when it comes to corporate schmoozing. And if you’d seen the way the city of Montreal embraced the event—the Bell Centre was packed to watch practice, along with the rest of the events—even the skeptics among us would’ve had to say there’s still a place for it.
But if the All-Star Game is to have its place, the league must deal with problem areas, and chief among them is the players and how they end up there.
If fans want to vote like crazy for their hometown heroes, as they did in Montreal by selecting Carey Price, Mike Komisarek, Alexei Kovalev and Andrei Markov to the starting lineup for Sunday’s game, fair enough.
But let’s stop rewarding the undeserving when the rest of the rosters are filled out.
added 9:46pm, from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail,
Those of us who grew up watching hockey couldn’t have thought anything less of Gary Bettman than we already did before this past weekend.
But it was remarkable, nonetheless, to see the NHL commissioner turtle on the topic of fighting, give a Canadian player a pass for skipping the all-star game and then turn around and give paying customers a slap in the face by suspending Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk for not taking part in Sunday’s glorified afternoon skate?
added 10:24pm, from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
In future, before anyone bitches, moans and characterizes the All-Star Game as a Mel Brooks-caliber farce and near-total waste of perfectly good eyesight, they ought to attend one in a real hockey city like the home of the Habs.
It’s over and soon we will be back to regular season hockey.
The city of Montreal deserves high-fives all around for being such a great host city.
Now, the games get serious again and the race for the 2nd season is about to begin.
from Tom Gulitti at NorthJersey.com,
The time has come to scrap the entire weekend.
If the lure of Montreal and the history of the Canadiens isn’t enough to save the event, nothing else will.
There will be no All-Star game next year anyway because it is an Olympic year. Why bother coming back in 2011?
The All-Star game already has been supplanted by the Winter Classic outdoor game as the centerpiece event of the NHL’s regular season. The league can build the outdoor game into an even bigger event and use it to showcase the sponsorship deals that usually are highlighted on All-Star weekend.
from Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province,
We know the game-day skate was already well established in the NHL by the mid-1970s.
What is less clear is how the ritual became so entrenched in the fabric of the league.
After contacting a number of former NHL players and managers, it appears the skate grew out of a number of factors, including: a natural progression from morning meetings at the rink on game day; growing rosters that meant “extra” players needed to skate when not playing that night; and even some influence from the Soviet national team—who were known for their hard practices the morning of a game.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
• How hilarious, meanwhile, that Detroit’s GM Ken Holland, who led the misguided charge to limit information released to the media concerning player injuries, now believes it appropriate to tell the world that one guy’s got a bad hip and the other’s got a bad elbow. Guess that whole thing about protecting his players isn’t quite as critical as Holland posited last June.
• Tampa Bay management can deny, deny, deny in the best tradition of all sorts of scoundrels, but it is most certainly true that 2008 first-overall draft pick Steven Stamkos is available for trade, at least according to two franchises that have been in contact with the Lightning and have no reason to fib about it.
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
...despite the ‘all’s well’ speeches from both management and the player’s union, the undercurrent is one of great unhappiness with what’s gone down so far.
Sources told Sportsnet.ca that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s decision to suspend Detroit Red Wings Nik Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk for bowing out of the festivities was viewed as a challenge to NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly. Conversely Kelly’s decision to use the gathering to announce that the players had voted not to reopen the contract and his thoughts on international play was a partial affront to the Commissioner as it came on his showcase turf.
According to one source the player’s union felt Bettman’s suspension was a part of a hastily devised policy that came without input from the PA and that it was arbitrary aas well as being patently unfair. They also felt Bettman’s statement on the players’ decision to extend the collective bargaining agreement was structured to read that he was pleased that the players were on board with the program as crafted by him in the wake of the lockout and that that was a subtle jab to let Kelly know who’s running the show here.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The NHL will indeed be taking their annual awards ceremony from downtown Toronto to the Las Vegas Strip.
A league source tells ESPN.com that plans are now coming into focus for the awards show to make its first visit to Las Vegas on June 18, shortly after the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs and before the NHL draft in Montreal.
The ceremony is expected to be hosted by the Palms Casino and Resort.
continued with a charity, celeb game…
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.
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