Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Adrian Dater at All Things Avs,
The NHL’s biggest problem in the U.S. remains an absolute lack of coverage from the talking heads on all the shouting columnist shows, and the sportscenter-style highlight shows. Coverage is through the roof still in Canada, and much of Europe, but not here. It will NOT surprise me one bit if, in 20 years or less, the NHL is primarily based in Canada and Europe. Anybody who doesn’t believe me should check out the numbers in European arenas for games, especially in the Super League in Russia - which is paying NHL-comparable salaries for most players now.
from James Fitzpatrick at About.com,
Just about every team is running hot and cold this season. In Ottawa, the once-mighty Senators are barely showing a pulse. The Devils couldn’t do anything right in October; now they can’t lose. Dallas fired the general manager a few weeks ago. Now the Stars lead the Pacific Division.
Atlanta, Montreal and Toronto are among the other cities where wins and losses come in bunches. Most other teams are ambling along at a win-one-lose-one pace. Carolina was pounded 8-1 by Buffalo (last in the Northeast Division) last weekend, and rebounded to beat the Rangers (first in the Atlantic) two days later.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
If you watch Hockey Night in Canada, you may assume there has been no increase in NHL goal scoring, despite the crackdown on restraining fouls.
And even if there has been a small improvement, you may believe it is attributable to the large number of power plays being called.
A big part of the Hockey Night message is: Zero tolerance has not helped improve the game offensively.
But the first assumption is wrong and the second is questionable.
from the CP via the Hockey News,
The Montreal Canadiens commemorated their 81 year-old rivalry with the Detroit Red Wings before the two Original Six teams played their only game of the season Tuesday.
It is that disparity in the NHL’s current schedule that has Red Wings Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay believing that Detroit will never have a similar rivalry with another team ever again.
Lindsay said Tuesday that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is to blame if attendance numbers are down in Detroit because fans in Hockeytown are sick of seeing teams like Columbus and Nashville so often every year.
“We had it for a couple of years there with Colorado and Detroit, but Bettman has taken advantage of Detroit because of it being a great hockey city and it being a well managed hockey team,” Lindsay said.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
In an era of pro leagues seemingly trying to curtail individualism through rules about what can’t be worn or done on the field, the NHL celebrates, even promotes, the goalie’s right to turn essential equipment into works of art.
“Like snowflakes and fingerprints, no two masks are alike anymore, which is fabulous for the goalies and fans,” says Frank Brown, the NHL’s group vice president for media relations.
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal, Lightning owner,
Bill Davidson, won’t do anything to hurt the team financially according to Tom Wilson.
“The only thing categorically I would say is that the odds of us going from spending $43 to $33 million are zero,” says Wilson. “It’s just not going to happen. We don’t have any interest in going back to that kind of program. The time you go back to that is when you’re awful, when you have no chance.” …
Bryan Murray has a dilemma: One of the Ottawa general manager’s goalies (Martin Gerber) is overpaid. And the other (Ray Emery) is undertalented.
more NHL bits from the Maven…
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
It’s only 18 months after National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman decided to shut down his league for a year, but already the lunacy of that move is clear.
The concept of a salary cap that would “level the playing field’ and “make the game better for the fans,” both of which were Bettman mantras during the dark days, was then and is now, nothing more than a fantasy.
Salaries have risen to the point that the average player earns after the lockout roughly what he earned before the lockout.
Question from anonymous (Westerville, Ohio): What is your scouting report on the Flyers this year?
Jones: Well, 22 to 24 of the teams are .500 teams. There are four elite teams and there about three or four are above average. I’d put the Flyers in that above-average category. The four elite teams are Ottawa, Carolina, Detroit and Anaheim (once they get Scott Niedermayer back). The Rangers are in the class of the Flyers. I’m not sure how much Jaromir Jagr has left in the tank. He looks disinterested and that’s a big concern.
If you missed the interview Alanah did with Keith, you can listen to it here and also buy the book, Jonesy”.
The National Hockey League posted record attendance for the month of November, attracting 3,367,547 fans to 199 games for a per-game average of 16,922. The per-game figure eclipsed the previous November high of 16,818 set during the League’s successful re-launch season in 2005 and was 2.3% ahead of last season’s 16,538.
Remember the KK post about a month ago called “Gordie Howe Is The Greatest Of Them All”? Well, if you enjoyed it I suggest you read Dave Stubbs at the Montreal Gazette today,
Whether Detroit Red Wings Hall of Famer Gordie Howe was the greatest of them all, regardless of the record book, might forever be debated by hockey fans.
But in the spring of 1963, when Howe was celebrated in a hit song by Verdun’s Bob Davies, there was no doubt.
Tonight, the man they call Mr. Hockey will be joined by a handful of other Red Wings legends at the Bell Centre when the Canadiens pay tribute to one of their Original Six rivals, another special event on the road to the Habs’ 2009 centennial.
With the game being on Versus tonight, we can only hope they care enough about their fans that they show this pre-game tribute!
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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