Kukla's Korner Hockey
NEW YORK (March 25, 2008)—Fueled by unprecedented League-wide competition for playoff spots and positions, the NHL is on pace to obliterate its March attendance records. A per-game average of 17,900 fans—97% of capacity—has filled NHL arenas this month. The existing March record average of 17,331 was set last season.
The late-season surge has ensured another season of record NHL attendance. The 2007-08 per-game average of 17,194 is running 1.7% ahead of the 2006-07 campaign, which concluded with a record figure of 16,961. The NHL will surpass 20 million in total attendance for the seventh consecutive season and will, for the first time in its 90-season history, conclude the regular season with a per-game average in excess of 17,000.
Gordie Howe from a Q & A in the Detroit Free Press,
“I always said I believed in religious hockey, and that it is better to give than to receive. I remember one guy said he tried to hit me all game but all he saw was tape. When I was playing, a coach might say, “You don’t like so and so?” And I’d say, “I don’t like any of them out there. When the game’s over, I like a lot of them, but on the ice is not a place to be liking people.”
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
Talk is veteran referee Mick McGeough is retiring at the end of the season and might have worked his last game in Montreal last night. You see the size of the bucket he wears? That thing could hold 12 of his favourite beverage. Pull up an easy chair and enjoy retirement, Mick.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Canada Day will remain NHL Free Agent Day.
That’s because the NHL Players’ Association has turned thumbs down on an NHL request to move the beginning of free agency from July 1 to July 7.
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer…
From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News,
It was about as predictable as an episode of Three’s Company. The moment Kurtis Foster of the Minnesota Wild went hurtling into the boards and broke his leg last week trying to beat Torrey Mitchell of the San Jose Sharks to the puck, the usual hue and cry came from the hockey community calling for an immediate move to no-touch icing.
The loud dresser with the loud mouth who rules Canada during the first intermission on Saturday night was, of course, first in line, continuing to beat a nag that he has had for years.
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com,
Hockey fans are everywhere. They can live in Key West, Florida, they may live in any European country or could be following the game from a remote island in the Caribbean.
Wherever they are, they have a common bond with all of us; they are hockey fans. Fans who love the game, a certain team and no matter what it is, they are hockey fans, just like us.
Now I must ask, why do certain hockey scribes continue to play the “south of the border” card when writing about the state, both current and future, of the NHL? According to those who write these types of rants, the only place hockey should be played is in Canada and if it is being played elsewhere, well, then it is a problem until it gets fixed.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
It’s a problem that has existed almost as long as Gary Bettman’s tenure as commissioner: There isn’t enough scoring in the National Hockey League.
There’s no need to go overboard on this. The league doesn’t need to see teams hitting double figures every game. But on the other hand, there are too many 2-1 games, and even games that are scoreless after 65 minutes.
As a result, the league’s movers and shakers are looking at some rule changes that can lead to a few more goals.
1. Limit freezing the puck by goaltenders (a 90% chance of implementation)...
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald,
Twilight of the Goons? Requiem for the Heavyweights? Guess again. In case you missed the memo, fighting is officially back in the NHL. Saturday’s tilt with Minnesota featured a card of three, count ‘em, three staged scraps (at least IDLM was spared Mark Smith or Eric Nystrom risking life, limb and incisors for the cause).
The NHL mantra of having your tough guy and my tough guy square off in ritual fashion is that it “sets a tone” for a big game. Funnily enough, none of the NCAA games in March Madness featured a punchup at the opening tipoff to “set a tone.”
from Brian Costello of the Hockey News,
Having never coached at any level of hockey, the chances of me getting an NHL job running the bench and stunning the world with these unorthodox strategies is diminishing every day….
...I’d have all my players constantly switch from graphite sticks back to wood – shift to shift - over the course of the game. The opposing goalie wouldn’t know what’s coming.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
It is obvious the NHL cannot be trusted to dispense equitable justice. It is now up to the NHLPA, through the vehicle of the standing competition committee, to flex its influence. When the competition committee meets this season, it should recommend mandatory minimum sentences for blows to the head and checks from behind, and any other applicable dangerous fouls.
It is clear the NHL has abandoned its responsibility. It would be a disaster if Burke and his ilk are allowed to assume power in this vacuum. This is a league of and by the players. It’s about time that discipline is enacted for the players.
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com