Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ray Slover of the Sporting News,
Let’s admit this much: An NHL presence in Europe makes sense, if only to fend off the Continental Hockey League (KHL). We don’t need to see KHL czar Alexander Medvedev pounding a shoe at an IIHF conference to know there’s a cold war on between the old boys of the western world and the mother Russians.
But the last thing the NHL needs to do is pull its attention away from its own nest. At the risk of sounding protectionist and isolationist—but yes, I am a bit ist about this—Gary Bettman’s crew must take care of its own before it goes off on some overseas adventure.
“I think all your viewers know that hockey is the greatest game in the whole wide world. It’s actually not a game. It’s a religion. So I think you can understand it’s a religious obligation to be involved in the game. It’s fun, it’s a passion. I play it regularly. I played it Friday night, and I’ll play a couple of times this week. It’s passion.”
—Jim Balsillie speaking to Tech Check at CNBC this week, when asked about his continuing aspirations to own a NHL team
From Evan Weiner at NHL.com:
Scapinello will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 10 for his body of work, which included 2,500 regular-season games and 426 playoff games, all consecutive, as he never missed a game between 1971 and 2004. He was called the best linesman in the game in 20 of his 33 seasons; he worked 20 Stanley Cup Finals and three All-Star Games. He also worked the 1998 Winter Olympics. But according to Morel, Scapinello was one of those guys who made training camp fun.
“He juggled, he was pretty good,” said Morel. “He was pretty agile. He was good on a one-wheeled bike. Sometimes he brought that to training camp and show us what he did during that summer to practice that balance and it was OK.”
Of Note: Scapinello published a book last year titled, Between the Lines: Not-So-Tall Tales From Ray “Scampy” Scapinello’s Four Decades in the NHL
from William Houston/David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL is aiming to have teams based in Europe within the next 10 years, the league’s deputy commissioner said yesterday.
“As time goes on, you’ll see us making increasing movement into Europe,” Bill Daly said in an interview. “Certainly, it’s a possibility that within 10 years time we will be playing games there.”
Asked whether he viewed European expansion within 10 years as a good possibility, he said: “I hope so. But again, I think it’s a long way between here and there. And I think all the pieces have to continue to line up in order for that to happen.
“So, certainly, we would hope that would be the case. But I can’t say with any degree of certainty at this point.”
Update 11:09am ET (alanah): From Pierre LeBrun at ESPN—
There remain hurdles, to be sure, serious ones. For starters, there’s the issue of travel. That’s obvious. But I believe the one issue that worries the NHL even more is European sports fans generally aren’t used to paying the same kind of money for tickets as North Americans. Getting fans in Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Russia, Germany, the Czech Republic, etc., to pay out bigger amounts for NHL games will be the real test if and when this ever comes to fruition.
The NHL Players’ Association hopes to see a pension dispute with the league solved in court.
The NHLPA announced Thursday that it had filed an application in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice regarding an interpretation of the league’s pension plan.
The issue relates to the calculation of the death benefit for players with NHL service prior to July 1, 1986. The NHLPA believes widows and other beneficiaries of players who passed away before taking their pension were paid less than is required by law.
The NHL disagrees.
from Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,
Protection is the most oft-stated reason for the overall lack of change. That’s valid, but only to a point. There is new equipment on the market that is so good that serious goalie injuries, once the bane of the game, are virtually non-existent. Slimming down the equipment without threatening the health and well- being of the players is known to be a doable deed.
What seems to be the obstruction here is that no one has or is willing to exert the necessary authority to make change happen. The goalies have power on the ice, with the players’ association, and with a strong, powerful voice in the media.
From Lyle Richardson at FoxSports:
The Hurricanes are following a league-wide trend which began in the summer of 2007 of re-signing potential restricted and unrestricted free-agent stars well before they become eligible to entertain other offers.
Since July, the notable re-signing was Vincent Lecavalier—who was eligible for UFA status next summer—inking a staggering 11-year, $85 million deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The most recent such deal was the Florida Panthers re-upping defenseman Keith Ballard to a six-year extension believed worth over $4 million per season.
read on for more on this trend and a look at the names that may sign some big offers before next summer
*Article references the news of Eric Staal’s new contract, announced earlier today
From Risto Pakarinen at NHL.com,
Hockey circles sure are small. They’re small in countries like Finland and Sweden, or the Czech Republic, and they’re small in the wide world of the NHL. All you have to do is take a look at the front offices in the NHL organizations to see how the pieces go together.
That’s just the way the world seems to be working regardless of the industry.
I was thinking about this today, after an event organized by the Swedish Elite League…
From Paul Kukla at NHL.com:
I have had enough of preview, reviews, I want to express my views and the only way to do that is to see how the players look - on the ice. Will new players mesh with new line mates, will new coaches gain the attention of his players, will the players respond to new coaching techniques?
You can read all about it, but until the players hit the ice, all we have is one big question mark. Sure, I can tell you the Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens will be good, but I want to know about the unknown.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
When Semin returned to the NHL in 2006-07, he should have been forced to comply with the final year of his entry-level contract because he never fulfilled it and was suspended by the team for the two seasons he was in Russia. But somehow, that final season was ignored and the Capitals, knowing Semin wouldn’t have returned for entry-level money, managed to sign him to a new two-year deal despite the fact he had not fulfilled the terms of his first contract.
When you see things like that happening, can you blame Radulov – who was contractually in exactly the same boat as Semin – for bolting back home at the first opportunity? If the NHL isn’t going to respect its own contracts, how can it expect anyone else to do the same?
And this is the kind of attitude both the leaders of the NHL and IIHF find themselves up against these days. NHL owners talk a good game, but are happy to circumvent their own rules and try to do business on their own terms if it means they can get a star player.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org