Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
With the first half of the season in the record books as of Saturday, it looks as if the NHL’s most valuable player race is going to mirror the playoff race — too close to call at the moment.
Even if you discount goaltenders (dangerous to do, considering two of them were Hart Trophy finalists last season), there are at least six skaters making the case for MVP honours and once again, the debate will probably come down to this:
Does the vote go to the NHL’s best player? Or, as the award is written, to the player adjudged most valuable to his team?
continued and some Jagr talk too…
Adam Proteau of the Hockey News concludes his interview with Paul Kelly. In case you missed the firat part, a link is available on the page….
THN: Improving the marketing of the game has been a common goal of the NHL for decades, yet little progress has been made. What are some of your opinions on ways to finally make some headway in this area?
PK: I’ll make three or four quick points:
One is U.S. television. I commend Versus for their broadcasts, but we need broader reach, broader coverage, reaching a greater number of homes, on more nights, with more highlights. We need something that’s even half of what you have here in Canada, and we don’t have it in the United States.
If I’m in a certain city and I want to watch a hockey game, I go hunting around the TV dial, I go past ESPN – which has a poker game on – and I can’t find a hockey game because many of the places I go to don’t have Versus on the dial. It’s unacceptable.
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from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
The philosophical underpinning for the Brodeur Plan, floating around since the early years of the NHL’s Dead Puck era, is unassailable: By being allowed to ice the puck without consequence, the penalized team is inherently rewarded….
“If you ice the puck now, you can’t change,” Brodeur said, “so you’d get tired penalty killers out against a fresh power play. That’s a better advantage [for the team with the extra skater]. It’ll force [penalty killers] to flip the puck like the in old days, land it soft, without icing it. They have to manage the game better, which is also a skill.”
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
Imagine the international buzz the NHL would generate staging an outdoor game in New York.
The NHL’s U.S. broadcaster NBC seemed to have had this figured out. When it raised the idea of an outdoor game with the league last summer, one idea kicked around was playing a game – the Rangers against the cross-town rival Islanders, perhaps – at Yankee Stadium. But pipes under the field posed some kind of a problem and the prospect was shelved.
Yet even if that obstacle can’t be navigated, surely there are other venues in New York that could host an outdoor game. A football stadium like Giants Stadium could easily host an NHL game outdoors.
Central Park, meantime, would provide stunning TV pictures, even if the league had to drastically pare the number of temporary rink-side seats to satisfy the park’s operator, the Central Park Conservancy.
NEW YORK (December 31, 2007) – Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin, New York Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr and San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov have been named the NHL’s Three Stars for the week ending December 30.
from Jeff Z. Klein of Slap Shot at the NYT,
But there is a way for the NHL to make all games meaningful again: more competitions, beyond just the Stanley Cup. It’s not a new idea — soccer was going through a similar crisis of fan and media interest 25 years ago. But after it developed this concept, interest in soccer boomed, clubs became enormously wealthy and the sport prospered as it never had before.
Here’s how the NHL can invest the hockey season with meaning for fans and media, not just at playoff time, but throughout the entire calendar.
1. Commit fully to the Victoria Cup.
2. Make the Presidents’ Trophy a one-off championship game.
3. Create a new season-long cup competition, open to all pro clubs in North America.
from the CP via the Globe and Mail,
A new poll suggests that about half of Canadians believe performance-enhancing drugs are used by “many” or a “fair number” of National Hockey League players.
The Canadian Press Harris/Decima survey also indicated Canadians want to see drug cheats caught and punished, although they are split on what the sanctions should be.
The poll suggested that 17 per cent of Canadians believed many NHL players use performance-enhancing drugs while 36 per cent said a fair number used them.
You know, it’s very difficult to define what hockey necessarily was in 2007. There are so many futile, diverse opinions that I find it fails me to even try.
I feel these stories will do a pretty good job.
10. The NHL’s Rap Sheet
Ryan Clowe’s the most recent alcohol-influenced problem the league has had to deal with in what was a quite inebriated 2007. While they ranged in seriousness from the Staal Bros. drunken bachelor party, to Mark Bell’s uncomfortable legal situation, the NHL might want to do itself a favor and start wrangling in the amount of drinking their players do, at least during the season when they can try to control it. We’ve lost at least one would-be current player (Dan Snyder) and two former athletes (Keith Magnuson and Steve Chiasson) to drinking too much, and driving while intoxicated. The NHL has a lot of problems, but beating it into the heads of their millionaire athletes to call a cab at the end of the night should be (one would think) one of the easier ones to solve.
from Ross McKeon at Yahoo,
With that in mind, here are some New Year’s resolutions for those who chase vulcanized rubber on a frozen pond.
Gary Bettman: I resolve to get on my soap box and … well … stand six inches taller.
Scott Niedermayer: I resolve to play at least through the All-Star break before thinking about retiring again.
Teemu Selanne: I resolve to keep the promise I made to my wife and retire once I won the Stanley Cup.
Brian Burke: I resolve to never speak to Kevin Lowe again. Oh, wait, I already said that last summer.
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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