Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rory Borlyen at the Hockey News,
Grit, toughness, a fearless attitude, whatever you want to call it; rough-and-tumble pest players are exciting and crucial to not only the game itself, but for attracting people to it.
And in more ways than just what you see on the ice.
The agitator, the annoyance, the grinder; the guy you love to have on your team, but hate to have to face. He’s the worker bee, the proletariat, the supporting cast, and quite often, he’s a fan favorite.
from Jim Boone at the Hockey News,
Most hockey fans have never heard of the National Hockey League Fans’ Association, or NHLFA. Yes, there is such an organization representing the common, fifth-line fan.
Many people are surprised at the stats of this little not-for-profit organization. The NHLFA has been battling much bigger opponents for a respectable 10 seasons.
It all started in 1997, when two Ottawa schmucks vented over the astronomical offer the New York Rangers had made to restricted free agent Joe Sakic ($21M over three years, which the Avalanche matched to retain his rights). Bob Goodenow was five years into his impressive tenure leading the NHL Players’ Association. The schmucks, along with millions of hockey fans, feared rising ticket prices would severely damage the sport we loved. We knew something had to be done to protect the fans.
From Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
Call it a dog’s breakfast or a fantastic race, but I can’t remember the last time five teams were neck and neck for the Eastern Conference title with only three and a half weeks remaining in the regular season.
“Isn’t it something?,” agreed New York Rangers head coach Tom Renney.
Oh yeah, in case you haven’t noticed, the Rangers have knocked down the front door to the first-place party and are dancing with New Jersey, Montreal, Ottawa and Pittsburgh in the bid for the No. 1 seed in the weaker Eastern Conference (let’s be honest, Detroit, San Jose, Dallas and Anaheim would walk away with this conference… but I digress…)
from Marty Henwood of Hockey.com,
Call me sentimental, a purist or just plain old, but there are times when I just miss those grand old ladies.
Some of you may remember them, others probably choose to say good riddance in an era of luxury boxes and eight-sided scoreboards.
Maple Leaf Gardens. Montreal Forum. Boston Garden. Chicago Stadium. The Olympia. The Spectrum.
Buildings with character. With memories. With ghosts.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
Owen Nolan called it “nuts … I’ve never been a part of something this tight.” Alex Tanguay ventured that there were “no easy games” anymore. Jarome Iginla calculated that it would take 96 points to guarantee his Calgary Flames team a playoff spot. Coach Mike Keenan acknowledged once again that he is no fan of the three-point game, in which two teams can — and frequently do - earn a valuable point if a game goes into overtime or a shootout.
All of them were talking about the crazy playoff race in the NHL’s Western Conference which — in the past week or so — sorted itself out into hockey’s version of musical chairs, with nine contenders essentially vying for eight spots. The usual cast of also-rans have fallen far enough off the pace that they retain only the slim, Leaf-like hope for a miracle finish and a spot in post-season play.
New York/Prague—The dream of bringing NHL hockey to Prague, Czech Republic, became a reality today as Prague Mayor Pavel Bem hosted representatives from the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and the National Hockey League at the city’s Old Town City Hall. The group officially announced that as part of “NHL Premiere 2008” the Rangers and Lightning will open the 2008-09 NHL regular season with two games against each other Oct. 4th and 5th at the newly-named O2 Arena in Prague.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators will also open the 2008-09 regular season Oct. 4th and 5th in Europe, with two games in Stockholm, Sweden.
I have received a lot of emails today from people asking me about the talk of playing the next NHL outdoor game at Yankee Stadium.
My repeated answer, nothing has been decided yet and don’t look for an official announcement from the NHL in the near future.
They have put out feelers but way too early to make any site a lock for the game.
From David Amber at ESPN,
It’s not an accident that the average NHL player measures in at 6-foot-1 and 204 pounds. Still, in a game of strength and force, speed and grace are equally important. In this week’s 10 Degrees, we look at the best players under 6-foot and 200 pounds.
10. Ray Whitney, Carolina Hurricanes (5-foot-10, 180 pounds)
With 900 career NHL games under his belt, Ray Whitney has been one of the league’s more effective wingers. The seven-time 20-goal scorer made huge plays for Carolina during its Stanley Cup run two seasons ago, and Whitney continues to impress this season, ranking second in team scoring with 59 points.
From Jeff Marek at CBC,
If you ever find yourself in a disagreement over hockey fights with someone make sure the first question out of your mouth is “if they took fighting out of the game, would you start to buy tickets?” If the answer is “no,” then the argument is over, walk away. Those are people that some in the NHL can reach and become the “new” hockey fan, I personally believe quite the opposite is true.
In the league’s quest to grow the sport and reach out and absorb more fans, they have also run the risk of alienating the ones who are paying the freight and keeping the lights on now. Thankfully the NHL has taken the right approach to fighting and quietly let it exist. Of course, there is the not-so-little issue of the instigator penalty, but that’s for another day.
more… including video links to a number of fights referenced
Sometimes I am just left scratching my head. Read about it at my Hockey.com blog today.
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