Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
Remember Don Awrey, who played 128 of his 979 NHL games with the Canadiens?...
I mention Awrey now because he was on the telephone several days ago inquiring how to go about what he termed to “right a wrong.” What was wrong was that even though he appeared in most of the regular-season games during the Canadiens’ first of four consecutive Stanley Cups in 1975-76, he wasn’t dressed in the playoffs because of a knee injury. Result: the next time you read the names on the Cup for that year, you won’t find Awrey’s name on it because league rules at the time called for a player to appear in at least one playoff game in order to have his name on it.
from Jason Kay of the Hockey News,
We’ve heard the all the arguments – the record book would be rendered moot; that it would be too drastic a change. We don’t buy it. The record book has been impacted by a plethora of amendments over the years, both organic and legislated, and increasing the size of the net would be no different.
As for it being too drastic, we aren’t talking soccer-sized goals, just a few inches wider or taller, or both. Will coaches try to become even more defense-oriented to protect a larger cage? Perhaps, but we’re surmising that goals would beget goals. Fall behind 2-0 early on shots that maybe wouldn’t have gone in on a smaller net and, as a coach, you’re forced to alter your strategy and take more risks.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Gary Bettman might finally have a winner on his hands. When the league’s board of governors meet Nov. 28-29 in Pebble Beach, Calif., it’s expected they’ll approve a change to the schedule which will allow every team to face each other at least once per season. After failing twice to get the schedule changed, it’s believed Bettman has finally come up with a format the governors will support. Here’s what the new format could look like: Teams will play six games against divisional foes, down from eight; it’s expected clubs will face the other teams in their conference four times (status quo); the remaining 18 games on the schedule would be played against the opposing conference.
read on for more NHL talk plus some trade rumors…
From Sam McCaig at THN,
Numbers don’t lie.
1. Montreal, at 10-4-3, is tied with Colorado for the third-best winning percentage in the league (.676). Not bad for a team The Hockey News predicted would finish 13th in the Eastern Conference this season. The New Jersey Devils, at 7-9-2, were holding down 13th in the East through Nov. 15.
2. Buffalo, at 6-10-1, is 29th in the league in winning percentage (.382), ahead of only Washington (6-11-1, .361). And have you heard this one about Buffalo? They haven’t scored the first goal in 14 consecutive games;
From The Tennessean,
David Freeman, head of the group buying the Nashville Predators hockey team, put out this statement this afternoon:
“We are excited to reach an agreement with the Mayor’s Office on lease changes to keep the Predators in Nashville under local ownership. We are very appreciative of Mayor Dean for getting this done amid the many priorities he has as the new mayor of our city. He obviously has a strong desire for this hockey team to remain in Nashville.”
continued… with the rest of the statement
Updated 5:52pm ET: From the AP via USA Today,
Mayor Karl Dean said the agreement guarantees the team will stay in Nashville for the next five years or the city’s financial investment will be paid back.
The changes for the Sommet Center must be approved by the Metro Sports Authority and city council. The NHL Board of Governors must approve the $193 million sale.
From Pierre Lebrun, CP via MetroNews,
“It’s just part of the business. I’m viewing this as a great time to teach them how to respond to adversity. I have to be strong at home and go out and get another job and let them know that when you have a setback and you have to stand up and get back on your feet. That’s what society demands and that’s what we demand of ourselves.”
Armstrong’s deal with the Stars pays him through the 2010-11 season but he doesn’t plan on sitting on the couch. He wants to work.
He’s already been contacted from numerous friends around the league and given his excellent reputation he needn’t worry.
“Someone said when you get let go, because it’s never if but when, just make a list of names of people that called you and that’ll give you a pretty good feeling of what you’ve done,” said Armstrong. “So I’ve got that list and I’m on the third or fourth page now. It means a lot when people around the league reach out to you and show their support.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Maybe it’s time to frame the discussion about what’s going on by asking the question: Is the game of hockey, played at the NHL level, too fast for its own good?
There’s little doubt that the league, in the post-lockout era, is collectively faster than ever. The players are bigger, stronger and fitter. The equipment has never been more evolved. Attempts to get obstruction out of the game have largely succeeded, meaning there is flow and speed again through the neutral zone, which wasn’t always the case in the dark days prior to the lockout when the clutch-and-grab style trumped all others.
The unhappy byproduct of all this speed, however, is that the game changed again — and it became all about reaction and instinct….
read on plus more NHL bits…
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
One debate percolating these days centres on Tavares’ agent Bryan Deasley, a 38-year-old former Calgary Flames first-round pick – he never made it to the NHL – who hopes to make Tavares the underpinning of his player agent business. Industry sources say some rivals likely have already tried to poach Tavares.
“It’s nasty,” says Brian Lawton, a former NHL player who recently quit the agent industry to try to land an NHL management job. “I bet some of the big shops have tried to contact John two or three times already.”...
If Tavares becomes an NHL star, it would mean a payoff of at least $100,000 (all figures U.S.) a year for his agent, Lawton says. Most NHL agents charge between 2 and 4 per cent for on-ice earnings. (That means when Sidney Crosby signed a five-year, $43.5 million deal with the Penguins, his agent Pat Brisson’s take was probably between $870,000 and $1.7 million.)
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
Speed, through all three zones on the ice, needs to be enhanced. Defensive schemes that throw a blanket over offensive talent and creativity need to be cut back. Goaltenders need to be protected, but they also need to either have their equipment reduced in size or the nets they guard enlarged.
The NHL was on that path, but things have changed and it needs to act once again.
It needs to be vigilant in keeping offence and entertainment in the forefront and too much defence and stagnation at bay.
If it doesn’t, it will fail to grow its version of the game and failure to grow the game, in the U.S. and around the world, is a ticket to economic failure for all the teams, even the six forever loved entities across Canada.
Make your selections for the NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta!
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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