Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
...Well, as far as I’m concerned, the verdict is in and removing the red line has been a failure.
None of us has anything more than anecdotal evidence on this one, but I believe that removing the center red line has stifled far more chances than it has created.
The long stretch passes that sprung talented forwards for breakaways are almost non-existent now. Instead, they’ve been replaced by a line of defenders in the neutral zone that has formed because teams are scared to death about giving up the breakaway pass.
from the Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
...What they found — with only one or two dissenting views — was all good.
That the so-called “new NHL”, minus most of the hooking, holding and obstruction of the pre-lockout era, was a far better product than what they had before; that hockey-related revenues will establish record highs again this year, meaning the salary-cap will go up for next season; and that even the decline in goal-scoring (almost a full goal per game over the same period two years ago) was not enough to raise alarm bells at hockey operations.
“We need not be revolutionary, we need not be impatient,” said commissioner Gary Bettman. “We need to see how it evolves and how it all settles in and if we need to make tweaks, we shouldn’t be afraid, if we’re convinced they’re necessary.”
added 5:48pm, from the CP via TSN,
But a model that’s already gaining steam possibly in time for the 2009-10 season is the 84-game concept put forward by the Detroit Red Wings. It features 30 games against teams from the other conference - a home-and-home. It’s a proposal that has also caught the eye of new NHL Players’ Association executive director Paul Kelly.
more on the proposed schedule…
from Allen St. John at the Wall Street Journal,
What’s seems to be at work here is nothing less than Darwinism on ice. Under the old rules, a team’s defense could do more to protect the goalie, and plays would develop more slowly. Over 2½ seasons of wide-open hockey, the goalie’s world has changed. He’s facing more and better shots. (In 2005-06, Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers set the league record for shots faced, with 2,488.) The greater number of quality scoring chances puts a premium on a goalie’s skills….
What does the future hold for NHL netminders? The league has considered increasing the size of the crease, and the rate at which goalies have adjusted to the recent rule changes may hasten this development. If it does come to pass, expect the league’s top goalies to grumble—and then figure out a way to keep those flying pucks in front of them.
read on... and I hope maybe it was a typo with “increasing the size of the crease”. The size of the nets, yes, increasing the size of the crease would mean even less goals…
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
“Shots from the perimeter,” San Jose coach Ron Wilson was saying on Wednesday, “they’re no longer dangerous.”
He could have said that 10 years ago, and likely did.
So the NHL is now officially chasing its tail. The major plank of the lockout rebuild—an effort to increase offence—is the most worrisome bit of regression.
Through Tuesday’s games, the average NHL game featured 5.4 goals. It was 6.2 per game at this point of the first post-lockout season,
“I told them expressly, it is my view that any labour interruption in this sport would be devastating,” Kelly said, “and that the public, particularly in the United States, would turn away in disgust. And that we owe it to the game and to the fans to work through issues and to avoid any discussions of lockouts and strikes. I sensed a positive agreement from the owners to that comment.”
read more from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail, including the league may look at an 84 game season. The players will approve it as long as the exhibition season is shortened.
added 7:50am, from Terry Frei at All Things Avs,
...but when word arrived tonight of the NHL Board of Governors’ decision on a scheduling format for next season, I thought it was a joke. The much-reviled format is only being tweaked in what is essentially a return to the pre-lockout format, not overhauled. What the league needed to do first and foremost — send every team to every arena every season — is not part of the plan. The league is telling the fans they are No. 1 — but with the wrong finger.
Everything else being equal, this is going to cost the Avalanche and other Western Conference franchises even more season ticket accounts.
The National Hockey League’s Board of Governors have approved the sale of the Nashville Predators to a local group headed by David Freeman.
The Freeman group is expected to close on the sale within the next few days.
The group came together to make an offer to owner Craig Leipold after he originally announced a deal to sell his team in May to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie for $220 million. Balsillie’s deal fell through in June when he started taking season-ticket deposits in Hamilton.
Marketing plan by the new ownership group noted earlier today on KK.
From Mark Spector at the National Post,
“I understand the different arguments to keep the schedule the way it is, the travel and the expenses, but we need more variety,” said Colorado’s John-Michael Liles. “If Ovechkin is out west, it’ll draw more people to the buildings. There’s a lot of great players in the West, but the ones in the East - maybe seeing them only once every three years, that’s not right.
“Crosby came into our building this year, got two goals in the first period, and our fans were going, ‘All right, we should get this guy out west more often.’ We’re still talking about the spinarama move Crosby put on Rob Blake in Crosby’s rookie year when we went to Pittsburgh. Blakie came to our bench and said, ‘What was that?’ “
Updated 8:48pm ET— From TSN:
For its new-look schedule, the National Hockey League will be going to an old look.
Sources tell TSN the NHL has approved a schedule that will have each team play 24 divisional games, 40 in-conference matchups, 15 games against non-conference teams and three wild card games against out of conference teams.
The new schedule, which received the necessary two-thirds majority vote, will swing into play next season. The format - which was used prior to the NHL lockout - allows for every team to play every team at least once in a season, but it would still be every other year before a player like Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin would play in every building.
Update 9:30pm ET— More from Pierre LeBrun at the CP (via Globe & Mail)
I believe most of you have had enough Leafs talk in the last week or so, but Spector covers it today along with some trade and signing talk…
from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
I’m working on a project where I need to study old playoff scoring stats, so the NHL’s stats whiz Greg Inglis has been digging in its archives and he sent me a batch, which I’ll now share with you. These stats aren’t readily available elsewhere. They’re not in the NHL Offiicial Guide and Record Book.
So, here we go, Top Five Stanley Cup playoffs scoring stats 1927-49.
NHL PLAYOFF POINTS LEADERS, 1927-1949
from the Windsor Star,
Last season, defenceman Sean Hill was suspended 25 games by the league after testing positive for steroids.
For his attack on Moore’s brother, Bertuzzi - like Shore a player with a history of violence - missed only 20 games.
In other words, in a span of more than 70 years, not much has changed when it comes to the NHL disciplining its violent offenders.
Hockey remains the only sport where the rules vary as the game progresses. Penalties in football and fouls in basketball are called the same way no matter how much time remains on the clock.
“Make the rules black and white and enforce them as they are written,” is Moore’s challenge to the NHL.
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