Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP,
All was warm and friendly as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman interviewed NHL Players Association executive director Paul Kelly on his weekly radio show on Thursday.
“Paul has been really good to deal with,” Bettman said after the 15-minute interview ended on the NHL Hour show on XM Radio from New York.
The two men represent opposing sides in a league that had the entire 2004-05 season wiped out by a lockout, but Kelly is the new man, taking over three months ago after the house-cleaning that swept former boss Ted Saskin out of the NHLPA.
added 6:45pm, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly surprised some earlier this season when he suggested the players would be in favor of adding a couple of games to the NHL regular season, to make it 84 instead of 82.
Sources say the NHL board of governors will get its chance to vote on that concept this weekend in Atlanta at the NHL All-Star Game.
The governors have previously been lukewarm or even opposed to bumping up the schedule to 84 games, but that proposal was often in the context of going to the Detroit Red Wing-sponsored schedule matrix, where there would be a home-and-home (30 games) series with all teams in the opposite conference.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
The NHL? Well, they want fans to remember Crosby, Alex Ovechkin (but only once his English is completely up to snuff), and…um, have we mentioned Crosby already?
In fairness, the lack of widely-known hockey icons hasn’t always been solely the fault of commissioner Gary Bettman and/or team owners. For as long as any observer can remember, the players themselves have been content to sit back in the shadows and play the modesty card while other “sports” like poker and X-Games usurped the NHL in TV ratings and editorial departments.
Future Hockey Hall of Famer Brian Leetch is a perfect example. A quiet man by nature, Leetch – who will have his number retired by the New York Rangers in a ceremony Thursday night – was easily the most elusive, reclusive NHL star I’ve ever tried to interview.
NEW YORK - TORONTO—Six of the NHL’s most prolific and creative scorers will showcase their best moves in quest of a ‘perfect 10’ when they square off against All-Star goaltenders in the inaugural Breakaway Challenge, the signature event in Saturday’s Dodge NHL SuperSkills Competition at the 2008 All-Star Weekend in Atlanta (7 p.m., ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS), the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association announced today.
Three shooters from the Eastern and Western Conference will have two attempts to perform a highlight-reel trick while attempting to score. Shooters can start their routine from anywhere in the offensive zone and have full access to the offensive zone, including behind the net. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply
From Jim Matheson at Canwest News via the National Post,
Jared Staal, a six-foot-three right-winger from Thunder Bay., Ont., is projected as a second-round pick in this April’s draft. That might be because it’s a very deep draft pool this year and because Staal’s skating needs some work.
“He certainly has skill, but there’s a lot of pressure on Jared following his three brothers. This is a big week for Jared,” said Kevin Prendergast, the Edmonton Oilers’ vice-president of hockey operations.
Staal is keeping the Top Prospects game in perspective.
“I’ve got to realize it’s just one game,” he said. “I don’t think it’ll make or break things for me ... I’m just trying to show I deserve to be here.”
more… on the next Staal heading towards the NHL
from PJ at Sharkspage,
Mike Bolt, one of three Hockey Hall of Fame Keepers of the Cup, answered a few questions about the Stanley Cup Tuesday prior to the 2008 ECHL Allstar Skills Competition in Stockton, California.
continued and check out the video…
from the London Free Press,
“I had the old gang and then I had the new gang,” Cournoyer, 64, said over lunch yesterday as the stars gathered before last night’s 52nd annual Rogers Sports Celebrity Dinner and Auction at the London Convention Centre.
The old gang, Cournoyer said, included Henri Richard, Jean Beliveau, Claude Provost, Gump Worsley, Jacques Lapierre, Ralph Backstrom and John Ferguson….
The newbies included the likes of Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, Ken Dryden, Mario Tremblay and Doug Risebrough.
Take ten minutes out of your day to watch a Legends of Hockey video on Cournoyer…
Getting to Atlanta early for the ASG?
If so, you may want to have a glass of wine on Thursday with Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Bobby Hull, Tony Esposito, Pat Lafontaine, Rob Ray, Bobby Clarke, Dave Schultz, Clark Gillies, Mike Richter, and Rod Gilbert.
Blueland Blog has all the details…
From Scott Morrison at CBC,
A big part of it will be what they are calling a creative shootout, where players will be asked to perform wild and crazy shootout techniques and will be judged by a panel of celebrities, including Wilkins and Glavine, as well as some retired NHL stars. The idea is similar to a slam-dunk contest in basketball and, if it is done well, should be fun.
Yes, it is hokey and it isn’t purebred hockey, but what the hell? The whole idea of the skills night is about entertainment and in recent years, well, it hasn’t been very entertaining. So give the league, which has been working closely with the players’ association, credit for trying.
more… covering the various changes to the game this year
The NHL plans to show it is not a one-hit wonder by parlaying the marketing and ratings boost it scored at its recent outdoor Winter Classic game into a similar success for its upcoming all-star game.
Marketing partners, including Bud Light, Reebok, Dodge and Verizon Wireless along with Versus and NHL Network, will spread the word about all-star weekend, Jan. 25-27 in Atlanta. The game at Philips Arena is sold out, but whether or not fans will tune in to Versus is uncertain.
From On the Forecheck,
So who’s got the hardest and easiest rows to hoe as we come into the final half of the 2007-8 Regular Season? Instead of focusing on Opponent’s Win Percentage (which is horribly skewed by the standings point awarded for OT/SO Losses), I prefer to take the ratio of Opponents Goals For/Goals Against, as I believe that to be a better indicator of whether your favorite team is likely to fare well against that foe. For instance, Edmonton’s number of shootout wins helps them to a .490 Win Percentage, but their GF/GA is a lousy 0.83, tied for worst in the league with Tampa Bay; chances are, opponents are picking up at least a point each night against the Oilers. The following table reflects data for the games of January 19 through the end of the regular season…
Check out the Forechecker’s assessment based on the remaining schedule.
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