Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Scott Cullen at TSN:
This week’s edition of Backchecking is going to examine the newcomers and surprises when it comes to power play ice time. We all know that Datsyuk and Zetterberg are on the Red Wings power play, right? Sure. But, who would have guessed that Radek Bonk is still getting PP time in Nashville?
A team-by-team look..
‘Minor Memories’ at CBC.ca:
CBCSports.ca: Where was the most memorable tournament you ever played, and why?
Esposito: Team Canada ‘72, without a doubt, because it was the unknown. We had no idea that these guys could play like they did, no idea. In fact, the Toronto Maple Leafs scouts scouted them, and they told us they couldn’t do this, couldn’t do that. I made a statement saying no wonder the Leafs are in last place, their scouts are stupid. They couldn’t pick anybody, ‘cause this was a good hockey team. I think that was the most memorable tournament for me.
From Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside at ESPN:
Pierre LeBrun: Scott, we get together again just in time to digest yet another update on Mats Sundin. As one GM told me the other day, “Tell the big Swede to make up his damn mind!” Well, Sundin is one step closer. He’ll start seriously skating and training in the Los Angeles area early next week, and then who knows after that. It might take three to four weeks before he’s ready to play.
Scott Burnside: Pierre, I never get tired of wondering about where the Ponderous One will end up. It’s like watching paint dry, only more pedestrian.
much more chat about Sundin, plus some goalie controversies to debate
From Chris Sprow at ESPN The Magazine,
Last year, the Toronto Maple Leafs were a fairly dreadful team by most standards. They were last place in their division, had the fourth worst record in the East, were outscored by 29 goals and were an atrocious 78.2% on the penalty kill. Their record, however, was a competitive-looking 36-35-11. They were over .500!
But in the current NHL, who isn’t?
Last year, in a 30-team league, just 6 teams were under .500. In the West, discounting the NHL’s worst team—the Los Angeles Kings who were all of 9 games under .500— the other two “losers” combined to go a whopping 5 games under .500. Yikes! That’s because the NHL has devised a clever marketing ploy where at least based on a traditional look at the standings, your team is never really out of it.
From Paul Kukla at NHL.com:
So far, 40 people are expected and I am sure more will just pop in. Over the summer months, I added 2 HDTVs, making a grand total of 4. Two LCDs, a 42-inch model along with a 55-inch model. The two added during the summer are plasma models, one 50-inch and another 32-inches. I am set and can be in almost any room and be tuned into a game.
This time though, three HDTVs will be side-by-side-by-side and the room these televisions will be in will look more like a hockey production studio than a home theater room. Wires are coming out of the ceiling, the baseboards and running along the floor. I have attached numerous headphone sets to the audio receivers that are hooked up to the televisions, allowing some sort of privacy if guests wish to listen to the games in an individual manner.
I am not sure, but the room may be in some sort of FCC violation.
Geez, I’m seriously jealous of Paul’s home theatre setup. I can’t even get my DVR to work properly.
from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
During a recent lecture at UCLA, Patrick Rishe showed his “Economics of Sports” class how the professional sports industry, shielded in the past in many ways from a fickle or distressed economy, won’t be unscathed by the current economic crisis….
Two supports could keep the major sports from suffering as much as other industries: long-term TV contracts and collective bargaining contracts that tether player salaries to revenues.
“Salaries in all sports — salary caps or revenue sharing or luxury tax sports — whatever their salaries are have fallen with revenues,” Zimbalist said. “It’s not lockstep, but as one goes up the other goes up. If revenues flatten out, which is likely, we’ll see a similar (event) with salaries, and it could be for a few years. ...
Much of that will be because television contracts, the centerpiece of professional sports’ big revenues, are locked in. MLB’s broadcast deal is worth $5.4 billion and lasts until 2013. The NFL receives an estimated $3.7 billion a year from its partner networks, the NBA’s broadcast deals are fixed to 2016 and the NHL’s contract with the Versus network goes through 2011.
more with a look at St. Louis teams…
From Pierre LeBrun at his ESPN blog:
The NHL’s 30 general managers met in Chicago on Thursday and left with some homework. They’ve got to chew on three rule change recommendations before reconvening at their next meeting in March and possibly voting on them.
• The first is the Larry Pleau idea that I first detailed last weekend, essentially changing the delayed penalty rule to the penalized team having to fully clear the puck from their defensive zone to get a stoppage in play, as opposed to simply having puck possession. The St. Louis Blues GM believes, and he’s probably right, it would create more offensive chances with the sixth attacker on the ice for a bit longer before a whistle goes. I like this one.
• The second has to do with hand passes and making them more consistent all over the ice.
From Cassie Campbell at CBC’s blog:
All leagues, including the NHL, should be looking at how they can improve not only their medical tests, but also the way they conduct fitness testing and their training throughout the season.
During the NHL’s general managers meetings this week, team representatives will be looking at the medical tests that need to take place. Obviously it is a no-brainer that enhanced medical testing at all levels of elite hockey must occur to help prevent such incidences as the tragic passing of young Russian hockey star Alexei Cherepanov. However, the physical fitness testing for hockey players needs to be minimized as much as possible and in-season training regimens need to be amended.
I applaud the Carolina Hurricanes for understanding that more is not necessarily better.
From Mike Ross at NHL Home Ice (XM Radio) blog:
Since we came back from the lockout, I’ve heard complaint after complaint from many hockey fans that the league is looking to soften-up the game. That the NHL is becoming a less edgy game.
But the actions of players like Tom Kostopolous, Rene Bourque and Alexandre Picard have me wondering if some players aren’t making the game a softer game all on their own.
All three of these players jumped an opposing player after a hard, clean and legitimate hit had been levelled against one of their teammates.
We’re told by George Laraque that such acts are justified whether the hit was clean or dirty. As Ken Campbell pointed out in a recent blog on thehockeynews.com, we’re told that opponents can not take liberties and get away with it.
But since when does a hard, clean body check get defined as a “liberty”.
Incidentally, Adam Proteau at The Hockey News wrote on something similar today, reflecting on Bob Clarke’s interview on TSN yesterday.
The unpredictable nature of the Canadian dollar means the NHL’s six Canadian teams are involved in a high-stakes contest of financial chicken, trying to stay one step ahead of the loonie at all times.
It’s a game they can ill afford to lose.
As recently as last November, the Canadian dollar briefly reached $1.10 US, and still hovered above par with its American counterpart in May. But on Wednesday the once-mighty loonie plunged below 80 cents U.S., and it could keep falling, according to market experts.
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 email@example.com