Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Ross McKeon at Yahoo! Sports,
It is time to unveil the final power rankings for the 2007-08 season, and there’s no surprise at the top. The Detroit Red Wings, Presidents’ Trophy winners as the best team during the regular season and, more importantly, Stanley Cup winners for the 11th time in franchise history, are an uncontested No. 1 choice.
The Wings were ranked either first or second in the power rankings all but four of 26 times during postings every Tuesday during the regular season. Detroit was on top of the rankings 15 times, and never fell further than fourth, which happened only four times. The headline for the Dec. 18 rankings served as a hockey fortune cookie, if you will: “Wings and everyone else.”
read on for “everyone else”
The Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee meets next week. Joe Pelletier at Greatest Hockey Legends looks at the names being considered:
The Class of 2008 will be a unique induction. Because of the lost 2004-05 season due to NHL labour issues, there are no first-time eligible candidates as no player officially retired in 2005. Players that did not return after the return to duty, they were deemed to have retired in 2004, and therefor eligible for induction in 2007.
We all know 2007 was perhaps the greatest induction class ever, thanks the incredible pool of eligible players. 2008 is almost a make-up year for the Hall.
Here’s a look at who is likely to get inducted in 2008. I call it the Hockey Hall of Fame Power Rankings.
Doug Gilmour - For a short time in the early 1990s, Gilmour was the best player in the NHL. Besides, Toronto’s love affair with him would make for a grand stage for the Hall’s celebration.
From the National Post,
While some of the sport’s most profitable teams are in the United States—including Philadelphia, the New York Rangers, Detroit, Dallas, Boston and Colorado—its poorest are there as well: Phoenix, Florida, Nashville and Atlanta.
Hockey does not play well in these hot-weather locations. Except for the California clubs and Tampa Bay—which count on plenty of ex-pat and vacationing Canadians to fill seats—sunbelt NHL teams are largely a bust. The league should consider pulling most of these franchises. Indeed, the only reason it hasn’t already is that doing so would jeopardize the dream of a national TV contract.
We suspect that dream is an unrealistic fantasy. Hockey does have immense local popularity in pockets of the United States—particularly in New England, the Great Lakes region and in several northern Atlantic states. But only when all the elements align perfectly…
From Tony Gallagher at Canwest via the National Post,
Now that the Stanley Cup has been awarded to the Detroit Red Wings and any emotion from any one particular game has faded, we would be remiss if we didn’t seriously ask some questions about what actually took place in that final series with respect to the officiating.
From the Ottawa Senators via Marketwire.ca:
The National Hockey League Coaches’ Assocation and the Ottawa Senators will present the 2008 NHL Coaches’ Seminar on Thursday, June 19, at the University of Ottawa.
The clinic runs from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and participants will have the opportunity to watch, listen and learn from some of the best coaching minds the NHL has to offer. All presentations will be made by NHL coaches and will cover topics such as skill development, tactics, strategy and systems play. Participants will also receive a seminar handbook.
The day begins with presentations by the guest coaches, highlighted by a welcome from Hall Of Fame coach Scotty Bowman.
Eurohockey.net provides an interview with long-time Finnish goalie coach Jukka Ropponen, whose students (clients?) have included the likes of Niklas Bäckström, Kari Lehtonen and Pasi Nurminen.
Q: You have worked in Finland, America, Switzerland and Russia, which was the best place out of these?
Hockey is hockey, I have enjoyed working in all different countries. They all have pros and cons so it is really tough to say one place is better than the other. I guess I just love hockey and working with goalies.
Q: What are the biggest difference in goalkeeping schools in these countries?
Let’s see, all countries have their own unique characteristics. let me elaborate this a bit more on a country by country basis:
• Finland has the most systematic approach to coaching goalies and most probably more goalie coaches than in any country compared to the number of team and players.
read on for Ropponen’s take on a variety of topics
From Aaron Portzline at the Columbus Dispatch,
The Hockey News projects that four of the first six picks will be defensemen, which hasn’t happened since the 1982 entry draft.
In fact, no more than three defensemen have been taken among the top 10 picks in the last 10 drafts.
“This is the finest crop in the history of the draft,” said Grant McCagg, who covers the draft year-round for McKeen’s Hockey, an online news service.
“And it comes at the right time for a lot of clubs, too. There is a real shortage in the league right now when it comes to defensemen who can carry the puck. Lots of teams are looking for one or two of those guys. That makes this even more attractive.”
*Related article previously on KK
From Terry Frei at the Denver Post,
It’s impossible to dispute [Gary Bettman’s] “new” point — that with teams chartering and with fuel costs so high, anything that lessens travel makes economic sense. That still comes off like reaching for a rationalization after the fact, rather than considering all the evidence and making a decision.
But if that’s the way it’s going to be, then the NHL should consider altering its playoff system, not just copying the NBA’s 2-3-2 Finals format, but using it in every round.
It was less important this season because of the proximity of Pittsburgh and Detroit, but the 2-2-1-1-1 format in the Finals, and the inability to do much advance planning, has provided excuses for many newspapers to skip sending writers to the league’s championship series.
and more NHL talk
With the NHL’s 2007-08 campaign in the books, the drama now shifts from the ice to the front office as the league’s 30 teams begin their mad scramble to prepare for next season.
As of Friday, half a dozen teams are still in need of a new head coach, with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Atlanta Thrashers, San Jose Sharks and Ottawa Senators conducting searches. And the list of ‘free agent’ bench bosses is impressive to say the least.
Names being circulated over the last month include…
read on for an overview of the coach quest, and other matters on the NHL summer agenda
from Ted’s Take,
The NHL had a great year. Can you name me one other media oriented company that can say they grew and grew fast across the board in terms of:
Ratings - both nationally and locally;
Season ticket renewals and season ticket sales;
Overall ticket sales;
Overall ticket pricing;
The salary cap will move up again as the players share in more than half of the revenues so the players are happy.
For the most part, the product has improved.
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