Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette,
Attendance problems in Boston and Chicago are more troubling. These cities had passionate fans when Bettman was in knee-pants, bossing other kids around the playground. When Chicago Stadium opened in 1929, it was the largest indoor arena in the world. The Stadium sat 17, 317 for hockey, but standing-room boosted attendance to a record 20,069 for a 1982 playoff game against Minnesota. The legendary Boston ‘Gahden’ was smaller - about 16,000. Attendance Thursday night was an announced 15,183 - above the season average, but still disappointing.
from the Tennessean,
Mayor Karl Dean made a final, take-it-or-leave-it offer to the Nashville Predators’ potential new owners Friday, proposing a more generous arena lease in exchange for a commitment to stay in Nashville for five years.
Under his deal, the Predators could still leave town in three years – after the 2009-10 season — if the investors lost $20 million in that time and paid attendance fell below 14,000 per game.
from Brian Cazeneuve at Sports Illustrated,
To date, players born in 40 different countries have appeared in NHL contests. Using the current definitions and geographic partitions recognized by the United Nations, here is my list of the greatest NHL players born in each of the countries represented. Debate is encouraged, but not required:
ENGLAND: Ken Hodge
The former All-Star who potted 328 goals in 880 games for the Blackhawks, Bruins and Rangers (1964-78) was a sticky wicket pick over Steve Thomas and Byron Dafoe.
FINLAND: Jari Kurri
Gretzky’s sidekick as well as Finland’s all-time leading scorer netted 601 goals and was solid defensively, too.
read on for the other 38 countries…
In our “Friday Faceoff,” ESPN.com NHL writer Scott Burnside (based in Atlanta) and Toronto Star columnist and frequent ESPN.com contributor Damien Cox (based in Toronto) duke it out over any given hockey topic. Let the games begin!
This week’s topic: It’s Hockey Hall of Fame time, always an interesting time given some of the controversies that have dogged the institution in the past. Not much debate over this year’s class, but what about 2008 and beyond?
Damien: Agreed. A truly excellent class, and superb individuals, too. Scott Stevens might end up being the last truly defensive defenseman to get in. If there’s any disagreement, it’s that I would argue Igor Larionov deserves induction, possibly ahead of all but Mark Messier.
from the Buffalo News,
This isn’t the NHL. It’s the English Premier League.
The upgraded style of play that resulted from the lockout has been victimized by strategy. Coaches adjusted to the rule changes intended to promote skill and skating. Defense reemerged as the great equalizer for offensively challenged franchises. Nowadays NHL players are always in the zone, be it a 2-3, a 1-4 or variations thereof. The game can’t breathe.
“Zone defense right now, I would put it under the label of killing the game,” Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said Thursday. And he plays it.
via Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
Speaking of surly, former NHLer Bob Probert was outside the Caps dressing room after the game. He introduced himself to Ovechkin. The star walked away and asked somebody, “Grobert? Who’s Grobert?”
AO, I’d like you to meet Grobert….
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
But numbers tell some stories. Here’s a look at the NHL’s first five weeks by the numbers starting play Thursday unless noted:
Minus 11: Brad Richards plus-minus for the Tampa Bay. He’s generally recognized as a star, and he’s earning $7.8 million per season and he has the second-worst plus-minus in the league. In fairness, he is the only forward in the NHL playing an average of more than 25 minutes per game.
12,000: The Predators’ estimated average attendance this season. They need 14,000 to make the team work in Nashville.
In the two seasons since team owners canceled the 2004-05 campaign to force a salary cap on the players, the 30 NHL franchises have increased an average of 23% in value, and the league has gone from an operating loss of $96 million to a profit of $96 million.
The average hockey team is now worth $200 million and last season posted a profit (in the sense of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $3.2 million on revenue of $81 million. Even small-market hockey teams are hot properties: Tampa Bay Lightning owner William Davidson, who bought the team, the operating lease to the arena, and 5.6 acres of surrounding real estate for $115 million in 1999, is on the verge of selling that package for $206 million.
much more and should be a must read for every hockey fan…
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
Now the question being raised is one about player eligibility, specifically whether a player, who takes a penalty in the overtime, should be allowed to shoot in the shootout. The logic here being that a player who commits a foul has somehow forfeited his right to participate in the fun and educational extra-curricular activities.
So, it’s now come to this. The National Hockey League, in an attempt to simply spice up its product in a terribly hokey creative move, has now turned the simple endeavor into a complete civil rights question. That being: Is a player (a human) still considered a player (a human) after he’s committed an act against his society (the other team)?
[This post is temporarily ‘sticky’ to top of KK - updates in the comments]
From the CP via The Hockey News,
The 33-year-old Lindros, a free agent who has not played this season, is expected to announce his retirement in his hometown of London, Ont., on Thursday.
The Big E made it through 13 seasons despite eight concussions - injuries that eroded his impact later in his career. But he remains one of the most compelling impact players to skate in the NHL, and he wore Canada’s colours with distinction in earning gold and silver Olympic medals.
Bobby Clarke argues that Lindros should make it to the HHOF, but there’s likely to be a lot of debate. (updates: more articles on Lindros and his career will be added to the comments of this post)
Update 12:50pm ET: ESPN video discussing Lindros’ legacy is below.
Poll Question: Should Eric Lindros Make it into the Hall of Fame?
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.
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