Kukla's Korner Hockey
From the CP via NHL.com,
The first month of the 2007-08 season is just about in the books, providing a timely window to examine the players and teams that have made their mark around the NHL.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have surprised while the New York Rangers have disappointed.
Here’s an early look at Canadian Press writers’ best and worst of the season so far.
continued… (*a look at the players, teams, coaches and more)
Ted Montgomery at USA Today takes a look at “players who tend to be overrated by any combination of fans, the media and their own team.” For example:
Dominik Hasek, Detroit:
Hasek is still his acrobatic, unpredictable self, on and off the ice, but he no longer routinely steals games for his team like he once did, and on more than a few occasions, he costs his team a victory with his wanderings from the crease. He’s easily among the worst puck-handling goaltenders of all-time, and his fairly recent tendency to overplay shooters results in some goals that probably shouldn’t have been scored. Add to this the fact that his health always seems tenuous and you get the profile of a once great goaltender who is on that long descent down from the top of the mountain.
more… *check out the full list of 10 “overrated” players.
From Kevin Allen at USA Today,
Anaheim Ducks general manager Brian Burke says the Randy Jones hit from behind that injured Patrice Bergeron illustrates why the defensive “bear hug” should be legal when a player is in a vulnerable position.
“In those situations a defenseman has two choices right now: He hits the guy or he looks like a fool,” Burke said. “We need to put the third option back into the game.”
Before the lockout, when a defenseman approached a player with his back to him, he would put his arms around the player and “bear-hug” him into the glass. In an effort to open up the game, the NHL ended that practice by penalizing a player who takes a hand off his stick to tie up a player.
“In the old days, the two bodies went in together,” Burke said. “Now it’s like two billiard balls. One ball hits another and propels it into the boards.”
From the CP via TSN,
The Montreal Canadiens are calling for an NHL rule change after defenceman Francis Bouillon suffered a shoulder injury from a hit in the dying seconds of overtime.
The Canadiens feel that Pittsburgh defenceman Sergei Gonchar should not have been allowed to take part in a shootout after he was called for boarding with 1.6 seconds left in the five-minute overtime in Montreal’s 4-3 win over the Penguins on Saturday night.
Spector takes a closer look at talk about a deal between Edmonton and Atlanta. Plus more speculation about Forsberg…
From Jeffrey Flanagan at the Kansas City Star,
If Kansas City does indeed ever land an NHL team, keep this in mind: The game has changed, and not necessarily for the better.
As enforcement of the instigator penalty has grown stricter in the NHL — the punishment is a minor penalty, a major penalty and a 10-minute misconduct — old-fashioned street brawls on the ice have all but vanished. And so has much of the game’s personality.
“Let’s face it: Fans do like to see the fighting,” said former Blades broadcaster Bob Kaser. “When you think about, what gets the crowd going more? Is it an end-to-end goal or is it seeing one of your team’s enforcers going at it with someone on the other team? It’s the fighting that gets the crowd on its feet in anticipation.
From Al Strachan at FoxSports,
So players routinely hit people along the boards, knowing full well that if they don’t, they could lose their jobs. As long as the opponent is not facing the glass, that’s usually not a problem.
But in many of these instances where players are being hurt, the victim turns to the boards at the last millisecond when it’s too late for the checker to stop his forward motion. The other variation is that a player — partly facing the boards — sees the checker coming and, in an attempt to absorb the blow, starts to bend towards a fetal position. He puts his head down — the worst possible course of action. When he gets hit, his face goes into the dasher.
What should the league do in these cases? To the casual fan, it appears to be a simple case. A player got whacked into the boards and is lying there hurt. Hand out a major and subsequently a suspension.
But on closer examination, it appears that there’s not much else the checker could do.
*This subject also addressed earlier today by Spector at FoxSports, and linked here on KK
From Stan Fischler via hockeyjournal.com,
John Ferguson deserves better than the relentless attacks from such human verbal howitzers as Steve (Toronto Sun) Simmons and Hockey Night in Canada’s Scott Morrison. As long as we can remember, Steve – otherwise a friend of ours – has been trying to pull the plug on Fergie. The Simmons fixation is troubling and it must pain the dear boy that Toronto has climbed above .500 (5-4-3). Meanwhile Morrison has the unmitigated gall to suggest that existing GMs, such as Jimmy Rutherford, up and leave their jobs to displace colleague Ferguson. How ridiculous can you get? Just for the sake of common decency, it would be neat if Ferguson’s Leafs ran off a six-game winning streak. That would shut these jackals up – for about a week.
read on… for Stan’s take on the NHLPA and other NHL news
From Spector’s Blog at FoxSports,
Hitting - good clean body-checking - is every bit as vital to the game of hockey as a wrist shot and a glove save. Nobody wants to see it removed from the game.
Even no-nonsense hockey commentator Don Cherry, a well-known champion of physical hockey, has been an advocate for years against hitting players from behind into the boards.
Part of the problem is that players nowadays are being coached on turning their backs to their opponents when the puck is along the boards to “protect the puck”, the thinking being an opponent won’t hit them from behind and therefore making it more difficult for them to strip away the puck. It does work to an extent, but it still leaves a player in a vulnerable position.
The National Hockey League (NHL) debuts two TV spots featuring the new NHL tagline “Live Every Shift,” today on NHL.com. The spots will air for the first time tonight during the VERSUS broadcast of the San Jose Sharks - Dallas Stars game, and will re-air later this week on TSN, CBC, HDNet and NHL Network. The ads were written and produced by top advertising agency Young & Rubicam in collaboration with NHL Productions. This is the first creative work done by Y&R since being hired as the NHL’s Agency of Record in September.
continued… *You can see the new advertisements at that link as well
Update 3:37pm ET:
More on the TV spots with Dan Rosen at NHL.com.
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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