Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Bob Hartley is as much a hockey fan as he is a coach. He has a satellite dish at home to watch minor-league hockey in Canada, and his flat-screen television in his Duluth office keeps him constantly updated with feeds from TSN, Canada’s ESPN equivalent.
Right now the fan in him is puzzled. Why, he wondered on Monday after practice, are hockey pundits debating fighting in hockey when the NHL — and the Thrashers — are in the stretch run of an exciting race to the playoffs?
“Why are we not talking about this great race?” he asked. “Tell me a sport where we have seen a race like this, that’s what we should be talking about. Some teams won’t go down. No one wants to go down.”
from the CBC,
Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday the NHL isn’t going to debate the issue of fighting in hockey, but admitted the league may have to find a better way to protect its hulking players from fighting-related injuries.
“From a player safety standpoint, what happens in fighting is something we need to look at just as we need to look at hits to the head,” Bettman told reporters after a news conference in Toronto to announce the NHL had reached a new six-year broadcast deal with the CBC.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
The game is such these days that a lot of players don’t care whether there’s a puck on the ice or not
They’re just out there to run other players. And they’re causing injuries.
In an earlier era, those players would have been held accountable. But with the instigator rule, and the low-scoring games that put a premium on power plays, they’re left alone. If the league scraps the instigator rule and keeps the fighters, those guys would think twice. And there would be fewer injuries.
In the long run, fighting doesn’t cause injuries; it prevents them.
via Sports Business Daily,
Hockey HOFer Scotty Bowman will post his first blog today for NBCSports.com, where he will discuss which teams he believes will make the NHL playoffs. Bowman will blog two to three times a week throughout the season and playoffs.
I did a quick search at NBC but didn’t find anything yet, if you happen to run into it, please post in the comments…
update 3:00pm, from Scotty Bowman at NBC Sports,
This Eastern Conference playoff face is sure tough to figure. Last year, the West was pretty close at the end of the season, but it was for one spot, which is mostly what I’ve seen. But now you could say it’s easily three open spots in the East.
Sure, there’s a couple of important races, and not just for the last few spots. The race between Atlanta and Tampa Bay for the Southeast is important because one of those teams will end up with the third seed while the other will be fighting just to get in the playoffs. Tampa’s got a decent schedule and it gets to play Carolina, which can also sneak up and grab first in the Southeast.
note: originally posted at 9:05am, 3/26/07
NEW YORK (March 26, 2007)—New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, San Jose Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending March 25.
Each Monday, the NHL will recognize three players who delivered the League’s top performances over the past week.
FIRST STAR—HENRIK LUNDQVIST, G, NEW YORK RANGERS
Lundqvist posted a 4-0-0 record with a 0.72 goals-against average and .974 save percentage as the Rangers (39-28-9, 87 points) moved up to sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Lundqvist made 21 saves in a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins March 19, recorded his fifth shutout of the season in a 5-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers March 21, made 40 stops in a 2-1 shootout win at Boston March 24 and finished the week with 34 saves in a 2-1 overtime decision over the New York Islanders March 25. Lundqvist is 34-21-7 for the season, recording a 2.30 GAA, .918 save percentage and five shutouts.
from The Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Despite exhaustive efforts (presumably) by its production and research staff, HNIC has still not been able to turn up a single person capable of expressing the growing sentiment against fighting in the sport.
You’d think with all those taxpayer dollars behind it HNIC might be able to find a single voice in the hockey world to occasionally disagree with the program’s stridently pro-fighting platform.
Instead, it’s “fighting is part of the game” before the game, during the first period intermission when we see hockey’s version of Ann (Anybody Who Disagrees with me is a Fag) Coulter, during the second period intermission panel discussion and after the game.
from Ted Montgomery of USA TODAY,
Prediction No. 1: The New York Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings will be the only two Original Six teams to make the playoffs. Toronto can’t keep the puck out of their own net, Montreal has goaltending problems, Boston is alarmingly inconsistent and Chicago is just plain terrible.
Prediction No. 2: The Vancouver Canucks will prevail in the Western Conference and go to the Stanley Cup final. Most pundits feel the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks or even the Dallas Stars are the best team, but the Canucks have momentum and, finally, a world-class goaltender in Roberto Luongo to help them go the distance.
read on for more predictions from Ted…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
How nice of the Tampa Bay Lightning to join the party.
Whereas the scuffle in the bottom portion of the Eastern Conference appeared to involve five teams fighting for two spots just last week, that has changed courtesy of the floundering Bolts.
Tampa found itself passed by the soaring New York Rangers yesterday, once again demonstrating that if you don’t like the conference standings much today, don’t worry.
Tomorrow they’ll be different.
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star:
About a half hour after they’d peeled Detroit Red Wings defenceman Brett Lebda off the ice and on to a stretcher to be taken to hospital, Kelly Chase, one-time resident tough guy for the St. Louis Blues and currently a broadcaster for the team, reminisced about what might have happened to someone had they taken such liberties with a Wings player in his day.
“I didn’t have to call (National Hockey League commissioner) Gary Bettman to find out what the punishment was for running a guy from behind in Detroit,” Chase said. “The punishment was (Bob) Probert and (Joe) Kocur.”
While the tall foreheads at the NHL offices pontificate over what to do about fighting, the real ugly problem in the league revealed itself once more Saturday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.
Unbalanced schedules mean some teams play more, brewing more bad blood. And quite simply, the players hold no longer hold respect for each other.
“We can talk to them all we want, but ultimately, it’s up to the players,” Murray said regarding the potential for change this frightening and growing culture.
The scariest art of all this is that there’s a possibility that in a clandestine manner, the league favours the violence.
from Erin Nicks at the Ottawa Sun,
When you’re a media member, you’re not supposed to show preference towards a specific franchise. It’s not “professional.” Whether you believe that isn’t the issue. Everyone is prone to favouritism—there isn’t a single person on Earth that cherishes all 30 NHL teams, and is simply a “fan of the sport.”
However, these biases aren’t reserved solely for the media. They extend far beyond, into the NHL itself. But how could the league have team preferences?
Two words—Television ratings.
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