Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,
What comes as a shock to long-time observers, however, is that now the NHL Players’ Association wants to get involved, and not necessarily to fight off the suspensions that were handed down by Colin Campbell, the NHL’s Director of Hockey Operations, as well as the perceived threat of additional suspensions that were hinted at by Commissioner Gary Bettman and his deputy, Bill Daly.
Paul Kelly, who barely has found a chair that fits him as the NHLPA’s new executive director said recently that he’s “concerned” about the number of suspensions the Flyers have been given since the start of the season and that not only should the league take a tougher stance, but that his organization should “have a voice in the process.”
Given that he’s not dead, it would be wrong to say that former NHLPA boss Bob Goodenow is spinning in his grave over that one, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Kelly’s statement made his head turn. Criticism of Goodenow within and outside the PA often centered on how he handled on-ice or player-on-player violence. The perception (Goodenow argued it was unfair) was that the PA was quick to come to the defense of any perpetrator, but did next to nothing to protect the health, safety and long-term welfare of the player who was unduly or unfairly assaulted.
Let’s be honest, outside of a Klan rally you won’t find a worse ratio of whites to blacks. The lack of black players means the NHL does not get the recognition the other sports receive in the hip hop community. You won’t find many hockey jerseys in the latest rap video. You also won’t find the hottest artists in the stands watching a NHL game. This lack of recognition from the artists means a lack of recognition from their fans that follow their lead.
“That’s an awful lot of eyeballs that aren’t interested in hockey as a casual fan and they’ve maybe never had the opportunity to pick up a hockey stick and experience it”, Darren Pang explains.
Unfortunately for the league this will continue to be a problem for the league, as there’s not exactly a big push in the African-American community to send their children to hockey camp.
This brings us to yet another problem.
read on if you wish…. Damn, I don’t think one of my favorite artists, Eric Clapton is a hockey fan, maybe I should stop watching…
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
The NHL - always craving for attention - should create a similar event to baseball’s winter meetings where front-office staff and media converge to create an amazing buzz for fans.
Here’s my proposal: use the February NHL GM meetings as the basis for a trade deadline bonanza.
For example, this year’s meetings run Feb. 18-20 in Naples, Fla., with the trade deadline a week later on Feb. 26. There likely won’t be any deals at this year’s meetings, just like there weren’t last year even though the GM meetings were also just a week before the trade deadline. Sure ‘‘the foundation’’ for deals were laid (if I hear that one more time I’m going to vomit) but the real moves didn’t happen until the 48-hour period leading up the actual deadline.
from Ian Winwood at the Guardian,
It’s my belief that no set of fans care more about the health of their game than those attracted to hockey. This is why the mood that surrounds the game is one of despondency and fear. Your team may be doing well, but the league in which it plays is not. It’s not in spite of Bettman’s actions that the NHL is in a worse place now than it was 15 years ago, but because of them….
I suppose this is the point where I’m supposed to call for the Bettman’s head - that’s how these things normally end. But to be honest, I’m not sure how this column should conclude. So I’m going to hand it over to you. What should be done?
from E.J. Hradek at ESPN,
The National Hockey League is very good at letting people know about its latest deal with any of the seemingly thousands of new media companies or any minor percentage jump in attendance or its D-list celebrity blogs.
However, when it comes to getting the word out about a special hockey night in a particular city, the league isn’t quite as adept.
That’s why most fans probably had no idea the Canadiens were having a very unique ceremony prior to Tuesday’s game against the Red Wings.
continued... E.J., you should have made a stop at KK yesterday, you would have known about it!
via Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
Nobody likes a tie, I know. The fans at the game go home wondering why they didn’t just spend their $200 on a tank of gas, and the fans at home realize they could have been watching a race-car driver win or lose a dance competition.
The answer is sudden death four-on-four. It provides one end-to-end rush after another, so eventually one of the teams is bound to score. I know the players will get tired. That’s one reason the games won’t last forever.
How about the ice surface Bob, when do you re-surface it? Do you think fans will stick around for a game of 4-on-4 for an extra hour, maybe two? I doubt it…
from Pat Hickey at the Montreal Gazette,
The other reason I give Howe the edge over Gretzky is that you never heard him complain about the rough treatment he received from opponents. Howe didn’t need Dave Semenko riding shotgun. Opponents took on Howe at their peril and his elbows were legendary. He dropped the gloves often enough that he gave his name to the Gordie Howe hat trick, which consisted of a goal, an assist and a fighting major.
The gathering at centre ice last night wasn’t as emotional as some of the spectacles staged by the Canadiens, but it produced enough nostalgia for Howe to remark: “I feel like elbowing someone.”
a bit more and some other NHL talk…
via Adrian Dater at All Things Avs,
The NHL’s biggest problem in the U.S. remains an absolute lack of coverage from the talking heads on all the shouting columnist shows, and the sportscenter-style highlight shows. Coverage is through the roof still in Canada, and much of Europe, but not here. It will NOT surprise me one bit if, in 20 years or less, the NHL is primarily based in Canada and Europe. Anybody who doesn’t believe me should check out the numbers in European arenas for games, especially in the Super League in Russia - which is paying NHL-comparable salaries for most players now.
from James Fitzpatrick at About.com,
Just about every team is running hot and cold this season. In Ottawa, the once-mighty Senators are barely showing a pulse. The Devils couldn’t do anything right in October; now they can’t lose. Dallas fired the general manager a few weeks ago. Now the Stars lead the Pacific Division.
Atlanta, Montreal and Toronto are among the other cities where wins and losses come in bunches. Most other teams are ambling along at a win-one-lose-one pace. Carolina was pounded 8-1 by Buffalo (last in the Northeast Division) last weekend, and rebounded to beat the Rangers (first in the Atlantic) two days later.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
If you watch Hockey Night in Canada, you may assume there has been no increase in NHL goal scoring, despite the crackdown on restraining fouls.
And even if there has been a small improvement, you may believe it is attributable to the large number of power plays being called.
A big part of the Hockey Night message is: Zero tolerance has not helped improve the game offensively.
But the first assumption is wrong and the second is questionable.
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