Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Well, for starters it’s time for a woman. Past time, really, and hopefully they’ll get this ball rolling next year. Pick one of Shirley Cameron, Geraldine Heaney, Cammi Granato, Angela James, France St. Louis - whoever.
Well, Igor Larionov should be a slam dunk. In fact, he should have been inducted this year. Only Mark Messier, really, had greater credentials, and the way in which the Hall of Fame selection process is still shrouded in complete and impenetrable secrecy makes it difficult to understand how the great Russian wasn’t selected.
Next, in my mind, should be former Edmonton sniper Glenn Anderson, one of the best big-game scorers in NHL history.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Instead of televising the induction ceremony, Versus will be all over the critical and compelling match in Florida between the Hurricanes and the Panthers. Well, it’ll be there.
Instead of televising the ceremonies on a delayed basis following the Showdown in Sunrise, Versus will run something called, “WEC Wrekcage.”
Gary Bettman and the Board of Governors must be so proud.
It isn’t, however, only Versus that’s conspiring against both hockey and good sense here. By scheduling five games on a night that should remain dark, the NHL essentially guaranteed that the mundane playing of early-season matches would in large part overshadow a marquee event like the Hall of Fame inductions.
read on and I am surprised Larry didn’t mention the Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be televised on the NHL Network from 7:30-9:30pm tonight.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Why do so many mainstream hockey people assume Igor Larionov is a slam-dunk Hall of Fame player. He played the final 14 years of his career in the NHL, most of it as a second-, third- or fourth-line centre. Based on those years alone, he shouldn’t even be a candidate. And yes, he was brilliant in Russia before that. But he was no more brilliant than linemate Vladimir Krutov—and no one is arguing Krutov for the Hall. Nor should they.
more hockey talk…
Steve, it is the Hockey Hall of Fame, not the NHL hall of fame!
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.
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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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