Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Vancouver Province,
Rightly or wrongly, fighting remains with us. What the means for the league is a matter of some debate as it will continue to be a source of appeal to some and a source of revulsion to others.
“A good portion of teams will want to copy a team (Anaheim) that’s been successful,” Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said. “But I’m not a believer in an enforcer who plays three or four shifts a game. I think you have to be able to play and I think we have guys on our team who can do that. That’s not an area I’m concerned about at all.”
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
The O2 Arena in London opened its doors on June 22 and although some rock concerts have been staged, no ice had ever been laid down.
So three days ago, the NHL’s ice guru, Dan Craig, started work on the surface. In a case like this, more is involved than just dumping some water on the floor and chilling it.
For starters, the floor had been swept after the concerts, but never properly cleaned. So the first job was to make sure that the surface was free from any contaminants that might affect the ice.
Then the boards had to be installed. The O2 Arena was built to accommodate European hockey with its larger ice surface and the stadium’s personnel had used those boards only to control crowds. But Craig had to oversee the installation of boards for an NHL-size rink. That, too, was a first.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Moreover, as long as such hits stay in the game, there will be inevitable retaliation and brawls that followed, and you’ll have more of the bizarre scenes like Tuesday when a group of Ottawa players inadvertently trampled the unconscious McAmmond in their rush to exact some form of frontier justice.
The NHL could have taken a hard line on such hits in the summer months, but chose not to. The players’ union sure didn’t demand it, and too many hockey people decreed that the risk of taking body contact out of the game by outlawing hits to the head area was too significant.
Instead, the league has asked its officials to more carefully assess each incident with an emphasis on several key areas:
from Evan Weiner at the NY Sun,
People who follow sports don’t necessarily look up currency rates. But a significant benchmark was reached last week when the Canadian “loonie” was valued at slightly more than $.99 compared to the American greenback (the loonie is currently valued at $. 99691). It is the first time since November 1976 that the American and Canadian dollars have been virtually on par.
Running franchises in Canada became progressively difficult as the Canadian dollar started a free fall, and bottomed out at around $.62 by 1998. But because the two currencies are now on par, the NHL and the NFL may start looking north of the American border to expand their business opportunities.
from the St. Catharines Standard,
Count Pierre Pilote among those who enjoy post-NHL lockout hockey.
Gone are the days of hooking, high-sticking and holding going largely unpenalized.
Like many former players and present-day fans, the Hockey Hall of Famer enjoys watching the skilled players do their thing.
“I’m so glad,” he said between periods of a recent Niagara IceDogs game. “Since the lockout, it’s given the skilled players a chance to play, and they’re doing it.
“It’s in a better state now. When I played (1955-56 to 1968-69), it was all right. Then expansion came in and all of a sudden, coaches were saying, ‘How are we going to win this?’
from USA TODAY,
Tickets for the 17,500 seats, priced at $50, $90 and $130, were sold out in 2 1/2 weeks with very limited advertising, says Lucy Ellison, spokeswoman for the O2 arena, site of the games.
The price on the scalpers’ black market is way above that.
Andrew Morris, a Canadian expat and fan of his hometown Vancouver Canucks, says his girlfriend planned to get him a ticket as a 30th birthday present. She wasn’t fast enough and found scalpers wanted $770.
“It was really amazing not to get tickets,” says a disappointed Morris, who works in a London nightclub. “If you’re a hockey fan, it doesn’t make much difference who is playing. You just want to see the game.”
The Anaheim Ducks proudly toted the Stanley Cup they won last spring to various tourist sites on a double-decker bus here Wednesday to promote this weekend’s National Hockey League season curtain raiser.
But few Londoners seemed aware of who they were, or what they were carrying, as the team braved a chilly autumn wind that swept across the Thames River.
Steve Campbell, a sports fan from northern England, looked baffled as he watched playoff star Ryan Getzlaf lug the Cup across a busy street to pose with his teammates in front of Big Ben.
from Lindsay Berra of ESPN the Magazine,
If relatively anonymous. Drury, carting two gallons of milk out of a bodega on Manhattan’s Upper West Side recently, had to stare at a guy he thought was on HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords” (he wasn’t) before he got a “Hey, you’re the new Ranger!” in return. And Gomez spent an hour in a Starbucks near MSG on a late-summer workday afternoon, drinking his grapefruit soda in total peace. Think that’d happen to Eli Manning or Derek Jeter?
But Gomez and Drury just got into town; give them a season. Next June, the Rangers could be polishing the Stanley Cup, and NHL brass could be glowing about their improved ratings. Then the only unfinished business would be the ticker-tape parade.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
A decline in goal scoring is perhaps the leading on-ice problem bedevilling the NHL. To discuss that issue and others, Steve Kouleas convened a roundtable panel that will air tonight on The Score at 11 p.m. EDT.
One idea that seemed to resonate with the group - NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell, director of officiating Stephen Walkom, Detroit Red Wing general manager Ken Holland, his Toronto Maple Leafs counterpart John Ferguson, Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco and Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza - is employing a 3-on-3 overtime session if 4-on-4 hockey does not produce a winner.
“I sensed that John and Ken really liked that,” Kouleas said. “And Collie [Campbell] was all ears when they were talking about it.”
From William Houston at the Globe & Mail,
The NHL’s move to start its regular season in London, England is renewing debate about the viability of the league expanding to Europe.
Jim Kelley, a semi-regular host at the Fan590 in Toronto, correctly noted that “finding some schlep” in Europe to buy out owners of the sad-sack franchises in the American south – Florida, Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, to name a few – would save the NHL the enormous cost of contraction.
Problem is, there’s no evidence the league has plans to give up on the U.S. television market by contracting.
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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