Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Maybe it’s time to frame the discussion about what’s going on by asking the question: Is the game of hockey, played at the NHL level, too fast for its own good?
There’s little doubt that the league, in the post-lockout era, is collectively faster than ever. The players are bigger, stronger and fitter. The equipment has never been more evolved. Attempts to get obstruction out of the game have largely succeeded, meaning there is flow and speed again through the neutral zone, which wasn’t always the case in the dark days prior to the lockout when the clutch-and-grab style trumped all others.
The unhappy byproduct of all this speed, however, is that the game changed again — and it became all about reaction and instinct….
read on plus more NHL bits…
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
One debate percolating these days centres on Tavares’ agent Bryan Deasley, a 38-year-old former Calgary Flames first-round pick – he never made it to the NHL – who hopes to make Tavares the underpinning of his player agent business. Industry sources say some rivals likely have already tried to poach Tavares.
“It’s nasty,” says Brian Lawton, a former NHL player who recently quit the agent industry to try to land an NHL management job. “I bet some of the big shops have tried to contact John two or three times already.”...
If Tavares becomes an NHL star, it would mean a payoff of at least $100,000 (all figures U.S.) a year for his agent, Lawton says. Most NHL agents charge between 2 and 4 per cent for on-ice earnings. (That means when Sidney Crosby signed a five-year, $43.5 million deal with the Penguins, his agent Pat Brisson’s take was probably between $870,000 and $1.7 million.)
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
Speed, through all three zones on the ice, needs to be enhanced. Defensive schemes that throw a blanket over offensive talent and creativity need to be cut back. Goaltenders need to be protected, but they also need to either have their equipment reduced in size or the nets they guard enlarged.
The NHL was on that path, but things have changed and it needs to act once again.
It needs to be vigilant in keeping offence and entertainment in the forefront and too much defence and stagnation at bay.
If it doesn’t, it will fail to grow its version of the game and failure to grow the game, in the U.S. and around the world, is a ticket to economic failure for all the teams, even the six forever loved entities across Canada.
Make your selections for the NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta!
From Brad Holland at NHL.com,
NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary rankings for the 2008 Entry Draft are out and, as expected, Sarnia Sting forward Steven Stamkos heads the list of Ontario Hockey League prospects. Belarussian forward Mikhail Stefanovich of the Quebec Remparts heads the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League list, while power forward Kyle Beach is ranked as the Western Hockey League’s top skater.
Each of the three, Stamkos especially, is expected to be a huge part of whichever team is lucky enough to nab him at this summer’s Entry Draft in Ottawa. But while the top player from each league is a forward, the 2008 Entry Draft will likely be remembered as the year of the blue-chip defensemen.
from John Ondrasik at Sports Illustrated,
Over a pre-game beer in the Grand Reserve Room at Staples Center, I recently had the chance to talk to Hall of Fame-bound and current L.A. Kings President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille….
John: I actually went to Game One of [last season’s] Stanley Cup Final and I sat next to Mr. Bettman. It was all I could do to restrain myself [laughs] about some of the marketing choices the NHL’s made in the last few years. What specifically do you think the NHL could really do for outreach?
Luc: The biggest thing is you gotta find a way for people to see the game. It doesn’t matter what channel it’s on, it’s how you market and promote it. You gotta tell people to go to a certain station, but I think we need to work harder at it. Look at the NFL. The NHL’s never really done a good job of marketing players. People on the inside say that hockey players are the nicest guys, but then nobody talks about them….
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
...But there is no doubt that, in the rush to safeguard themselves from being pillaged, GMs have put all their chips behind their Plan A’s and pushed any and all Plan B’s completely off the table. They have willingly straight-jacketed themselves without possessing even the most minimal Houdini-like skills and may need the aid of smoke and mirrors to stay employed….
So let it go, GMs. When it comes to the future, roll the dice and live a little. It’s like your mom told you after you first had your heart broken by some reckless harlot – yeah, the sting might hurt like hell in the short term, but eventually, someone better will come along.
from Rand Simon of the Hockey News,
Hockey fans everywhere had to be nervous about what the future holds for the game after Montreal Canadiens’ owner George Gillett was recently quoted as saying: “But it is still a very difficult business when you have your player payroll at 54 or 55 percent of your total revenue.”
If Gillett’s comments are an accurate reflection of what other owners think, then it is hard to be optimistic that a work stoppage can be avoided when the current CBA expires on Sept. 15, 2011 (the players have the right to extend the agreement by one year or terminate it two years early).
from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
If I am Brett Hull, I call Bob Gainey and ask him about patience as a GM. How developing and sticking with a game plan is better than always being on the lookout for a one-timer.
If I am Brett Hull, I call Ken Hitchcock and get him to thoroughly explain to me the value of teamwork, preparation and defensive play.
If I am Brett Hull, I call Lombardi and ask him how to build and guide a scouting staff.
from the Dallas Morning News,
The Dallas Stars will announce today that Jeff Cogen has been named the new president of the team, according to outgoing president Jim Lites.
Lites is stepping down as president of the Stars, a decision he said was mutual with owner Tom Hicks. Lites will take an expanded role in the Hicks Sports Group.
Note: more on changes with the Stars earlier, here
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.
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