Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Gary Bettman might finally have a winner on his hands. When the league’s board of governors meet Nov. 28-29 in Pebble Beach, Calif., it’s expected they’ll approve a change to the schedule which will allow every team to face each other at least once per season. After failing twice to get the schedule changed, it’s believed Bettman has finally come up with a format the governors will support. Here’s what the new format could look like: Teams will play six games against divisional foes, down from eight; it’s expected clubs will face the other teams in their conference four times (status quo); the remaining 18 games on the schedule would be played against the opposing conference.
read on for more NHL talk plus some trade rumors…
From Sam McCaig at THN,
Numbers don’t lie.
1. Montreal, at 10-4-3, is tied with Colorado for the third-best winning percentage in the league (.676). Not bad for a team The Hockey News predicted would finish 13th in the Eastern Conference this season. The New Jersey Devils, at 7-9-2, were holding down 13th in the East through Nov. 15.
2. Buffalo, at 6-10-1, is 29th in the league in winning percentage (.382), ahead of only Washington (6-11-1, .361). And have you heard this one about Buffalo? They haven’t scored the first goal in 14 consecutive games;
From The Tennessean,
David Freeman, head of the group buying the Nashville Predators hockey team, put out this statement this afternoon:
“We are excited to reach an agreement with the Mayor’s Office on lease changes to keep the Predators in Nashville under local ownership. We are very appreciative of Mayor Dean for getting this done amid the many priorities he has as the new mayor of our city. He obviously has a strong desire for this hockey team to remain in Nashville.”
continued… with the rest of the statement
Updated 5:52pm ET: From the AP via USA Today,
Mayor Karl Dean said the agreement guarantees the team will stay in Nashville for the next five years or the city’s financial investment will be paid back.
The changes for the Sommet Center must be approved by the Metro Sports Authority and city council. The NHL Board of Governors must approve the $193 million sale.
From Pierre Lebrun, CP via MetroNews,
“It’s just part of the business. I’m viewing this as a great time to teach them how to respond to adversity. I have to be strong at home and go out and get another job and let them know that when you have a setback and you have to stand up and get back on your feet. That’s what society demands and that’s what we demand of ourselves.”
Armstrong’s deal with the Stars pays him through the 2010-11 season but he doesn’t plan on sitting on the couch. He wants to work.
He’s already been contacted from numerous friends around the league and given his excellent reputation he needn’t worry.
“Someone said when you get let go, because it’s never if but when, just make a list of names of people that called you and that’ll give you a pretty good feeling of what you’ve done,” said Armstrong. “So I’ve got that list and I’m on the third or fourth page now. It means a lot when people around the league reach out to you and show their support.”
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….
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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