Kukla's Korner Hockey
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
From Mark Herrmann at Newsday,
Far be it from me to tell anyone how to spend their $2 billion. So don’t look here for a quick yea or nay on the sweeping plan to completely redo Nassau Coliseum and develop the 77 acres around it.
What we can help with is to see the question behind the question, which is a biggie: Is Long Island the right place for a major-league sports team?
That is the $2-billion stumper we have to answer because a project such as the village proposed by Islanders owner Charles Wang and Scott Rechler is the cost of doing business in the big leagues these days.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Pre-game incidents are few and far between now, but it only takes one to get out of hand. So if the league really wants to eliminate that, there’s an easy three-step plan it can institute.
One, make sure two of the four on-ice officials patrol the centre red line during warm-up, like they do at some levels of junior hockey. It might require a negotiation with the NHL Officials’ Association but it’s hard to believe it would be a big problem.
Two, for any player who crosses the centre red line during warm-up, as identified by the on-ice officials, that player receives a 10-minute misconduct to start the game.
From Pierre Lebrun at the CP (via NHL.com),
Scoring is down for the second straight season in the NHL and there’s no easy solution to fix the downward trend.
The league was averaging 5.5 total goals per game through Monday night (not counting shootout tiebreakers), down from 5.9 through the same number of games last season and markedly down from 6.2 at the same point in the first season coming out of the lockout when a number of rule changes opened up the game.
That’s 100 fewer goals from last season through 251 total games and 175 fewer goals from 2005-06 at the same point. Is the league alarmed?
“Not yet,” commissioner Gary Bettman told The Canadian Press.
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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