Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
So, now that the games are counting, here are some conclusions (or should we call them mini-conclusions) that can be drawn….
Yes, it’s painfully early, but the play of netminding “savior” Tomas Vokoun in Florida has been just that—painful—as the Panthers are off to a 0-2 start. Vokoun has allowed nine goals on 49 shots. For those keeping score at home, it translates to a 4.54 goals-against average and .816 save percentage.
from SportsBusiness Journal (paid reg.),
MSG Chairman James Dolan is often viewed as an industry pariah, a notion no doubt burnished by his defeat last week in the Anucha Browne Sanders sexual harassment lawsuit.
But surprisingly, the argument of Dolan, MSG and the New York Rangers — if not the methods — are garnering support from other NHL clubs and regional sports networks in their legal fight against the NHL for control over digital rights….
“There’s some feeling around the league that says, ‘Good for them,’” a team executive said. “There’s some downside to the league saying, ‘Boom. Here’s your (Web site) format.’ Teams have been hurt by that and aren’t getting satisfaction.”
“We think digital rights can be best exploited on a team-by-team basis locally through the team and its local media partners,” said an executive at an RSN with NHL rights after asking for anonymity because of the ongoing lawsuit.
update 1:22pm, Thanks to the folks at SportsBusiness Journal for providing KK readers with a link to read the full article…
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
In a long interview Friday that focused mostly on his father, John Ferguson Jr. touched only briefly on his job as general manager of the Maple Leafs, but Ferguson agreed that fans probably don’t understand that it’s no longer possible to put together a team like those legendary Canadiens dynasties of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, with a team dominating over a period of decades.
“To be honest,” Ferguson said, “I think the fans can be a bit unrealistic. But that’s what gives the game its passion here. They want to win all the time. That’s not going to happen any more. That era, those players all together on one team for years, I don’t think we’ll see that again.”
From Jim Gintonio at the Arizona Republic,
Boogaard, the Minnesota Wild’s 6-foot-7, 258-pound enforcer, can rule through intimidation. It’s one reason that penalty minutes for players of his type usually decrease in the NHL from the staggering figures they compiled in the minors while trying to make names for themselves.
“The role is important,” said Shawn Thornton of the Boston Bruins. “I think it keeps people a little more honest. It’s just our job, and we know that, and it has to be done. It’s not that we have any disdain for each other.”
It can be a cat-and-mouse - make that a lion-and-rhino - game when two enforcers are on the ice.
From Desmond Bieler at the Washington Post,
We could go on about how nobody noticed the season starting for what’s supposed to be a major sports league, and how hockey gets lower TV ratings than mah-jongg tournaments, but that wouldn’t be kind. We wanted to go in a different direction and find out what people actually like about the NHL, eh?
1. Let’s start with the fact that the NHL easily has the coolest championship trophy going. The Stanley Cup looks the part, while the NFL has a football on a stick and the NBA has a basketball perched on the lid of a Big Gulp. The Cup actually has held its share of beverages and, thanks to the NHL’s excellent policy of letting each winning player spend quality time with it, has also found itself onstage at a gentlemen’s club and at the bottom of Mario Lemieux’s swimming pool. Of course, before the Cup makes its annual appearance, you have to wait out a regular season that goes on for longer than the presidential campaign, but it all makes sense once the stakes are raised. The checks just seem harder, the passes crisper and, impossibly enough, Barry Melrose’s hair more lacquered.
continued… (*link may require free registration)
From Jamie Fitzpatrick at About.com,
Does Patrick Kane belong in the NHL? He’ll be 19 in November, and is listed at a miniscule 5’-10” and 163 pounds. He has played one season of junior hockey. How well might he hold up over 82 big-league games with a less than stellar team?
These days, top-drawer prospects arrive more NHL-ready than ever before. In the last two years, Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, Kopitar, Vlasic and Jordan Staal have all stepped into the league and flourished as teenagers. On the other hand, Gilbert Brule was a bust in his rookie season, and Nikolai Zherdev has achieved little since arriving from Russia as a 19-year-old in 2003.
From the Edmonton Sun,
Don Cherry thinks Steve Downie got off easy.
The outspoken commentator said Downie should have been suspended 30 games for his preseason hit on Dean McAmmond during Saturday night’s segment of Coach’s Corner on CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada.
Cherry called the hit by the Philadelphia Flyers forward on the Senators defenceman a “cheap shot” and added that players shouldn’t hit like that in the preseason.
Video of Cherry’s comments can be viewed on the CBC video player. There is no direct link, but just click on the “Hockey Night in Canada” link on the left, then the sub-menu will provide a link to the October 6th edition of Coach’s Corner.
note: unfortunately, U.S. viewers may not be able to access the video, unless you have a way of accessing the page using a Canadian proxy IP.
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
The Rangers, who want the right to control their own website instead of adopting the league’s “homogenized ... cookie cutter” model, argue the addition of Drury and Gomez have “made the Rangers a strong contender ... creating enormous opportunities to increase traffic to the Rangers website, as well as to use the Rangers website to cultivate fan excitement, attract new fans, and enhance the Rangers business.”
The Rangers surely won’t need to draw on their new high-priced forwards in court. It looks like history may be on their side.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
• Which NHL head coach subjected his players to room-by-room, curfew bed-checks conducted by his assistants in the team’s hotel two nights before the season opener on the road?
• A well-placed source reports that Doug MacLean’s Absolute Hockey Enterprises group that apparently had reached an agreement to buy the Lightning, is having ongoing issues meeting the financial requirements necessary to complete the deal and is seeking additional investors.
more NHL talk plus a look at Downie type hits…
Evan Grossman of NHL.com is live blogging from the NHL “War Room” in Toronto. Let’s see what he is up too…
Just had our first goal review. Nashville’s David Legwand got credit for the Preds’ first goal of the game, a ruling that came from the same desk I’m sitting at. Caught it all on video, which was pretty amazing. On the TV in front of me, the referee waited at center ice, like we’ve seen a thousand times. The phone here rings. Murphy speaks with the officials at the arena, saying the goal was a good one. The voice on the other end of the phone concurs. It counts. And the Preds lead, 1-0.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org