Kukla's Korner Hockey
Think your hometown teams are a bunch of losers? Hey, Chicago, we’ve all been there. Some of us, though, have been there longer than most.
Which brings us to the first-ever ranking of the Losingest Sports Cities in North America. That’s all-time, for all four of the Big Four sports. Yes, that’s right. We looked at every city in the U.S. and Canada that has an NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB team today—then went back in history to account for every franchise that stayed for the long haul, just passed through or died a sad death.
NEW YORK (April 10, 2007)—The Chicago Blackhawks won the National Hockey League Draft Drawing today and gained the first overall drafting position for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, June 22 and 23 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
The Blackhawks, who would have picked fifth based on inverse order of regular-season finish, had the fifth-greatest percentage likelihood, 8.1%, that one of the numbered sequences assigned to them would be the winning combination. Under the lottery system, only the five teams with the fewest points had the chance to win the first overall selection; no team could move up more than four spots and no team could move backward more than one.
NEW YORK—(BUSINESS WIRE)—As the 89th NHL regular season draws to a close this year, there is a software application to liven up the playoffs. Information Builders, the enterprise business intelligence (BI) standard of choice for organizations around the world, has developed an Active Report that allows anyone to access goals, assists, points, penalty minutes, short-handed and power plays, and game-winning goals statistics, as well as salary and nationality data for all the players.
“Hockey is a fast paced game with a wealth of interesting statistics,” said Michael Corcoran, CMO of Information Builders. “Fans in the U.S., Canada, and Europe can easily track the stats of their favorite players and teams in the NHL Playoffs. This Active Report will allow you to learn things about the top players you probably didn’t know. Business intelligence can hit just as hard as the meanest slap shot when the data is offered in an accessible way.”
from Jody Vance at Slam,
Working at the rink, day in and day out, you get to know the characters behind the scenes pretty well, good folks like Vic the security guy who stands guard in front of the Leafs dressing room.
Vic is always there with a big smile and hello for me every game day, and this day was no different, except, he added, “Well, Jody ... is this it till next fall or will I see you next Monday?”
Call it the ripple effect of being a part of the NHL culture. It is akin to having a seasonal family.
One can only imagine how the players must feel on this day.
When any season wraps up, as it has in Toronto, do they give thought to how this group likely will not gather in its current form next fall?
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
*David Nonis is the under-heralded GM who rates a retroactive ovation for picking Alain Vigneault off the coaching scrapheap and handing him the Canucks. Brian Burke’s protégé, Nonis speaks with fewer decibel counts than his mentor but he sure is piling up the point
*Ales (Big Talent, Little Drive) Hemsky and Fernando (Overpaid) Pisani were supposed to take the Oilers a long way this year. So, who gets the blame – our beloved underachievers or coach Craig (Run Out Of Quotes) MacTavish?
more from the Maven…
NEW YORK (April 9, 2007) – New York Islanders’ goaltender Wade Dubielewicz, Colorado Avalanche center Joe Sakic and Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending April 8.
Each Monday, the NHL will recognize three players who delivered the League’s top performances over the past week.
FIRST STAR – WADE DUBIELEWICZ, G, NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Dubielewicz backstopped the Islanders to four consecutive victories and the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. He made 36 saves through overtime and three in the shootout as the Islanders defeated the New York Rangers 3-2, April 3. On April 5, he made 28 saves in a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and stopped 28 of 30 shots in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, April 7. On April 8, he blocked 22 of 24 shots and then two of three in the shootout as the Islanders clinched a playoff position with a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils.
from Jim Kelley at Sporstnet,
As we mentioned above, hockey still has serious problems, and, perhaps, more coming. You can even argue that in his early years Bettman either created or allowed many of the problems that he has now addressed, but in the big picture the Commissioner who came to the game without a trace of hockey knowledge, without even a hint of a feel for its history and tradition and who jumped feet first into a vicious and ill-conceived expansion via one of the most short-sighted and special-interest ownership groups in the history of sport has done what many thought was impossible.
He’s made the game better.
from Karen Crouse of the New York Times:
From his spot at the bar, Dr. Coyle Connolly, a dermatologist and rabid Flyers fan, had an open look at Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur. It was late summer 1995 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Connolly’s heart was on the mend after Brodeur and the Devils broke it with their defeat of Philadelphia in that year’s Eastern Conference finals.
Connolly, who had booed Brodeur from his season seat, swooped in like a skater to congratulate Brodeur for having gone on to win his first Stanley Cup. He half expected his introduction to end in rejection, but Brodeur did not turn him away.
Accepting Connolly’s offer of a beer, Brodeur ended up inviting him to join him and a friend for dinner so they could continue their hockey conversation. Nearly a dozen years later they are still talking about hockey and a whole lot more.
from the Canadian Press:
It could be just the first of many, but Sidney Crosby will win the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL scoring leader for 2006-07.
The 19-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins prodigy ended the season with 120 points, six more than Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks, who won the Art Ross last season with 125.
“It’s a nice accomplishment, and I didn’t come into this season expecting it,” Crosby told reporters after setting up both Pittsburgh goals in a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday night. “I tried to have the best season possible, and I was lucky enough to get it.”
continued with a list of the NHL’s leaders in goals, GAA, etc.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post:
The guaranteed-point, four-on-four overtime was introduced by the NHL in 1999-2000 to give teams an incentive to open up and go after victories in the extra five minutes of play. It was meant to provide a reward to fans who more often than not were sitting through 60 minutes of clutch-and-grab hockey sanctioned by the league so expansion and low-payroll operations could compete with high-payroll, marquee clubs.
The concept (Gary Bettman’s, by the way) was a good one within the league’s warped lowest-common-denominator environment. Overtimes did provide singular, sometimes breathtaking, entertainment. Coaches often used three forwards and an offense-minded defenseman in non-conference games. The extra five minutes (or less) often were a treat for the players and for the fans.
But the implementation of both the new officiating standards and the shootout has made the concept obsolete. Four-on-four is now generally a bore. Coaches approach overtime playing not to lose rather than to win. They’d just as soon get the game to a shootout. Defensively suspect players don’t get on the ice. For example, Petr Prucha might do wonders with the additional space created by four-on-four, but the sophomore sniper got a total of two shifts - two! - in the Rangers’ 22 overtime periods.
Brooks has a point: if teams can’t win outright in the first 1:30-2:00 of overtime, they tend to shut down their offence and play a four-man trap. What one does to rectify the situation depends on who you ask. Brooks is for a 2-1-0 system; I’m all for the three-point win. What do you think?
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 email@example.com