Kukla's Korner Hockey
Countless young hockey players in the state of Michigan grow up dreaming of one day pulling on the Winged Wheel and skating out onto the ice at Joe Louis Arena as a member of the Detroit Red Wings.
It goes without saying that few will ever get the chance, based on the long odds against most young players making it to the National Hockey League, but based on recent NHL Entry Drafts, the odds are particularly long in Hockeytown. From 2001 to 2005 (inclusive), the Red Wings selected only three college or college-bound players in the NHL Entry Draft, by far the fewest of any NHL team….
A total of 346 college or college-bound players were selected in the 2001-05 entry drafts, an average of just over 11.5 per team. Still, though, some teams’ preferences remain in place, as evidenced by the limited forays into the college ranks by teams like the Red Wings, the Toronto Maple Leafs (six college draftees), and the Montreal Canadians (six).
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
But putting Hamilton out into the open signals open warfare which should lead to a battle royal between the Balsillie interests and Commissioner Gary Bettman who wants a territory rights fight about as much as he wants Bob Goodenow back as head of the Players Association….
This is one of the great tests of Bettman’s control in the history of his tenure with the NHL and there’s no sure sense of the outcome except that Balsillie and company have shown their hand and they aren’t going to back down.
more and other NHL topics…
from Scott Morrison of the CBC,
It just might be time for the NHL to rejig its awards ever-so slightly.
In the past, of course, there had been a call to tinker with the Hart Trophy, which is technically awarded to the player judged to be most valuable to his team, but is often regarded as being given to the most valuable player. There is a difference.
In the past, the idea was keep the Hart the way it is and add another trophy, named after Gordie Howe or Wayne Gretzky, for instance, for the most valuable player in the league.
from Pierre McGuire at NBC Sports,
In order to win with consistency in these times, you must have a creative and smart GM (Brian Burke is as good as it gets), a hard, but fair coaching staff (Randy Carlyle and his staff of Dave Farrish and Newell Brown are all of that), and plenty of good young players (Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Dustin Penner, Travis Moen; you can add Bobby Ryan and Brendan Mikkelson to the mix).
It does not hurt that the Ducks also have top defensemen like Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer and Francois Beauchemin locked into contracts that make sense.
Maybe the San Jose Sharks or the Detroit Red Wings will be able to challenge them in the West, or maybe the Vancouver Canucks can add some more offense to push the Ducks, or perhaps the Calgary Flames can be more consistent.
more on a possible Ducks dynasty…
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
NORRIS TROPHY (Best Defenseman)
Nominees: Nicklas Lidstrom (Red Wings), Scott Niedermayer (Ducks), Chris Pronger (Ducks)
MY PICK: Lidstrom. Niedermayer and Pronger would’ve been great even if they didn’t play on the same team, but each certainly helped the other this season. Lidstrom, has no comparable teammate, yet still scored 62 points and led all blueliners with a plus-40 rating. That’s good enough for me.
check out Adam’s other picks for the hardware, and yes, before you ask, the Awards Show is Thursday, not tonight…
John Buccigross at ESPN signs off until the fall and when asked about the NHL TV contract, this was his response…
“Both ESPN and ABC saw major viewer erosion during the postseason (NBA); both networks drew over a million fewer viewers than last year.”
The NHL is not alone. So, when you read these numbers, don’t let them affect your self-esteem. Imagine the television ratings if the Toronto Raptors and Memphis Grizzlies met in the NBA Finals. That was what we had with the Senators and Ducks in the States.
You have to take Canada’s viewers in account when you talk about NHL interest—20 percent of the NHL’s teams are based north of the border. Whether it’s ratings or money, you have to combine the two. It’s a North America game and it is healthy.
Great job Bucci!!!
from Pierre Lebrun of the CP via Yahoo,
Some of the buzz around the hockey world right now is whether the San Jose Sharks are finally willing to move one of their two top-notch netminders -
Evgeni Nabokov (who has a no-trade clause) or Vesa Toskala.
“It’s not up to us. It’s nothing we can control,” Toskala told CP from his off-season home in Tampere, Finland. “Of course I’d like to stay in San Jose, it’s a great organization to play. But I really don’t know what’s going to happen.
“We both can play as a No. 1 and I know we both want to play. But neither of us can control the situation. We just have to wait and see what’s going to happen.”
more on UFAs…
from the Chicago Blackhawks,
A study of the 20 players selected first overall between 1987 and 2006 allows one to make three encouraging predictions about the career of the next one to be so chosen:
1. The player will make it to the National Hockey League (19 out of 20*).
2. The player will play in the NHL for the team that drafted him (18 out of 20**).
3. The player will enjoy an extended and productive career.
These predictions may seem like common sense, but accurately forecasting the career paths of young men not even 20 years old is difficult, to say the least. Some of the 20 players selected with the top pick since Buffalo tagged Pierre Turgeon in 1987 played at least one season in a minor professional, major junior, or collegiate league after being drafted but before joining their NHL team.
I point to the Ducks bloggers in my NHL.com blog today. They are ecstatic and I am jealous.
The winner of the NHL Fathead Contest has also been selected…
from the Windsor Star,
On the surface, the leap from a US$39-million salary cap two years ago to one that is approaching $50 million would seem a sign of a healthy revenue growth.
However, Detroit assistant general manager Jim Nill feels the cap has just about hit the ceiling.
“I think you’ll see it settle in the low 50s,” Nill said. “We’re a gate-driven league and I think ticket prices are pretty much maxed out.”
While the NHL trumpets attendance increases as the main reason for revenues climbing, Nill feels that’s slightly misleading.
“Over the last few years, the revenue of the Canadian teams is up 20 per cent because the Canadian dollar is up. That’s a big part of the cap.”
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