Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
• Mats Sundin crying about the NHL’s playoff arrangement is pure and simple sour grapes. Why would he suggest that it’s unfair that the Southeast Division-winner getting home ice in the first round is unfair? Sundin knew the score at the start of the season and said nothing about it then. That’s why we can’t buy any of his end-of-campaign bleating.
• Marty Biron may be the answer to the Flyers’ goaltending prayers. But, then again, his showing on Friday and Saturday suggests that Robert Esche and Antero Niittymaki would have been just as good with the mediocre squad in front of them.
from John Buccigross of ESPN,
The playoffs begin next week. So, for those of you who need a refresher course on what has happened this NHL season, here are some notes from while you were away.
• This season’s story has unquestionably been what is happening in Pittsburgh. Last season, the Penguins had the fewest points in the Eastern Conference and the second fewest in the NHL
• What is happening in Buffalo this season is right on the heels of what is taking place in Pittsburgh. The Sabres don’t have that transcendent, matinee idol in Crosby, but they have a pulse provided by fans that gives the Western New York experience a sense of community that is warm and pure. It is middle America at its finest.
much, much more from John…
Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, Florida Panthers center Olli Jokinen and Detroit Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending April 1.
Each Monday, the NHL will recognize three players who delivered the League’s top performances over the past week.
FIRST STAR—MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF, G, CALGARY FLAMES
Kiprusoff backstopped the Flames to three consecutive victories, posting a 1.30 goals-against average and .959 save percentage. He made 38 saves in recording his seventh shutout of the season as Calgary defeated the Minnesota Wild 1-0 in overtime March 27, blocked 23 of 25 shots in a 4-2 victory over the Wild March 29 and closed the week with 32 saves in a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks March 31. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner as the League’s top goaltender has posted a 40-21-9 record, 2.40 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 71 appearances this season.
NEW YORK (April 2, 2007)—With dramatic playoff races reaching their peak, NHL clubs set an all-time record for March attendance. A total of 3,778,189 fans attended the 218 games for a per-game average of 17,331, well ahead of the previous March high of 17,144 set in 2001-02 and the largest monthly figure in League history (minimum 100 games).
The late-season surge has increased the 2006-07 per-game average to 16,920, with 19,965,364 fans (91.5% of capacity) attending the 1,180 games. The League will surpass the 20-million mark in total attendance for the sixth consecutive season Tuesday and would, with a per-game average of 17,777 over the final 50 games of the regular season, surpass last year’s record attendance figures of 20,854,169 (total) and 16,955 (per-game average).
League-wide average attendance has increased month by month in 2006-07: 16,537 in October, 16,538 in November, 16,850 in December, 17,075 in January, 17,146 in February and 17,331 in March.
From The Hockey News, the Players Poll has determined that Sean Avery is the most hated and the most overrated player in hockey. Predictably, Avery embraces the first part… but “overrated”?
But elation soon turns to disbelief when Avery finds out he was also voted the most overrated player, too.
“What?” he says. “You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve never really heard anybody say I was good. Did you put candidates on the ballot?”
No, we did not.
“Then how come Shane Doan wasn’t named most overrated,” Avery continues. “Hey, if I’m going to take shots, I’m going to dish them out, too.”
via Sports Business Journal,
The NHL today is expected to unveil “Quest for the Cup,” a digital marketing campaign “aimed at boosting the league’s national profile and TV viewership” during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Fans can participate in “an Internet-based treasure hunt” to collect trading cards and accumulate points by entering codes seen during playoff telecasts, among other elements. Winners will receive NHL merchandise, with the grand prize being a trip to the league’s season-opening games in London this fall
I will have more information on this campaign when it is released.
If I gave you these stats:
3 Time Stanley Cup Winner
1 Hart Trophy
1 Lester B. Person Award (Player of the Year selected by the NHLPA)
2 Frank J. Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward)
6 All-Star games
1124 games, 461 goals, 643 assists, 1104 points, +263
Playoffs- 162 games, 50 goals, 113 assists, 163 points, +38
Is Sergei Fedorov a lock for the HOF?
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
The real issue on the table but seemingly never discussed is as simple as this: why do players flock to Nashville to play for the Preds but treat Edmonton as hockey’s version of a gulag?
The simple answer: Nashville wins. They do it regularly since they emerged from their expansion pains, they do it in a style that players love to play. Bur there’s more to it than that. They do it in the environs of a small but enthusiastic fan base in a city with a mild climate, countless entertainment options, relatively easy travel, a friendly family environment, surprisingly low-cost housing, no state income tax and, and this is no small consideration, a forward thinking management that believes in stability and a long-term view. Throw in the cream of country-western music talent, much of it tapped to sing the national anthem every night and still more of it playing the bars, clubs, honky-tonks and even the Nashville Arena on non-game nights and well…
more... plus other NHL bits…
Even though the trade and UFA talk is low-keyed this time of year, the talk still exists.
Spector breaks it all down today…
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Thanks to the schedule format, the NHL has become two leagues.
That has been my feeling all along the past two seasons, but it truly sunk in last week when the Avalanche issued a booklet extolling the virtues of Paul Stastny as a candidate for the Calder Trophy, the league’s rookie-of-the-year award.
Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin is the favorite, and if this offends anyone, so be it: I’m planning to put him No. 1 on my ballot and Stastny at No. 2 when the voting is conducted in the next week.
But I’m uneasy, and not out of homerism.
It’s because they might as well be playing in different leagues, and it makes head-to- head comparisons difficult and even a bit unfair.
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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