Kukla's Korner Hockey
In our “Friday Faceoff,” ESPN.com NHL writer Scott Burnside (based in Atlanta) and Toronto Star columnist and frequent ESPN.com contributor Damien Cox (based in Toronto) duke it out over any given hockey topic. Let the games begin!
This week’s topic: It’s Hockey Hall of Fame time, always an interesting time given some of the controversies that have dogged the institution in the past. Not much debate over this year’s class, but what about 2008 and beyond?
Damien: Agreed. A truly excellent class, and superb individuals, too. Scott Stevens might end up being the last truly defensive defenseman to get in. If there’s any disagreement, it’s that I would argue Igor Larionov deserves induction, possibly ahead of all but Mark Messier.
from the Buffalo News,
This isn’t the NHL. It’s the English Premier League.
The upgraded style of play that resulted from the lockout has been victimized by strategy. Coaches adjusted to the rule changes intended to promote skill and skating. Defense reemerged as the great equalizer for offensively challenged franchises. Nowadays NHL players are always in the zone, be it a 2-3, a 1-4 or variations thereof. The game can’t breathe.
“Zone defense right now, I would put it under the label of killing the game,” Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said Thursday. And he plays it.
via Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
Speaking of surly, former NHLer Bob Probert was outside the Caps dressing room after the game. He introduced himself to Ovechkin. The star walked away and asked somebody, “Grobert? Who’s Grobert?”
AO, I’d like you to meet Grobert….
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
But numbers tell some stories. Here’s a look at the NHL’s first five weeks by the numbers starting play Thursday unless noted:
Minus 11: Brad Richards plus-minus for the Tampa Bay. He’s generally recognized as a star, and he’s earning $7.8 million per season and he has the second-worst plus-minus in the league. In fairness, he is the only forward in the NHL playing an average of more than 25 minutes per game.
12,000: The Predators’ estimated average attendance this season. They need 14,000 to make the team work in Nashville.
In the two seasons since team owners canceled the 2004-05 campaign to force a salary cap on the players, the 30 NHL franchises have increased an average of 23% in value, and the league has gone from an operating loss of $96 million to a profit of $96 million.
The average hockey team is now worth $200 million and last season posted a profit (in the sense of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $3.2 million on revenue of $81 million. Even small-market hockey teams are hot properties: Tampa Bay Lightning owner William Davidson, who bought the team, the operating lease to the arena, and 5.6 acres of surrounding real estate for $115 million in 1999, is on the verge of selling that package for $206 million.
much more and should be a must read for every hockey fan…
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
Now the question being raised is one about player eligibility, specifically whether a player, who takes a penalty in the overtime, should be allowed to shoot in the shootout. The logic here being that a player who commits a foul has somehow forfeited his right to participate in the fun and educational extra-curricular activities.
So, it’s now come to this. The National Hockey League, in an attempt to simply spice up its product in a terribly hokey creative move, has now turned the simple endeavor into a complete civil rights question. That being: Is a player (a human) still considered a player (a human) after he’s committed an act against his society (the other team)?
[This post is temporarily ‘sticky’ to top of KK - updates in the comments]
From the CP via The Hockey News,
The 33-year-old Lindros, a free agent who has not played this season, is expected to announce his retirement in his hometown of London, Ont., on Thursday.
The Big E made it through 13 seasons despite eight concussions - injuries that eroded his impact later in his career. But he remains one of the most compelling impact players to skate in the NHL, and he wore Canada’s colours with distinction in earning gold and silver Olympic medals.
Bobby Clarke argues that Lindros should make it to the HHOF, but there’s likely to be a lot of debate. (updates: more articles on Lindros and his career will be added to the comments of this post)
Update 12:50pm ET: ESPN video discussing Lindros’ legacy is below.
Poll Question: Should Eric Lindros Make it into the Hall of Fame?
Scott Stevens is another player being inducted into the HHOF on November 12th. From the NHL:
During his 22 years, Scott played in 1,635 regular season games, fifth most in the league’s history, scored 196 goals and added 721 assists for 980 points. Won Stanley Cups in 1995, 2000, and 2003 with the Devils, and was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP in 2000. He also appeared in 13 NHL All-Star games.
Today he participated in a press conference with the media, and the transcript is below, as is a video compilation of his career highlights.
Mark Messier participated in a media conference call today, answering questions as he prepares to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, November 12th.
In 25 NHL seasons Mark played in 1756 regular season games, the second highest total ever, trailing only Gordie Howe. He recorded 694 goals which is seventh all-time, and 1,193 assists, third all-time. His total of 1887 career points places him second all-time behind only former teammate Wayne Gretzky.
He won the Stanley Cup six times, the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1984, the Hart Trophy as the National Hockey League’s most valuable player in 1990 and ‘92, and he appeared in 15 NHL All-Star Games.
Below is a transcript of today’s interview, plus a video selection of his career highlights, provided by NHL.com.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
The Nashville Predators won’t be packing their equipment bags for a move to Kansas City or anywhere else, at least not for the next three years.
Multiple sources have confirmed to THN.com a deal has been reached between the city of Nashville and a prospective local ownership group to rework the team’s lease at the Sommet Center that will guarantee the Predators remain in Nashville until at least through the 2010-11 season.
added 3:32pm, from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
No more minimum attendance numbers that lock them in for another 10 years. No specific break-even point. Nada. Now, it’s simply a question of whether the team is financially solvent – a vague term to say the least – that decides whether the team stays or goes.
So let me get this straight: Craig Leipold couldn’t make the business side work after a decade’s worth of attempts, but a more convoluted ownership collective is going to be successful in just a third of that span? And at a time in NHL history when the salary cap is expected to rise to above $60 million in the next couple seasons, bringing the salary cap minimum level up with it?
Update 11:45pm ET (alanah):
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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