Kukla's Korner Hockey
fromm David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL’s board of governors will hold their annual fall meeting Tuesday in Chicago and reporters usually give this one a pass. But this time there is a lineup of sexy topics on the agenda, so yours truly and a few others will be hanging around the govs’ airport hotel.
First on the list is expansion, but it’s thought the governors will not be talking about run-of-the-mill Kansas City or Las Vegas plans. Rather, they will be discussing long-range plans for a European division. Many around the NHL believe this will come to pass within six or seven years, and holding the official season-opener in London at the end of the month is part of the plan.
From Eric Duhatchek at the Globe & Mail,
This time around, the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Buffalo Sabres and that too represents an intriguing match-up - although with a 1 p.m. Eastern starting time, it is hard to imagine them fitting in what could be a great legends game beforehand, what with Mario Lemieux and Paul Coffey available on the Penguins’ side and a reunited French Connection leading the way for Buffalo. Nor can anyone underestimate the value of getting Sidney Crosby involved in the project, along with the rest of his exciting, emerging Penguins’ team. Even if the event doesn’t strike a chord, the presence of Sid The Kid will
more… (*the date of the game is Jan 1, 2008)
via the Detroit News,
Ilitch also spoke about his ownership of the Red Wings and the team’s sudden attendance challenges. He blamed “scheduling” boredom for fan disinterest and indicated that changes in the NHL schedule will be forthcoming in the 2008-09 season.
“You’re gonna be able to see a lot of teams,” Ilitch said, implying that the division-heavy scheduling of past seasons will give way to greater diversity. “This is history. This will be the last year with this type of structure, I think.”
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail, in response to Gary Bettman’s statements today regarding Mark Bell’s suspension,
Bettman’s phrasing is eerily reminiscent of the wording of commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement when he suspended a couple of NFL miscreants (Pacman Jones and Chris Henry) last May. Goodell talked about the “integrity” of his league; how it was a “privilege to represent the NFL” and that its members must meet “the highest standards of conduct.”
All of which sends a clear signal to professional athletes everywhere — that whatever standard of behavior was tolerated in the recent past by the NHL, NBA, NFL and major-league baseball, the rules are starting to change and that part of the “covenant” with their fans that Bettman alluded to is becoming good role models again.
from Allan Muir at Sports Illustrated,
No surprise, really, but I failed for the 26th consecutive year to finagle an invitation to an NHL training camp. Rather than succumb to bitterness, I merely did what I do every year at this time: scour camp rosters to see who was lucky enough to get the call. Most of these guys aren’t any more likely to suit up in the NHL than I am, but there are always a few surprises on the lists. I’m talking about the where’s-he-been guys, the last-chancers, the longshots, the dark horses and the no-names who could be big names before too long if things go their way.
Here are 15 players that caught my eye.
Brandon Sutter (Hurricanes): The 11th overall pick of this year’s draft won himself a lot of fans—me included—with his ferocious performance at the Super Series.
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
At least for part of the day Tuesday, the skate was on the other foot for the NHL officials at their training camp at the Beaver Valley Community Center. The officials spent part of the morning playing hockey as their peers worked on their refereeing skills in live-fire game situations.
“That’s the toughest game you will ref all year,” said Dan O’Rourke, one of the referees. “Guys just want to get their time done as the ref and go back to playing because the boys are all over you about everything.”
From Pierre LeBrun via the Globe & Mail,
Hockey’s back. Training camps open around the NHL on Thursday and Friday and the buzz is as good as it gets in Pittsburgh where Sidney Crosby and the Penguins believe they’ve got a shot at the Stanley Cup.
“That’s our goal and I think it’s realistic,” Penguins defenceman Darryl Sydor told The Canadian Press.
continued… (Including a look at various teams around the NHL, gearing up for the season)
Spector covers some more hockey talk today, including Mathieu Dandenault’s job may be in jeopardy with the Canadiens.
via The Maven at MSG Network,
• The good news, crowd-wise, is that three teams once in financial distress now are doing splendidly. Anaheim, Pittsburgh and Buffalo each capped its season tickets thanks to the huge demand. Which proves that once-faltering American markets can be revived despite what some Canadian media cynics opine.
• There’s a hush-hush attitude in NHL corridors on Sixth Avenue. League biggies are prepping a bunch of new, exciting ideas which soon will be announced. Til then, mum’s the word at Bettman, Inc.
from the Macomb Daily,
In the collective bargaining agreement that ended the NHL lockout in 2005, teams’ rights to European-drafted players were severely curtailed. Before the current agreement, NHL teams could draft Europeans and keep their rights on the shelf forever whether or not the player ever signed a contract. Now, Europeans can remain in a system for only two years without a contract.
Non-college North American players were always in that situation and remain so. College or college-bound players may now be claimed by NHL teams for four or five years after being drafted (they may play a year of Tier II junior before entering college) without being signed.
“In the old CBA, a North American you had to sign after two years and a European you could hold onto forever,” said Detroit assistant general manager Jim Nill. “You get into the later rounds, when there was a North American and a European kid that were about the same, you’d go with the European because he could develop. Some kids are ready at 20, some are ready at 25. Europeans have lost that time.”
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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.
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