Kukla's Korner Hockey
from The Guardian,
Think being an NHL scout is a glamorous job?
Charlottetown’s Kevin Devine, head scout for the Buffalo Sabres, might beg to differ.
“After Christmas it’s crazy. . . . I’ve got an apartment in Buffalo I spend some of the winter in, mostly to show up and pay my rent (and I) slept in my bed in Buffalo maybe six nights,” Devine told The Guardian recently. “And now it’s getting more and more hectic with March and April because games are running out. You get a little bit panicky now. You’ve got to get to see this guy, you’ve got to get to see that guy.”
from the Kansas City Star,
If the reports are accurate, Kansas City will have to shift its attention to either another troubled NHL franchise, likely the Nashville Predators, or an NBA team, as an anchor tenant.
Some have speculated that because of the way AEG followed the lead of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman during the negotiations with the Penguins, Kansas City has put itself first in line for an NHL expansion team.
The Predators have the best record in the NHL but have struggled for corporate support, and owner Craig Leipold is putting 40 percent of the club on the market. The team has an escape clause in its lease, based on attendance, that would enable it to leave Nashville after the 2007-08 season.
from Matt Higgins at the New York Times,
Last season, teams scored 3.0 goals a game, up from 2.58 in 2003-4, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Fast, skilled teams like the Sabres thrived, providing flashbacks to the pretrap era of the 1980s.
But this season, scoring has steadily edged downward. Through Sunday, teams averaged 2.90 goals.
How much of that can be traced to the trap?
“Everybody, whether they trap, has a checking scheme in the neutral zone,” said Colorado Coach Joel Quenneville, whose team sometimes created a human wall against Buffalo by putting four players across its blue line.
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
• In the view of some analysts, Mario Lemieux is getting off easy with his demand that his Penguins get a new arena or go bye-bye. “If his club could sell out The Igloo every night of the season – and it could with Crosby and Malkin – he could make enough dough to say,” one observer of the NHL fiscal scene opines. “Sure Mario would make more with a new building and all those luxury boxes but he’s just being greedy. The Penguins could survive right where they are now – if Lemieux was really interested in keeping them in Pitt.”
• Commenting on the NHLPA upheaval, Bill Wirtz tells us that the Union would benefit from studying the good side of Alan Eagleson’s Association leadership: “Alan Eagleson put it in the union constitution that the players must be issued annual financial statements certified by PriceWaterhouse….
NEW YORK (March 12, 2007)—New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, Chicago Blackhawks left wing Jeff Hamilton and San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending March 11.
Each Monday, the NHL will recognize three players who delivered the League’s top performances over the past week.
FIRST STAR—HENRIK LUNDQVIST, G, NEW YORK RANGERS
Lundqvist posted a 3-0-1 record in four games with a 1.43 goals-against average and .948 save percentage as the Rangers (34-27-8, 76 points) moved into the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Lundqvist posted consecutive victories over the New York Islanders, making 29 saves in a 2-1 home shootout victory March 5 and 30 stops in a 2-1 win at Long Island March 8. He made 20 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss at Pittsburgh March 10 and finished the week by stopping 30 of 31 shots and both shootout attempts in a 2-1 decision over Carolina March 11. Lundqvist is 8-2-4 in his past 14 games, recording a 1.65 GAA and a .935 save percentage in that span.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
More recently the NHL has been promoting the new movie “300,” a retelling of the ancient battle of Thermopylae. King Leonidas and a band of 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and a massive Persian army, inspiring Greece to unite against Persia and fight for democracy.
Rated R for “graphic battle sequences throughout, some sexuality and nudity,” it was described as “a videogame come to life” by The Times’ Kenneth Turan, one of many reviewers who panned its relentless violence. It’s a mixture of live action and virtual backgrounds, replete with blood and impalings.
Just like an NHL game! What great synergy!
read on (reg. req.)
via Sports Business Daily (paid sub.),
The NHL today will begin hosting a four-day Partner Executive Summit in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, where NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will discuss the state of the league and his vision for the future.
Former NHLer Mark Messier will hold a session on leadership and Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban will address media and technology.
Also, league partners Kraft Canada, Reebok and Verizon will hold sessions on their relationships with the league, global design consultancy IDEO will conduct a workshop on partners further leveraging hockey, and a panel will discuss hockey, Hollywood and untapped potential for corporate marketers.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
With the season ticking down, here is Rinkside’s handicapping of the races for the NHL’s five major awards.
Sure, Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin is the favourite. But the real story is the influx of talent on a league-wide scale.
Colorado’s Paul Stastny yesterday set a rookie record by recording a point in his 18th consecutive game, while fellow freshmen Anze Kopitar (Kings), Jordan Staal (Penguins), Kevin Bieksa (Canucks), Wojtek Wolski (Avalanche), Dustin Penner (Ducks) and Johan Holmqvist (Lightning) also serve as bright lights for the future of the game.
from The Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
That said, the final two spots in the east are still up for grabs, and it looks like its going to be a humdinger of a fight for those berths given that no fewer than seven teams are still in contention.
That’s called a bottleneck. Five teams are going to be pretty sour come the evening of April 8th.
Might even cost a few people their jobs.
So here’s how this “race” shapes up, with it seeming very likely it could all come down to the final weekend of the season April 7-8:
read on for the breakdown of teams in the East involved in the playoff race…
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Quality teams, Canadian teams, Original Six teams, all are in danger of missing the National Hockey League playoffs.
With the 16-team tournament underway a month today, it’s certain that a number of clubs that finish over .500 will be watching the first round from the couch.
The Maple Leafs still are stinging from a 90-point season that didn’t qualify them last spring and they could be in for similar heartbreak.
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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