Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CBC,
Tuesday’s slate of games could go a long way toward bringing the playoff picture into focus as all seven teams are in action in critical contests.
To give you an idea of how tight things are in the conference, 11 points separate the New York Rangers (sixth in the East with 87 points) and the Florida Panthers (12th, 76 points).
Boy do I get emails… and I decided to share some with the readers at my NHL.com blog.
By George James Malik:
You didn’t really think that anything would come of the great fighting debate, now, did you?
Oh, everybody got to weigh in, toss their opinions around, block a few carnage-inducing comments from the nighties, avoid the smarmy jabs of the lefties, watch Grapes get Ron MacLean to turtle on Hockey Night in Canada, and see the smirk on the league’s golden boy journalist’s face.
LeBrun sure was happy on Saturday night, wasn’t he? First it was scheduling, then revising the point system, and now fighting. Ol’ Collie and Pierre are real chummy, eh?
Talk, talk, talk, bluster, bluster, bluster.
A few thoughtful comments from players, a few more from the guy who got leveled, suggesting that scrappers are integral to team “lightheartedness,” and then a rain of lefts, rights, jabs, and uppercuts from the hockey media, in print, online, on the radio, all tuckering themselves out…
In a good, old-fashioned donnybrook.
“The notion that because one player got knocked cold in a fight, that’s going to touch off a debate about eliminating fighting, to me is silly,” said the Anaheim Ducks’ GM.
Burke, whose Ducks lead the NHL with 65 fighting majors this season, said there should be no debate.
“Fighting has been systematically reduced in the NHL,” said Burke. “It’s been reduced to, in my mind, its proper place. It’s no longer utilized as a tactic.
“But the notion that we ever get rid of the players’ ability to regulate what happens, is silly to me.
from James Christie of the Globe and Mail,
Former National Hockey League president John Ziegler believes current commissioner Gary Bettman and his team have done a good job building the game, and that Bettman’s crowning achievement was to get owners to stand together to forge the last collective agreement with the players.
“They let the costs get out of control for too long and had to address that,” Ziegler, president of the NHL from 1977 to 1992, said yesterday. “But not only did they address it, they got a salary cap in place that’s led to this wonderful parity and a race down to the wire to get into the playoffs. I give a real salute to the people who got the game to where it is.”
from the Courier Post,
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren confirmed Monday the Flyers were interested in letting LeClair play his final NHL game as a Flyer on the final weekend of the regular season, but with LeClair still interested in resuming his NHL career next season, the idea was scrapped.
more on the Flyers…
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
• Much as we admire Sid (Der Bingle) Crosby, some of his on-ice antics are infuriating the (non-Pittsburgh) hockey community. As Bryan Murray notes, The Kid is becoming a master at diving and its assorted penalty-getting variations.
• One owner’s theory on Ryan Smyth is that time will heal the wounds he feels inflicted by the Oilers and he’ll reconsider a return to Edmonton next season. We still like his chances of staying on Long Island!
more NHL bits from Stan…
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Bob Hartley is as much a hockey fan as he is a coach. He has a satellite dish at home to watch minor-league hockey in Canada, and his flat-screen television in his Duluth office keeps him constantly updated with feeds from TSN, Canada’s ESPN equivalent.
Right now the fan in him is puzzled. Why, he wondered on Monday after practice, are hockey pundits debating fighting in hockey when the NHL — and the Thrashers — are in the stretch run of an exciting race to the playoffs?
“Why are we not talking about this great race?” he asked. “Tell me a sport where we have seen a race like this, that’s what we should be talking about. Some teams won’t go down. No one wants to go down.”
from the CBC,
Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday the NHL isn’t going to debate the issue of fighting in hockey, but admitted the league may have to find a better way to protect its hulking players from fighting-related injuries.
“From a player safety standpoint, what happens in fighting is something we need to look at just as we need to look at hits to the head,” Bettman told reporters after a news conference in Toronto to announce the NHL had reached a new six-year broadcast deal with the CBC.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
The game is such these days that a lot of players don’t care whether there’s a puck on the ice or not
They’re just out there to run other players. And they’re causing injuries.
In an earlier era, those players would have been held accountable. But with the instigator rule, and the low-scoring games that put a premium on power plays, they’re left alone. If the league scraps the instigator rule and keeps the fighters, those guys would think twice. And there would be fewer injuries.
In the long run, fighting doesn’t cause injuries; it prevents them.
via Sports Business Daily,
Hockey HOFer Scotty Bowman will post his first blog today for NBCSports.com, where he will discuss which teams he believes will make the NHL playoffs. Bowman will blog two to three times a week throughout the season and playoffs.
I did a quick search at NBC but didn’t find anything yet, if you happen to run into it, please post in the comments…
update 3:00pm, from Scotty Bowman at NBC Sports,
This Eastern Conference playoff face is sure tough to figure. Last year, the West was pretty close at the end of the season, but it was for one spot, which is mostly what I’ve seen. But now you could say it’s easily three open spots in the East.
Sure, there’s a couple of important races, and not just for the last few spots. The race between Atlanta and Tampa Bay for the Southeast is important because one of those teams will end up with the third seed while the other will be fighting just to get in the playoffs. Tampa’s got a decent schedule and it gets to play Carolina, which can also sneak up and grab first in the Southeast.
note: originally posted at 9:05am, 3/26/07
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.
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