Kukla's Korner Hockey
from The Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Despite exhaustive efforts (presumably) by its production and research staff, HNIC has still not been able to turn up a single person capable of expressing the growing sentiment against fighting in the sport.
You’d think with all those taxpayer dollars behind it HNIC might be able to find a single voice in the hockey world to occasionally disagree with the program’s stridently pro-fighting platform.
Instead, it’s “fighting is part of the game” before the game, during the first period intermission when we see hockey’s version of Ann (Anybody Who Disagrees with me is a Fag) Coulter, during the second period intermission panel discussion and after the game.
from Ted Montgomery of USA TODAY,
Prediction No. 1: The New York Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings will be the only two Original Six teams to make the playoffs. Toronto can’t keep the puck out of their own net, Montreal has goaltending problems, Boston is alarmingly inconsistent and Chicago is just plain terrible.
Prediction No. 2: The Vancouver Canucks will prevail in the Western Conference and go to the Stanley Cup final. Most pundits feel the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks or even the Dallas Stars are the best team, but the Canucks have momentum and, finally, a world-class goaltender in Roberto Luongo to help them go the distance.
read on for more predictions from Ted…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
How nice of the Tampa Bay Lightning to join the party.
Whereas the scuffle in the bottom portion of the Eastern Conference appeared to involve five teams fighting for two spots just last week, that has changed courtesy of the floundering Bolts.
Tampa found itself passed by the soaring New York Rangers yesterday, once again demonstrating that if you don’t like the conference standings much today, don’t worry.
Tomorrow they’ll be different.
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star:
About a half hour after they’d peeled Detroit Red Wings defenceman Brett Lebda off the ice and on to a stretcher to be taken to hospital, Kelly Chase, one-time resident tough guy for the St. Louis Blues and currently a broadcaster for the team, reminisced about what might have happened to someone had they taken such liberties with a Wings player in his day.
“I didn’t have to call (National Hockey League commissioner) Gary Bettman to find out what the punishment was for running a guy from behind in Detroit,” Chase said. “The punishment was (Bob) Probert and (Joe) Kocur.”
While the tall foreheads at the NHL offices pontificate over what to do about fighting, the real ugly problem in the league revealed itself once more Saturday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.
Unbalanced schedules mean some teams play more, brewing more bad blood. And quite simply, the players hold no longer hold respect for each other.
“We can talk to them all we want, but ultimately, it’s up to the players,” Murray said regarding the potential for change this frightening and growing culture.
The scariest art of all this is that there’s a possibility that in a clandestine manner, the league favours the violence.
from Erin Nicks at the Ottawa Sun,
When you’re a media member, you’re not supposed to show preference towards a specific franchise. It’s not “professional.” Whether you believe that isn’t the issue. Everyone is prone to favouritism—there isn’t a single person on Earth that cherishes all 30 NHL teams, and is simply a “fan of the sport.”
However, these biases aren’t reserved solely for the media. They extend far beyond, into the NHL itself. But how could the league have team preferences?
Two words—Television ratings.
from the Boston Herald,
Ward was a member of the Red Wings at the time, and vividly recalls the night Detroit finally exacted revenge for Claude Lemieux’ brutal cheap shot on Kris Draper in the previous year’s playoffs. Darren McCarty pounded Lemieux into a bloody mess, while goalies Mike Vernon and Patrick Roy took center stage in an unlikely main event.
“The funny thing about that situation is we had already had games (since the Draper hit),” Ward said. “There was no indication given by anybody that anything was going to happen. I was in complete disbelief.”
Ward was never known as a fighter, but ended up in the middle of the fray, matched up against Avalanche enforcer Brent Severyn in one of the night’s many bouts.
“I think that was the worst ass-kicking I’ve ever taken in a fight,” Ward said. “We started off the second period with me and Larry Murphy on defense and I said to Larry if anything happens, don’t worry, I’ll take care of it. . . . I didn’t realize that before the shift even started, Severyn had already taken off his elbow pads and his shoulder pads
more... On page 1 of this article, read all about diving…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
It has taken almost two years for the players to figure it out and to regain their edge after sitting out one year then returning to a league where the game’s “flashpoints” had all but been eliminated, as Gary Bettman boasted last year in the middle of a hard-salary-cap-campaign victory tour.
But now that the players and teams have figured it out; now that the games are better than they’ve been in years; now that the passion is back; and now that hockey is hockey again, we are confronted with hand-wringers across the continent doing what they do best: wringing their hands.
They’re well-meaning, of course. How do we know? Because at some point or another they urge us to, “Think of the children!”
from the CP via Metro News,
Hockey commentator Don Cherry dismissed Colin Campbell’s assertion that the NHL needs to look into fighting.
“This is a violent sport, a tough sport,” Cherry said on television Saturday. “We gotta play the game, people are paying money, it’s entertainment.”
Cherry was responding to comments made by Campbell in an interview with The Canadian Press Thursday.
update 8:49pm, You can watch this week’s Coaches Corner here.
from the New York Times,
Still, the feeling persists, and not only among fans, that finishing first over all is an energy-sapping waste of effort. Perhaps more disturbingly, it persists among the players.
“I don’t care if we win the Presidents’ Trophy, or we finish first by 20 points,” Nashville goalie Tomas Vokoun said last weekend. “I’m here to play for the Cup. No one’s going to remember who won the Presidents’ Trophy.”
Or, as Randy McKay, a Devils defenseman, put it in 2000, “Who cares?”
Even the coaches of the teams now vying for the Presidents’ Trophy seem lukewarm about the honor.
24 teams in action today- too bad we don’t have a game at 4:30pm EDT, it would have made a great 11 1/2 hours of non-stop hockey action.
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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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