Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Daniel Kaplan of Denver Business Journal,
The National Football League appears to be moving toward approving sports magnate Stan Kroenke as the next owner of the St. Louis Rams and allowing him a grace period to sell basketball’s Denver Nuggets and hockey’s Colorado Avalanche, sources say, despite the league’s prohibition against owners controlling teams in other NFL markets.
Don Maloney of the Phoenix Coyotes is the 2009-10 winner of the NHL General Manager of the Year Award, the National Hockey League announced today. Maloney accepted the award in front of his peers at the NHL General Managers meeting held annually during the Stanley Cup Final.
Voting for this new award was conducted among the 30 Club General Managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the regular season. Maloney, George McPhee of the Washington Capitals and David Poile of the Nashville Predators were identified as the three finalists for the trophy last month.
via Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
“I’d like to see more games decided in overtime than shoot-out,” Holland said Tuesday. “I don’t mind the shoot-out, I just don’t want the shoot-out to decide so many games.”...
“My suggestion is, extend OT from five minutes to eight minutes or from five minutes to 10 minutes,” Holland said. “Then maybe do we go half of it four-on-four, half of it three-on-three?
“I just want to have a conversation to see if other people feel like I do.”
Holland also will suggest that following regulation, there should be a dry-scrape of the ice, and that subsequently teams would segue directly from overtime into a shoot-out, without the middle of the ice being cleaned by a Zamboni.
from Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
...On that night, the Flyers played the second game of the Finals against the Detroit Red Wings in the CoreStates Center, which was the banque du jour for their home arena at the time. They had lost the opener, and as daunting as a two-games-to-none deficit is in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals, losing the first two games at home is a true death knell.
And they lost again, on the way to being swept out of the series.
So, for argument’s sake, this next game against the Chicago Blackhawks is the biggest for the franchise since that night 13 years ago. If you’ve been counting at home, ticking them off shift-by-shift, that is nearly 1,200 games, a long time even by the elongated, excruciating history of near misses by the Flyers.
Fortunately, the current players know all about the stakes of this game, and the outcome means even more to them.
“It’s the biggest game of the year, and we’re going to be ready for it,” Simon Gagne said.
from Dan McNeil of the Chicago Tribune,
Hockey is the ultimate team game. Debate that with those closest to it and you’ll wind up in a fight.
I’m too old to drop the gloves with anybody, but consider me among those not needing style points as the Blackhawks inch their way closer to just their fourth title in franchise history and first since 1961. I don’t need a blowout win and I don’t covet more individual accolades for the young stars.
Smart money says they don’t either. Nobody in the dressing room will be pulling a Walter Payton act if stay-at-home defenseman Brent Sopel and improbable Game 2 hero Ben Eager record the only lamp lighters in 1-0 wins in Games 3 and 4.
You remember Payton’s petulance after the most celebrated triumph by any local team ever, the Bears’ 46-10 Super Bowl XX evisceration of the Patriots? Instead of joining in the dancing, Payton slumped at his locker and pouted because he didn’t score a touchdown.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
There is something about Joel Quenneville, this close to his first Stanley Cup as a head coach, that exudes calm, control, and a sharp sense of confidence.
But two wins away from the largest prize of his hockey life, it also represents for him, for anyone who has ever suffered any kind of mental setback, one of the great unspoken comebacks in hockey history.
To understand Quenneville today, you have to go back to yesterday. Six years ago at the world hockey championships, Quenneville was supposed to coach Team Canada. But just one day before the tournament was to begin, there were already concerns about his erratic behaviour. And in a brief interview scrum with Canadian reporters, it was clear that Quenneville was not himself. He spoke, in what those who were there refer to as “gibberish.” Hockey Canada called it exhaustion then and now. Some said he had a mental breakdown of sorts. Looking back, he calls it stress and insomnia.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Now we find out if the Flyers can do what the Sharks could not: Turn it up one more notch and not be satisfied with saying they’re in every game despite not winning them. That’s not good enough.
“These guys don’t know the meaning of the word quit,” Flyers owner Ed Snider told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “Even in [Monday] night’s game in the third period, the goalie for Chicago did a great job, but it just showed that we were prepared to come back in that game. We did fall short, but in their building, we outshot them 15-4 in the third period. I think that says a lot.”
On Wednesday night at what should be an electric Wachovia Center, we’ll find out if these never-say-die Flyers can find one more gear to what has already been a decent effort so far in these Cup finals. We wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if they do. Talk to observers who have been around this Flyers team, including our own ESPN.com columnist Scott Burnside, and they will tell you how amazed they are by Philadelphia’s competitive spirit.
from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,
So, in an era in which teams have to skimp somewhere because of the salary cap, have the Red Wings, Blackhawks and Flyers found the solution is to go cheap in goal?
“No, I think you’re going to see flip-flop either way,” said Boston G.M. Peter Chiarelli. “I know Detroit has had success with that model, but Pittsburgh won and New Jersey won. It depends on the team that is going to win that year. I don’t think there’s a trend.”
Steve Yzerman is about to embark on rebuilding the Lightning and how he approaches the goalie situation in Tampa Bay could provide a good indication of where the trend is headed. He almost has a clean slate in goal, with Antero Niittymaki becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and Mike Smith set to play out the final season of a deal that pays $2.4 million.
A Holland protégé, you’d expect Yzerman to follow the Red Wings model, especially since it’s possible he’ll face an internal budget south of the salary cap. But he said there are other factors to consider.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
It was 1991, maybe ’92 and I was still young in the business. A kid from the prairies, making his first hockey trip down the Eastern seaboard.
It was my first time inside the old Philadelphia Spectrum and as I gawked at the history, to the veteran New York scribe seated beside me, I must have had “ROOKIE” written all over my face.
And as we sat there, that scribe — Frank Brown was his name — looked around that classic old hockey barn and mused with a mixture of fondness and regret, “This used to be a very … angry … place.”
He was referring to the days of the Broad Street Bullies. The early 70’s, a time that was at once the Flyers ‘ glory years with Stanley Cups in 1974 and ’75 and an era many would call the nadir of hockey on this continent.
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com