Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
With the two Alexes – Ovechkin and Semin – leading the charge, the Washington Capitals might be the greatest show on the ice right now, the heir apparent to the swashbuckling Edmonton Oilers of the mid-1980s. If that’s the case, then defenceman Mike Green is the 21st-century equivalent of Paul Coffey in style and approach – one of half-a-dozen promising young rearguards who will get a long look from the management staff of Canada’s 2010 Olympic team. Green plays a high-risk, high-reward style. Most nights, he is a defenceman in name only and plays almost as a fourth forward.
This is done with the permission of his coach Bruce Boudreau who, since taking over the reins of the Capitals last December, loosened them considerably on all of his young players. Now, instead of making a defensive choice on a 50-50 puck battle, they have permission to err on the offensive side. Some nights, it backfires, but on balance, it generally works.
and more on the Capitals plus other hockey topics, from Marian Gaborik to Sarah Palin
Update 1:55pm ET: Ken Campbell at The Hockey News has more thoughts on the Capitals today, specifically on Alex Ovechkin’s season thus far.
from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
During a recent lecture at UCLA, Patrick Rishe showed his “Economics of Sports” class how the professional sports industry, shielded in the past in many ways from a fickle or distressed economy, won’t be unscathed by the current economic crisis….
Two supports could keep the major sports from suffering as much as other industries: long-term TV contracts and collective bargaining contracts that tether player salaries to revenues.
“Salaries in all sports — salary caps or revenue sharing or luxury tax sports — whatever their salaries are have fallen with revenues,” Zimbalist said. “It’s not lockstep, but as one goes up the other goes up. If revenues flatten out, which is likely, we’ll see a similar (event) with salaries, and it could be for a few years. ...
Much of that will be because television contracts, the centerpiece of professional sports’ big revenues, are locked in. MLB’s broadcast deal is worth $5.4 billion and lasts until 2013. The NFL receives an estimated $3.7 billion a year from its partner networks, the NBA’s broadcast deals are fixed to 2016 and the NHL’s contract with the Versus network goes through 2011.
more with a look at St. Louis teams…
NEW YORK (October 24, 2008) – The NHL Winter Classic 2009 jerseys will be unveiled during the broadcast of the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, Oct. 25. WGN-TV and FSN Detroit will broadcast the game, which begins at 7:30 p.m. CT (8:30pm ET) and marks the first time the two clubs will meet this season.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings each will wear a unique, one-time-only jersey while playing in the NHL Winter Classic 2009 at Chicago’s historic Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day.
from Jay Greenberg of the NY Post,
Tonight Zherdev returns to Columbus, the scene of his first four NHL years of underachievement, with two goals and three assists in his first nine games as a Ranger.
“To me, he’s a 40-plus goal scorer,” Blue Jackets Coach Ken Hitchcock said about the 2003 fourth-overall pick. “When I took over in November , he was moody and very unhappy but he made big changes.”...
“He’s a good guy, really coachable,” said Renney. “His dangle instincts are a little different than a North American guy and I don’t want to take that away from him. He’s a great passer….
Asked about his game and expectations of a breakout, the English-shy Zherdev smiled and said: “Next level.”
from Empty Netters,
...a Penguins fan who was hit by a puck during the team’s home opener wrote in to give us an update on his health.
I was the guy that was hit with the puck in A 27 Row B at the 3:28 mark of the first period. Just to be clear, I WAS paying attention. Have you ever sat down that low? You can’t see a damn thing…
After receiving medical attention for my bleeding head, I returned to the game for the second period. In a very classy move by the Devils, one of their trainers handed me a Reebok Devils hat, signed by all of the scratched players that evening.
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull at the Philadelphia Inquirer,
This is Philadelphia, so there’s already a buzz that Flyers coach John Stevens’ job security could be in trouble if the club’s losing streak reaches eight games after weekend games with the New Jersey Devils.
Stevens should NOT be on the hot seat. Last year’s strong regular-season finish and the team’s drive to the Eastern Conference finals has to count for something, right?
The Flyers are 0-3-3 because their goaltending and defense have been lousy, their power play has been inconsistent, and they miss some of last year’s players (R.J. Umberger, Jason Smith, Sami Kapanen, the injured Derian Hatcher and Jim Dowd) more than they expected.
added 7:32am, via Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
Over the years, the Philadelphia Flyers have become known as the most cutthroat organization in the league when it comes to coaches. This is a franchise that once fired a coach because he contracted cancer.
So don’t expect John Stevens to enjoy a long and leisurely tenure if the Flyers continue to struggle. The Flyers were on the brink in the late stages of last season and back then, the word was out that Stevens was in a precarious position. As it happened, the Flyers rallied down the stretch and had a commendable playoff run.
Even so, the honeymoon is over.
Milan Lucic threw a big hit on Mike Van Ryn, shattering the glass, and cementing the two of them on this season’s highlight reel.
Update 1:18am ET— In the Metro West Daily News, a quote from Lucic:
“It felt kind of weird because you usually just bounce off the boards and this time you went through.”
From Wes Goldstein at CBS Sports:
Fortunately for the Flyers, the baseball club’s World Series presence is hogging the spotlight around town these days, but those who are paying attention to the ice prancers couldn’t be faulted for seeking out the panic button because Philadelphia is the NHL’s only winless team two weeks into the season.
If that seems like an overreaction to a slow start, consider that last season only four of 14 teams that were below the playoff cutoff line at Thanksgiving ended up getting to the postseason. And Philadelphia, which has allowed more goals than anyone already has six teams to climb over as it readies for a home-and-home set this weekend against the surging New Jersey Devils, an arch division rival. In other words, Philadelphia could find itself in a potentially insurmountable hole before Halloween.
from Ben Wright of Blueland Blog,
So now we get to see how he reacts to playing the Thrashers. It would be tougher for him if he was playing in Atlanta, so maybe this won’t be a big deal given that the game is in Detroit. Maybe it will. And maybe it’ll be a big deal to some of his former teammates. Last year the Thrashers went into Detroit and won 5-1 on the strength of a Hossa hat trick. Wouldn’t you love to see Ilya Kovalchuk torch the defending Cup champions for a hat trick of his own? And will former Red Wings Jason Williams, Mathieu Schneider and Slava Kozlov pull out the stops in a building where they all had so much success?
Sportsnet has learned Bret Hedican has signed a one-year, $870,000 deal with the Anaheim Ducks.
The veteran defenceman spent the last six seasons in Carolina and has also spent time in Vancouver, Florida and St. Louis during his 16-year career. Hedican has appeared in 988 career games recording 288 points.
added 4:52pm, More on the signing at Ducks Blog.
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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