Kukla's Korner Hockey
Hockey legend Gordie Howe was a surprise runner in the Olympic torch relay on Wednesday through southwestern Ontario.
The 81-year-old Hall of Famer’s name was not on the list of torchbearers released in advance by organizers.
from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,
In other words: It doesn’t seem like anything the Detroit Red Wings have historically done from a marketing perspective. But that stodgy reputation is something Quack! Media is working to change with Open Skate Detroit.
“It isn’t a straight-up marketing program. It’s a fan organization that’s officially recognized by the Red Wings as a good time and a good idea,” said Al McWilliams, master of the universe (official title) for Quack.
We spoke with McWilliams about this marketing campaign aimed at money-spending fans in desirable demographics, and how it might end up in your hockey-town after succeeding in Hockeytown.
Open Skate Detroit started this season as a way to encourage a crowd that goes out to bars and concerts to consider dropping their dough on the NHL as well.
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
The first decade of the new century has seen an explosion in talent around the NHL. For all the brilliance of decades past—the Original Six era, the dynasties of the 1970s and 1980s, the rise of teams like Pittsburgh, Detroit and New Jersey in the 1990s—you can make a good case that the level of talent in the NHL today is as high or higher than it’s ever been. With young stars joining the League each year, that level should continue to rise.
But who are the cream of the crop in the 2000s? Which players have risen above their peers? Here’s a look at the best of the best for the first decade of the new century.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
There was a time, back when the National Hockey League was more of a mom and pop shop, when Bryan Murray, Cory Clouston and their Ottawa Senators would have paid a heavy price for coming out and questioning the integrity of the NHL’s officials.
“Back in the old days when we didn’t have TV?” began veteran referee Paul Devorski, “We could show up in Winnipeg, and if I really wanted to shove it up yer hoop, I could. Nowadays, you can’t call a phantom hook or you’re on the carpet the next day with (NHL director of officiating) Terry Gregson. If it becomes habitual, now you’re not working playoffs.”
So today, referees blow off the carping that came from Ottawa this week as more excuse-making by a GM, this time the Senators’ Murray. Clouston, his head coach, was cast in a rather embarrassing supporting role.
“It strikes me as something where (Murray) is not having as much success as he wants, so maybe it’s not his fault. Maybe it’s our fault,” referee Mike Leggo said. “Take the blame off his players. Try and shift the focus, try and get the next break.”
A few Sharks meet Slappy, the Holiday Elf.
Let it play-out…
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
As we near the Christmas break, it is time to identify the biggest surprises and disappointments to date of the 2009-10 season.
In the Eastern Conference, my biggest surprise is the emergence of the New Jersey Devils as the best team in the league. Not that we should really be surprised. Perhaps surprise is the wrong word. General manager Lou Lamoriello always has his team in the hunt….
In the Western Conference, my biggest surprise is Patrick Marleau. There were all kinds of rumours that the San Jose Sharks wanted to trade him last summer, though GM Doug Wilson insists that was never the case. Still, the Sharks did take the captaincy away from Marleau so it remained to be seen what affect that would have on the veteran in his 13th NHL season….
“Our challenge right now as coaches is to find a way for the players to stay in the moment. The toughest thing for the player is to get overwhelmed by the end result. It’s like playing golf; if you’re standing there worried about what tee shot you’re going to hit on 18, you’re not going to play the first 17 holes. Our job right now is to help the players really narrow their focus. They need to enjoy that and stay in the moment.”
-Ken Hitchcock, Coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. More from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said this morning that defenseman Paul Martin will miss at least another four weeks after having what he called “minor surgery” on his fractured left forearm on Tuesday.
“There has been a setback,” Lamoriello said. “The outside of the fracture has been healing, but the inside has not been healing at the rate that we wanted to see it heal. So, there’s been some minor surgery and he is recasted. So, he will be a minimum of four weeks.”
12 games on the schedule today (see schedule below) and then a well deserved break in the NHL schedule until December 26th.
I am sure the players appreciate the break and I know I am going to use it to my advantage too.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org