Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Neil Paine of FiveThirtyEight,
In 1989, the Soviet hockey federation gave mid-level winger Sergei Priakin permission to pursue an NHL career. Other players soon followed (with or without government consent). From Fedorov to Mogilny and Bure, electrifying talent was up for grabs.
“I don’t know that this has ever happened [before] in any other sport, where the floodgates were opened to a new talent base,” hockey writer Gabriel Desjardins told me. “Teams jumped on it immediately.”
Chief among them was the Winnipeg Jets, led by a contrarian general manager who did not play professional hockey and held a doctorate in Russian studies: Mike Smith. Smith thought he could get Russian players under other teams’ radar (appealing for an American who felt excluded from what he described in an interview as the “boys club” of Canadian GMs) and believed more in Soviet-style possession hockey than the North American dump-and-chase strategy.
“You would ask a player who played for a coach that said ‘dump it in,’ [and] the player would say to his teammate, ‘We worked like hell to get the puck and then he wants to dump it in,’” Smith told me. “It just didn’t make any [sense], particularly if you had skilled players. … Why would you take a Rolls-Royce and make it into a battering ram?”
Kevin Allen of USA TODAY selects the NHL's most important people...
9. Jeremy Jacobs, Boston Bruins owner: Jacobs, 76, is chairman of the NHL’s Board of Governors, giving him considerable influence on league decisions. He is viewed as a hardliner when it comes negotiations with the NHLPA. He has owned the Bruins since 1975.
16. John Chayka, Arizona Coyotes general manager: When he was promoted in May at age 26, he became the youngest GM in the history of the four major sports. Chayka is a leader among the game’s new thinkers who emphasize analytics. You can be sure other owners are watching how he does.
47. Bob McKenzie, TSN (Canada) reporter: More than 1.4 million people follow him on Twitter because he is so wired into the behind-the-scenes maneuvering. The running joke used to be that NHL GMs were required to notify the league and McKenzie when they made a trade.
47 more names...
via the AP at the Stamford Advocate,
Another critical issue for Pyeongchang is securing the participation of National Hockey League players. IOC negotiations with the NHL have stalled over the IOC's decision not to pay for NHL players' travel and insurance as it has in the past....
Christophe Dubi, the IOC's executive director of the Olympic Games, said NHL representatives have agreed to pay an inspection visit to Pyeongchang later this month, which he described as a "very positive step."...
"We definitely always try to have the participation of the best athletes. It is reassuring that NHL is coming to Pyeongchang and especially look at the operations in Gangneung," he said.
"When it comes to the final participation ... there is a date set at Jan. 15 to find an agreement," Dubi said. "Until then it will be work between all parties involved to make sure that we get the participation of the very best, and that's for both Pyeongchang and Beijing."
I tweeted this earlier today, but too moving not to post on KK.
Life does not end with a diagnosis of ALS. In a way, it’s like a new life has begun for me. And I don’t want to waste it.
This disease can do a lot of terrible things. But it won’t erase my memories, or the thought of my wife and kids smiling. I will never forget our trip to Traverse City the weekend after I was diagnosed. The pictures we have will never degrade. The irony of ALS is that while it destroys your body, your mind remains as sharp as ever. Those moments are moments I’ll never forget — this disease will not take that away from me.
I love my wife and kids so much. I love my family and friends so much. This disease may silence me, but it cannot silence all of us.
-Scott Matzka, former pro hockey player, also played at Michigan, Read more from Scott at The Players' Tribune.
We need more of this in the NHL.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The World Cup isn’t and can’t be the Olympics. No one in the hockey industry ever was confused about that. But the recently concluded Toronto-based tournament provided little clarity in defining what exactly this supposedly scheduled quadrennial event actually is or can become.
This was a small-scale event in which intensity and emotion seemed lacking from the get-go. If Team North America wasn’t playing, the hockey was not compelling.
What should it tell the leaders of the industry that essentially everyone was taken by the magnetism and charisma of the one team that played the game the way literally everyone agrees it cannot be played in the NHL?
It should tell these leaders the product being presented during the regular season (and let’s not kid ourselves, through much of the playoffs, too) is defective. It is up to the leaders on both sides of the management/labor aisle to give the masses what they want. And that’s entertaining, creative hockey that rewards talent. That’s the critical takeaway from the tournament that was filled with uninteresting games.
Make a commitment to the next World Cup, and hockey fans will respond with their hearts and wallets, more than they did this time. They want to see the best. But they need to feel that it’s about the hockey and making history, not just another way to wring a buck out of those who love the game.
-Damien Cox of the Toronto Star where you can read more on this topic.
TORONTO (September 30, 2016) O Canada! Hockey continues to reign supreme across the country, both on and off the ice, as 15.5 million people – more than 1 in 3 Canadians – watched some part of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 tournament, which ended last night in spectacular fashion with Team Canada being crowned World Cup champion.
Last night’s hard-fought Game 2 Final delivered an average audience of 2.27 million viewers (2+), with more than 7.5 million Canadians tuning in to some part of the broadcast to see Team Canada come from behind with two goals late in the third period to defeat Team Europe, 2-1.
It’s tough to come down hard on hockey fans in Toronto given all they’ve gone through, but surely it wasn’t lost on NHL brass how disappointing the World Cup crowds were.
Despite millions of dollars in marketing and promotions around downtown Toronto that included an expansive and pricey fan zone, endless advertising and six-foot high pucks at hundreds of street corners, the rare chance to see hockey’s best-on-best featured thousands of empty seats most games.
Yes, the tickets were pricey and, yes, it’s hard to get too jacked about a Finland/Sweden matchup, but in a supposedly hockey-starved city with money and a population base like that, every game should have been sold out.
Clearly, the next incarnation of the world Cup needs to move to a place like Edmonton, where its fans will once again demonstrate what it’s like to be a real fan of the game.
Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun at Canoe. Francis has more on the World Cup.
The puck drop is not one of them.
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