Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer,
A 1993 Sports Illustrated headline called Samuelsson “Mr. Dirty.” The New York Times Magazine proclaimed him “a thinking-man’s thug.” A Pittsburgh sportswriter named Dave Molinari wrote in the 1990s that Samuelsson was “the kind of guy who would elbow Mother Teresa if she strayed near his net. Then cross-check her when she tried to stand up. Maybe spear her behind the knee as she hobbled away.”
You know the “Mayhem” guy in the Allstate commercials? That was Samuelsson when he played. He caused accidents. Fans in Boston were once so incensed after Samuelsson, a defenseman, injured one of their star players that they hung banners that read “Kill Ulf.”
I asked Samuelsson recently if he thought that long-ago Sports Illustrated headline and story were accurate.
“Yeah, I would say there’s probably a little truth to that article,” Samuelsson said. “I noticed in my career that if I would play 3-4 games in a more relaxed way, letting them off the hook – when I could hit a player hard I wouldn’t do it – the other team’s forwards would all of a sudden be a little more confident and make me look bad. So I found the way I could do my job was stay hard and stay aggressive – as far as the rules would let me. And sometimes a little bit over.”
Below, watch Samuelsson's most talked about hit on Cam Neely plus other YouTube videos here.
from Yoo Jee-ho and Park Young-seo of the Yonhap News Agency,
Schneider told reporters Thursday "the biggest obstacle" is who will shoulder the expenses, such as transportation, insurance and accommodations, for some 150 NHL players if they do decide to compete here....
"I understand from the IOC's perspective that they don't want to pay players to come, but at the same time, players don't necessarily want to pay to come to the Olympics as well," Schneider said. "It's certainly not something that can't be overcome. We're optimistic that it will all work out in the end. Players love playing in the Olympics. That's why we've participated in the last five Olympics."...
Lynn White, group vice president of international strategy for the NHL, said PyeongChang organizers appear to be "well ahead of schedule with respect to the preparations for the Olympic Games." Schneider compared PyeongChang favorably to Sochi, the Russian host of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
"I think they're much further ahead at this point than Sochi, roughly a little over a year out (from the Olympics)," Schneider said. "I think we're very impressed with the progress and the facilities that we've seen. I think everyone is very dedicated to having a top-notch event. We'd expect nothing less coming here. I'd anticipate that early in the new year, we should have a decision."
from Tal Pinchevsky at ESPN,
One game with the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL. That's all it took for Angelo Esposito to decide he was done.
It was a fun game too, in which the Komets scored four third-period goals to force overtime against the Indy Fuel before winning in a nine-round shootout. Not a bad way to kick off the 2014-15 season. That is, unless you had been tabbed for greatness as a teenager but found yourself still toiling in the minor leagues seven years later.
Esposito let his coach know the next day that he was going back home to Montreal. With that, one of the top prospects in the 2007 NHL draft was ready to call it a career after a nomadic, injury-plagued pro run that never included a regular-season NHL game.
"I went to the East Coast, and [during] that first game I didn't feel comfortable anymore playing. I thought to myself, 'Maybe it's time I moved on,'" said Esposito, now 27. "Honestly, the first month [off], I did absolutely nothing. I didn't step on the ice until December, and then I started playing with my buddies in their beer league just for fun."
He ultimately decided to come back, and his return to pro hockey last year helped him gain a new perspective on hockey and life.
National Hockey League (NHL) officials are visiting South Korea this week to inspect facilities for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics amid continuing uncertainty over the participation of the league's top players at the Winter Games.
Pyeongchang organizers (POCOG) released an itinerary on Tuesday detailing the visit of the group, which includes Lynn White, the NHL's Group Vice President of International Strategy, and Senior Director of Facilities Operations Dan Craig.
Sandra Monteiro and Matthieu Schneider of the NHL's Players' Association, as well as officials from the International Ice Hockey Federation, are also part of the group.
The officials will inspect the Kwandong Hockey Centre and the Gangneung Hockey Centre on Wednesday.
A decision on player participation is expected before the end of this year.
Discussions over player participation hit a roadblock last month after NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the chances of the league shutting down to allow players to compete at the Olympics in the middle of the season were "dim".
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.
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