Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
Three months ago NHL.com asked nine top evaluators from NHL Central Scouting who their choice would be as the first pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.
The impromptu poll had McDavid, a center with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League the 5-4 choice against Eichel, who will be a center at Boston University in the fall.
Many top scouts believe that slim difference between the two will be par for the course in 2014-15 when the two players will be scrutinized and publicized in every way leading up to the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
"Every year the scouts think that it's a good crop of prospects," Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting, said. "There's just been a little more emphasis in 2015 because there's been a couple more top-end frontrunners and the fact that there were a number of underage players performing in their various junior leagues and performing well. That leads to high expectations for this draft class."
from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,
We’re feeling the love for America this July 4 at THN. Editor in chief Jason Kay posted a top 10 ranking of the best American players of all-time and now we’ll recall some of the country’s top accomplishments.
Peak moments for USA Hockey are happening with greater frequency these days as the program expands and excels. But its accomplishments go back a long ways, with the defining moment happening in 1980. From 10, we countdown the best moments in American hockey history.
First American taken first overall in the NHL draft, Brian Lawton
Out of Mount St. Charles Academy, the Minnesota North Stars picked New Jersey’s Brian Lawton first overall in the 1983 draft. Lawton scored 112 goals and 266 points in only 483 career games with Minnesota, New York Rangers, Hartford, Quebec, Boston and San Jose, but his draft also included Pat LaFontaine going third overall and Tom Barrasso going fifth overall. This was the start of things to come.
1996 World Cup
If the 1980 miracle inspired a generation of American hockey players, the 1996 World Cup team inspired another. This group of all-stars wasn’t quite the underdogs the rag-tag collection of college kids was in 1980, but no one expected they’d come back from a one-game deficit to Canada. This tournament, formerly known as the Canada Cup, didn’t end with a single game, but a best-of-three series. Canada won Game 1, but the Americans won the next two in Montreal to claim the championship. Brett Hull and Mike Richter starred for the Americans, who stole a win from Canada on Canadian soil and set up the Red, White and Blue for success in the next decade.
from Martin Merk of IIHF.com,
Long-time Russian national team player Alexei Kovalyov, 41, calls it a career after 24 years in professional hockey.
“Unfortunately I have to retire because of my injuries,” he told TV channel Kanal9 at a camp in Leukerbad.
Kovalyov represented Russia and the Soviet Union at several occasions and won Olympic gold in Albertville 1992. He played in three Olympic Winter Games, three IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships and two World Cup of Hockey tournaments.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Again, this is 2014. Clarence Campbell isn’t running the league, the Norris family no longer controls more than one team, yet when it comes to the Hall of Fame, we’re still operating under a set of circumstances more suited to a Cold War mentality than the actual era in which the NHL and the Hockey Hall of Fame operates.
Oh, yes, and along those lines, another year with no women inducted. You’d think after snubbing the female game for years and years, the Hall would be in a catchup mode.
Nope. Were any women even nominated by a group that is totally comprised by men?
Only they know. And they are sworn to secrecy.
The kings of sudden death are now the kings of the American Hockey League.
Patrik Nemeth scored 14:30 into overtime as the Texas Stars captured their first Calder Cup championship with a 4-3 win over the St. John's IceCaps in Game 5 of the Finals at Mile One Centre on Tuesday night.
Nemeth, a second-round draft pick by the Dallas Stars in 2010 who played five playoff games with the parent club also earlier this spring, netted the Cup-clincher off an outstanding individual effort. With the teams skating four-on-four, Nemeth scooped up the puck at his own blue line, raced up the right side, went inside-out on a St. John's defender and backhanded a shot over the glove of Michael Hutchinson for his first goal of the entire postseason.
Texas finished the playoffs with a 6-0 record in overtime, with all six wins coming on the road.
Watch the winning goal below and the post-game ceromony....
from Vladimir Kozlov at SportsBusiness Global,
The Kontinental Hockey League has lowered the salary cap from 1.39B rubles ($40.4M) to 1.1B rubles ($32M) per squad for next season. Squads that go over that figure will be subject to a 20% “luxury tax” on any extra spendings. According to KHL President Alexander Medvedev, who announced the new salary cap on the air of Sport FM radio, another difference will be that the cap will apply to all players. Last season, some players who moved to the KHL from the NHL were exempt from the cap.
from Bryan Weismiller of MetroNews,
Like many youngsters who outgrow their youth-sized lumber, Jack was equipped with a mid-priced junior stick that had seven inches lobbed off the top of it.
Modifying the stick made the shaft too firm for even some NHL stars.
“His 55 flex turned into an 85 flex,” Reily said. “Alex Ovechkin is 225 pounds, built like a Neanderthal, and he had a more flexible stick than my son at seven years old.
“That was the problem.”
After developing some more bendable prototypes, Reily and a neighbour teamed up with sports researchers at the University of Calgary. It lead to what’s billed as a first-of-its-kind research project using players aged five to eight years old.
That’s also where the duo discovered a third partner for their venture.
The group eventually came up with a 20-flex junior stick, which falls in line with the general rule that hockey stick flex should be roughly half of the skater’s body weight.
Reily stressed the importance of buying proper equipment, saying the stiff sticks of today are encouraging kids to develop bad habits.
“They’re putting their sticks on the puck and twisting their body to flick it,” he said.
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
Left wing Brendan Lemieux of the Barrie Colts considers himself the silent but deadly type.
As the son of former NHL player and four-time Stanley Cup champion Claude Lemieux, that shouldn't come as a surprise. The family patriarch made a living out of making life miserable for the opposition whenever he stepped on the ice, and it usually worked.
Does dad notice similarities between his style and the way his son now attacks the game?
"Yes, Brendan plays a very similar style of hockey that I did back when I played," Claude Lemieux told NHL.com. "Having said that, it's hard to compare playing today's game versus the old NHL of the '80s and '90s. The game today is less physical and much more of a skill game played at a faster pace, so Brendan is forced to be different than I was because of the way the game is played."
from Sean Fitz-Gerlad of the National Post,
Andrew McKim still gets the headaches, the migraines, and he still sees the stars when he sneezes. His wife, Leanne, has become adept at reading the markers of his pain, even as it presents itself as a certain look at the dinner table. She will ask him how he is feeling, and he will sometimes answer: “It’s just like a knife in my ear right now.”
He was an avid reader before the injury, she said, but not since, not with the all trouble he has concentrating. He used to be more eager to greet the morning, too, but not after, when she would rise and he would remain in bed, in agony, if the weather outside had shifted.
“It’s the same, I guess, as someone with arthritis, when they can tell that the weather is not very good, or that bad weather is coming,” she said. “That’s the way he is with his head.”
Andrew McKim knows he is not the same man he was before Oct. 31, 2000, when he was a happily married father of two young children, a slick forward from the Maritimes with a six-figure salary to play professional hockey in Switzerland. That was the life he enjoyed, the life he wanted....
Kevin Miller was a winger with Davos. A cousin of Ryan Miller, a long-time goaltender and member of the U.S. Olympic team, Miller had also spent time in the NHL. He was known not as a dirty player, but as a journeyman who could squeeze out 20 goals in a season.
Part of his life changed, too, in that game.
This week, at the USA Hockey's Annual Congress in Colorado Springs, Colo., the NCAA and USA Hockey announced that they both officially support and endorse the Look-Up Line – a warning track colored in safety orange that extends 40 inches in width around the circumference of a rink – to be painted on the ice surface in an effort to promote player safety.
Back in April The New York Times featured the Look-Up Line where they talked with Dr. Michael Cusimano (a neurosurgeon whom heads the St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto's trama center). Dr. Cusimano said every year there are 6 - 7 paralyzing spinal cord injuries in hockey reported across Canada. This past season in the U.S. both Matt Sorisho from Detroit Catholic Central (Novi, Michigan) and Michael Nichols of Monroe Township, New Jersey sustained paralyzing hockey injuries.
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