Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Sometimes change trickles up and other times, it trickles down. In the case of the rule changes recently adopted by the American League, it will be interesting to see whether or not those holding the levers of the NHL take notice.
At its board of governors meetings this week, the AHL passed what can only be described as radical rule alterations. And I use the term “radical” keeping in mind that significant change sometimes moves at a glacial pace in this sport. But give the AHL credit. It made positive moves on two of the most controversial, debated and polarizing issues facing the game today: fighting and shootouts.
What makes it refreshing is these rule changes were conceived and approved by “hockey guys” who are every bit as passionate about the game as their NHL brethren. In fact, the AHL’s competition and player development committees are filled with assistant GMs who are on the path to NHL upper management.
First, let’s look at fighting. AHL president Dave Andrews put forward a motion to give a game misconduct to any player who is involved in more than one fight in a game.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors has concluded its 2014 Annual Meeting, held this week at Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Chaired by AHL President and CEO David Andrews, the four days of meetings, which concluded Thursday, saw the approval of the following rules changes to be implemented beginning in 2014-15:
Rule 85 (“Overtime”)
During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be seven minutes (7:00) in length, preceded by a “dry scrape” of the entire ice surface.
Teams will change ends at the start of overtime.
Full playing strength will be 4-on-4 until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining), at which time full strength will be reduced to 3-on-3 for the duration of the overtime period.
If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
The only way a union for major junior hockey players can work is with the help of the NHL Players’ Association.
That’s the view of Gilles Lupien, a former defenceman with the Montreal Canadiens who is now an agent for professional and amateur hockey players.
Lupien said a mainstream union will struggle to win over the public and the families of some players, who would see the move as a cash-grab.
But the NHLPA, Lupien said, is better positioned to act as an umbrella organization protecting the rights of hockey’s budding stars before they graduate to the NHL.
The Star reported this week that Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, is trying to organize players in Quebec’s major junior hockey league and then take its efforts west across Canada, eventually organizing all 60 of the Canadian Hockey League’s franchises.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced that the league’s Board of Governors has approved the following division alignment for the 2014-15 AHL season (National Hockey League affiliates in parentheses):
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.
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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