Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Matt Higgins of the New York Times,
For Connor McDavid, an 18-year-old center for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League and the most anticipated N.H.L. prospect in decades, compliments accrue as steadily as goals and assists.
The Otters’ assistant coach Jay McKee, who played 13 seasons as an N.H.L. defenseman, has been known to pull out his phone on the bench during games to record a clip of McDavid’s dazzling play.
Tim Murray, general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, a self-described “glass-half-empty guy” not given to giddy appraisals, said he has not seen a better junior player. “I watch him too much and I think too much about him,” said Murray, who has been scouting teenage N.H.L. prospects for 23 seasons. “I wish I could help myself.”
Sherry Bassin, the Otters’ 75-year-old owner who possesses a lifetime of hockey memories and a voice like an old record, scratchy and faint, recalled that the Hockey Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk, who coaches the O.H.L. rival Barrie Colts, said of McDavid: “He skates like Bobby Orr. He has the vision of Wayne Gretzky. And he handles the puck like Mario Lemieux.”
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
Will the age of enhanced statistics one day change the way NHL Central Scouting goes about its business in evaluating the top players eligible for the NHL Draft?
There's no denying the fact enhanced stats have taken the NHL and its fans by storm. In February, the League announced a partnership with enterprise software company SAP to provide many new statistics via NHL.com. If this stats revolution changes the way people now analyze the game, what could it do for NHL scouts?
"If you add ingredients to help you evaluate someone, you have to use those ingredients," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "But you can't go overboard; we've been baking a cake our whole life and now, if you put icing on the cake, it's better. But if it's all icing it's not a good cake, so I think if you take it too far it might not work.
"The eyeball test still has to be there, you still have to apply what analytics do. It could help you decide between one guy or the other, and I believe it is good for the game."
Chris Edwards, who does a majority of his scouting in the Ontario Hockey League, isn't completely sold on the enhanced stats revolution.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Once again, there’s a seismic shift going on in the hockey world.
The last major one, you could argue, came in the late 1980s and early 1990s when European players started coming overseas in large numbers to play in the NHL, minor pro, U.S. colleges and in the Canadian Hockey League.
At around the same time, the seeds were being planted in the southwestern United States for a harvest that would take more than two decades to be realized, but is now coming into plain view for anyone paying attention.
The indicators are all around. Since 1992, the registration of hockey players in the Pacific, Rocky Mountain (Arizona, Colorado, Texas) and southeastern U.S. has increased by 240 per cent, more than half of that has come over the past 10 years.
In the same time period, there have been NHL teams added in Florida, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, Anaheim, San Jose and Nashville, joining the Los Angeles Kings, whose acquisition of Wayne Gretzky in 1988 undoubtedly accelerated interest in the sport in virgin territories.
Not surprisingly, all these NHL teams and registered skaters have started to produce more and more elite players.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
It was a week ago Sunday night, the eve of the NHL general managers’ meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., and a smattering of club executives were posted up at the resort lobby bar, watching NHL games.
The TV at one end of the bar was showing Washington and Boston. That’s where you would find Bruins’ GM Peter Chiarelli. The TV at the other end had Anaheim and Nashville, which was where Predators’ GM David Poile was sitting.
The GMs from a few other teams were sitting between, or around, them, with Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher checking his phone now and again for other hockey scores, keeping his peers updated not only on the third NHL game, Philadelphia vs. Ottawa – The Hamburglar was a big deal, even amongst the GMs – but a handful of U.S. college playoff games being played that night, too.
"What’s the Harvard-Yale score?" Poile would ask Fletcher on a number of occasions.
Everyone there, of course, knew, Poile had a vested interest in the outcome. If Yale beat Harvard in the third-and-deciding-game of their ECAC playoff series, it could mean an end to the Crimson’s season and, therefore, allow for the possibility of Harvard goal-scoring machine Jimmy Vesey, the Predators’ third-round pick, 66th overall, in the 2012 NHL draft, turning pro and joining the Preds for the stretch drive and playoffs.
Chiarelli, himself a Harvard grad, good-naturedly poked fun at Poile from the far end of the bar, suggesting no Harvard player would leave such an esteemed institution without first graduating. Vesey is in his junior year.
from David Albright of ESPN,
Saturday night saw Boston University skate a tournament team trophy around the ice for the second time this season. With Beanpot and Hockey East championships already secured, the Terriers now set their sights on a return trip to the TD Garden in three weeks when the NCAA Frozen Four comes to town April 9.
Minnesota State, North Dakota, Boston and Miami, in that order, were awarded No. 1 seeds for the 2015 NCAA men's hockey tournament. The pairings were announced Sunday afternoon on ESPNU.
The tournament has six teams from NCHC, three each from ECAC and Hockey East, two from WCHA and one each from the Atlantic Hockey and Big Ten.
Goaltender Jeff Jakaitis and the South Carolina Stingrays continued to make history on Friday with a 4-0 win over the Indy Fuel at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The shutout was Jakaitis' fourth in a row, setting a new ECHL record, and it extended his league-record shutout streak to 319:32. Jakaitis, who leads the ECHL this season with six shutouts, has not allowed a goal since 3:01 into the first period of a 5-1 win against Gwinnett on March 6. The 31-year-old now has 22 career shutouts, which is just three behind ECHL all-time leader Marc Magliarditi.
Jakaitis' shutout streak is the second-longest in professional hockey history, trailing only Brian Boucher, who had a streak of 332:01 with the National Hockey League's Phoenix Coyotes in the 2003-04 season. The American Hockey League record was set by Matt Murray of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins earlier this month at 304:11.
South Carolina extended its ECHL record winning streak to 20 games, becoming just the second team in professional hockey history to win at least 20 games in a row, joining the American Hockey League's Norfolk Admirals, who won their final 28 games of the 2011-12 regular season on their way to capturing that year's Calder Cup title.
via Hometown Hockey,
Gordon “Red” Berenson is a legend at the University of Michigan and is now in his 31st season as Wolverines head coach, but it’s Regina where the “Red Baron” got his start. Berenson participated in two Memorial Cups with the Regina Pats before being drafted by the Montreal Canadiens straight out of high school. Against the advice of the Habs, he joined the University of Michigan where he scored 79 career goals. He became the first Canadian to go from a U.S. college team to the NHL. Berenson won a Stanley Cup with Montreal before becoming a star with St. Louis, going on to seven 20-goal seasons in the NHL.
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
An executive with China's public broadcaster CCTV says the NHL has pledged to continue to send its players to the Olympics if China wins the right to host the 2022 Olympic Games.
Longmou Li, who has negotiated broadcast rights of National Hockey League games in the world's biggest country, said in an interview that NHL officials have told him that they'd use a China-based winter games to build up the league's popularity in the important emerging market.
An NHL spokesman said it's "categorically not true" that any promise has been made to Chinese broadcasters or hockey federation officials. "No such discussions have taken place," he said. "We have heard that is CCTV's desire, but we have had no discussions and made no decisions."...
Beijing is considered a favourite to win those games after Oslo, Stockholm, Munich, two cities in Switzerland, Denver, Krakow and Lviv in Ukraine all dropped out of the bidding. The only other candidate is Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Since the NBA All Star break, Chinese officials have held several meetings with NHL executives in New York to begin making the case for the NHL to send players to the Olympics, said a person familiar with the matter.
via the CP at NHL.com,
Shane Walsh scored the winning goal in the fifth overtime to lead UMass to a 4-3 victory over Notre Dame in the longest game in NCAA Division I ice hockey history.
The first-round Hockey East tournament matchup lasted 151 minutes, 42 seconds, ending early Saturday morning and surpassing the previous mark of 150:22 in five overtimes between Quinnipiac and Union in 2010.
Notre Dame's Cal Petersen set a Division I record with 87 saves, eclipsing the previous mark of 78 by RPI's Dick Greenlaw against Boston University in 1965. UMass' Steve Mastalerz finished with 75 saves in the victory..
Watch the highlights below...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Will NHL players be going to Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February 2018 or not?
It's a question that's far from being answered yet.
"We haven't had any discussions about it," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told ESPN.com Wednesday. "And I said in Columbus [at the All-Star Game], this decision about the World Cup has no bearing on that decision. We're focused right now on the World Cup. When we get to discussing and evaluating the Olympic opportunity, that decision -- whether or not we go or not go -- will rise and fall on the merits of making that decision."
NHLPA executive director Don Fehr agreed with Bettman's characterization of the Olympic decision not being tied to the return of the World Cup.
"Yes, I think that's a correct statement, that the Olympics have to be evaluated on their own, and you have to get the right kinds of agreements with the IIHF and the IOC," Fehr told ESPN.com Wednesday. "Assuming you can, it's no secret what the players' position is going to be. But this [World Cup] is something we would do if we had already decided to go to the Olympics or if the Olympics had shut down and you never had them again. It wouldn't matter."
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