Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ryan Lambert of PuckDaddy,
Shawn Thornton knew the question was coming.
“Oh God,” he sighed, obviously exasperated, “here we go.”
No, there has never been a fight in a Winter Classic, or the Heritage Classic for that matter. No, there’s never even been anything approaching a dustup. The closest anyone has gotten is a pair of matching roughing penalties in the Heritage Classic between Francis Boullion and Jason Chimera. It was real exciting stuff.
So hockey fans are waiting for that historic first fight. And the media talks about it. Dan Carcillo said his team wasn’t ignorant to the talk. But that doesn’t mean players are making plans to fight like it’s seventh grade meeting by the flagpole at recess.
“I don’t know,” said Thornton. “I honestly have never gone into a hockey game thinking about fighting. This is no different. I mean, you guys can ask because it’s kind of one of my roles, but other than you guys bringing it up, I don’t think about it.”
from Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe,
Putting the Bruins in the Red Sox locker room guarantees new standards for civility and accessibility in the 97-year-old clubhouse. It also means the polite hockey guys have to walk down 13 steps to get to the dugout runway. At the end of the long tunnel, it’s another four steps to the dugout floor, then five steps to the playing surface. Skate guards are required.
Boston’s ancient, beloved ballpark is ready for hockey. The indoor batting cage behind the Red Sox dugout has been converted to a hockey shop with skate sharpeners and propane torches. Retired Bruins numbers have been attached to the right-field facade alongside the Red Sox numbers. Bobby Orr walks hand-in-hand with Joe Cronin (both No. 4). Same for Cam Neely and Carl Yastrzemski (No. 8), and John Bucyk and Ted Williams (No. 9).
Orr has his own stall and nameplate in the Red Sox/Bruins locker room. It’s a locker last used by John Smoltz. Shawn Thornton was issued David Ortiz’s locker, which makes some sense, but how do you figure Zdeno Chara dressing in a front of a stall that belongs to J.D. Drew? Think the big fella knows about J.D.’s reputation?
The standings on the Green Monster look strange. It’s weird to see “Buffalo,’’ “Ottawa,’’ and “Montreal’’ under the heading of “AL East,’’ but it’s nice to have Baltimore erased entirely for a few days.
Looks overcast to me but not much precipitation.
The temperature may be a little high for outdoor hockey, but with the ice system they have in place, it should not be a problem.
Check out the Weather Channel for more…
When is a hockey game two periods instead of three?
Worst-case scenario: possibly New Year’s Day at Fenway Park.
A league source confirmed to ESPN.com on Thursday that it is possible the Winter Classic could only go two periods if the weather doesn’t cooperate and the game would still be deemed official.
But that’s only if all else fails.
The league has the same detailed contingency plan it’s had in place for the past two Winter Classics. Snow threatened the 2008 event in Buffalo, N.Y., and there is a chance for frozen precipitation for Friday’s game at Fenway.
Earlier in the week, the prediction was rain for the Winter Classic in Boston.
Now, according to the Weather Channel, the rain has turned to snow.
from Richard Sandomir and Ken Belson of the NY Times,
The N.H.L.’s Winter Classic, which began with snow-globe quaintness on New Year’s Day in 2008 in the home stadium of the Buffalo Bills, has turned into a profit center for a league that strives to be different.
The third Classic, between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday afternoon, is expected to generate $8 million in ticket sales at Fenway Park and $3 million in ad revenue at NBC, triple the total of two years ago.
Thanks largely to the midseason game, the league says that its sponsorship sales are growing at a 66 percent annual pace and its merchandise revenue, led by the throwback jerseys inspired by the first classic, is soaring.
from Dan Shaughnessy at Sports Illustrated,
The NHL rarely gets it right. Professional hockey is a consensus Number Four (and we don’t mean Bobby Orr 4) whenever we get around to ranking sports that grip the American mind. Like Ringo, hockey is always the caboose, rarely taken seriously and unable to compete with John, Paul and George.
But now hockey owns New Year’s Day the way baseball owns the Fourth of July and football owns Thanksgiving. Sure, there’s still plenty of college grid action on the first day of the year, but many big bowls have been pushed back in the name of ratings and rankings. The NHL has stepped in with the Winter Classic which will be held this year at Fenway Park, featuring the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Outdoor hockey brings the sport to its roots. Most of the players who make it to the NHL spent time skating on ponds, rivers, or open-air rinks. Putting the world’s best players outdoors is decidedly old school and makes for great television. It’s the Currier & Ives effect. Even the neutral zone trap looks good inside a snow globe.
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
Neither team emphasizes rough stuff these days. The Bruins take the eighth-fewest penalties and while the Flyers lead the league, a coaching change earlier this month was made to enforce team discipline. The Flyers have been winning recently by taking half as many penalties as before.
“It’s going to be interesting what style they play on the 1st,” Johnson said. “The Flyers cast themselves in the Broad Street Bullies image when they acquired Chris Pronger, in the mold of the 1970s teams coached by Fred Shero. But you need Bernie Parent to pull that off. Parent isn’t walking out the door of that dressing room and Kate Smith won’t be singing.”
The Flyers roughed up Orr pretty good in 1974 and Johnson hasn’t forgotten it. He also credits the Bruins’ success in Boston for Philadelphia becoming one of the 1967 expansion teams.
“I didn’t like those Flyers teams and what they did to Orr was a shame, like taking a hammer to the Pieta,” he said. “Orr put food on the table of everyone in hockey. It’s competition, but do it clean and proper, not a mugging.
“It is interesting that they chose the Flyers. (Flyers chairman) Ed Snider saw the success and appeal of the Bruins. In that era, we had the Celtics winning championships and the Bruins usually failing to make the playoffs, but the Celtics averaged 8,000 fans and the Bruins sold out the 13,909-seat Garden every game.
It starts out kind of slow, but gets better…
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.
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