Kukla's Korner Hockey
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr took part in an intriguing interview with the Associated Press's Josh Warrow, but in discussing the 2016 World Cup from the NHLPA and then the NHL's perspectives, a certain sports commissioner reminded us that the relationship between the players and league remains...complicated:
“What we have to be able to do is basically demonstrate, explain, show to sports fans and non-sports fans what this game is all about, and what the people who play it are all about,” Fehr said. “And if that doesn’t produce significant movement and attractiveness to the game, we’re in big trouble. But I think it will.”
Bettman shares that vision and credits Fehr’s arrival with providing the game — and union — much-needed stability after the NHLPA went through a lengthy stretch of upheaval and infighting after a lockout wiped out the 2004-05 season. Following Bob Goodenow’s resignation in July 2005, the union went through three executive directors before Fehr took over in 2010.
“It’s not a coincidence that the last decade-plus we haven’t had a World Cup because we haven’t had anybody to deal with on a long-term stable basis at the union to make decisions that had to be made to do an international tournament,” Bettman told the AP. “The fact that we’re now in a situation where there’s a strong union, which I believe is important and a good thing, we can pursue mutual goals and objectives to build the game.”
The owners, Bettman noted, deserve credit, too, for insisting on a salary-cap based system that has provided cost certainty and competitive balance.
“While we paid a huge, huge price for that, a long-term CBA is only a good thing if you have a system that’s working. And the system is working,” Bettman said. “Working co-operatively with the players’ association enables us to do more things to build on that foundation.”
Yeah, two lockouts, a season-and-a-half gone and the early retirements of the Messiers, Yzermans and Lidstroms...Anyway, the dual interview continues...
from David Ebner of the Globe and Mail,
Sidney Crosby is in a slump.
It is an odd thing to say about a hockey player who, as of Sunday morning, was the fourth-leading scorer in the NHL, 56 points in 49 games and only two points out of first....
There have been recent flashes of the real Crosby. Last Friday night in Calgary, he delivered two beautiful goals, the second of which was collected as a pass in full flight, after which he split the Calgary defence and cracked a laser of a wrist shot past the Flames goalie. But the next night, in Vancouver, the same old problems. Crosby looked strong and savvy at times – but managed only one shot at the net, a backhander from in close at a near-impossible angle that had no real hope of going in.
When he does get his chances – and Crosby is driving play this season, as always – the simple fact is he’s connecting at a strong but not superstar level.
This is Sidney Crosby in a slump: excellent, but not amazing.
His shooting percentage is 11.3 per cent, the lowest of his career looking at seasons when he’s been healthy, and the number is down several percentage points from his normal elite rate of 14 per cent-plus.
via Hometown Hockey,
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist would have been at risk for a life-threatening injury if he kept playing with what he called a sprained blood vessel in his throat that was detected Tuesday.
Lundqvist said Sunday he won't be re-evaluated by the doctors for at least 2-3 weeks to see how it's healing, and he can do only light cardio between now and then. He even once referenced a timetable of potentially 3-4 weeks before he is re-evaluated.
"If I would keep playing I'd run a big risk of having a stroke, and that's why you have to make sure you play this one safe because it's not a sore shoulder or elbow or something like that," Lundqvist said prior to the Rangers' game against the Dallas Stars at Madison Square Garden.
from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,
Nearing the end of a grueling stretch of nine games in 15 days, including seven in the last 11 and three in the last four, the St. Louis Blues may be showing signs of slowing down.
After a franchise-record 13-game unbeaten streak, they were pounded 7-1 at Columbus on Friday and then failed to deliver again Sunday in a 4-2 home loss to the rival Chicago Blackhawks. The game Sunday was tied 2-2 headed into the third period, but Chicago controlled play after that.
“Most of us took yesterday off,” Blues captain David Backes said. “We’re getting the rest on the off days and everyone’s kind of got a chaotic schedule this time of the year. I think we had a lot of jump the first two periods (Sunday).
“We were playing on our toes, getting in on the forechecks and turning pucks over and having some extended zone time, trying to force our game onto them. We did a pretty good job of that.”
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was in no mood for questions about a potentially tired team.
“I don’t look at it like that,” he said. “I look at it like we lost a close, hard-fought hockey game. It was a hell of a hockey game. We’ll rest up and move on to Tuesday (against Arizona). That’s all I look at right now.”
via the Philadelphia Flyers,
Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced to the media following the second period of the Flyers-Capitals game that goaltender Steve Mason has a lower-body injury and will not return to the game.
Mason left the ice with 8:42 left in the second period during the broadcast timeout before a Capitals power play. Prior to exiting the game, he stopped all eight shots he faced.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
- San Jose GM Doug Wilson has been trying to make a deal all season. Since he wasn’t able to make significant changes in the off-season, he’d like to add a blueliner. Sources say he’s held talks with Arizona (don’t call me Phoenix) Coyotes GM Don Maloney about the possibility of acquiring defenceman Zybnek Michalek. The issue is Wilson isn’t alone on that front with St. Louis, Detroit and Anaheim also making a push for Michalek. The Sharks have been trying to trade winger Tyler Kennedy with no luck.
- The Jackets have lost 317 man-games to injury and don’t have a chance of making the playoffs which means they may start making moves. They’d like to move defenceman Jordan Leopold. There’s interest in winger Cam Atkinson and Columbus may be able to get a decent return. Atkinson has rights to arbitration and the Jackets may be concerned about what he might get.
- There have been no talks between the Hurricanes and defenceman Andrej Sekera. You can expect him to be dealt and there are plenty of teams looking for blueliners.
RED WINGS SOAR TO TOP OF EAST
Tomas Tatar (1-2—3) matched a career-high with three points (Jan. 17 vs. NSH) and Petr Mrazek stopped 22 shots to guide the Red Wings to their third straight victory and propel the club into first place in the Eastern Conference.
* At 31-12-9 (71 points), the Red Wings leapfrogged the Lightning (33-16-5, 71 points) – who lost in regulation against Los Angeles – for the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. Detroit holds two games in hand, but Tampa Bay owns the ROW tiebreaker (TBL: 31, DET: 29).
* Tatar is tied for second on the club with 23-16—39 in 52 GP, matching a career high set in 73 games last season (19-20—39). His team-leading 23rd goal was his sixth game-winner, placing him one off the League-lead shared by four players.
* Mrazek improved to 8-1-0 in 10 starts since Jimmy Howard was injured on Jan. 10, matching his win total from his first 20 career games (8-8-1). Overall, he is 13-4-1 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in 19 appearances this season.
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The Penguins (30-15-6) faced a 2-0 deficit at the time, and the goal would have given them a serious spark. Instead, Shawn Matthias and Zach Kassian scored later in the period to trigger the rout, which wraps up a 2-1 Western Canada trip.
Johnston explained that nothing was called or said on the ice. The only thing he heard or saw was a whistle and a referee with his arms up.
“There was no call made on the ice,” Johnston said. “There was just a wave of the arms. It wasn't a call that was waved off. The play was stopped because the net was off.
“They decided on the ice that it was no goal. Then they waited for Toronto. Toronto couldn't decide. That's the way the ruling went.
“When I watched it again ... boy, it's a goal for sure. I thought that was a key turning point in the game. Would have given us a lot of momentum at that time.”
Watch the no-goal below...
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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