Kukla's Korner Hockey
From the CP via Slam! Sports,
Canada will play the United States, the team that gave it the most trouble in the round robin, in the semifinals of the world under-18 hockey tournament.
Canada emerged with a 3-2 victory in a shootout with the Americans last Sunday and the two teams go at it again in the medal round Friday 11:30 a.m. ET.
“The teams are very evenly matched,” says head coach Trent Yawney. “The U.S. has got a balanced lineup, good team speed, guys up front who can score and their defencemen can really move the puck - nothing we’re unaware of.
From the Columbus Dispatch,
A search is expected to begin immediately. Clark and Boyd will likely be granted interviews for the general manager’s position, but both are considered long shots to land the job.
Hitchcock, who did not return phone calls, has told insiders he does not want to be general manager. Among those likely to be considered to replace MacLean as general manager are Dave Taylor, former GM of the Los Angeles Kings; Rick Dudley, assistant general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks; Craig Patrick, former GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins; Steve Tambellini, vice president and assistant general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, and Neil Smith, former general manager of the New York Islanders.
Update 5:40pm ET:
The head of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ parent business will step in as president of the National Hockey League team in the wake of Doug MacLean’s dismissal as president and general manager.
Mike Priest, president of JMAC Inc., the Blue Jackets’ parent company, will become team president and oversee business operations of the club.
*thanks to KK reader Bethany for passing on the Columbus Dispatch link
From Bruce Dowbiggin at the Calgary Herald,
Vladimir Putin would be impressed with the media manipulation that goes on around an NHL team at playoff time. Reporters seeking the health status of key players are given the Alexander Litvinenko treatment: take two radioactive isotopes and call me in the morning. IF you can call me in the morning.
In the finest Kremlin tradition, details of Dion Phaneuf’s apparent concussion and Rhett Warrener’s busted face in Game 3 were as elusive Wednesday as the ruble count in Mr. Putin’s bank account. “They’re fine,” said coach Jim Playfair. “A little big uglier . . . but fine.”
Disguising the ailments of players is a post-season tradition that ranks with Champagne in the Stanley Cup.
continued… (*including more info on head injuries)
Always trying to further my education about the madness of hockey fans and playoff season, Joe Pelletier reminded me of this story today:
Have you ever wondered how the Detroit tradition of throwing an octopus on the ice ever started?
The octopus first made its appearance on April 15, 1952, during the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup playoff run.
Two Detroit brothers, Pete and Jerry Cusimano, threw the eight-legged creature on the ice at old Olympia Stadium. The thinking was each leg of the octopus was symbolic of the 8 playoff wins then-necessary to win the Stanley Cup. Back in the Original Six days there was two best-of-seven series to decide who would win the Stanley Cup. Since the Red Wings swept each series that year, winning 8 games, the Octopus has come to be the good luck charm ever since.
From Terry Frei on ESPN.com,
So let’s go over some of the possibilities, all based on the premise that they all kick in after only one full 20-minute period under normal five-on-five conditions of sudden death. Also, the referees know that under any plan, they will be backed if they keep calling it as if it is the second period and nobody can credibly grouse that, well, yeah, it might have been a penalty. No Andy Van Hellemond swallowing his whistle.
It could be one full five-on-five overtime period, and then…
more… (*Frei breaks down some “options” to late night OT hockey.)
Updated 4:18pm ET:
While Terry Frei (above) ultimately sides with the traditional OT format, Michael Farber at Sports Illustrated has other ideas:
If you are in the business of attracting eyeballs, you want to make sure those eyeballs are still open when the winning goals is scored. The shootout guarantees a finish, an inherently dramatic conclusion to an otherwise open-ended affair. Game Sevens or a one-game winner-take-all championship generate a spike in interest because they are one-offs, offering the fan a conclusion without demanding emotional involvement in the entire process.
Scott Morrison, CBC commentator, via Osprey Media,
Is there a bigger embarrassment than Alexei Yashin?
Not that his disappearing act is anything new but after showing a flicker of interest during the regular season, before he was injured, it was thought by some and hoped for by the Islanders that coach Ted Nolan might be able to get him inspired for the playoffs. Beyond that, when a guy has a 10-year, $90-million contract, you hope that would pique his interest. Guess again. Nolan ended up benching him for extended periods.
If he had any class, Yashin would walk away from his contract.
more… (*opinions on news all around the league; article undated)
From William Houston at the Globe & Mail,
The work of guest analyst Jeremy Roenick, the Phoenix Coyotes veteran, has been fine. He obviously likes holding forth and was correct to say last week that seeding divisional winners higher than teams with more regular-season points is ridiculous.
The surprise has been Philadelphia Flyers goalie Martin Biron, who is an engaging story teller. His anecdotes helped explain New York Islander coach Ted Nolan’s success. And he shed light on the attitude of goalies toward players attempting to block shots. He’s for it, but others aren’t. Biron said Dominik Hasek consistently yells, “Must see, must see.”
more… (*I can vouch for Biron - he’s a natural at this TV stuff)
From David Naylor at the Globe & Mail,
The political gamesmanship is heating up leading into Thursday night’s fifth and potentially deciding game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators.
Although the Senators were penalized five times in a row during Tuesday’s fourth game of the series, Penguins head coach Michel Therrien insists there should have been more handed out to the Senators for their manhandling of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
“We thought there could have been more calls with the hooking and grabbing,” said Therrien. “When you see Crosby getting hooked, when they play him with their hands … Hopefully we’ll get those calls tonight.”
Not to be outdone, Ottawa head coach Bryan Murray believes there are calls his team should be getting from what he perceives as late hits being thrown by Pittsburgh’s Gary Roberts.
From Monroe News.com,
Pennsylvania officials secure funding for new hockey arena in Pittsburgh.
Detroit Red Wing fans lose sleep.
How are those two statements related?
Had plans fallen through for the new $290 million arena in Pittsburgh and the Penguins had moved to Kansas City as had been rumored, the Red Wings likely would have jumped to the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
And if that had happened, the Wings would not have as many games starting after 10 p.m.
The salting of gray in the last playoff beard of the Thrashers Scott Mellanby was a hint. The declining number of late-game shifts, the blur of younger players streaking down the ice, the accelerated aging process of the athlete - they all foretold his immediate future.
So, this is how it would play out for Mellanby: A four-and-out postseason dusting by the New York Rangers that at times tweaked his pride and tested his captaincy.
There are no guarantees how a long career ends in any business. Especially in sports, where sentimentality is the first victim of keeping score. Getting swept by the Rangers in an experience that Mellanby perfectly described as “deflating,” is hardly the way a 21-season-long run is supposed to finish.
“I think it is. It has been a great, fun ride, but I think it’s time,” he said.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org