Kukla's Korner

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Mid-March Hockey Thoughts

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- In his magnificent Hall of Fame–worthy career, Patrice Bergeron has never received one first-place vote for the Hart Trophy. He has four seconds (all in 2014, which is the only time he’s received anything more than a fourth-place vote). Is it possible he is the most under-appreciated great player ever?

- Everywhere you went at the GM meetings last week in Boca, Edmonton CEO Bob Nicholson was meeting with someone. He was rarely alone, constantly picking brains for ideas and candidates. There’s been a lot of reporting on names, but the list goes deep and it will be interesting to see how many interviews are done.

Several executives from other teams advised him to take as much time as possible, that there’s no such thing as taking too long to get it right. It also gives the Oilers more time to see what shakes loose. For example, depending on what happens in Detroit, I could see Nicholson asking old friend Ken Holland what his future plans will be.

The Oilers are very comfortable with Keith Gretzky handling the job until everything is settled. As things progressed in Edmonton, Peter Chiarelli kept things very tight. The organization likes Gretzky’s internal openness.

- Speaking of Detroit, when Tigers president and CEO Christopher Ilitch arrived at spring training, he was asked about Steve Yzerman by the Detroit Free Press’s Anthony Fenech. He replied, “There’s not a lot I can say about that, other than I know his contract is expiring this summer. We’ll leave it at that.”

- Before Bettman became NHL commissioner, former league president Gil Stein went through a phase where he handed non-game-day suspensions to players for on-ice incidents. For example, in Dec. 1992, Owen Nolan got four days for delivering a crosscheck to Richard Matvichuk’s jaw. The kick to the wallet for those four “days off” totalled approximately $8,500. The players fought back, which led to the low fines we still see now. There was discussion at the GM meetings about increasing them, but the NHLPA will have a say in that.

- ...the NHL is seeing a rise in comeback victories. As he’s done several times, NHL Executive Vice-President Colin Campbell referenced the 2004 Stanley Cup Final between Calgary and Tampa Bay, where there were zero lead changes. This season, 12 per cent of games have been won by a team that trailed by multiple goals. According to the NHL, that is the highest number in history.

Forty-three percent of games featured a comeback win of at least one goal, second-highest ever. Overall, total lead changes (443) and third-period lead changes (89) are the most since 2006-07. The 29 lead changes in the final 10 minutes of regulation are the most since 1995-96.


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Red Winger's avatar

depending on what happens in Detroit, I could see Nicholson asking old friend Ken Holland what his future plans will be

please, please, please

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 03/13/19 at 10:56 AM ET

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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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