Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jason Kay of the Hockey News,
While I don’t believe hockey is in dire straits or in need of an overhaul, there are areas of concern that shouldn’t be glossed over.
Let’s start with what’s transpiring on the ice. The entertainment value this season is, on the whole, OK. I’ll give it a C+....
From this vantage point, it would seem there are more dud games now than during the season after the lockout ended and longer stretches within contests when not enough is happening to captivate the audience….
This doesn’t mean the NHL is on its deathbed; the product is still relatively solid and the bottom line isn’t brutal. But erosion is taking place, the U.S. market is still apathetic and it would be foolish for the game’s guardians to ignore the warning signs.
from the Vancouver Province,
Forget the game, it was a head-to-head that people will be talking about for days, maybe years.
It was two of the best players in hockey, Vancouver’s stalwart netminder against Pittsburgh’s wunderkind forward in two head-to-head battles.
With the spotlight all to themselves, it was Sidney Crosby versus Roberto Luongo in overtime. And then again in a shootout.
I stayed up late last night and caught the whole game and I must say, one of the better games of the year.
Did anyone else catch the stare-down Luongo gave Crosby after stopping his shootout attempt? Watch for yourself (game highlights)...
from Pat Connolly of the Daily News,
On the one hand are the hockey purists and more learned observers found mostly in Canada who like the game played hard and clean at high speeds.
On the other hand is the vastly larger number of American fans less enthused about game quality than physical violence, with insatiable appetites for bare-knuckle brawling.
With only six Canadian governors out of 30 sitting at the NHL board making decisions concerning the direction of the league, guess which side wins?
A prime example of how influential one governor can be is Bettman confidante and boardroom bully Ed Snider, owner of the Philadelphia Flyers, the team that has reinvented itself as the 1970s’ Broad Street Bullies.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
Latchford didn’t know a whole lot about Downie when she opened her Peterborough, Ontario, home to him two years ago. She had heard about his on-ice fight with junior teammate, Akim Aliu, but other than that, she knew very little.
But as their relationship grew, so did Latchford’s affection and appreciation for Downie.
She was there for him when he lost a 19-year-old friend to leukemia and a 20-year-old friend to meningitis. She has seen a side to Downie very few people in the hockey world has seen.
“He’s been through a lot, but he doesn’t want anybody to feel sorry for him because he lost his father,” Latchford said from her home in Peterborough. “Other kids have been through things, too, but nobody knows about them because they’re not in the limelight.”
But No trades!!!
Spector breaks down the latest trade talk. More denials than actual trades these days.
from Devon O’Neil of the Boston Globe,
By 1996, most of the sports world - and, for that matter, the rest of the world - had forgotten about Willie O’Ree. Which explains how he found himself working in San Diego at the historic Hotel del Coronado as a security guard, making about $9 an hour, a soft-spoken black man with gray wisps of hair from the Canadian province of New Brunswick, creeping through his 60s politely and privately.
Every so often, O’Ree would bump into someone who knew who he was. Like the time before he took the job at the hotel, when he was assigned to work security for Michael Jordan at a pro-am golf tournament. Jordan grinned when he saw O’Ree. He knew he’d been the first black man ever to take the ice in an NHL game, that he was, as it’s said, the “Jackie Robinson of hockey.”
read on (take some time out to read this lengthy story) & more hockey bits.
from George Johnson of the Calgary Herald,
Their lives will be a mad jumble of airports, buses, hotel lobbies and restaurants.
They’ll bump into such recognizable faces as Jonathan Toews, Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Olli Jokinen, Rod Brind’Amour and Rick Nash along the way….
The Flames will either return in a little under two weeks time still very much in the mix in a Western Conference that’s looking more and more like one of those ‘50s campus stuff-the-telephone-booth fads, or find themselves staring at an empty Yuletide stocking.
Christmas is always the close of the unofficial first half of any season. A chance to stop momentarily, inhale, and take stock of what’s gone right or wrong, individually and collectively. For a team stutter-stepping along, groping around in the dark, piling inconsistency upon inconsistency, a disastrous road swing just before the spiked-eggnog break could prove catastrophic.
from the Chicago Daily-Herald,
The temptation has been there for Blackhawks coach Denis Savard ever since Martin Havlat returned from his shoulder injury.
And on Friday, Savard decided to go for it—so he put his three most skilled players on the same line. Havlat skated with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the 5-3 loss to Anaheim and the trio is expected to stay together for tonight’s game against the Calgary Flames at the United Center.
“It’s a lot of skill,” Savard said. “The three of them are great players, and I think it’s going to work out beautiful.”
from the Montreal Gazette,
Carbonneau, who called a practice this morning on what was supposed to have been a day off, was at a loss to explain the Canadiens’ problems at home.
“It should be the opposite,” he said. “Maybe it’s the distractions, maybe we try to do too much.” Christopher Higgins said the Canadiens play a simpler game on the road.
“When we get home, we get away from that. Maybe we’re trying to please the fans, but the effort isn’t there.”
via the Edmonton Journal,
Knowing Bergeron could be gone for the year, and on long-term injury reserve, the Bruins can get a break on their cap issues. They only need a rental for a year. They could probably have the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Sergei Fedorov, who has $4 million US left on his contract.
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.
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