Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Tony Gallagher at Canwest via the National Post,
Now that the Stanley Cup has been awarded to the Detroit Red Wings and any emotion from any one particular game has faded, we would be remiss if we didn’t seriously ask some questions about what actually took place in that final series with respect to the officiating.
From Steve Tilley via the Ottawa Sun,
Sun Media can exclusively reveal that the high-scoring, hard-hitting Calgary Flames defenceman will be the cover athlete for NHL 09, slated for release in September for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 game consoles.
“There are always a lot of options for who we want on our cover, and Phaneuf was a perfect choice for us this year,” said David Littman, lead producer of NHL 09. As with recent years, the game is being developed at EA Canada’s sprawling studio near Vancouver.
“He was very positive, and he was pretty pumped about being able to be on the cover,” Littman said of the Edmonton-born Phaneuf, 23, who has played three standout NHL seasons so far with the Flames.
Note: If you’re the superstitious-type, here’s a recap on the “EA Sports NHL Curse” from Sports Illustrated. Perhaps Phaneuf will be one of the lucky ones.
From the Ottawa Senators via Marketwire.ca:
The National Hockey League Coaches’ Assocation and the Ottawa Senators will present the 2008 NHL Coaches’ Seminar on Thursday, June 19, at the University of Ottawa.
The clinic runs from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and participants will have the opportunity to watch, listen and learn from some of the best coaching minds the NHL has to offer. All presentations will be made by NHL coaches and will cover topics such as skill development, tactics, strategy and systems play. Participants will also receive a seminar handbook.
The day begins with presentations by the guest coaches, highlighted by a welcome from Hall Of Fame coach Scotty Bowman.
Eurohockey.net provides an interview with long-time Finnish goalie coach Jukka Ropponen, whose students (clients?) have included the likes of Niklas Bäckström, Kari Lehtonen and Pasi Nurminen.
Q: You have worked in Finland, America, Switzerland and Russia, which was the best place out of these?
Hockey is hockey, I have enjoyed working in all different countries. They all have pros and cons so it is really tough to say one place is better than the other. I guess I just love hockey and working with goalies.
Q: What are the biggest difference in goalkeeping schools in these countries?
Let’s see, all countries have their own unique characteristics. let me elaborate this a bit more on a country by country basis:
• Finland has the most systematic approach to coaching goalies and most probably more goalie coaches than in any country compared to the number of team and players.
read on for Ropponen’s take on a variety of topics
From Aaron Portzline at Puck-rakers in the Columbus Dispatch:
David Poile is the NHL’s quiet genius.
Last summer, when the Nashville Predators were being purged in advance of a franchise sale and possible relocation, Poile, the general manager, was forced to orchestrate nothing short of a fire sale.
It was the most painful time in his professional career, parting with lots of players he either drafted (Scott Hartnell, Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent) or signed as little-known free agents (Tomas Vokoun, Kimmo Timonen, etc.).
Poile, though, emerged with enough building blocks in place to carry on. He made smart trades and got commodities in return. He signed bargain-basement free agents to fill out the roster, and he continued to stress drafting and development.
Note: For more of Portzline’s off-season team breakdowns, check this KK post for numerous links
Update 7:45pm ET: More on Nashville and payroll issues at the Tennessean.
I just want to reassure everyone who’s written and wondered where Paul Kukla is that he will be back soon but can’t promise exactly when.
Most likely his presence will be on-and-off over the coming days, as he’s recovering slowly from some health problems. Nothing to worry about, but the symptoms make it impossible to work most of the time. (And if you’ve sent him an email and are awaiting a reply, please have patience—he’s limited in that regard for the moment as well.)
From Ansar Khan at MLive:
Wings general manager Ken Holland revealed that Johan Franzen had a subdural hematoma. It’s a form of brain injury in which blood gathers between the dura (the outer protective covering of the brain) and the arachnoid (the middle layer of the meninges). It usually results from tears in a vein. They had to wait for the blood to dissipate before clearing Franzen to play again. There is no long-term concerns. He should be fine, Holland said.
and more including updates on Chelios and McCarty
Note: Wiki’s contribution on the subject of subdural hematomas
Update 11:23am ET, June 8th: From the AP via MLive:
The Detroit Red Wings’ Johan Franzen says it was “a little bit scary” when he sustained a subdural hematoma that kept him out of six games of the NHL playoffs. He says blood pooled between his skull and brain and took two to three weeks to be absorbed.
General manager Ken Holland tells the Detroit Free Press he thinks Franzen was injured during the second-round series against Colorado.
*with thanks to a KK reader for the pointer.
Note: original post-time was 7:49pm ET, June 7th.
From Aaron Portzline at the Columbus Dispatch,
The Hockey News projects that four of the first six picks will be defensemen, which hasn’t happened since the 1982 entry draft.
In fact, no more than three defensemen have been taken among the top 10 picks in the last 10 drafts.
“This is the finest crop in the history of the draft,” said Grant McCagg, who covers the draft year-round for McKeen’s Hockey, an online news service.
“And it comes at the right time for a lot of clubs, too. There is a real shortage in the league right now when it comes to defensemen who can carry the puck. Lots of teams are looking for one or two of those guys. That makes this even more attractive.”
*Related article previously on KK
From Terry Frei at the Denver Post,
It’s impossible to dispute [Gary Bettman’s] “new” point — that with teams chartering and with fuel costs so high, anything that lessens travel makes economic sense. That still comes off like reaching for a rationalization after the fact, rather than considering all the evidence and making a decision.
But if that’s the way it’s going to be, then the NHL should consider altering its playoff system, not just copying the NBA’s 2-3-2 Finals format, but using it in every round.
It was less important this season because of the proximity of Pittsburgh and Detroit, but the 2-2-1-1-1 format in the Finals, and the inability to do much advance planning, has provided excuses for many newspapers to skip sending writers to the league’s championship series.
and more NHL talk
From Brian Biggane at the Palm Beach Post,
Chicago Assistant General Manager Rick Dudley, who served as Panthers GM from 2002-04, said the rules changes adopted after the lockout have made it easier for young players to succeed in the NHL.
“They don’t have to learn how to deal with the clutching and grabbing, the things wily older players developed over the course of time,” Dudley said. “Today’s game is more about speed and skill as opposed to that.”
Dudley is familiar with the group of youngsters in the Florida system and feels they might also put up significant numbers if given the chance.
“Would I be surprised if Matthias and Frolik played significant roles this year in Florida?” he asked. “I would not. We almost made the playoffs with an incredibly young group. Look at what Pittsburgh did with young guys like (Sidney) Crosby, (Evgeni) Malkin and (Marc-Andre) Fleury. Had Pittsburgh run into a clutch-and-grab team they may have had more problems.”
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 email@example.com