Kukla's Korner Hockey
As mentioned last week, the New York Times continues to write about hockey. The stories have been enjoyable and unique…
from Jeff Z. Klein and Karl-Eric Reif of the New York Times,
This is the time of year for international tournaments, none bigger than the world junior championship under way in Sweden. The annual event is a showcase for the world’s best players age 20 and under.
Although the tournament generates moderate interest in Europe and little in the United States, it is hugely popular in Canada, where it receives some of the highest television ratings of the year. That may be due in part to Canada’s having won 12 titles since the tournament became an official International Ice Hockey Federation event in 1977, a total matched by Russia and its predecessor, the Soviet Union.
from Tim Panaccio of the Philadelphia Inquirer via the Mercury News:
In the old NHL, everyone traveled everywhere. With expansion, everyone traveled everywhere every other year. Now it’s every three years, and no one likes that. What’s so hard about going back to the way it was 10 years ago without complete realignment?
“It goes up and down from one thing to another,” [Blackhawks assistant GM Rick] Dudley said. “You take into consideration (travel) expenses. Then we say that is not good enough - we want rivalries. Then we say we want Ovechkin and Crosby coming into our buildings. Everyone has a different agenda. At some point, you have to think, `What is best for the game?’ “
At some point, Bettman should be thinking about what’s best for the fans who pay outrageous money to see the game. And what is best for the fans and for hockey is for teams in the East and the West to play each other every year, as they do in the NBA.
from Mike Brophy at the Hockey News,
When you think about Norris Trophy candidates, the usual candidates pop to mind.
In all likelihood, it’ll come down to Anaheim’s duo of Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer and Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom.
But could another defenseman possibly unseat one of the Big Three come awards night? Perhaps Tomas Kaberle of the Toronto Maple Leafs? Or what about sophomore Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames?
Clarke remains confident that the players he’s recently drafted - Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Joni Pitkanen, Antero Niittymaki to name a few — have the right stuff to compete in the new NHL.
And because the Flyers have a projected salary cap relief number in excess of $20 million next year, a rapid turnaround is not out of the question.
“You can turn it around real quickly,” Clarke said the other night at the St. Pete Times Forum. “The teams that you’re looking at now that are so good, like Buffalo, two years ago they were bankrupt, there was nobody in their building, they were a lousy team, they missed the playoffs five or six years out of seven or eight….
from the San Francisco Chronicle,
For all the 6 a.m. hockey practices, all the time spent erecting a backyard rink along with all the moral and financial support provided to chase an NHL dream, dads of Sharks players are getting something in return this weekend.
As San Jose embarks on a two-game trip against Phoenix tonight and Dallas on Sunday, a special group of 14 passengers are along for the ride, an improbable journey that actually started many years ago for members of this group.
“They’ll get a little taste of what we go through,” team captain Patrick Marleau said. “It’s a great thing that they’re doing it. It’s going to be great having them there on the road.”
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
It was brought to our attention that Jaromir Jagr’s hair is growing long at the back again. Could this be the return of his once-famous mullet? “No,” the Rangers star deadpanned yesterday morning. “I just couldn’t find a hairdresser in New York.”
read on for a funny Shanny story…
from the New York Times,
Coach Ted Nolan, in his first season with the Islanders, recently put Simon on Alexei Yashin’s line anyway. Nolan wanted a grinder to play next to Yashin and Jason Blake, the right wing who has as much energy as a Chihuahua. Simon would be a peacekeeper.
Simon noticed something interesting playing beside Yashin — other than the fact that he was still an elite player. “He’s very positive,” Simon said Friday after practice. “If you don’t make the perfect pass, the perfect play, he’ll never get down on you.”
from the Tampa Tribune via The Sports Forecaster:
One precursor to a bit of roster tweaking took place Friday when forwards Dmitry Afanasenkov and Andreas Karlsson were placed on waivers. The league’s other 29 teams will have a chance to claim either by noon today.
Tampa Bay general manager Jay Feaster said other teams had “tire-kicking” interest in recent trade discussions involving both players, but none were willing to trade assets. Feaster acknowledged that losing one or both to another team without compensation is a legitimate possibility, though if both players clear waivers they will not necessarily be sent to the minor leagues.
Afanasenkov’s only 26 and makes $738,000. That untapped goal-scoring potential’s bound to attract a GM or two…
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail:
The NHL’s problems today started with expansion of the 1990s. The league now goes to the marketplace with 30 mediocre franchises and says: “Here we are.” To which the consumer says: “You’ve got to be kidding.” The NHL has too many teams and there isn’t enough talent to go around.
Just to ensure everlasting mediocrity, the league negotiated a collective bargaining agreement that makes it impossible for teams to keep their top players and build perennial winners. We’ll never again see the likes of the Montreal Canadiens of the 1970s, the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s, or even the Pittsburgh Penguins of the early 1990s. And, because of the salary-cap limitations imposed by the CBA, trades have all but disappeared.
So, two basic elements that inspire interest and excitement in a sport — glamour teams and the potential for big trades — have been eliminated.
How do you fix the problem? You start by shrinking the league. When a team flounders, the NHL should buy it with the goal to reducing the number of teams to 28 (four seven-team divisions), and the long-term objective of getting it down to 24 (four six-team divisions).
Stay with him. Houston’s argument has its merits…
I will continue to post through December 31st, but the posts will be a bit more sporadic. Jan. 1st, expect very limited posts, then back to normal on Jan. 2nd.
I am not sure what Bill’s plans are, but I have heard he is taking his ship for a cruise.
Alanah I know is shopping for a tattoo artist.
Be safe folks, we here at the Kompound want everyone to return in one piece!
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