Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Sidney Crosby will face an actual NHL opponent for the first time when the Penguins play Boston in a preseason game at 7:08 p.m. today, and it's not going to go unnoticed. A crowd of only 4,500 or so is expected in a venue that seats about 8,100. But members of the media might fill the rest. Newspapers from Pittsburgh, Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, Montreal and Providence, R.I., will be on hand to document Crosby's debut, along with at least five TV networks from the United States and Canada and NHL Productions.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The moaning! The crying! The complaining! And it's only 96 hours into the exhibition season. Some things in life are about as predictable as the rising cost of gasoline — and grumbling about obstruction in the early days of another National Hockey League crackdown is surely rising to the top of the list. Typically, the players doing most of the talking are also the ones with the most to lose — forwards, who play a handful of minutes per night in a "policing" role and defencemen, who guard the front of the net with their bulk and girth, but mostly believe that the art of checking involves hammering a stick into an opponent's back enough times so that he needs to visit his friendly neighborhood chiropractor after the game is over.
from the NY Times,
The National Hockey League is about to answer a question vital to its future: How do you market a brand severely damaged by a season-long lockout? The league is about to begin an advertising campaign called My N.H.L., which has as its central focus an episodic series of cinematically produced TV commercials that follow a hockey "warrior," starting with his female partner ritualistically dressing him in his equipment. It follows him as he waits for the right moment to align a slap shot, then follows the puck from its point of view and ends with the fans' celebration of a victory. Hockey, the campaign says, is a hot-blooded, psychological battleground. "When we showed it to Brendan Shanahan, he said, 'Wow, the warrior, that's what I feel like,' " Bernadette Mansur, a spokeswoman for the league, said referring to a left wing for the Detroit Red Wings.
from the Toronto Star.
Over the past year, NHL players gave pretty compelling evidence that they may not be the smartest business thinkers in the world. But don't take that to mean they aren't smart at what they do. Watch and see just how quickly NHLers will adapt to the new regulatory structure of the league when it comes to certain types of fouls. Hooking, for example, at least for now, is now akin to driving on the wrong side of the road. The cops don't ever turn a blind eye to it. For the Maple Leafs and Bruins last night, there were only four hooking penalties, and almost none of the tugging and water-skiing that had became a routine part of every NHL shift. Lay down the law and stick with it, and NHL players will adapt. They have to. Their livelihoods depend on not only being strong, youthful and talented, but also in being able to alter their game to fit different situations. Last night's game at Copps Coliseum provided some evidence in that regard, or at least the second period did. The Leafs gave up no power plays to the Bruins, while Boston only found itself shorthanded three times.
from the Philadelphia Inquirer via the Mercury News,
The National Hockey League loves you. It wants you back. After staring down bankruptcy, breaking the will of the players' union, and disappearing for a full year, the NHL is willing to do almost anything to make sure you are interested once again. So a game that built its sinewy reputation on the broad backs of toothless men bleeding on one another has dug deep in the closet of saucy ideas and selected a very low-cut gown for its grand return. This is the new NHL, and you better like it. There is plenty at stake. If the tricked-up game isn't more popular than its trudging predecessor, you can turn out the lights on a dozen franchises and bequeath it a place somewhere between box lacrosse and monster-truck rallies in the American sports pantheon.
Hopefully this is the last Sport-Express interview with Datsyuk that we will have to read. A lot to digest, but it appears Datsyuk did not want to go to the arbitration board. He did not want to 'split' the teams. Read the whole interivew in the comment section of this post. update 10:16pm, Looks like Peter at Mlive was doing the same thing as I was at about the same time. Much better translation of interview with Datsyuk and his agent Gary Greenstin. update 11:05pm, One more Peter translation, this time another Greenstin interview. We all agree, we have had enough of doing these translations.
Matt Cooke appears to be returning to the Canucks. According the Mojo 730 radio in Vancouver, the team has re-signed the winger to a three-year $4.6 million contract.
It's early, but it seems that the NHL's rule changes are starting to produce the results the league hoped for - more goals and a faster pace - and most people in hockey circles seem to be happy with the pre-season product. Through the first 16 pre-season games, there were 101 goals scored - an average of 6.3 per game. That's up from 5.8 goals per game in the first 16 pre-season games in 2003. The main reason for the increase would seem to be the number of powerplays being awarded. Through the first 16 games, there have been 306 powerplays - just over 19 per game. The average in the 2003-04 regular season was 8.48 man advantages per game. One glaring example was Friday night, when Phoenix and Minnesota combined for 22 penalties in a 3-2 win for the Coyotes. All five goals were scored with the man advantage. Other games have featured even more powerplays. Montreal and Atlanta were whistled for 32 penalties on Sunday, a day after Los Angeles and Anaheim totalled 36 fouls.
Former Montreal Canadiens player John Ferguson is to undergo radical surgery on Thursday in London, Ont., less than three weeks after discovering he has prostate cancer, writes the Montreal Gazette's Red Fisher. Ferguson, now a special consultant with the San Jose Sharks, had gone for a routine physical exam before the Sharks training camp. As his 67th birthday neared, he felt great and had no reason to suspect anything was wrong. But six days later his doctor in Windsor informed him that his biopsy had turned up cancer.
from Terry Frei of ESPN,
The crackdown on obstruction will be enforced. They really mean it this time. In concert with new rules, the ice will be opened up so much, rinks will seem to have been stretched to international dimensions and fire-wagon hockey will be back. Instead of slouching in your seats as you eat nachos and read Architectural Digest in an attempt to get some relative excitement during an NHL game, you will be on the edge of your chair -- or the couch -- every second. The numbers will jump so high, if this were baseball, we would suspect everyone loaded up on flaxseed oil. And the check is in the mail. If I dared to say, "Stop me if you've heard that before," this column would stop right here, as if four guys hooked and held me at once and a fifth wrestled away the laptop and headed for the nearest pawn shop. But I won't say that, so I can add this: I'll believe it when I see it.
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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