Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.”
From Larry Brooks at the NY Post,
So, tell me: How can the New York Rangers spend the $4.5-5M it will surely take to land Pittsburgh’s heavy-hitting impending free agent defenseman Brooks Orpik following his breakout tournament, when it likely will cost around the same $5M per to re-sign Michal Rozsival ?
Yes, Rozsival had a disappointing season. But factor in mitigating circumstances - not excuses - that featured a wonky knee, an insecure response to playing out his contract and collateral concern over partner and friend Marek Malik’s downward spiral out of the lineup. Now weigh those against the upside Rozsival displayed the previous two seasons, and most notably in the 2007 playoffs. Is Glen Sather not wiser to pony up for No. 3 rather than get into a bidding war for Orpik . . . if he even hits the market, that is?
Update 1:13pm ET: Patrick Hoffman at The Hockey News has more on Rangers off-season issues, with a focus on Sean Avery.
From George Sipple at the Free Press,
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland will be on the golf links soon, but he has some business to take care of the next few days. Holland hopes to meet with goaltender Dominik Hasek and forward Dallas Drake to gauge their interest in returning next season before he leaves for Thursday’s NHL awards show in Toronto.
Holland also will talk with defenseman Chris Chelios, who needs to have his injured knee scoped in the off-season.
“I have every intention of coming back,” Chelios said. “It’s never been a money issue, so we’ll figure it out and hopefully we’ll be back in this stall again.”
From Kent Youngblood at the Star-Tribune,
Winger Branko Radivojevic, who spent the past two seasons with the Wild, has signed a two-year deal to play with Spartak in the Russian Premiere League.
Radivojevic came to the Wild from Philadelphia as a free agent before the 2006-07 season. In two seasons in Minnesota he totaled 18 goals and 41 points, becoming one of the team’s most reliable checking forwards.
From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Tribune-Review Penguins beat reporter Rob Rossi offers his Top 10 moments from a memorable 2007-08 Penguins season:
Nov. 22, 2007: Their season possibly on the brink of disarray, the Penguins rallied from 2-0 deficit in Ottawa to defeat the Senators, 6-5, in a shootout. It was a most pleasant Thanksgiving, even though they spent it in Canada, where the holiday is celebrated a month earlier. The Penguins, hyped as Stanley Cup contenders in the preseason, entered this game with an 8-11-2 record. They went 39-16-5 after this win in Ottawa, which players credited as a turning point.
read on for the rest of top-10
And more from Rob Rossi, assessing the impact of this post-season on next year.
From Lance Hornby at the Toronto Sun,
Local TV stations have been running clips of Ron Wilson snapping at the media to underline the thorny side of the projected new coach of the Maple Leafs.
Wilson has coached more than 1,000 games, all in what can be termed non-traditional hockey markets: Anaheim, Washington and San Jose. Sensitive to being second-guessed, even for an NHL coach, Wilson never has faced four newspapers and four all-sports electronic outlets on a daily basis—and that would be just daily practices.
But Cliff Fletcher, who hopes to have Wilson under contract by Monday, is confident his man won’t burn in the atmosphere of the alleged centre of the hockey universe.
more odds & ends on the Leafs
Note: Tonight, TSN states that Fletcher and Wilson are set to meet again Sunday to iron out some issues, with the likelihood they’ll announce a 4-year term for Wilson within days.
Update 10:01am ET June 8th: Ron Wilson has reportedly been hired, but with the formal announcement expected on Tuesday.
Update 3:23pm ET June 8th: From the CP via the Globe & Mail,
“We have a verbal agreement but nothing’s on paper yet,” Leafs interim GM Cliff Fetcher told The Canadian Press on Sunday. “It isn’t a contract until it’s signed by the parties. And that won’t happen for a couple of days.”
From Bill Clement at NBC Sports,
It took a while but Hasek eventually opened the eyes of executives throughout the NHL and made them realize they should judge him on his results not his style of play. Hasek gets no points for style, but he gets plenty of points for results.
He does the most unorthodox things you’ll see from a goalie. These include making saves while lying on his back, while contorting his body and even while having his back to the puck. What’s more is that he’ll stop some shots by dropping his stick and grabbing the puck with the exposed fingers of his hand on his blocker’s side.
To say he is an oddity in how he plays goal is one of the all-time understatements in hockey.
From Dr. Larry Lauer at NHL.com
That is the thing with mental toughness – it is not an all or nothing concept. You don’t always have it and you can sure as heck lose it at times. Think of it as a quality that a hockey player needs to excel, but can be enhanced or reduced by the situation and the moment.
Mental toughness is similar to a physical skill such as shooting, skating or passing. It is easier to be tough or perform a skill in practice or low-pressure situations, but when the pressure is cranked up mental toughness, and physical skills, can be negatively affected.
Mentally tough performers like Lidstrom are not invincible. They have doubts. They feel pressure. They become negative. However, the mentally tough performer bounces back quicker and with more conviction.
From Helene St. James at the Free Press,
“I think what’s passed down from a lot of Hall of Famers that have played here, what is passed on to Nick Lidstrom and Drapes, and it will be passed on to the next guys, that is what made the difference for us in Game 6,” Osgood said. “I think that’s underestimated. Those guys told us how to handle this, how to handle it after we lost in overtime in Game 5, and now we can tell the Darren Helms and the Nik Kronwalls.
“I truly think we win because we’re more of a team, from the guys who retired to the guys who are still playing, than anywhere else. If Pavel Datsyuk is leading the league in scoring, Henrik Zetterberg is not mad about it. Steve Yzerman taught us all how to be team players and play for the other guy.”
The Ruhr Economic Paper, Blood Money: Incentives for Violence in Hockey [PDF] caught my attention yesterday. A sample of the paper’s abstract will give you an idea of the thesis:
Using publicly available information from several databases 1996–2007, the incentives for violence in North American ice hockey are analyzed. We examine the role of penalty minutes and more specifically, fighting, during the regular season in determining wages for professional hockey players and team-level success indicators. There are substantial returns paid not only to goal scoring skills but also to fighting ability, helping teams move higher in the playoffs and showing up as positive wage premia for otherwise observed low-skill wing players.
Worth a read if you’re interested in an economic and academic perspective on fighting in the NHL.
Sidenote: Whatever you might think of fighting in hockey, there are worse things in the world of sport, I figure. For instance, at no time in NHL history has anyone ever been suspended for beating their opponent with a kitchen ladle...
Update 10:46pm ET: Lena Sin at The Province provides more info on the article noted above.
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