Kukla's Korner Hockey
Though the NHL Entry Draft and the UFA deadline are sure to kick things back into high gear in about a week, there’s not a great deal of news going on in the NHL at the moment.
In part, that’s because 98.5% of the hockey media is on vacation. Case in point: Wild beat writer Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune is fresh off a trip to Las Vegas, where he’s been playing poker with Ray Romano:
Romano turns out to be the nicest, most down-to-earth celebrity I’ve ever met. Although, it was quite weird the two or three times we clashed hands and you suddenly realize, “I’m trying to get a read off Ray Romano.”
We got to talking, and when I told him I was a sportswriter, he said, “I was a sportswriter, too.” I said, “Yeah, but you were a much better paid sportswriter.” He agreed wholeheartedly.
What was so cool about the experience is I felt like I was in the World Series of Poker. With the table down to four, I knocked out two guys with pocket kings. It got down to us at the end, and suddenly, I noticed there was an audience wrapped around the table.
more proof that everyone has cooler vacations than me.
From Adam Proteau at The Hockey News,
I’ve disagreed with the U.S. Supreme Court on a number of its recent decisions – one in particular – but couldn’t have agreed with it more on its choice to side with fantasy baseball leagues in their battle against Major League Baseball and its Players’ Association.
The court’s verdict – basically stipulating that baseball and those who play it professionally are not owed compensation for the use of their names and statistics – is not only fantastic news for baseball fans, but also a nice little shot across the bow of all sports leagues and player unions who wish to soak their customers bone-dry by any means necessary.
more on a variety of topics (including a thoughtful ‘get well’ message for Paul)
*additional thoughts on the US Supreme Court decision posted yesterday, with a selection of related links
From Mike Brophy at The Hockey News:
Watching the Toronto Maple Leafs conduct business is always an interesting proposition.
Unlike watching a well-oiled success story like the Detroit Red Wings, a team that hires well, scouts well and gets the desired results, the Leafs are more like watching a drunken sailor on leave trying to weave his way through traffic while traveling westbound on Highway 401 East – on a bicycle.
plus more on the Leafs… if you’re up for that.
Hasek leaves the NHL as one of the most important goaltenders the game has ever seen. From 1993 to 2001, The Dominator won six Vezina Trophies and became the first goalie since Jacques Plante (1962) to be named the league’s Most Valuable Player. Hasek was also the first goalie ever to win consecutive Hart Trophies in 1997 and 1998.
Update 11:30am ET: Noted in the Free Press, “It’s time to say goodbye,” Hasek said.
Update 2:42pm ET: Some reflections on Hasek from Mitch Albom at the Free Press. Meanwhile, HockeyTownTodd has already moved on to Jimmy Howard…
Update 3:10pm ET: Video from Hasek’s press conference now added below.
Update 6:34pm ET: From Pierre LeBrun at the CP, Brodeur, Peca and Ruff remember Hasek as one of the best.
The Carolina Hurricanes are shaking up Peter Laviolette’s coaching staff.
The Hurricanes announced Monday that one of Laviolette’s assistants and the coach of their top minor-league affiliate are switching jobs. Tom Rowe is leaving Albany to become an assistant with Carolina, and Jeff Daniels is leaving the NHL club to take over as coach and general manager of the River Rats.
Carolina GM Jim Rutherford said the switch gives Daniels a chance to run his own team while the addition of Rowe infuses the Hurricanes’ coaching staff with fresh ideas.
Inspired by the Dominik Hasek news conference today, ESPN asks you to rank the best goalies of all time:
From the Edmonton Journal,
When Glen Sather did the dirty work for owner Peter Pocklington and dealt Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings 20 years ago this July, who knew that Martin Gelinas would be the most enduring slice of the trade pie?
It was supposed to be Jimmy Carson, but he left here after one 49-goal season, suffocating, he said, under the weight of being traded for the greatest player in hockey history. He was out of the NHL in 1996 after a little more than 600 games.
Those first-round draft picks the Oilers also got for Gretzky? They traded one (1989 to New Jersey), they took Marty Rucinsky with one in ‘91 and the forgettable Nick Stadjuhar with the third in ‘93. Rucinsky has had a useful NHL career, but Gelinas, an 18-year-old who had been the seventh player chosen in the ‘88 draft a month earlier by L.A., who was thought to be the window-dressing in the Gretzky deal, has had the greatest staying power.
He hopes to suit up in Nashville for his 20th NHL season this fall…
From Toni Fitzgerald at The Sentinel,
Yet the hockey bump could also be part of a greater revival for sports TV ratings in 2008 after years and years of declines.
The Super Bowl drew its biggest audience ever in February. National Basketball Association postseason ratings have boomed one year after its finals also hit an all-time low last June. NASCAR ratings are up this year on Fox.
Even viewership for the WNBA has jumped this year compared to last. Heck, that, along with the hockey spike and the coming cicada invasion this summer, may have people screaming “end of the world” very soon.
I’m no psychologist, or even a sociologist, but I also think this trend tells us a little bit about the country’s psyche. I believe that in uncertain times, which would describe our economy right now, people get a certain comfort from the familiar. And there’s nothing more familiar than vegging out and watching sports, even if it’s not a sport you usually follow.
From Kevin McGran at the Toronto Star,
“An opportunity to coach a team, an Original Six team, is very intriguing to me,” said Wilson. “It’s a team that I began with, I kind of feel like I might have an opportunity to complete the circle. A team that maybe right now is ... in a little bit of disarray. And I’ve functioned very well in helping those teams get on the right path.
“With what lies ahead for the Leafs, having to go a lot younger, and all the situations that are going to happen with transition, I think I’ve been able with my experience to kind of navigate through all that. Hopefully I can get the Leafs turned around in short order.”
From Ross McKeon at Yahoo! Sports,
It is time to unveil the final power rankings for the 2007-08 season, and there’s no surprise at the top. The Detroit Red Wings, Presidents’ Trophy winners as the best team during the regular season and, more importantly, Stanley Cup winners for the 11th time in franchise history, are an uncontested No. 1 choice.
The Wings were ranked either first or second in the power rankings all but four of 26 times during postings every Tuesday during the regular season. Detroit was on top of the rankings 15 times, and never fell further than fourth, which happened only four times. The headline for the Dec. 18 rankings served as a hockey fortune cookie, if you will: “Wings and everyone else.”
read on for “everyone else”
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