Kukla's Korner Hockey
Respect... Hockey Hall of Famer Clark Gilles was yapping about a penalty that was just called on him. The ref told him, "If you don't think it was a penalty, don't go into the box." Gilles went to the box. The ref at the time was Ray Scapinello, the retired NHL linseman, who actually wore the red armband for parts of six games in his distinguished NHL career. Like he was on the ice, not often noticed but always there, Ray was more than happy to speak with me recently to discuss his new book, Between the Lines (affiliate link). Ray told me he didn't even realize he wrote a book until he read it, but now whenever he visits a book store and sees "Between the Lines", he casually grabs a few copies and tosses them on "Oprah's Choice" table! I had a few questions for "Scampy" from a fans prospective. I wanted to know who he considered the most hard-nosed player. Ray was quick to point out Darren McCarty, saying Mac always gave an honest effort and although not the most talented player, he brought it every game and played hard every shift. I asked Ray if he ever heard the fans yelling at the refs and linsemen during the game and Ray said not really. He was always focused on the game but did hear a constant buzz from the fans, but individual voices never stood out. One subject that often made me wonder was if the on-ice officials tried to avoid any interaction with players during the season. Ray mentioned on occasion, paths would cross, especially in restaurants. One time he was having dinner in Colorado and saw a few players including Ray Bourque. The great defenseman came over and they exchanged a bit of conversation and when it was time to pay the bill, the waitress informed him Bourque had picked up the check and the gratuity too. Ray pointed out the NHL players are the best of the bunch, they know the refs and linseman have a difficult job, and both sides have a mutual respect for each other. I was surprised when Ray informed me he only spent 40 games in the minors before moving up to the NHL for 33 years (and never missed a game). Some of his counterparts spent 4-6 years in the minors before making the NHL which tells me the head of officials at that time had an excellent eye for talent. Some players can say they have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals four or five times- quite and accomplishment in our eyes. But Ray Scapinello officiated in 20 of those finals, a number that will be hard to match in any team sport. In closing, Ray asked me where I was from. When I mentioned Detroit and he found out I attended many a game at the old Olympia, well, let's say we exchanged some old memories of the "Red Barn". By the way, if someone from the Wings organization is reading this, Mr. Scapinello is still waiting for a brick from the "Barn"!
from Jeff Gordon of St. Louis Today,
The Blues very much request your attendance at their gala tonight. This is the first home opener for the New Regime. The new ownership group, led by Dave Checketts, and the revamped management team, led by John Davidson, has worked very hard to make hockey fans excited again. Their campaign is starting to work. Friends, casual acquaintances and total strangers stop your cyber-correspondent daily and ask about the Blues.continued
from Media Post Publications,
Last year NHL did get a lot of coverage on OLN--much more than it probably would have gotten on ESPN--but not much in the way of ratings. Versus is in 20 million fewer homes than ESPN. Still, this approach makes sense. Go small. Rebuild from a niche fan base with interesting behind-the-scenes features in its attempt to regain its spot as the fourth major sport--behind the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball.read on...also involves CBS talk...
from the South Bend Tribune,
While most of his sophomore classmates at Farmington (Mich.) High School still wonder what they'll do or where they'll head after graduation, 14-year-old Cam Fowler has no such worries. The phenom defenseman has already given a verbal commitment to play hockey for Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson starting in the fall of 2009.... "He's been put in an elite group for his age, and deservedly so. He's just a step or two ahead of everyone else he's playing with," said Honeybaked assistant Pat Peak. "He reminds me a bit of Chris Pronger." Honeybaked head coach Rob Krohl had a different comparison. "He reminds me of a Paul Coffey," said Krohl. "He's got such a pro skating style, he's almost beautiful to watch."more
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
But each one of those situations can change quicker than Patrik Elias on a sugar high. Lehtonen was a major disappointment for much of last season; Biron requested a trade long ago; there’s no guarantee either of the California teams will be able to please each of their platoon’s parties for the entire season; and nobody knows if or when Leclaire goes from glass slipper to pumpkin. To paraphrase the philosophers from Three 6 Mafia, “It’s hard out there for a goalie.”more
from the Everett Herald,
The Silvertips are holding a promotion during Tuesday's home game against Tri-City where any fans who show up in full hockey gear will be let in free. The promotion takes a direct shot at the infamous busgate incident, when after a poor effort during a preseason game at Tri-City, Everett coach Kevin Constantine had the team ride the bus home in its equipment. Constantine was suspended for four games and fined $5,000 for the incident.more...Ah, that hockey lockerroom smell...
from thePhiladelphia News,
Most recently, defenseman Mike Rathje was in so much back pain that the Flyers were talking about dusting the mothballs off former New York Rangers star Brian Leetch. Last night, the team announced that - lo and behold! - Rathje could be back next week. So expect the lame and the afflicted to converge on South Jersey, looking to be healed instantly. Next, perhaps, the Flyers can turn this remarkable curative power on their hockey team. Because right now, the prognosis is not very encouraging.read on
from the LA Times,
Kings forward Sean Avery skated behind the net and appeared to be tripped by a New York Islander on Tuesday. Play continued. In the same game, the Islanders' Brendan Witt leveled Avery after the whistle. Referees missed it. This is life with a bull's-eye, the Kings say. "It's a difficult job for anyone to go out there with a big target on their back," forward Scott Thornton said.continued (reg. req.)
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
As he celebrates his 37th birthday today in Edmonton, Roloson remains a complex, standoff-ish character. He is a union ship disturber off the ice, and a guy who can't seem to quell the critics on it. By all accounts he is a friendly, funny guy away from the spotlight, but he quickly gets agitated when asked about his concerted attempt to bring down NHLPA head Ted Saskin, a suit launched along with Chris Chelios and Trent Klatt. "It's all old news. It's gone. It's over with," he said of the suit, launched all of 11 days ago. If it is true that Roloson desires to reap the reward of the lawsuit without having to suffer the inherent publicity, then turnabout is fair play. He received some much-deserved attention during the Oilers' long playoff run, but the reward -- or at least the respect -- has not followed.more
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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