Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Kuzmin, Arik Motskin and Zack Gallinger of The10and3,
Last year, we declared Thunder Bay to be the hockey capital of Canada. Season after season, this unassuming, northern Ontario town sends boatloads of its young men into the ranks of the NHL. And the data doesn’t lie — over the past century, no other Canadian city has so consistently churned out hockey players at such a high rate.
But many readers were aghast: how could we ignore the Prairies? In those parts, while some players do come from mid-sized cities like Regina or Red Deer, so many more hail from a vast constellation of tiny towns – with names like Oxbow, Aneroid and Elk Point – that dot the endless prairie landscape. A small town certainly cannot consistently produce NHL-ready players year after year, so it simply has no chance in our analysis when facing larger cities like Thunder Bay. But when you start to analyze all of these small towns aggregated across a larger region, like a province, then you may just realize how dominant the hockey tradition in Canada’s west really is.
Others wondered about the huge influx of players in the NHL born outside of Canada, who now comprise over half of the league. The American invasion was well underway by the early 1980s, with stars like Chris Chelios and Pat LaFontaine contributing a familiar brand of hard-nosed, yet skilled North American hockey. By the late 1980s, the ranks of European and Soviet players in the NHL exploded, bringing with them an elegant game based on skating and puck possession.
We’re here to tell you: while Thunder Bay remains Canada’s best hockey town, Saskatchewan is the world’s undisputed hockey hotbed – a province that has consistently produced more NHL-ready players per capita than any other region in Canada, or on the planet.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
The love of this venerable game is still there. People play for fun, in leagues, or in some cases, for tournament prize money. A century after the first patent for mechanical-rod players in England and decades after Donald Munro built a mini hockey rink from spare parts for his kids in Depression-era Toronto, the little game is getting the documentary treatment.
Oakville-based filmmakers Derek Williams and Brian Gard have spent months examining the earliest forms of the game, in Europe and across this continent, and talking to inventors, enthusiasts and players for The Story of Table Hockey. Their scope keeps expanding, but the duo intends to be ready for the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Among the NHLers featured is Vic Hadfield and his search for the vintage game bearing his name to give to his grandson Vic.
For Williams, the journey began with day-long games versus younger brother Sean. They battled on a 1979-era Coleco.
“We knew each other’s moves so well that every game ended in a tie,” Williams said. “We made a rule you had to win by two goals. We’d shoot so hard, we’d need electrical tape to mend blades. Sometimes we’d go until 3 a.m.”
from Ben Shpigel of the New York Times,
Every so often, Scott Scissons is asked to make a speech. He tends to begin the same way, with a moment of levity: Five players were chosen ahead of him in the 1990 draft, he says, but no one in the crowd has likely heard of them.
Those five players — Owen Nolan, Petr Nedved, Keith Primeau, Mike Ricci and Jaromir Jagr — have combined to score 1,989 regular-season goals in the N.H.L. Scissons, a center taken by the Islanders right after the Penguins selected Jagr, had none.
Everyone laughs, and so does Scissons, and then he gets to his point.
“The reality is,” Scissons says, “life can go one of a couple ways.”
His way involved making his debut for the Islanders at 19, sustaining a series of debilitating injuries that forced him to retire at 23, then returning home to Saskatchewan to attain a different sort of professional satisfaction: working in the family business, selling and servicing mobile homes.
Here is Gordie Howe's last goal in the NHL. called by Danny Gallivan and Mickey Redmond.
added 8:53pm, from Dave Stubbs of NHL.com,
from Sandra McNeill of CBS Detroit,
It’s been a long, troubled and well-documented road for former Detroit Red Wing Darren McCarty. Failed marriages. Money troubles. Most of all, always there — the problem with alcohol.
McCarty said that’s all over now and it’s all due to medical marijuana.
“The so-called experts say that it’s like switching decks on the Titanic,” McCarty said. “Hell no, it’s not. Anybody who knows me knows the grip alcohol had on my life. To be able to be free of that, I would do anything for it. And I’ve gotten there.”
McCarty takes a 500 milligram tablet of CBD in the morning. That’s a form of the drug that has no THC, the chemical that creates the marijuana high. The pills control the pain he has from his playing years and what he calls “self-inflicted wounds. I fell down a lot.”
“It’s not fun walking around with a knife in your back all day,” McCarty said. “So in the morning, when you can put some syrup or something in your coffee, it loosens you up…and [you can be] on your way,” McCarty said.
At night, he smokes marijuana to treat his insomnia.
Hometown Hockey is in Victoria, BC today...
via Hometown Hockey,
For over 20 years, Larry Orr’s garage has been the heart of the hockey community on the North Saanich Peninsula.
After his wife was diagnosed with MS, Larry decided to open a skate sharpening shop to stay close to home. In the two decades that have followed Larry has shaped the hockey dreams of nearly every child on the peninsula.
Jamie and Jordie Benn were two of those kids who walked through Larry’s door before they could skate. Their relationship is at the heart of this weekend’s Hometown Hockey.
watch the feature below...
Have fun today folks!
from Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated,
Over the last four decades, American sports fans have transformed themselves from a populace that dresses almost exclusively in civilian clothing and pays to watch athletes perform in uniform, to one that dresses—in significant numbers—exactly like those athletes. This weekend’s Super Bowl will be overrun by fans in XXL Broncos and Panthers jerseys, just like last weekend’s NHL All-Star game was awash in sweaters from teams around the league. Theirs has been a multi-billion dollar metamorphosis that radically altered the appearance of stadiums and arenas across the nation. It is, anecdotally, most pervasive in the NFL and the NHL, marginally less so in Major League Baseball and the NBA (the latter at least in part because of the less utilitarian nature of the basketball top). Jersey-wearing by fans is such normative behavior in the modern sports culture that its absurdity—dressing like players? Really?—has long been snowed under by its ubiquity. “We have reached the point where if you are the one not wearing the jersey, you are the one who stands out,” says Christian End, associate professor of psychology at Xavier, who has studied fan behavior.
But how did we reach this point? And when did it all begin?
When is enough enough?
I posted a video earlier today of the Brian McGrattan fight last night and actually felt a bit uneasy after viewing it.
McGrattan is not in the NHL any longer but a hockey fight is still a hockey fight no matter where or what league it is in.
If a site like GamblingSites.net took bets on fighting in the NHL or any other league, what would the odds be to remove fighting from our game?
Now by no means would I consider myself a softie, but I for one have had enough of fighting in hockey.
I am old enough to remember the tough guys in hockey, from John Ferguson to the Bruise Brothers to today, but it is time for a change.
from Sean Fitz-Gerald of the Toronto Star,
An airport baggage handler in the U.S. is suing the Maple Leafs after he suffered “permanent and disabling” shoulder injuries when the team raced to fly out after a game, with one member of the equipment staff allegedly rushing gear into the plane.
Kenneth Osborne filed suit earlier this month in St. Clair County, Ill., across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Mo., where the Leafs fell 3-0 to the Blues in a game on Jan. 17, 2015.
Osborne, working for Jet Aviation, was helping load the Leafs charter.
According to the complaint against Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, Osborne and his colleagues were using a conveyor belt — one controlled by a lever on the ground — to load the plane. The Leafs equipment worker, who is not named in the suit, is alleged to have “repeatedly operated the lever in an attempt to speed up the loading operation,” despite at least one warning not to interfere.
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