Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
N.H.L. shootouts are played in front of crowds who stand for every shot, in arenas abuzz with expectation and, with the season waning, in situations that often have vital playoff implications. But the shootout decides not just which team gets a crucial point in the standings; it also forms a dividing line between shooters who are ready for the magnitude of that moment and those who are not.
That line has fallen in unpredictable places. The league’s best players, its best shooters and breakaway artists, do not necessarily make the best shootout performers.
from the AP via TSN,
Chris Simon, the New York Islanders forward suspended for a league-record 25 games for a vicious on-ice hit, will not face criminal charges.
Nassau County district attorney Kathleen Rice says here office conduced a thorough review of the incident and decided not to charge Simon.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
Every time a serious problem arises, they first pull the ostrich routine. Then they go into denial mode.
Then they go into containment, as in, “We don’t really see it as a problem.”
Then it goes into commissioner Gary Bettman’s favorite phase — a work in progress. And eventually — maybe — something of substance gets done, but not until serious damage has been inflicted on the game.
We saw it with clutching and grabbing. That took 10 years to elicit a response. We’ve seen it with attendance. And now we’re seeing again with an even more serious problem — head shots.
Granted, this is, as Freddie Mercury used to like to say, “a tricky situation.”
NEW YORK (March 19, 2007)—San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, Colorado Avalanche center Joe Sakic and Dallas Stars center Mike Modano have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending March 18.
Each Monday, the NHL will recognize three players who delivered the League’s top performances over the past week.
FIRST STAR—JOE THORNTON, C, SAN JOSE SHARKS
Thornton led all NHL scorers for the week, posting 10 points (four goals, six assists) in four games as the Sharks gained seven of a possible eight points (3-0-1). He opened the week with one goal and two assists in a 7-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks March 13 and recorded one goal and three assists in a 5-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes March 15. He tallied the game-winning goal in a 3-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets March 16 and finished the week a goal and an assist in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche March 18. Thornton has moved up to third place in overall NHL scoring with 96 points (20 goals, 76 assists). His 76 assists tie him with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby for the League lead in that category. The Sharks (44-25-4, 92 points) rank second in the Pacific Division.
KK mod and member Tony is keeping KK readers up to date with the NHL playoff race and other stats.
Make sure to check it out in this thread of the KK Forums...
from the Toronto Star,
Oh, Canada, they are standing on guard for thee. The home and native sons are having an outstanding season in our national game’s top competition.
Not that statistics tell the whole story or that citizenship matters so much within the National Hockey League melting pot, but check the passports and there’s a blaze of maple leafs among the scoring leaders.
The top four points men entering yesterday’s play were Canadians – Sidney Crosby, Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Thornton and Martin St. Louis – as were seven of the top eight.
By George James Malik:
When Wayne Gretzky speaks, the hockey world listens. Gretzky’s impassioned plea to the NHL’s referees (and front office), demanding more accountability for the vicious and violent hits that have become commonplace in the 2006-2007 season, was completely justified. Whether you believe that Craig Janssen, Chris Neil, and Ryan Hollweg were “finishing their checks” or wantonly attempting to injure their opponents, the resulting body count can’t be denied. In the case of Chris Simon, an uncalled boarding penalty resulted in the ugliest incident in NHL history since Todd Bertuzzi’s attack on Steve Moore.
Referees seem to refuse to call more than one set of penalties in our post-lockout NHL, and it’s bafflingly frustrating to see players regularly line up their opponents, cruise in, and pop their hard-plastic-covered shoulders up as they intentionally direct their momentum and body mass upward instead of outward, making contact with chins, temples, and the Reebok logo on the backs of NHL jerseys instead of chests, arms, or team crests. Allowing “battles” for the puck has devolved into a tacit approval of anything that isn’t interference.
The latter half of Gretzky’s statements, however, have been pounced upon by he NHL’s commentators:
from the Toronto Sun,
Colin Campbell is most often referred to as the National Hockey League’s chief disciplinarian. His official title is the NHL’s executive vice-president and director of hockey operations. The Tillsonburg, Ont., native is a former player and coach. He’s been front and centre when dealing with issues of rule changes, rule enforcement and discipline. This week, he chatted with Sun Media columnist Morris Dalla Costa….
Q: Will there come a time when any check to the head will result in a penalty?
We’ll discuss it. But I’ve talked to leagues where any check to the head is a penalty and . . . if this rule is out there, you’re getting players coming into our league who have played all the way up, knowing they are not going to get hit with a shoulder to the head, they come to the NHL and won’t be prepared for it. I remember when I played, I got nailed by Willi Plett. I remember I was out on the ice. I remember thinking,: “The coach is going to think; ‘How can I expose myself that way?’ ” My dad is going to give me crap for exposing myself. We’re to the point where we’ve gotten rid of a lot of things that have caused injuries. Now we’re looking at head checking. We’ll beat it up and discuss it with everyone involved.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Chicago GM Dale Tallon is expected to make big changes this summer. Getting RW Martin Havlat from Ottawa wasn’t enough—the Blackhawks and the club needs to put some talent around him. While the Hawks are trying to keep C Michal Handzus from going to unrestricted free agency this summer, there’s also talk the club will be free-agent shopping. The Hawks could make a pitch for Buffalo C Daniel Briere and Islanders LW Ryan Smyth.
much more from Garrioch… and we all know most every team will have an interest in Smyth, Briere and Drury…
from Michael Russo at the Star-Tribune,
Boogaard said he thinks it’s time the NHL eliminates the last-five-minute instigating rule because it gives opponents license to go after star players during that time.
“The players should decide the game, not other people,” Boogaard said. “Some guys say that rule’s not in the back of their heads, but it is. It’s probably never good to cost your coach 10,000 bucks.”
No kidding. Just ask Kyle Wanvig, whose career with the Wild effectively ended when Lemaire wrote that $10,000 check for Wanvig instigating a fight with Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik late in a December game last season.
Boogaard’s contention that the rule should be eliminated comes on the heels of NHL general managers recommending that players should draw an automatic two-game suspension for their fifth instigator penalty, rather than their third.
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.
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