The NHL’s GM meetings are next week in Toronto and one thing they’re going to be talking about is how to find a way to cut down on the number of shootouts.
As Jeff Z. Klein of the New York Times notes, Detroit’s Ken Holland is firing up an old idea of his and New Jersey’s Lou Lamoriello wants to borrow an innovation from the college ranks. As Klein notes, 57-percent of games that go to overtime have ended in shootouts, down three-percent from last season, but it’s still too many for some GMs.
“I’d like to have a little longer overtime,” Holland said in a satellite radio interview last week, reviving a suggestion he made a year ago for an additional overtime period. “I’d like to see us play four-on-four for four or five minutes and three-on-three for four or five minutes. I’d like to have more games decided playing hockey.”
Some fans love the shootout while many others loathe it as a method for deciding 65 minutes worth of actual team hockey.
Meanwhile, Lamoriello’s suggestion is to have teams change ends in overtime to force the long line change and potentially open up the ice even more. NCAA hockey currently does this and it’s seen things open up a bit there at five-on-five. Perhaps the best way to end a lot of the complaints would be to make regulation wins worth three points rather than two, but that’s another argument for another time.
Lamoriello gave Kovalchuk his blessing to play in KHL All-Star Game, come to camp late
Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told reporters this morning that he gave Kovalchuk the “OK” to play in the KHL All-Star Game today and to arrive at training camp a couple days late. Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice has the details on how there won’t be any slaps on the wrist coming Kovalchuk’s way.
“So, I’m very comfortable with this situation and there is no penalty involved,” Lamoriello said. “There’s no disrespect involved. I’ve talked to him and I feel comfortable where we’re at. We’re anxious to get him back here and get him in the lineup with all the rest of the people and there will be no repercussions.”
Even Devils coach Peter DeBoer tells Gulitti that Kovalchuk’s absence is a “non-issue” and he’s eager to get him back knowing he’s “ahead of the curve” thanks to his KHL play. It would’ve been nice to have heard this last week, but we digress.
We can probably put this controversy to bed and perhaps even get a “C” ready for Kovalchuk’s jersey when he returns
Lamoriello on lockout: “I’m embarrassed for the game.”
In anticipation of Monday’s Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, PHT is taking an in-depth look at each of the four main entrants.
While he never won a Stanley Cup, Adam Oates has been at the heart of many great moments in hockey history. Being an Oates fan since I was a kid I can’t list them all off, but here’s five of them that will have you wondering what took the Hall of Fame voters so long to put him in.
1. He helped Brett Hull score 86 goals
Rewind it back to 1990-91 during Oates’ short time with the St. Louis Blues and look at what he did while lined up with the “Golden Brett.” Oates finished the year with 90 assists and 115 points while Hull poured in a career-high 86 goals. During the two and a half seasons he played for the Blues, Hull had the three greatest goal scoring seasons of his career (72, 86, 70). Coincidence?
2. He was the set-up man for three 50 in 50 seasons
Twice in Hull’s career he scored 50 in 50 (or less). In his 86-goal season, he scored 50 in 49 with Oates’ help. The following year, Hull potted 50 in 50 on the nose and did it before Oates was shipped off to Boston.
With the Bruins, Oates would help Cam Neely reach legendary status scoring 50 in 49 games in the 93-94 season. Of course, Neely did it while playing on bad knees that kept him out of action for half the year.
50 in 50 (or less) has only been done officially eight times and unofficially four other times (Neely’s being one of them). Factoring in on three of them is astounding.
3. In case you didn’t guess, he’s an all-time great assist man
Think of the all-time greatest set-up men in NHL history. Obviously there’s Wayne Gretzky. Even Mark Messier is up there too. So what about Oates? He’s sixth all-time in assists.
For a guy who was never really regarded as a superstar talent, Oates just kept quietly doing his thing until he finished with 1,079 helpers. That’s more than Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Gordie Howe, Marcel Dionne, Joe Sakic, or Doug Gilmour — all fellow Hall of Famers.
Oates started his career with the Detroit Red Wings playing alongside Steve Yzerman. How did he not stay there and wind up winning his elusive Stanley Cup? Because he, along with current Senators coach Paul MacLean, were traded to the Blues for Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney.
Federko played one season with the Red Wings before retiring and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002. Meanwhile McKegney was traded to Quebec after 31 games. How about a do-over Detroit?
5. The championship he did win
While he never won a Stanley Cup (he appeared in two finals: 1998 with Washington, 2003 with Anaheim), he did win an NCAA national championship with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY in 1985. That year, he merely scored 31 goals and added 60 assists (91 points) in the Engineers’ 38 games. His assist and points marks are still school records today.
Lamoriello on ending lockout: “Lock them in a room until they reach a verdict”
Lamoriello’s comments reflect the bleak outlook for a full 82-game regular season. At this point, locking the two parties in a room (and possibly throwing away the key) might be the only way to kickstart negotiations.
With the deadline looming, neither side seems to want to make the first move — and Lamoriello acknowledged the optics are bad.
“There is nothing that looks good until there is a deal,” he told the the Star-Ledger. “It doesn’t look good because we don’t have anything concrete right now. We don’t hear anything.”
One interesting wrinkle: Lamoriello clammed up when the subject of last weekend’s 48-hour window for GMs to speak with players was raised.
The NHL allowed the window to be opened so questions could be answered about the league’s 50-50 revenue sharing proposal, but Lamoriello refused to say if he met with any Devils.