Top 5

Devin Setoguchi

Of the seven active professional hockey arenas in California (NHL and ECHL), Minnesota Wild right wing Devin Setoguchi has played in six. He ranks his Top 5:


  1. HP Pavilion (San Jose)

  2. Staples Center (Los Angeles)

  3. Citizens Business Bank Arena (Ontario)

  4. Cow Palace (Daly City)

  5. Honda Center (Anaheim)

NHL Confidential

Brad RichardsonVancouver Canucks forward Brad Richardson, formerly of the Colorado Avalanche, recommends John Elway's restaurant in suburban Denver. "It’s the best prime rib I’ve ever had," Richardson says. "Have it with the creamed corn."

JP

Posts Tagged ‘lockout’

History and another lockout aren’t on the Kings’ side. They’ll win the Cup anyway.

Barry Melrose Darryl Sutter

Hockey fans have been talking a lot about last June here in Los Angeles. I’ve also heard whispers about the lockout-shortened 1995 NHL season.

You can guess why last June is special to hockey fans in Los Angeles. Here’s a brief history lesson from ’94-95.

The Stanley Cup playoff brackets were decided on the final day of the regular season. The final piece of the puzzle was the Kings, who needed to win their final two games to leapfrog two teams to clinch a Western Conference playoff berth. As it often happened that year, the two games were scheduled 24 hours and 865 miles apart.

On May 2, playing their 47th game of the season, the Kings invaded Winnipeg and beat the Jets 2-1. Rob Blake and Jari Kurri scored for L.A., Randy Gilhen scored for the Jets, and Kelly Hrudey made 42 saves. One down, one to go. Barry Melrose’s bunch rolled into Chicago the next day to face a Blackhawks club that had won four straight. This one was no contest – the ‘Hawks rolled to a 5-1 win. Eddie Belfour denied Wayne Gretzky for five of his 21 saves. The losing coach, Melrose, wouldn’t coach another game for 13 years and buried himself behind a desk in Bristol, Conn.

The winning coach, Darryl Sutter, tucked a sheet of paper into his suit pocket, stepped down from the bench and headed down the tunnel to the home clubhouse without cracking a smile.

I may have made that last sentence up, but it’s not hard to imagine.

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Lockout lesson learned: The NHL has too many teams.

First Niagara Center

Photo by Dan Hickling

A high-profile sports agent1 once told me that the job of every commissioner is to keep the owners of his eight poorest teams happy.

It makes sense. Think of an NHL owners’ meeting like an annual family get-together. Your annual family get-together, perhaps. Every year, a couple of siblings can’t stop talking about how miserable their lives are while their brothers and sisters can’t stand to be in the same room, appalled that they’re somehow related to these idiots. New York and Toronto have better things to do than listen to Florida and Nashville whine and complain. The same can surely be said of every league — for the NFL, just substitute Dallas for New York and Jacksonville for Nashville. In the NBA, substitute the Lakers for the Leafs and the Bucks for the Panthers.

From the outside, it doesn’t make sense. Psh, billionaire problems, we moan. We wonder, if the Leafs are so rich, why aren’t they more influential? Meanwhile, inside the room, you can just imagine them shaking their heads, sighing, saying “my family is so … ugh.”

Sound familiar?

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Book Review: “The Instigator”

Gary Bettman

There is a familiar saying about “instigators” in hockey — you love ‘em when they’re on your side, you hate ‘em when they’re not. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Matt Cooke, Raffi Torres and Chris Simon have so much in common, it’s ironic that they run afoul of each other so often.

That’s because Bettman is the game’s ultimate instigator. He routinely issues proud proclamations to packed Stanley Cup stadiums while fans douse his words with boos and whatever projectiles they can grab. He says one thing to the public and another behind closed doors. He says nothing about the Atlanta Thrashers or Winnipeg Jets, while secretly ensuring the Atlanta Thrashers cease to exist and become the Winnipeg Jets. And he doesn’t care what you think about any of this.

For 20 years, hockey people have tried to pin down Gary Bettman with a single word – villainous, American, opportunistic, short, smart, lawyer, Jewish. Author Jonathon Gatehouse may have come the closest in “The Instigator: How Gary Bettman Remade the NHL and Changed the Game Forever.” ($24.95, Triumph Books) Researched to the Gladwellian hilt1 and fair to a fault, “The Instigator” is less about Bettman the person and more about Bettman the commissioner — tapping into the perspective of NHL history, the history of commissioners, the psyche of (mostly Canadian) fans who want to beat the guy up and that of (mostly American) fans who don’t give a damn about hockey.

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One month in, hockey is right on script.

nhl lockout

Hockey season is a little more than a month old, and things are proceeding as expected. The NHL players are still locked out, negotiations continue to move at a snail’s pace, and Commissioner Gary Bettman seems hell bent on establishing himself as the worst professional sports commissioner ever.

Seriously, you have to give it to Bettman. It takes a lot of talent to have two work stoppages in one decade. Grantland’s Bill Simmons offered a great way of describing Bettman’s tenure as commissioner, but I think I found a better analogy.

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The Secret Season begins.

Part two in a series. Read part 1 here.

Secret Season rink

DATELINE UNKNOWN – It probably wasn’t a good idea to house the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins in adjacent buildings. Players from both sides engaged in a war of words in the village commons that transpired into fisticuffs and caused a ruckus so crash-banging loud, it awoke the entire complex.

Sigh.

We’re new at this, but what a numbskull decision.
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Allpuck.com’s NHL lockout survival guide.

nhl lockout

Original photo by Dan Hickling

It’s official. Last week the NHL cancelled the first two weeks of the regular season, angering fans across the continent and also keeping me from watching Zach Parise and Ryan Suter play the defending Central Division champion Blues at the Scottrade Center.

As angry as I am that this has happened twice in my lifetime — and twice in the last decade — I’ve decided that, until the millionaires and billionaires grow up and hash out a deal, I’ll get my hockey fix by watching other leagues play. Here are some examples for you to do the same.

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Throwback Thursday: ‘If I was Gary Bettman, I’d be worried about my family.’

With those famous words, then-32-year-old defenseman Chris Chelios laid down the gauntlet for every crass word directed at the NHL commissioner by an active player. It’s one heck of a gauntlet. We’re still talking about it 18 years later.

That is, unless you forgot or weren’t alive in 1994 — in which case, you’ll be talking about it now …

A few things to remember first:

1. Bettman was one year into his term as commissioner. His knowledge of the game has grown in the years since.

2. Nonetheless, Bettman was still eight years away from confusing Ace Bailey with Ace Bailey.

3. The 1994-95 lockout lasted 104 days. Imagine what a 50-year-old Chelios would say now!

Krys Barch goes off on Twitter about the NHL lockout.

Krys Barch twitter

Photo by Dan Hickling

 

In 653 words and scores of ellipses, New Jersey Devils tough guy Krys Barch humanized the players’ side of the lockout on Saturday night, 140 characters at a time.
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Throwback Thursday: Contemplating the potential of an empty hockey rink.

Here at AllPuck.com, we do not ignore the looming lockout. Nor do we pretend to know the difference between the NHL’s old and new definitions of Hockey Related Revenue, or how far apart the owners are from the players, or how far apart the owners of the most profitable teams are from the owners of the least profitable clubs. We merely know that these massive details are lying somewhere beneath the ocean surface, and that all we see are the tips of the icebergs — cold and icy, like this and this.

One thing we do know is the potential of an empty hockey rink and are not afraid to address it. Behold:

Lost Season II: Revenge of the Lockout

NHL lockout

A cheap Hollywood sequel is unfolding in front of my eyes. Seven years after an entire season was lost — a first among the four major American sports not caused by a World War — there is speculation that the 2012-13 NHL season could again be lost to a collective bargaining agreement dispute.

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