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Plenty to talk about in the early going

Tuesday, 10.21.2008 / 11:16 AM / Columns

By Paul Kukla - NHL.com Correspondent

Must admit, I felt kind of "dirty" watching the Dallas Stars beat the New York Rangers Monday night. Why? Well, I was glued to the game for one reason and one reason only -- Sean Avery

You never know what is going to happen during a game Avery participates in, especially coming back to NYC to take on his former team. The back of my brain was thinking "train wreck," my heart was saying "get the game over before the wreck occurs."

 
 
Avery had a little conversation with Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist early in the game, was warned by the refs to calm down and basically did.  But I still watched, just to see …

Note to the players -- Keep your stick on the ice! Once your stick gets parallel to the ice and it touches a player, off you go to the penalty box.  It is being called in every game, so don't be surprised when it happens to you.

Also, the offensive zone interference call is being called more and more these days. Faceoff drawn back to the point, offensive player impedes the progress of the defensive forward trying to get to the point, whistle blows, off to the box while the offender tries to plead his case.

Note to coaches -- Start thinking of ways to beat the neutral zone congestion. I am noticing teams protecting a lead are using four players in the neutral zone to basically prevent the team on the offensive to cross the blue line with any speed. The quicker you can figure out a way to beat this system, the better!

Note to late-night radio guys reading the scores -- Enough of "The Sharks quacked the Ducks," "the Coyotes yelped the Stars" or "the Canucks skidded by the Oilers."  Laying in bed, I want the score and who scored the game winner.

If I were in charge -- I would stagger the 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. starts. One team drops the puck at 7:05, the next at 7:10 and another at 7:15, giving us, the TV viewer, the opportunity to watch other games while our main game is in a period break.

I also would televise the National Anthems in every arena and most pre-game ceremonies too, especially when it involves the great players from the past. Something about an old-timer on the ice puts a smile on my face.

This and that -- Anyone know what Ed Belfour is doing these days? I know he played in Europe last season, but haven't heard a word about him lately. … Whatever happened to the goalie-cam helmet, the rabbit camera that ran along the top of the glass and the bowed net talk? … Am I crazy to think by making the puck just a little smaller, we would  see more scoring? Don't change the weight of the puck, just the size. … I sure am enjoying watching Hockey Night in Canada on the NHL Network in HD on Saturday night here in the States. Don Cherry's jackets never looked better! … With the help of a DVR, I watch about 40 hours of hockey a week.  How about you?


Quote of the Day

Unless he really collapses, I don't see him going anywhere. I've been very impressed with his composure and maturity. Once the regular season started, he was a different guy; it was like game on and almost as if he's been around for a long time.

— Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon on rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad
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