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News, Notes and Hockey Insights - 7/30/2012

by Frank Albin / San Jose Sharks

With the Olympics here again I had a thought. Why doesn't hockey follow basketball's lead and ask to be part of the summer games? This would allow for all the best players to appear in the games without having to shut down the NHL for two weeks mid-season. Players stay in shape all year and I bet we'd see some excellent hockey. This too would be a great way for hockey to extend its relevance at least once every four years.

Careful what you wish for department: Rick Nash is on the move to Manhattan and the Rangers. Hope you lace them up tight Rick. New York City is not Columbus and you will be under the microscope starting day 1. Should you go invisible for three of four games, the NY fans and media will have no mercy. Play the way you can, win, and you will become a legend.

Columbus adds two legit NHLers, a prospect and a first round draft pick. The Blue Jackets made the best deal they could. Now Columbus must continue to press forward with these new players and others they landed in trades at the deadline. For Ohio fans I hope the Jackets can transform into a competitive team that is in the playoff hunt come March.

Has it been quiet, too quiet in Phoenix? The lack of fresh news out of the desert has me wondering if this team will be on the move earlier rather than later. I'm not sure the NHL can afford to operate the Coyotes for another season. Logical places for relocation...Quebec City, Kansas City, Hamilton, Seattle?

In this age of the salary cap, rosters are built on skill, heart and leadership. Equally important today are salary figures and contract duration. If you are one of those fans who love to delve into team payrolls and salary info, you'll love this website...

Alexander Semin $7M? Really? Is that what 21 goals is worth these days?

Two big reasons the NHL and the NHLPA need to settle the CBA sooner rather than later is...Los Angeles and Ann Arbor. The Kings' Stanley Cup win has generated momentum for LA and the league. LA is the number two market in the US and number one in impacting American culture. The NHL missed a similar opportunity in 1994. The Rangers had just won their first cup since 1940 and New York was in love with hockey. But a new CBA could not be worked out until January of '95 and much of the thrill was gone.

January 1 in Ann Arbor, Michigan promises to be perhaps the biggest spectacle in the history of the NHL and maybe all of hockey. The site will be the "Big House" on the University of Michigan campus. Football has a capacity of 109,000. With standing room and more, a Michigan/Notre Dame gridiron game once drew 114,000 fans. This too was the site of the most attended game in the history of the sport of ice hockey. NCAA's Michigan Wolverines defeated rival Michigan State in December 2010. The official attendance for that game was 104,073, the most to ever see a game in the sport -- breaking the old record by more than 35,000!

The Red Wings and Maple Leafs will be the attraction on the ice. These two original six clubs will have the attention of fans on both sides of the border. There will be a host of other attractions at Michigan Stadium and Detroit's Comerica Park. There will be OHL, AHL, NCAA and 2 old-timer games featuring skaters from Detroit and Toronto split between the two venues.
Please don't let bargaining get in the way of this once in a lifetime event. Both players and management know this is too important.

The other day I walked into the Club One fitness at Silver Creek and guess who I saw? It was former Sharks forward Alexander Korolyuk. He spends much of his off-season in the Bay Area and is preparing for his upcoming season in Russia's KHL. Alex plays for ...get ready for this...the Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik club. Korky notched 34 points in 50 games last season. In 2010-11 he skated with the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv club. The same team that was lost to tragic plane crash in September of 2011. He lost a number of friends and teammates on that terrible day. Alex played parts of 6 seasons with the Sharks. His best year came in 2003-04 when he scored 19 goals in 63 games. FYI...his English has come a long way and he boasted on his 14-year old daughter and 6-year old son. Best of luck in the 'K'.

Best reason to get satellite radio: The "Home Ice" channel on XM/Sirius. This is hockey 24/7/365. Other than music all I listen to is "Home Ice". Good listening even in July.

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