Monday, April 27, 2009

Welcome to

Thanks to an anonymous commenter, Ive discovered another voice in the blogospherium writing about hockey in KC: pucKChaser. Looks like the site was started a couple of months ago and has offered some good commentary. Im glad to find someone else writing about hockey in KC.

To welcome pucKChaser, I'm going to steal a few of their links that I missed out on recently:

Why Is Kansas City Not In Line For The AHL? an excellent question from the Topeka Capital-Journal

Bettman A Buffoon If K.C. In His Plans from a bitter, sarcastic Winnipeg Free Press

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Out Of Luck

NHL commish Gary Bettman pretty much has to paint a picture of stability for his league, so take this with a grain of salt, but I still thought Id pass on this article: Bettman Says No Moves Or Expansion On The Horizon.

Money quote: Anyone who wants a franchise is really out of luck for the foreseeable future.

Monday, April 20, 2009

“The Empty Arena” by Bruce Schoenfeld in The Atlantic magazine

Heres a link to the above article about Kansas Citys failure to secure an NHL or NBA team for the Sprint Center. There isnt anything new to those of us that have been following the story, but is a good read nonetheless.

Bonus linkage: Dying In The Desert by James Mirtle on From The Rink examines the dire situation of the Phoenix Coyotes, and Kansas City gets a mention. (This article from Toronto-based The Globe & Mail goes into detail about the Coyotes woes.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

John Tavares (Probably) Headed To KC

It wont do anything to excite the vast majority of sports fans in Kansas City, but hockey diehards can look forward to seeing the next projected NHL phenom when the Islanders visit the Sprint Center this September. The Islanders were rewarded for being the worst team in the NHL last season by winning the draft lottery and the right to draft John Tavares.

Tavares was awarded exceptional player status in 2005 by the junior Ontario Hockey League, a rule created specifically to allow him to join the league at just 14 years of age. His birthday fell five days too late to qualify for the 2008 draft, so he has languished in the OHL for four full seasons, all the while being hyped as The Next Big Thing.

Depending on how the scheduling falls, the game in KC could even be Tavaress first in the NHL. I dont even want to think about the possibility of the Islanders not sending him to play. (Its also within the realm of possibility, but highly unlikely, that the Islanders select Victor Hedman with the first pick.)

For all the hype about Tavares, he doesnt quite live up to some all-time greats who passed through Canadian junior hockey (or even Alexandre Daigle) when it comes to points scored per game as a junior:

2.81 Mario Lemieux (1.88 in the NHL)
2.76 Wayne Gretzky (1.92)
2.50 Sidney Crosby (1.37)
2.27 Eric Lindros (1.14)
2.05 Alexandre Daigle (.53)
1.75 John Tavares

Regardless of how Tavares fares in the long term, we in Kansas City can look forward to seeing him take one of the very first steps in an eagerly anticipated NHL career.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The CHL In Kansas City

It’s not the NHL, but the Central Hockey League is coming to the Kansas City area this fall. According to this article, the Independence Events Center, where the team is to play, is 50% complete, and on target to be done by November 2nd. There has been no publicity surrounding the new team, which I found odd until I learned that it is actually not a completely done deal yet. This article says the deal is nearly finalized, and a deal could be reached on April 6th. Kansas City Hockey History has a page dedicated to the team, which includes a poll for possible team names (Independence Impact kind of has a ring to it).

I’m glad professional hockey is returning to KC, but I can’t honestly say I’m too excited about a CHL team. It’s an independent league, not a development or feeder league. I’ve never been to a CHL game, but I imagine it’s similar to the UHL (which the Kansas City Outlaws played in for one year), where guys who have passed the prospect age continue to play for very little pay because they just love the game and/or they can’t shake the dream of making the big time. I’ll watch and enjoy anybody playing hockey, but, as long as we’re not an NHL town, I would vastly prefer to see kids with NHL potential working their way up the ladder (such as in the ECHL, AHL and even the USHL). The top five scorers in the CHL right now are an average age of about 31.

But, hey, hockey’s hockey, and I’ll definitely go check out the action in Independence. Besides, I need somewhere to rock my Scouts jersey.

Edit: The deal has been finalized.

Wilf Paiement: Where Was He Then?

20 Years Later, Paiement Knows Better
The Kansas City Star - Monday, July 4, 1994
Author: Adam Teicher, Staff Writer


AGE: 38.

FORMERLY: Right winger for the NHL’s Kansas City Scouts.

CURRENTLY: Self-employed.

RESIDES: Amherst, N.Y.

FAMILY: Wife, Susan; children, Andrea, 14; Adam, 12; Alyssa, 9; Alexander, 6.

At the time, Kansas City seemed a wonderful place for Wilf Paiement to begin what would surely be a standout NHL career. Paiement was 18 and labeled a future superstar when he was the second player chosen in the 1974 NHL amateur draft by an expansion team, the Kansas City Scouts. What better way, he thought, to break in than with a brand-new franchise?

With the benefit of 20 years of hindsight, Paiement can see now that there would have been better situations for him. Philadelphia and the defending Stanley Cup champion Flyers would have been nice. Likewise Montreal, which would win the Cup four straight times later in the 1970s. In fact, any place besides Kansas City and the Scouts might have suited him better.

“The only thing I wish was that I’d have played for a contender right away,” said Paiement , now 38 and six years removed from his last NHL season. “It would have been a little easier for me. When you’re only 18 years old, you’ve got a lot to learn. You don’t like to admit it at that time, or maybe you don’t know it, but you do. And they expected so much out of their first-round draft pick.”

Paiement never became a superstar, but he had a better fate than the Scouts. While his first NHL club moved from town after only two seasons, Paiement lasted for 14 years and played for seven teams before his career ended with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1987-88. Paiement scored 40 goals in a season twice and finished with 356. But his career is probably best remembered for a stick-swinging incident in 1978 between Paiement, then of the Colorado Rockies, and Detroit’s Dennis Polonich. After being struck with Paiement’s stick, Polonich suffered a concussion and broken nose. He sued Paiement and was awarded $850,000 in damages.

Paiement said he enjoyed his two seasons with the Scouts. A 6-foot-1, 205-pound right winger, Paiement scored 47 goals before moving with the Scouts to Colorado. But he wonders whether his career would have been more productive if he had started with a more established team. “It’s tough on an 18-year-old to go to an expansion team,” Paiement said. “Thank goodness we had players like Simon Nolet and Brent Hughes in Kansas City. They helped me out quite a bit.”

Paiement lives in a suburb of Buffalo, where the Sabres were one stop near the end of his career. Paiement invested money from his playing days wisely and is self-employed with his work interests, mainly in real estate. “I know there are athletes that played and made a few bucks and then have nothing to show for it once they retired,” he said. “Fortunately, things didn’t work out that way for me.”