Kukla's Korner

Are The Canucks A Better Playoff Team?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

With a torn Achilles tendon, Salo may be out until January. But counting him among the Canucks Top 7 defencemen, Gillis has $23.9 million invested in seven defencemen. Add Luongo’s $5.5 million cap hit on to that, and eight players eat up just shy of half of the club’s payroll—and none are forwards.

They are better on the back end with Hamhuis and Ballard, but this team was never low on puck movers.

Are they tougher, any more difficult to play against, or in any way better equipped for playoff hockey that has tripped them up these past two years?

That, good Canucks fan, is something we’re going to have wait a full 82 games to see.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Facing a Decade Without the Playoffs, Florida’s Rebuild Goes On and On

Blog: KK Hockey By Jon Jordan

Futility in Sunrise has persisted for far too long, with the Florida Panthers on the brink of a dubious record after nine consecutive non-playoff seasons. Incoming general manager Dale Tallon has moved quickly in putting his stamp on the team with several transactions since taking over, but nothing to this point appears bold enough to turn his club from last season’s Southeast Division cellar dwellers into a postseason participant.

Sadly, more patience may be in order for long-suffering Panthers fans.

Even so, all is not lost for the NHL’s southernmost franchise, with several key pieces already in place for the future (and others right around the corner) and it isn’t as though the current roster is without talent as is. Still, a couple of major stumbling points remain for the Panthers. The 24 games they will play versus fellow Southeast clubs, three of whom look to be vastly improved and the fourth being the stalwart Washington Capitals, certainly won’t help and the expiring contracts for defenseman Bryan McCabe and goaltender Tomas Vokoun will have to be dealt with (and quite possibly dealt altogether), without either situation becoming a distraction.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+peters, bryan+allen, bryan+mccabe, chris+higgins, dale+tallon, david+booth, dennis+wideman, dmitry+kulikov, erik+gudbranson, gregory+campbell, jacob+markstrom, jason+garrison, kamil+kreps, keith+ballard, marty+reasoner, michael+grabner, michael+repik, nathan+horton, nathan+paetsch, scott+clemmensen, shawn+matthias, stephen+weiss, steve+bernier, tomas+vokoun

At This Point,  No Deadline For Coyotes Sale

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Gintonio of the Ariizona Republic,

With the exception of the team’s dramatic on-ice turnaround and the attached optimism for a return to the playoffs this season, not much has changed in terms of the off-ice uncertainty.

Although there are widespread media reports that Dec. 31 is the drop-dead date for an owner to be in place, the NHL would not commit to that. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail that everything depends on the circumstances at that time, adding there are “no deadlines for anything at this point in time.”

Mike Nealy, the Coyotes’ first-year chief operating officer, is confident that talks will produce an agreement before the end of the year.

“The discussions that are going on between the potential owner and the city first of all and then directly with the NHL . . . they are proceeding on a positive front, and I can tell you that I’m confident that a new ownership will be in place in the next couple months,” he said. “Negotiations are continuing, and they’re going well.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

#1 Goalie Talk In Los Angeles

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,

The words are practically tied together. When coach Terry Murray says the name Jonathan Quick, it’s almost always followed, in the next breath, by the words “No. 1 goalie.” Murray wants to establish, early and often, that Quick is the Kings’ clear-cut goalie, and eliminate any suggestion of a competition between Quick, Jonathan Bernier and Erik Ersberg.

How long will that last? It’s hard to say. Quick set franchise records for wins and games last season, but Bernier was the top goalie in the AHL last season, and there’s a lot of eagerness to see what he can do at the NHL level. Quick has put himself in a good position, showing up to camp in what one team executive called the best shape of Quick’s career. And a reduced workload should also help. Quick never complained when his game total soared to 72, even when he clearly appeared to wear down late in the season.

Today, Murray talked about his plans for the goalies this season, and Quick talked about his preparation and the upcoming season.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Devils Could Actually Be An Exciting Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Stevenson at the Toronto Sun,

It remains to be seen who will depart from the Devils roster in order for the club to get under the salary cap and what they will get in return, but dumping salary to get under the cap is not going to yield a positive return for the Devils other than the needed cap space.

In the meantime, the Devils, who used to produce hockey as mind-numbing as the scenery along the southern stretches of the New Jersey Turnpike, actually have the potential to be somewhat, well, exciting. And not just while we wait for the other skate to drop.

The players liked what they saw from MacLean’s playbook on the first day of camp. The emphasis was on the defence getting the puck moved quickly to the forwards.

“Our game used to be too simple. We used to just jam it up the wall,” said Parise. “Now there’s more puck control and bringing it up with speed. We’re getting it with more speed and in better spots.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Stamkos Taking Nothing For Granted

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

In an offseason that has brought significant change to the troubled franchise, one wonders how Stamkos will follow up his breakout season.

But when you talk to Stamkos, you get the sense that this season isn’t so much about riding the wave, but making sure he proves he didn’t just stumble into the NHL hardware department.

“You definitely have to go out and prove that wasn’t a fluke. At least I think I’ve got to do that,” Stamkos told ESPN.com. “I’m pretty fortunate to have players like Vinny [Lecavalier] and Marty [St. Louis] who have been in situations like that before and have still found a way to be consistent, especially Marty. He gets on my case all the time to keep working hard.

“And that’s something I definitely take to heart and I’m proud of and work hard every night. And just because you had a good season last year, you don’t want to take anything for granted.”

After the team’s first day of on-ice workouts Saturday, St. Louis joked that it’s not necessarily his tutelage that’s helped Stamkos, but the kid’s lightning speed (there it is again) and rocket shot.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Kuba Hurts Leg During Senators First Practice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

The Senators could start the season without Filip Kuba.

The Senators defenceman is being sent for further tests on his right leg after he hit a rut in the ice only 15 minutes into the club’s first workout Saturday.

Coach Cory Clouston didn’t sound optimistic.

“He’s going for x-rays this afternoon. We’ll know more later. Right now that’s all we can say,” said Clouston. “We had to play a lot without him last year. Obviously we may start the season without him again. I guess if you’re going to do it, do it at the start of the season.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: filip+kuba

What Would You Like to See Covered in the International Hockey Blog

Blog: KK Hockey By Phil Davies

Well the wife is away for the weekend, so I have my rainy Saturday afternoon viewing selection all cued up and ready to go. Instead of her insisting that we watch “The Notebook” for the umpteenth time, I will be free to check out Canada/Russia 72. Ok, not exactly a slasher flick, although you would be hard pressed to tell that to Valeri Kharlamov after Bobby Clarke tried to saw his ankle off with his stick.

So, I’ve also been wondering what you, the readers, would like to see covered in international hockey? I’ve made a list of some possible topics, but feel free to shout out any requests as I’ve already had a few members suggest the Czech, German and Swedish domestic leagues.
Anyways, here is a list of a few ideas I have:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

What Should The Capitals Do?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ted Leonsis of Ted’s Take,

Should we be humble? Of course.

Should we be defiant? Not sure what that even means?

Should we just shut up? Wish we could but the media won’t let us. We must feed the machine.

Should we just play and see what happens? I wish we could but we have a long season ahead of us.

Several people have said to me that the regular season is meaningless. I believe that is a very dangerous notion. If you don’t qualify for the playoffs, you can’t compete for a Stanley Cup. The regular season means a lot. The playoffs don’t start for 9 months. We shouldn’t be talking about playoffs. We should be talking about first game.

So - we are at that point - where nothing that we say will be the right words chosen for some.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Hitchcock Named Special Advisor In Columbus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson announced today that Ken Hitchcock has been named a special advisor to the organization. 

In his new role, Hitchcock will assist in the evaluation of the organization’s personnel playing major junior hockey in the Canadian Hockey League and the collegiate ranks.  He also will work with the coaching staff of the Springfield Falcons, the club’s American Hockey affiliate, and evaluate Blue Jackets prospects playing there, as well as scout NHL and AHL games.

Hitchcock served as the Blue Jackets’ head coach from Nov. 22, 2006 to Feb. 3, 2010 and led the club to a 125-123-36 record in 284 games.  In 1,041 career games with the Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars, he compiled a record of 533-372-136.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ken+hitchcock

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