Kukla's Korner

Yandle Should Be An All-Star

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

For this year’s game, to be played two weekends from now in Raleigh, N.C., the NHL elected to choose players from 26 teams, bypassing the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Florida Panthers and Phoenix Coyotes. The first three, you could understand. All have struggled this year, none have players that immediately jump out at you as a team that absolutely, positively needed an all-star representative.

But omitting players from Phoenix’s roster just seemed odd and unfair. The Coyotes were one of the top regular-season teams in the league last year and they were holding down the No. 4 ranking in the Western Conference again following Thursday night’s action. The Coyotes don’t usually score a lot, which is why the fact that a defenceman - Keith Yandle - leads them in scoring is noteworthy. Yandle, who had a three-point night vs. the Leafs Thursday, is a young American that drew some notice for his good play during the Coyotes’ unexpected surge to respectability last season. He was even better in the playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings, but has taken his game to another level this year. Overall, he is sixth among NHL defencemen in scoring and tied for fourth in assists, as many of his peers predicted he might.

more plus a look at Colby Armstrong…

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: keith+yandle

Jack Johnson- He Is An American And Proud

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Los Angeles Kings and Kings Vision unveiled the first video in a new series called “Undisputed”.

“Undisputed” is a special video series that focuses on eight Kings players, and it gives viewers authentic insight and perspective into the lives and careers of some of the Kings’ most compelling players while getting up close and personal with them.

Featured today is Jack Johnson.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jack+johnson

Goaltending Is Gold When The Playoffs Arrive

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,

...exactly what role does goaltending play in deciding the Stanley Cup winner. Is too much importance placed on goaltending?

Well, if you ask the Vancouver Canucks, who are currently No. 1 in G.A.A. in the NHL, they’d probably say it is huge. That’s because with Cory Schneider emerging as a capable backup to Roberto Luongo, Canucks fans are breathing easier these days….

The Philadelphia Flyers have been thoroughly impressed with rookie Sergei Bobrovsky to the point that they sent last year’s playoff hero, Michael Leighton, to the minors. With a 10-5-2 record, veteran Brian Boucher has also been satisfactory as the team’s backup. The Flyers only rank 11th overall in G.A.A. but it’s unlikely that GM Paul Holmgren will be looking for an upgrade at the trade deadline.

After a slow start to the year, Marc-Andre Fleury is back to being the goalie who took the Pittsburgh Penguins to one Stanley Cup final and then won the Cup the following year. Brent Johnson showed he could carry the load early when Fleury struggled.

The injury-riddled Detroit Red Wings rank 18th in G.A.A., but when they get healthy, having Jimmy Howard as the starter and Chris Osgood as the backup heading into the playoffs will be palatable.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Look At The Central Division

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Rory Boylen of The Hockey News does a mid-season report on the Central Division.

Instead of listing the team, I thought it would be fun for you to decide what team is associated with the stat.

Key stat: Last year’s No. 16-ranked power play recently overtook Vancouver as the most efficient this season at 24.4 percent.

Key stat: Have blocked the fewest amount of shots in the Western Conference (489)

Key stat: They had the lowest shots-against per game for a while and currently sit fifth in that category, which flies directly in the face of the fact their .688 winning percentage when being outshot is third-best in the league and tops in the Western Conference.

Key stat: The 26th-ranked power play (14.5 percent) is in direct contrast to an 86 percent penalty kill that is third in the league and best in the West, 1.3 percent higher than second-place Vancouver.

Key stat: Only Central team with a sub-.500 record against the division (3-6-1).

read on for the answer and also much more on each teas…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

No Interest In Souray

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

The San Jose Sharks need a defenceman to fire rockets from the point, but Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini hasn’t had any offers to deal disgruntled blue-liner Sheldon Souray.

San Jose GM Doug Wilson hasn’t asked about Souray, even though the Sharks lost Rob Blake to retirement after last season and Dan Boyle, their best blue-liner, isn’t a shooter.

No other team has inquired about the 34-year-old Souray, either.

“Sheldon has to get healthy,” said Tambellini.

Souray is out with a bad knee. He also broke his hand earlier in the season playing for the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.

Tambellini’s preference is, “to get an asset, a pick or a player” for Souray in a trade, hopefully before the Feb. 28 NHL trade deadline.

continued and more Oilers talk too…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sheldon+souray

Southeast Division Mid-Season Stats Pack

Blog: KK Hockey By Jon Jordan

Just past the half-way point of the regular season, I thought it might be high time to take a statistical look at the Southeast Division. We did so as the season approached and will probably do it again once all is said and done, prior to the playoffs.

You get a look at stats by team and by the league as a whole, almost literally, everywhere else, so I always find it interesting to break things down a bit more specifically to just the division, particularly in the more obscure categories.

Here’s hoping you will too…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: leaders, nhl, southeast+division, statistics

Will You Miss Bill Watters On Rogers Sportsnet Broadcasts?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,

A former linebacker with the Varsity Blues, Bill Watters took his termination from Rogers Sportsnet on Thursday like a man.

In any event, Watters is no longer a hockey analyst at Rogers Sportsnet, the victim, it appears, of Rogers’ re-branding of its all-sports radio station, The FAN 590. Starting this week, the station is now called Sportsnet Radio FAN 590. Apparently, Rogers Sportsnet no longer wants anyone on the network who works for a rival radio station, at least in the Toronto market. The personable Watters hosts The Bill Watters Show weekdays from 4-7 p.m. on Talk Radio AM 640.

Watters, who has been with Rogers Sportsnet since 2003, took the news with a grain of salt.

“I had eight years there and it was great fun,” he told the Toronto Sun on Thursday night. “There’s no need to be bitter about it.

“I enjoyed my time there,” Watters added. “What can you say? I’m not as happy I was yesterday, I’ve had some enjoyment taken out of my life, but I’m certainly not bitter.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bill+watters

Father Played In THe NBA, Son Wants A Career In The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Doug Smith of the Toronto Star,

The son talks and it’s the father’s voice, a message delivered by a youngster that could have easily been the mantra of a now-elder-statesman dad.

Seth Jones may be an elite hockey player — a big, talented 16-year-old seen as a surefire NHL prospect — but when he talks, he espouses the same philosophy that carried his dad, former Raptor Popeye Jones, through an 11-year NBA career built more on guile than athleticism.

“He just tells me to think the game, that’s always been really helpful to me,” the younger Jones says in a telephone conversation from Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he’s in USA Hockey’s Under-17 developmental program.

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: seth+jones

Blue Jackets Have Extra Motivation To Beat Detroit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

Early last season, after another loss to the Detroit Red Wings, former Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock made a passing comment, borne of frustration and meant partially in jest.

“The worst thing we ever did,” Hitchcock said, “was beat them 8-2.”

Since the Blue Jackets won 8-2 in Detroit on March 7, 2009, the Red Wings have taken to beating the Jackets - breaking their hearts in some cases - like an older brother bullies his younger brother to keep the house in order.

“The three years I’ve been here, we’ve had some pretty tight games with them,” Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason said. “But it always seems like they find a way to come out with two points. We have to change that. For us to be a good team, we have to figure out a way to beat them.”

continued

from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

Rick Nash and R.J. Umberger routinely put “money on the board” in the Blue Jackets’ locker room before a game.

On Friday night, as the club attempts to end a five-game losing skid against Detroit, contributions are being pledged by Oxcamel, Uncle Playground and Captain Thunder Pants.

These aren’t nicknames of Jackets’ players, but Twitter handles of ordinary fans combining generosity with the desire to see their favorite team break a slump against a hated rival.

As of yesterday afternoon, nearly 40 Jackets fans had promised to pony up almost $1,400 to local charities and non-profit organizations for a victory. Some are even offering pints of blood.

continued and I donated some cash, if the Wings win…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Time For Some Of The Sharks To Watch From The Press Box

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Pollak of Working the Corners,

This 5-2 loss to Edmonton is yet another one of those games that does seem to warrant a post-game posting, if only because of what Todd McLellan had to say afterward as he was talking about his own responsibility for the loss and the different buttons he might have to push to try and get his team better prepared.

Sandwiched between the more standard ideas about changing line combinations and using new approaches to practice was this one:

“Maybe some guys need to watch a few games.”

No, he didn’t say which guys and I don’t think it would have done me any good to ask for names. After the scrum, I did ask McLellan if he was seriously considering benching some of his regulars and got somewhat understandably snapped at: “I wouldn’t have said it if I wasn’t considering it.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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