Kukla's Korner

First In Line For The Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gene Principe of Sportsnet,

Let’s start with the Chicago Blackhawks since they are just one win away from having it happen. If the Hawks defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 on Wednesday night and Jonathan Toews gets handed the trophy that’s the hardest to win in sports, who should he hand it off to next?

Should it be Marian Hossa? He’s just a first-year Hawk but everyone knows he’s at his third consecutive final and doesn’t have anything but a second-place ribbon to show for it. He might be a sentimental favourite. However, wouldn’t Patrick Kane be a logical choice? He and Toews are the Hawks’ top two players and should be anchors on this team for a long time to come….

For the Flyers, who would be second in command if Mike Richards were to get his hands on the chalice for hockey greatness? Does he go with the teamates who wear the ‘A’ on their jerseys or, again, with the longest-serving player whose never won the Cup? If that were the case, then Ian Laperriere would be hands down the choice at almost 1,100 games. That would be a tough one to pass up….


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Briere Gives Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chuck Gormley of Flyer Files,

Press Release:

Danny Briere has one of the biggest games of his life tonight. Preparation includes strict concentration and countless practice hours. But in addition to all the hype and excitement felt by this popular NHL star, Briere couldn’t help but of think of children in need.

“I’ve been extremely lucky,” began Briere, “I am doing what I love to do, and playing in a series every hockey player dreams of. I wanted to share this moment, not only with my friends and family, but with a few kids that are in a need of a reason to smile!”

So, with that in mind, Briere arranged for three children who are being treated for cancer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, to attend Game 6 tonight in a luxury suite. The children, ages 2, 11 and 17, will be joined by their families and Danny Briere’s parents.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: daniel+briere

Preds GM Thinks It Will Be Difficult To Keep Hamhuis

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bryan Mullen of the Tennessean,

Hamhuis, 27, made $2.5 million in 2009-10 and soon could become an unrestricted free agent. His contract is set to expire June 30, and several teams are expected to show interest and offer more money if Nashville doesn’t sign him before the deadline.

“I think it’s going to be very difficult,” Poile said. “But I’d like to continue having conversations this week and possibly reach out to Dan next week before we take our final position.”

Hamhuis’ agent, Wade Arnott, said discussions have been positive and ongoing.

“The club had always advised Dan and myself that they would address his situation at season’s end, after they had a chance to meet as a group in management and with ownership,” Arnott said. “I believe they’ve met among management and have some ongoing meetings with ownership. I expect to have more positive dialogue leading up to July 1, if it gets that far.”

Should Hamhuis, who just completed his sixth season with Nashville, leave town, there will be more tough calls to make.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+hamhuis

Blues Start Contract Talks With Chris Mason

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The Blues have finally offered definition to their goaltending plans for next season, opening discussions this week on a contract extension for Chris Mason.

Nearly two months have passed since the end of the Blues’ season, but with three weeks left before the start of free agency, the club says there’s plenty of time to get a deal done with its starter of the past 1½ seasons.

“We all know the ground rules,” Blues President John Davidson said. “It sounds generic, but it depends on dollars and depends on terms. Both sides have to decide what they want to do or it’ll go to July 1.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+mason

Why Is Hockey Hot?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,

“I think a big part of it was the Olympics,” Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo said. “The gold-medal game singlehandedly brought a lot of hype around hockey.”

Televised on NBC, it was the most-watched hockey game in the USin 30 years, drawing an average viewership of 27.6 million.

While NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called the Olympic impact a “mixed bag,” the players know the importance. Burish recalled going to a restaurant with some of his teammates to watch the Olympic final, finding it packed with cheering fans.

“A couple of years ago, especially here in Chicago, hockey was irrelevant,” Blackhawks winger Adam Burish said. “Now, the fans are cheering for a team that is not even the Blackhawks.”

That enthusiasm has carried over into the playoffs, with arenas overflowing with fans and viewership the best it has been since 2002. Corporate sponsors for the NHL rose 20 percent this year.

more plus other topics…

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

Marleau Buys A Home

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Pollak of Working the Corners,

Normally, I don’t bother chasing down every Internet rumor.

But today, with a lot of extra time on my hands and a little bit of information already stashed away, I decided to pursue those reports circulating that Patrick Marleau had sold his house in Saratoga and purchased one in Los Angeles –  and all that seems to imply as far as his future with the Sharks.

Here’s what I knew before any of this week’s chat-room buzz started: The Marleaus did buy a house this spring, but it was in the hills of Los Gatos, not Los Angeles. When I found that out last month, I really didn’t see it as a sign — one way or the other — as far as where he’d be playing next season.

Sure, it looks like a signal that he plans on staying with the Sharks.

But not necessarily…


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: patrick+marleau

What They Really Were Thinking

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

What was said: Laviolette was asked about Leighton after pulling his starting netminder twice in the Cup finals: “I’m very confident in Michael. He’s played excellent in the playoffs. His home numbers are terrific. Yeah, I’m very confident in Michael.”

What he meant: “I’m very confident in the Good Michael. The Good Michael, we like very much. The Bad Michael? Not so much. But generally speaking, the Bad Michael only appears in Chicago. Or Montreal. So that’s a good thing. If we get to Game 7, we will be considering an exorcism or maybe hypnosis. Acupuncture?”

What was said: Kopecky, a member of the Red Wings’ Cup-winning squad in 2008, was asked about the mental elements of trying to clinch the Cup: “I’m just going to prepare the same way I prepare for every other game and maybe pay a little more attention to the details. ... You have to go shift by shift.”

What he meant: “I once tried to take it two shifts at a time, but I pulled my groin. Now, I just go one shift at a time.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Flyers Not About To Give Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

Are there any happy endings left for the Philadelphia Flyers?

Just to get to this point — to Game 6 of this topsy turvy Stanley Cup final — all the Flyers have done is face elimination five different times, each time thriving, somehow surviving.

That has all been part of their crazy journey. Playing through personal demons: Some Flyer families that began the season together, didn’t end it that way. The team, previously divided, came from way back to make the playoffs.

They changed goalies with all the regularity that some change socks. They won a shootout in Game 82, another Claude Giroux moment. Then the impossible, somehow coming from three games down, three goals down to beat the Boston Bruins.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Conn Smythe Race

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The Stanley Cup may be won tonight.  Along with it comes the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP.  The race for Conn Smythe is pretty open.  As the main story in the Stanley Cup finals has been the poor quality of play, it is easier to make a list of who will not win the Conn Smythe than who will win it.  Goaltenders will not win the Conn Smythe because they have not played well in this series.  With 40 goals in the five games so far, the goaltending has been sub-par.  Antti Niemi and Michael Leighton cannot be seriously considered for the Conn Smythe.  In fact, if there was a trophy for best goaltender in the playoffs, I would support giving it to Jaroslav Halak of Montreal, despite his failure to make the finals.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Was The Pronger Trade Worth It?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

If the Flyers do come back and win, Tarzan, er, Pronger might be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy. Nobody in this final has been more the centre of attention, for good and bad, than the 6-foot-6 rearguard from Dryden, Ont., and a Cup for the City of Brotherly Love would have his name and influence all over it.

That would make last summer’s deal a great one.

But what if the Cup doesn’t go to Philly?

The Flyers paid Anaheim a significant price last summer in the form of 26-year-old winger Joffrey Lupul — a former first round pick who scored 25 goals for the Flyers last year — defence prospect and former first rounder Luca Sbisa, plus first round draft selections in 2009 (Columbus used the selection on talented Kitchener Rangers defenceman John Moore) and 2010. Anaheim also gets a third rounder in Los Angeles later this month.

Really, it was four firsts for the 35-year-old Pronger, 19 years after St. Louis paid five firsts for 26-year-old Scott Stevens. That said, the value of the 2010 picks now owned by Anaheim has already been sharply reduced, with the Flyers dropping to the 29th overall selection by making the final from what would have been the 13th pick.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+pronger

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