Kukla's Korner

Carolina Needs More Production

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,

In the playoffs, with Cole, Samsonov and a long list of other important players still looking for their first goals, the Hurricanes are a two-line team, and only because of the unexpected contributions of the fourth line.

That was good enough to beat the New Jersey Devils in the first round, in part because Staal dominated Game 6 and scored a dramatic game-winner in Game 7 and in part because of Cam Ward’s sensational goaltending.

It won’t be good enough to beat the Boston Bruins in the second round, particularly with Staal facing Zdeno Chara on every shift, and it was a major reason for Carolina’s 4-1 loss in Game 1 on Friday.

It’s not just the lack of top-level production that hurts the Hurricanes, although a goal at 1-1 could have changed everything Friday. So many of the mistakes they made — and there were so many — were the result of trying to do too much offensively and leaving giant gaps defensively.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Chicago Was The Better Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,

They made Roberto Luongo, by and large, look ordinary in the Vancouver net, and at even strength controlled the tempo. Their defencemen fearlessly ventured deep into Canucks territory or fired long stretch passes through the neutral zone. Their forwards won all of the small races for the puck, and made Vancouver seem a bit tentative, a bit slow, back on their heels, reacting.

The really striking part, though, was the Blackhawks’ poise.

Young teams, with the bulk of their roster dipping a toe for the first time into the postseason, are supposed to be at least a little bit intimidated, and franchises that make great leaps forward during the regular season often fall back in the playoffs.

But as the folks in Calgary already know all too well, this is a special group of Hawks, apparently not the least bit shaken by the situation or by unfriendly surroundings.

read on

from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles at the Chicago Daily-Herald,

The more you see the Vancouver defense, the more ordinary it looks. And now the Canucks might be without defenseman Samu Salo, who apparently hurt his back scoring his power-play goal two minutes into the first period. Salo left the game and never returned.

Kevin Bieksa acts all tough, but Dustin Byfuglien blew by him much of the night like he was one of those orange practice cones.


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

Greater TV Exposure Needed

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Slap Shots has learned that NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly and director of business affairs Glenn Healy met with ESPN executives earlier this year, with Bettman’s knowledge and authorization. We’re told ESPN, which did in fact treat the NHL like an unwanted stepchild while it was the league’s cable rights-holder, showed substantial interest in bringing the sport back to the network.

But that interest, which included an offer of a rights fee that was reported to the commissioner, has not been seriously returned from the league, at least not yet. Versus would have to relinquish its national cable exclusivity in order to strike a deal with ESPN. From what we’re told, NBC opposes a deal with ESPN because of ABC’s parentage of the cable network.

From what we’re told, Bettman places a fair amount of stock into what NBC thinks, though we cannot imagine why.

According to sources, the NHL made approximately $3 million last year out of its profit-sharing arrangement with NBC. That’s $3 million, total, or $100,000 per team. Not even Phoenix needs that, not when the NHL’s signature series is all but shut out by the NBC, not when there’s no ESPN to showcase it.


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: espn, nbc

NHL Award Nominations Announced

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Over the past few days the NHL has been announcing its award nominations (there is one more award left for charitable giving - but I am going to ignore it).  I will compare them to my selections and give my thoughts on who will win given the nominations.

Selke Trophy   Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings, Ryan Kesler Vancouver Canucks, Mike Richards Philadelphia Flyers.  I had Richards to win this award, but my other nominees were Mikko Koivu and Eric Staal.  I think the writers really missed the boat by missing Koivu.  I am not surprised Datsyuk is nominated and he can win, but he doesn’t play all of the key defensive situations in Detroit.  This is because Mike Babcock likes to roll out all four lines and often the next line plays in a key defensive situation and not Datsyuk.  I think Kesler finishes a distant third.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Canucks Postgame Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Go inside the locker room following Game #2 of the Western Conference semi-finals vs. Chicago, followed by Vigneault’s media Q & A

This won’t last long so watch now…

Continue Reading »

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

NHL Entry Draft Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from CBC,

That John Tavares to the Toronto Maple Leafs story may have legs after all.

Pierre LeBrun of Hockey Night in Canada says the New York Islanders may be leaning toward choosing Swedish defenceman Victor Hedman with the first pick in the NHL amateur draft in Montreal on June 26-27.

If that happened, LeBrun said on Saturday night’s Hot Stove segment, the Tampa Bay Lightning, holders of the second pick, might be interested in either trading their choice outright or choosing Tavares and then flipping the London Knights’ star.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Did We Miss Something?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Baumbach of Newsday,

Still, Wang says he is proud that he was able to save the Islanders from leaving Long Island nine years ago, and that it was important to him that the Island’s only professional sports team got a legitimate shot to succeed. Before Wang’s purchase of the team, many area public figures asked him to step in - an action that the financial documents show has cost him close to $300 million.

“I knew going in,” Wang said, “that I was going to lose money.”

National Hockey League Commissioner William Daly said the league is aware of Wang’s losses on the team. “His numbers are real,” Daly said. “Yes, we’re aware the Islanders lose money, a significant amount of money. And it goes back to the team’s need for a new arena.”

more on Wang and the Lighhouse project…

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

2nd Great Save Of The Day - Luongo On Eager

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

added 11:59pm, The Versus version of the save can be watched below…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ben+eager, roberto+luongo

Hiller Feels He Will Have To Be Better

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Craig Custance of The Sporting News (Sunday edition),

In Game 1 against the Red Wings, Hiller made 34 saves against the high-charged Detroit offense but left the arena feeling like the Ducks missed an opportunity to beat the Red Wings.

He got a taste of what the series will be like: plenty of bodies in front of him, namely Tomas Holmstrom, and shooters with pinpoint accuracy.

“They’re good players, but it’s not much different than the series against San Jose,” Hiller told reporters after the game. “I’ll have to do a better job next time.”

Don’t be surprised if he does a better job today. After all, he has done it before.

much more on Hiller…

added 10:10pm, from Helene Elliott of the LA Times (Sunday edition),

Saturday came and went and the NHL didn’t suspend Ducks forward Mike Brown, known in Hockeytown as The Baddest Man On Skates, for his hard hit on Detroit’s Jiri Hudler during the Red Wings’ 3-2 victory in the opener of the teams’ second-round playoff series.

Now, maybe they can get back to playing hockey today at Joe Louis Arena instead of playing victim and maligned villain.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonas+hiller

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“This is the script- You have a major market. You have transcendent players on both teams. I don’t know if there has ever been a team with three centers as good as Crosby, Malkin and Staal. And this is the most evenly matched series I’ve ever seen in the playoffs. You compare the stars, the lines, the goalies.

“This will go seven games. I don’t know how. But it will.”

-Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis after today’s game.  More on the Caps/Pens series from Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ted+leonsis

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