Kukla's Korner

The Race To The Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN discuss the playoff race…

Burnside: You have to figure Nashville has to come up with at least a point in Detroit. They’re two back of St. Louis with two to go. The Blues are at home and will play Columbus on Friday night, so the Preds will have to once again come up big against their division rivals. In the East, Florida has to win tonight in Atlanta, where the Thrashers have turned in solid performances down the stretch, so this isn’t a gimmie. Meanwhile, the most interesting game of the night, Philadelphia in New York to take on the Rangers. The Rangers can grab a playoff spot with a win, but the Flyers are (or should be) desperate to hold down fourth place in the conference and force either Carolina or Pittsburgh to visit Wachovia Center to start the playoffs next week.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Who Can Clinch What Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

EASTERN CONFERENCE

#2 Washington Capitals can clinch the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference:
* If they get at least one point against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
or
* If the New Jersey Devils get one or no points against the Ottawa Senators.

#3 New Jersey Devils can clinch the Atlantic Division title:
* If they get at least one point against the Ottawa Senators.
or
* If the Philadelphia Flyers get one or no points against the New York Rangers.

#7 Montreal Canadiens can clinch an Eastern Conference playoff berth:
* If they get at least one point against the Boston Bruins.
or
* If the Florida Panthers get one or no points against the Atlanta Thrashers.

#8 New York Rangers can clinch an Eastern Conference playoff berth:
* If they beat the Philadelphia Flyers.
or
* If they get one point against Philadelphia and the Florida Panthers get one point against the Atlanta Thrashers.
or
* If the Florida Panthers get no points against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Lotsa Talking In The Wild West

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

In my opinion? Exactly one team has any room to do any bit of talking right about now.  And that would be your Stanley Cup MF’ing Champions.  Anybody else?  You need to just stay quiet until spoken to.  Or win a series then peep a little.

But now?  No sir.  No you don’t. 

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Women Will Be Watching Too

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Micah Toub of the Globe and Mail,

With the regular hockey season wrapping up, guys can look forward to having at least one butt cheek glued to a couch or barstool for the two-month televised marathon that is the NHL playoffs, beginning next Wednesday.

According to the TV commercial stereotype of guys watching sports, women are seen either in tight tank tops and serving beer, or as uninterested wives nagging their husbands about undone chores. But times have changed. Women represent a significant demographic among sports fans, so it’s almost as likely that they’ll be the ones worried about getting to the bar in time to see the first puck drop.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

GDT - Game #80: Red Wings host Predators (7:30)

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Jeff OKWingnut

The Red Wings will face another frantic hockey club tonight when they host the Predators at the JLA.  On March 29, NSH beat DET 4-3, for the third time this season; with the win, NSH took a one-point lead over STL for seventh place in the W.C.  However, since that game, NSH has gone 1-3-0 to drop into ninth place with only two games remaining. NSH are two points behind ANA and STL for one of the final two playoff spots in the W.C.

DET has played inspired hockey in their last two contests, winning both games after having lost three straight. DET are coming into tonights game after a 3-1 win at BUF on Monday. Marian Hossa scored two goals, and reached the 40-goal mark for the third time in his career. Also in the BUF game, Chris Osgood made 32 saves to earn his 389th career victory and tie Dominik Hasek for 10th on the NHL list. Nicklas Lidstrom, scored an empty-netter for his 227th career goal, moving him into a tie with Kevin Hatcher and Steve Duchesne for 12th among NHL defensemen.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Frozen Four Starts Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Albright of ESPN,

The 2009 Frozen Four finds itself in our nation’s capital this weekend as college hockey’s final weekend plays its last three games at the Verizon Center. And with that, you can add a new venue to the list of ones that have hosted this event.

If you’re keeping score, the Verizon Center will be the 30th different arena that has called college hockey’s final four home. Now the question is whether a new team will be added to the list of national champions.

Of the four teams left standing, only Boston University has previously won a title. If Bemidji State, Miami (OH) or Vermont skates around the ice with the championship plaque Saturday night, it will mark the 18th different school to claim the national title.

Here are five key questions (plus a bonus one) heading into Thursday’s national semifinals (ESPN2HD and ESPN360, 5 and 8:30 p.m. ET).

continued

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

Pick Your First Round Opponent

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Paterson of Straight.com,

For a league that has already hired a commissioner away from the National Basketball Association and placed franchises in cities far better suited for hoops than pucks, it’s time to borrow from basketball yet again. The NBA’s developmental league has come up with a novel twist on the playoffs that would be perfect for the National Hockey League: allowing teams to pick their postseason opponents.

Now, it’s not as radical as it sounds. The top finishers in each conference get to select from the lower-ranking qualifiers in the first round only. In the NHL’s case, let the three division winners in each conference pick from the teams that round out the playoff field.

continued

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

NHL On Solid Ground

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Remember all those dire predictions from the NHL lockout four years ago?

This is the last league that can afford a lengthy work stoppage, doomsayers said.

It will permanently alienate its fan base.

It will never attract new fans.

It will die a wretched death.

Well, lookie here: The NHL’s on fire. Partly by luck, partly by design, the league everyone loves to bash (often with good reason) is producing a consistently entertaining product that is attracting increased numbers of paying customers and television viewers.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

What Can The Lightning Do?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

We’re on the brink of a huge offseason. Co-owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie and, more to the point, first-time general manager Brian Lawton have to clean up this mess, some of which they didn’t make, some of which they did.

You might be wondering if this is the worst it’s ever been on Channelside Drive, you know, what with worst in the league last season, second worst in the league this season. I’m here to tell you it’s been worse.

Then why is there such a funk over there?

This team plays hard most night and it has some very good pieces, like Vinny Lecavalier (for now) and braveheart Marty St. Louis, and Ryan Malone, and super rookie Steven Stamkos, and a seemingly No. 1 goaltender in Mike Smith, and a seemingly good head coach in Rick Tocchet.

But the franchise doesn’t seem any more stable than it did last offseason.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Another Tease

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

Other than a ceremony honoring winger Brad May for playing his 1,000th game, the evening had less electricity than an Amish barn. Toronto fans long ago became accustomed to watching their team lose, so it wasn’t as if the Sabres’ two quick goals in the third period in a 3-1 victory was a jolt to anyone in the Air Canada Centre.

Buffalo won the game and is still alive. That’s all that matters. So why does this feel like another tease?

There was a stronger sense that the Sabres were merely prolonging the agony, that fans would spend today generating whatever optimism they could muster only to have Flyers center Daniel Briere cough up the puck to Chris Drury tonight for the Rangers’ game-winner.

Yeah, I know, don’t go there. But it would be another reminder of how far the NHL’s one-time darlings have fallen in less than two years. May made you remember when the Sabres missed the playoffs with dignity, when they went down swinging. This group reminded you of the Sabres at their worst, underachievers who often looked uninterested in a big game against a 12th-place team.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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