Kukla's Korner

Globe and Mail’s MacGregor pens introduction of the decade

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Globe and Mail’s Roy MacGregor reflected upon his Q and A with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in light of the NHL’s wavering support for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia—and the NHL has some proper worries about going to Sochi not only because of the travel and lack of TV ratings bang for their buck, but also the probability of security issues on the northwestern shores of the Caucasus’ ethnic/religious powder keg—but it’s MacGregor’s introduction to the story that eclipses everything else in the article because it’s just so…Gary:

“I’m not someone who likes to look back,” he says.

The problem is, when you spend a few hours talking to Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, so much of the time is spent looking at what happened (the owners’ lockout) and what is or is not currently happening (action on headshots) that you barely get around to the future. 

And once there, you don’t actually ever seem to arrive.

“I look forward,” Bettman likes to say. And he does, but in such a circumspect, non-committal way that it is, at times, difficult to say exactly what he might be thinking – in part because he himself cannot be certain which way league general managers might turn on, say, discipline or team owners on such matters as franchise relocation.

Continued, discussing the Olympics from a Canadian perspective…

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Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“If I can keep it on and play well, I’ll keep it on. It’s still a different look when you’re looking out. You’re used to seeing nothing and now you’ve got that little line to deal with.”

“You get it in the eye or below the eye, and you can end up with surgery and loss of vision. I was pretty fortunate and lucky to deal with what I did as opposed to what it could have been.”

-Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks who will be wearing a visor, at least for the short-term.  More from Curtis Zupke of Ducks Blog.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+getzlaf

Time To Make Some Moves

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray is in the final months of his tenure and one of his last jobs will be to send just about anyone not named Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza or Erik Karlsson packing.

In Toronto, Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke expects to hear from defenceman Tomas Kaberle’s agent, Rick Curran, this week about a decision on the player’s no-move clause in his contract. If Kaberle finally decides he is ready to accept a trade, Burke will get a list of acceptable teams, which is expected to have just two or three Eastern Conference teams on it thanks to Kaberle’s aversion to leaving Toronto.

This, of course, will greatly limit the chances of Kaberle moving.

For example, it means Burke likely will not be able to ship him to the San Jose Sharks, who are looking for a top-four defenceman and are said to be disenchanted with 24-year-old forward Devin Setoguchi, whose production slipped this season.

A more likely candidate for San Jose is Leafs defenceman François Beauchemin, who has a partial no-trade clause in his contract. Burke, who wasn’t talking Monday, is said to have a list from Beauchemin of 12 teams he would not mind as a new employer.

continue reading for some Sabres talk…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Red Wings in the Power Rankings, first week of February (technically), part 1

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

With reservations, I present you both the first set of the technically-the-first-week-of-February crop of Power Rankings, which offer upbeat takes on the Red Wings’ state of affairs, as well as a few Wings-related stories of note on the eve of Snowmageddon:

Continue Reading »

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The post-season push begins as the deadline approaches

Blog: KK Hockey By The Upper Canadien

This is it folks. The all-star game is over, and the back nine starts tomorrow, as the Canadiens face the Washington Capitals in D.C. Many questions await Montreal in their march towards the playoffs, but many have also been answered through the first 50 games of the season. A quick recap on what we know so far.

Can Carey Price pick up where Jaroslav Halak left off? He has done that and more, earning an all-star spot and Vezina chatter in the process. A .920 SVP ain’t bad, especially when you’re on pace to start 74 games (or 73.8, for those who do the math).

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  Tags: carey+price, chris+phillips, james+wizniewski

AHL Scoring Race Tightens Up

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The AHL All Star Game is underway today (see rosters here.  It is a good time to look at the AHL scoring race.  Corey Locke of the Binghamton Senators (Ottawa affiliate) is the top scorer.  He has 60 points.  Locke had been called up to the NHL but he has been back in the AHL for almost two weeks.  He is a streaky player who has been cold for the past week or so.  This has allowed Alexandre Giroux of the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton affiliate) to get into the scoring race.  Giroux has 58 points.  He also has more games played because he has not been called up to the NHL yet this season.  There is a good bet that Giroux will not get called up because a 29 year old career AHLer will not likely fit in the plans of a rebuilding NHL team.  Locke is 26 and is not really considered a prospect either but is more likely to have an NHL future.  There is a bigger risk of Ottawa calling up Locke than Edmonton calling up Giroux.  Whether or not either gets called up, the AHL scoring leader this year is likely one of the two.

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Versteeg Gets A Message & Leafs Defend Their Image

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,

The 24-year-old recently got the equivalent of a cold shower when he came upon his black Audi R8 and found that it has been spit on, with some nasty messages in the dust on the car written to him.

“They were writing stuff all over my $150,000 car,” Versteeg told reporters after practice on Monday.

Versteeg said it was clear that the perpetrators knew it was his car. In all likelihood, Versteeg said, the police will become involved.

Do the messages mean it is not fun to play in Toronto?

“That has nothing to do with that,” Versteeg said. “I definitely like it here and everybody has been good to me. No complaints. Those things are going to happen.”


from TSN,

A day after a CBC/NHLPA player poll indicated that Ron Wilson was the coach that NHL players would least like to play for, members of the Maple Leafs organization stepped in to defend their beleaguered bench boss.

“The evidence says otherwise and it wasn’t because we could offer more money because on the younger guys, we couldn’t. It was a level playing field and they chose Toronto and to play for (Ron Wilson),” said GM Brian Burke. “Ron has 600 NHL wins, he won a World Cup and has a silver medal from the Olympics.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kris+versteeg, ron+wilson

An All-Star tribute

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector notes that only one person who skated on the ice at the All-Star Game on Sunday wore a number that wasn’t his, and that on-ice official did so for a very specific reason:

Don Henderson is a big, tough Calgary–born linesman who has manned the lines in the National Hockey League when his back was so messed up one of the other officials had to tie his skates for him.  But Sunday night, after his first All-Star Game, he was standing in the official’s room inside the RBC Center, a Bud Light in his hand and tears rolling down his face.

The question was a simple one: “What did you feel like when you skated out in his sweater?”

“Kind of emotional … for me,” Henderson said, choking up. “I cry at the best of times.”

Hardly anybody in the arena even noticed, but in Sunday’s NHL All-Star game Henderson wore his own sweater No. 91 for the first and third periods, and the late Stephane Provost’s No. 72 in the second period.  It was very likely the last time the No. 72 will ever be worn by an NHL official, one linesman’s final tribute to a lost colleague, father and friend.


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NHLPA ED Donald Fehr’s learning curve

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr has spent the vast majority of the past four months on the road, meeting NHL teams and players both ahead of and after his election to the ED post, and Fehr tells the Canadian Press’s Chris Johnston that he’s still pressing the flesh, so to speak:

“There’s a lot of learning to be done,” he said in an interview during the NHL’s all-star weekend. “First of all, you need to get to know people — people in the office, people who represent the players and most importantly the players.  You’ve got to get a sense of them, you’ve got to try and ascertain whether your approach is likely to communicate the most effectively with them.”

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Canadian Fans Watching On All-Star Weekend

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

(Toronto) - Both Sunday night’s NHL All-Star Game and Saturday’s NHL Super Skills Competition were record-setting ratings smashes for CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA, according to BBM overnight data. 

The 2011 All Star Game on CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA drew an average audience of 2.389 million viewers, a huge 56 per cent increase over viewership of the last NHL All-Star Game played in 2009 in Montreal, when 1.527 million tuned in (there was no game last year due to the 2010 Winter Olympics). 

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Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: 2011+all-star+game

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