Kukla's Korner

Remembering Rick Martin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,

Rick Martin became part of Buffalo lore because of his athletic talents. He was one-third of the most fabled line in Sabres history, and his scoring ability created fans and admirers.

It was away from the rink, however, where Martin really made an impression on Western New Yorkers. The fun-loving Quebec native took time to talk with fans when he played in the 1970s, and the long chats continued after his retirement, when he chose to stay in the area. He was quick with a joke, often told in the relaxed setting of a tavern, golf course or autograph session.

If there was a party, Martin was usually the life of it.

That was the Martin that Mike Robitaille chose to remember Sunday while mourning the death of his former teammate. Martin died Sunday afternoon at age 59 while driving in Clarence, a sudden death that brought tears to eyes throughout HSBC Arena and the area.

“What are we doing being so emotional when what he stands for is to have fun and laugh?” Robitaille said prior to the Sabres’ home game against Ottawa. “Man, we should have the biggest party in the world for Richard. If he was in this situation, he’d have it for himself.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rick+martin

What Happens If The Flames Don’t Make The Playoffs?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,

Sometimes, the best of intentions backfire.

The Calgary Flames organization must be hoping its trade deadline decision doesn’t fall into that category.

Should the Flames miss the playoffs — and their two-game losing skid has them in a precarious position with less than four weeks remaining in the regular season — the disappointment would be made even worse considering what could have been.

When the clock struck on deadline day, the Flames made the bold decision to not deal away any assets.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Red Wings overnight report: on chemistry, Helm and Jarnkrok

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

On a, “My sinus infection just said Congress Tart” and you can only spew so much BS before feeling dippy morning: Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is essentially emulating Scotty Bowman as the regular season winds down, splitting up the Wings’ lines into “home” and “road” units (with the latter including Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk on separate lines) to make sure that his players are comfortable playing alongside as many teammates as possible.

As the Free Press’s Helene St. James suggests, Babcock’s line machinations are good in theory in terms of playoff match-ups, but they aren’t necessarily popular with his charges:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Here’s your GM’s meetings headline right here: they’ll take it under advisement/further review data

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Paul and Alanah posted some of the media’s takes going into what will be wall-to-wall TV, radio and internet coverage of the NHL’s general managers’ meetings at the Breakers’ Resort in Boca Raton, Florida from today until Wednesday.

I think that the points made by Damien Cox, the players and GM’s that the Sporting News’s Craig Custance, Nicholas J. Cotsonika, CP’s Chris Johnston and New York Times’ Stu Hackel and Jeff Z. Klein spoke with, and a question the Hockey News’s Rory Boylen offered—that the people who will actually sit down and talk about the possible changes they can make to the game to “make it safer,” all while under an inordinate amount of pressure from sponsors, fans, and agenda-pushers with pulpits to preach to you and me from want to present a unified and strong response to their critics while both defending the changes they’ve made and very specifically not changing the fabric of hockey to address one specific injury which happened when the Canadiens were playing the Bruins, in Montreal, on TSN—have essentially predicted every “answer” we’ll hear from a GM or hockey executive over the next three days.

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Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

Capitals Come Alive

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Last summer, I figured that the team most likely to win the Stanley Cup in 2011 might be the Washington Capitals.  Washington won the President’s Trophy in 2009/10 and didn’t lose any significant players over the course of the summer.  Washington had been the highest scoring team in the league.  Alexander Ovechkin led the way with the best point per game total (109 points in 72 games).  Nicklas Backstrom’s 101 points was fourth in the league, Alexander Semin was 13th in the league in scoring and Mike Green was the top scoring defenceman in the league.  It was clear that Washington could score. 

The question was their ability to keep the puck out.  Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth are unproven at best.  It is unclear if either will ever be a star.  Jeff Schultz and Tom Poti had done a good job as defensive shutdown men, but neither had star potential.  In the salary capped world, this looked like a team that could win the Stanley Cup.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Time To End The Careers Of Those Doing The Damage On The Ice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,

NHL execs also know that the knuckle-dragging crowd will believe all will be even if some Hab punches the lights out of some Bruin the next time the two clubs play.

If you’re the NHL, why change when you know that all it takes to turn today’s outraged consumer into tomorrow’s satisfied fan is seeing his team’s enforcer win a fight?

That said, there is a sense that even hardcore hockey fans have had enough of the head shots and don’t like that Sidney Crosby is sitting out with a concussion so serious that his career may be threatened….

So the challenge facing the GMs and the league is to be seen as responding to the problem without doing so in a knee-jerk manner. The GMs are paid not to be fans; they’re there to think carefully and dispassionately about change, looking beyond the needs of just their team and just their players.

Of course, it’s that latter point that always trips up the hockey executives. They always want the other guy suspended, while claiming their players would never intentionally hurt a fly.


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

Final thoughts on Chara; Habs as a team

Blog: The Upper Canadien By The Upper Canadien

So zero games for Zdeno Chara. Almost a week later and the controversy continues. You may have noticed that I haven’t chimed in much on this controversy. There’s a reason for that. For the first time in years, I’m actually questioning my place as a hockey fan.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love hockey. I love the Canadiens. What I don’t love is watching people get their heads beaten in. If I wanted violence, I’d watch UFC.

What I want is hockey.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Upper Canadien | Permalink

Red Wings are interested in signing Gustav Nyquist, sending him to Grand Rapids

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

As mentioned this morning, Red Wings prospect, former Hobey Baker Award finalist and University of Maine Black Bears forward (and junior-year collegian) Gustav Nyquist has a big decision to make. The Wings are interested in signing Nyquist prior to his senior year because the team tends to believe that NCAA-playing prospects who are dominant players by the time that they’re sophomores or juniors are best served by jumping a step on the pro hockey ladder, spending an extra year or two adjusting to the duration, intensity, competition and conditioning levels required to play in the AHL instead of developmentally standing still in college.

Nyquist told the Portland Press-Herald’s Rachel Lenzi that he wasn’t sure whether he’d return to Maine for his senior season, and the Free Press’s George Sipple confirms that the Red Wings do want Nyquist to consider turning pro and signing a contract with the Wings this year, perhaps even joining the Grand Rapids Griffins for a few late-regular season or playoff games, presumably before bringing him up to the big club as a “Black Ace,” to give him a head-head start in terms of his pro hockey development:

“He’ll decide over the next week whether he’ll turn pro or not,” said Nill, who said he saw Nyquist play three times in person this season. “He might have exams. He has to talk with his parents and decide. If he’s willing to come out, we’d like to get him signed to turn him pro.”

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

“I love the contact part of hockey and football, and that introduces the risk of injury,” said Dr. Michael Stuart, a father of two NHL players and the vice chair of orthopedic surgery and the co-director of sports medicine center departments at the Mayo Clinic. “I don’t think I would enjoy watching flag football at the NFL level and I certainly would not enjoy no body checking at the NHL level.

“We just have to differentiate what is potentially dangerous and what is willful and what is accidental.”

—at NBC Sports

Read on for more on related issues to be addressed at the GM meetings.

For other previews of the GM meetings, here’s video from Scott Burnside at ESPN and some thoughts from Chris Stevenson via Slam! Sports.

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Sabres Share Condolences on the Passing of Rick Martin

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

Statement from the Buffalo Sabres:

BUFFALO, N.Y. (March 13, 2011)—- The Buffalo Sabres are saddened to announce the passing of Buffalo Sabres Hall of Famer and member of the famed French Connection, Rick Martin. Rick was not only one of the greatest players in franchise history, he was a great friend to the Sabres organization and the entire community. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Sabres organization go out to his wife Mikey and their two sons, Corey and Josh.

Update:  Lindy Ruff, Larry Playfair and Rob Ray will be addressing the media later this afternoon, regarding the passing of Sabres legend Rick Martin.

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

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