Kukla's Korner

Tampa’s Injury Epidemic

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Erik Erlendsson at the Tampa Tribune

The training room inside the Lightning locker room resembled a corner coffee house during the preseason - it’s where everyone seemed to assemble.

And it wasn’t all just for social hour.

Tampa Bay’s media relations staff found itself dealing with daily injury reports as much as any other request since training camp opened Sept. 13. It got to be so epidemic-like that by the end of the second exhibition game - and on more than one occasion since - Lightning coach John Tortorella informed his players not to discuss anything related to injuries with members of the media.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: injuries, tampa+bay+lighting

Can Gaborik Play a Full Season?

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Brian Murphy at the Pioneer Press,

Playing wire to wire is all that remains for Gaborik, 25, to prove he belongs in the same company with Heatley, Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Marian Hossa, next-generation superstars with equal talent but more durability.

“I think that’s fair,” Wild general manager Doug Risebrough said. “The true picture of him persevering for 80 games and being productive in all situations, he’s just got to play the 80 games.”

Pierre McGuire, a former NHL coach and current TSN and NBC hockey analyst, said it is time for Gaborik to elevate his stature.

“When you’re talking about great players like Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, no matter what they did individually, over time, you have to prove you can do it for an entire season,” McGuire said. “Very few players can do what (Gaborik) does. But it’s longevity, durability. Do they have the determination? Are they willing to pay the price? It’s a huge recognition year for him.”

more…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marian+gaborik, minnesota+wild

Coyotes Spy Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Jim Gintonio at the Arizona Republic,

And the opening night goalie for the Coyotes is…

“What do they call it in football? The spy game?” joked coach Wayne Gretzky. “It’s top secret. I’m not gonna decide until Wednesday. All three of them have played pretty hard, all three of them have been strong, all three of them really worked hard in practice each and every day.  I know who we’re gonna start. I’m just gonna keep it close to the vest until Wednesday.”

The goalie trio: returning backup Mikael Tellqvist and two free agents, David Aebischer and Alex Auld.

more…

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: goalies, phoenix+coyotes

Paying Their Respect To Bill Wirtz

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via USA TODAY,

Hundreds of mourners from the world of hockey and sports gathered Monday for funeral services for Wirtz, 77, who died Wednesday of cancer.

Befitting Wirtz’s place in Chicago’s sports landscape, those in attendance included Blackhawks greats such as Stan Mikita and Chris Chelios, as well as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch.

“I came here as a young boy, to Chicago, and to be fathered and grandfathered by Mr. Wirtz was a privilege,” said Darryl Sutter, a former Blackhawks player and coach and one of several former players who recalled Wirtz’s role as a father figure.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bill+wirtz, chicago+blackhawks

Panthers in Basic Training

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From George Richards at the Miami Herald,

Now that the Florida Panthers’ roster is complete, it’s time for them to grow a little closer.

To facilitate this, the team will spend the next three days training at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. While the team will do plenty of work at the Army hockey rink, what coach and general manager Jacques Martin hopes is the most beneficial is the stuff done off the ice.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: florida+panthers

Pre-Season Power Rankings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joy Russo at ESPN,

Now, keep in mind that this is the preseason edition, but we’re not factoring in the preseason scores here, folks. They are about as relevant as Megan Fox’s role in “The Transformers” (I know Michael Bay wanted her in it, but she was not in the classic comic). Back to my preseason point: Chicago went 7-1 before the start of last season and we know how well things turned out there.

So, my Optimus bitterness aside, here we go!

1. San Jose Sharks

Yes, they’ve been ousted in the second round of the playoffs for two straight seasons, but is this the season the Sharks turn things around for good? Any team that has Joe Thornton (114 points in 2006-07) has more than a decent chance.

read on

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

Ron MacLean Signs on 7 Years with HNIC

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From CBC,

Host Ron MacLean will be welcoming viewers to Hockey Night in Canada for at least the next seven seasons after agreeing to a new contract Monday.

The new deal will run through the 2013-14 campaign, which coincides with the television deal struck by the CBC and National Hockey League in March.

“For millions of Canadians, Ron is the face of CBC Sports, and we are absolutely thrilled to continue our partnership with him for the long term,” Scott Moore, the executive director of CBC Sports, said in a statement.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: hnic, media, ron+maclean

Sam Gagner Sticks With Oilers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

The Edmonton Oilers signed 18-year-old centre Sam Gagner to a three-year entry level contract today, and plan on having their first-round draft pick in the opening night lineup Thursday against the San Jose Sharks.

Gagner, whose dad Dave played over 900 NHL games, is the first Oiler first-round choice to make the team in his draft year since another centre, Jason Arnott, in 1993.

“I like the way Sam thinks the game mentally. I don’t know if there was one time in the pre-season where I had to talk to Sam when he came off the ice about where he should be (defensively),” said Oiler coach Craig MacTavish.

“You can tell he’s been well-coached by his dad. That’s invaluable.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: edmonton+oilers, sam+gagner

Someone Not Invited to the Party?

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

Eric Duhatschek at his Globe & Mail blog discusses the various luminaries attending the Esquire party tomorrow night in Manhattan, launching the new NHL season. The guest list includes a number of notables but also features one notable exception, as well.

NHL luminaries for the Esquire party include the commissioner, Gary Bettman, the deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, plus members of the New York Islanders (Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie), the New Jersey Devils (Patrik Elias) and some as yet-to-be-announced members of the Buffalo Sabres. Curiously, there are no New York Rangers’ players listed as possible attendees, even though the Rangers boast two of the NHL’s most attractive free-agent acquisitions, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, at least one of whom (Gomez) is an unbelievably great talker.

One wonders if the Rangers’ absenteeism is merely an oversight, or has something to do with that curious decision by Madison Square Garden (MSG) to file a lawsuit against the NHL last Friday for violating antitrust laws and acting like an illegal cartel.

More from Duhatschek…

*For more on the MSG lawsuit, see earlier today on KK

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: new+york+rangers

Sidney Crosby Conference Call Transcript

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

The Pittsburgh Penguins own Sidney Crosby participated in an NHL teleconference today. Here are the Q&A’s from the conversation:

Q.  Could you comment on the feelings of the prospect of playing your first regular season game as captain of your team on Friday.

SIDNEY CROSBY:  I’m looking forward to it.  I mean, obviously it’s an honor to be a captain.  But playing my first one as captain, I mean, it doesn’t really feel that much different.  Like I said, it was an honor, and it still is an honor.  But I don’t think my focus or mindset really changes any different than it would be last year or the year before.

Q.  You’re a spirited player, play the game with a lot of emotion.  Do you think that will change as captain or will you maybe assert yourself more than you do now?

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

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