Kukla's Korner

Hockey Gamer Becomes A Hockey Fan Again

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Carraggi of Operation Sports,

It was the biggest year for the Boston Bruins in decades, and I honestly could not have cared any less. Me, a sports writer for a major Boston newspaper and “die-hard” fan of everything Boston, was more concerned about the state of the putrid New England Revolution (MLS) than I was the conference-leading B’s.

Like most (ex-)fans, you could blame the lockout. After that, hockey just did not have the same appeal to me. They just became grunts scooting around the ice while scoring less than a geeky high-school student.

Fast forward to today, and I am eagerly awaiting the day Tuukka Rask and the boys can redeem themselves after one of the ugliest choke jobs in NHL history.

What changed my opinion on the sport so drastically that I would ignore a record-breaking 2008 campaign just to salivate over a question-filled 2010 one? The answer is EA’s NHL series.

This may sound absolutely ludicrous, but the degree of difficulty and amount of strategy it took to score a goal in an NHL game was always lost on me until I began playing the series during the last two years.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, | KK Hockey | Permalink

A Look At Player Agent Steve Bartlett

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Goldman of the Messenger Post,

The Sports Consulting Group roster of players includes Buffalo Sabres star Thomas Vanek and Team USA captain Jamie Langenbruner, as well as professional players from the Rochester area like Ryan Callahan, Brian and Stephen Gionta of Greece; Marty Reasoner of Honeoye Falls; and Chris Collins of Fairport.

Callahan, a forward for the New York Rangers, said deciding by whom to be represented was an easy decision, knowing Bartlett’s track record and having played hockey with his son Scott.

“With the amount of guys he has, it shows that he’s a great agent and he does well for us,” said Callahan.

“He’s a great guy, down to earth, he is everything you can ask for in an agent,” added Stephen Gionta, who plays in the New Jersey Devils minor league system. “He puts his own time and energy into every guy, no matter what level of play you’re at. You don’t always get that with the big companies.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steve+bartlett

Can Nashville Reach The Next Level?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Boclair of the Nashville City Paper,

General Manager David Poile has proved he can put together a team that’s good enough to make the playoffs, even though most years at this time in the season it doesn’t look that way to the rest of the world. He has done so five times in the past six seasons, including four of five during the salary cap era. Not a lot of other teams can say the same thing.

Of course, as any fan can attest, none of those Predators teams were good enough to get beyond the opening round.

So let’s ask again: Is that good enough? Because the reality is that there’s every reason — or 26 of them, at least — to assume that’s about as good as it’s going to get.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Yzerman In Charge

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,

Twenty-seven years. That’s how long Yzerman spent with the Red Wings, virtually his entire adult life. He grew up as a person and grew into a legend in Detroit, winning three Stanley Cups as the captain and another as an executive. He was immortalized on the side of a building and celebrated in a Kid Rock song. Not only does his No. 19 now hang in the rafters at Joe Louis Arena, but the street outside is named after him. So is the Wings’ 19-game season-ticket plan.

Yzerman didn’t go all misty-eyed on Sunday night when his new team beat his old team, 4-3, after an epic 16-round shootout. He sat on the opposite corner of the arena from the Wings’ brass, as physically far away from his former colleagues as possible, and said he focused on his own players. But he did watch the Wings practice on Saturday morning, and the scene couldn’t help but color his thoughts.

“I looked out and thought, ‘My god, that red and white is a beautiful jersey,’ ” Yzerman said. “I can really appreciate it, and I enjoyed watching. I know a lot of those kids over there. But I’ve got a lot of responsibility. It’s a responsibility I want, and I have to do a good job here.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steve+yzerman

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I understand why Chicago had to get rid of him.  For San Jose, it’s obviously a good move. Niemi’s won. That’s a big thing when you can go all the way and say you won a Stanley Cup. Obviously it gives them experience and hopefully they’ll go far. But not as far as us.”

-Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks.  More from Kesler by Brian Compton of NHL.com.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+kesler

Vancouver Prospect Sauve Thankfully Survived Being Hit By A Car

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gordon McIntyre of the Vancouver Province,

Yann Sauve, the Canucks’ second-round pick in the 2008 entry draft, is lucky to be among the living after being struck by a car while attempting to cross Burrard St. last week, Canucks GM Mike Gillis said Sunday.

Sauve, a 20-year-old defenceman whose development seems to have stalled, has a slight concussion and wasn’t dressed for the Canucks’ prospects game against the Oilers Sunday night.

“He’s just lucky to be alive,” Gillis said.

Sauve was apparently crossing against a red light and didn’t look left before stepping off the curb.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: yann+sauve

All Mike Babcock

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,

NHL.COM: What will Mike Modano bring to the Red Wings?

BABCOCK: “He’s been a good player for a long time. (Pavel Datsyuk) will center Z (Henrik Zetterberg) and on the right side I have Homer (Tomas Holmstrom), Bert (Todd Bertuzzi) and (Dan) Cleary. I don’t know what line they’re playing on, but I know I got Z with Pavel, (Johan) Franzen with Fil (Valtteri Filppula) and Hudler with Modano. So he’s going to play with good players. If I’m the other team, my first defensive pair is playing against Pavel, the second against Fil and a third against Modano—that’s a heck of a third line. He can really skate and I like the fact it’s a change for him. Change is exciting. I think we should all change our professions every 10 years. When you go to a new place, you’re fired up, a little bit nervous and there’s momentary doubt. Those things will help him and we think he still has a lot of hockey left in him. He’s going to be happy being a Red Wing. He’s going to like getting the puck on his tape from good players and he’ll play on our second power-play unit.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+babcock

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Fehr-to-the-NHLPA saga seems to have been resolved, or has it? With the vote on accepting Fehr apparently going to the membership, most of the media coverage centred on Fehr’s fearsome reputation as at the Major League Baseball Players Association.

But key Fehr elements have been missed so far by the media. First, the supposedly implacable Fehr settled a collective bargaining agreement with MLB in 2002 without any work stoppage - and well before the eleventh hour. Second, we have yet to see the report commissioned by the NHLPA about Paul Kelly’s dismissal released to the press. Is Fehr’s role in the midnight massacre discussed? Before players vote, should they not see the contents of the report that was delayed at Fehr’s suggestion?

-Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail.

Filed in: NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: donald+fehr

NHL Ownership & Sports Book Don’t Mix

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kaja Whitehouse of the NY Post,

Hedge fund bigwig Phil Falcone is bucking the odds in his bet to be the new owner of Hooters Casino Hotel, the Las Vegas venture launched in 2006 by founders of the popular restaurant chain.

Falcone, who runs the $8 billion New York hedge fund Harbinger Capital Management, bought the casino’s troubled $130 million senior loan, putting him in a prime ownership position for when the casino seeks bankruptcy protection, sources tell The Post.

But there’s a glitch: Falcone isn’t allowed to own the casino.

The investment guru and avowed hockey nut—who skated for Harvard in college—made a mint shorting toxic mortgages in 2007 and used a small slice of that fortune to buy a 40 percent stake in the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.

Now Falcone faces this blind-side hit: The NHL restricts owners from owning a casino with a sports book, and Hooters operates a sports book.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: phil+falcone

A sixteen-round shoot-out and a bizarre evening at the Red Wings’ prospect tournament

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

If only receiving Mike Babcock’s patented Death Stare from one Chris Chelios was the highlight and low-light of my evening.  On Sunday night, at the Red Wings’ prospect tournament, the Wings rallied from a 3-1 deficit thanks to an incredibly astute time-out and set of line changes from Grand Rapids Griffins coach Curt Fraser, tying the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-3 before finally succumbing 4-3 to the Bolts in a ridiculous mockery of a skills competition, a.k.a. sixteen round shoot-out.

I’m typing this hoping that my computer does not spontaneously combust, because I’ll need it to chronicle a Monday practice that half the Wings’ prospects didn’t think they’d have to begin with—which was part of the problem on a night where negative reinforcement inspired frustrating results.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

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