Kukla's Korner

McConnell- A Friend To The Fans

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

John H. McConnell died yesterday. He wasn’t quite 85 years old, and he had an incredible life. It began in a house that did not have electricity. It ended in a hospital where he donated a tower…..

He liked the players, and told them to play for one another. He liked the game, the toughness of it, the stress it put on team play. He thoroughly enjoyed sitting in his box, up there in the corner above sections 106 and 107, and seeing the arena fill up for a major-league sport right here, in Downtown Columbus. I have no doubt he was happy that the Jackets will play on, indefinitely, beyond him. That was the point.

When they showed his face on the Jumbotron, he’d wave and the crowd would cheer. That’s not a normal owner-fan relationship, but it’s not surprising in this case. McConnell’s intentions were always transparent and pure and it was impossible not to like the man, and admire him. The jamokes in section 216, row Z, had a bond with him.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+h.+mcconnell

Melrose Recaps Friday Games

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

John Buccigross and Barry Melrose give us a three minute recap of the action last night.

Watch now…

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

These Guys Are Good

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

Hey, Jaromir, who’s laughing now?

Behind closed doors, that well may have been the message being bellowed inside the jubilant home locker room last night among a group of exhausted—and, in this case, euphoric—Pittsburgh Penguins.

Earlier this week, Rangers star Jaromir Jagr raised some eyebrows in the Steel City for claiming Pittsburgh’s terrific tandem of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin “are not Mario Lemieux.”

Maybe not.

But they are damn good in their own right. And no one should know that better this morning than Jagr, who, from ice level, had the best view in the house of just how lethal that Crosby-Malkin combination can be.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

It’s a Game 2 Saturday.  Want Some Keys?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Update 1240 EST:  Dandenault stays.

Spring time in the nation’s capitol (al).  Absolutely perfect weather. A day made to take the top down on the jeep, load up the family and drive down (over, up? I have no idea) to Maryland’s eastern shore and thank all that is holy for the opportunity we have to enjoy all of nature’s wonders.

So I think I’ll break out the Pepe Lopez, sit cris-cross applesauce on the floor and rock back and forth for the next 7 hours until the game starts.

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Rangers Weren’t In The Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

They were as disciplined as a class of fourth-graders with a substitute teacher. If not for the brilliance of Henrik Lundqvist Henrik Lundqvist in goal, they’d have been down by three goals within the first 20 minutes.

“I don’t want to think about it,” said Lundqvist, who yielded as many as five goals for the first time since the infamous Feb. 19, 6-5 shootout loss in Montreal. “We just have to move on.”

Plain and simple, this was an embarrassing display of playoff hockey, even more mortifying given that the Rangers somehow managed to construct a 3-0 lead by the 3:37 mark of the second on goals by Straka, Chris Drury and Sean Avery.

The lead meant nothing. The Rangers couldn’t focus or execute. The defense made terrible decisions. The forwards were not only no better in their puck management, they constantly arrived too late.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Cup Hopes Can Arrive Quickly & Fade Fast

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector of the National Post,

Winning the Cup is like climbing K2. There are many paths to the same destination.

Under the salary-cap system, building through the draft has been re-adopted as the best way to build a winner. But here in Pittsburgh they’re really only in Year 2 of being a competitive team, and in last night’s lineup they will have eight players who will become unrestricted free agents. And that doesn’t count injured forward Gary Roberts and defenceman Mark Eaton. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury becomes a restricted free agent at year’s end as well.

It can’t be easy building a team of destiny, when so many parts can be lost at one time.

“We’ve got a lot of unrestricted guys, restricted guys. There’s a window,” admits Darryl Sydor, a reserve

defenceman on this Penguins squad who played on Dallas’s Stanley Cup team back in 1999, and in Tampa in ‘04. “This spring and summer will be an important time. Either they can lock these guys up and build around a core group of players, or you have to start over.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sharks Fail To Hold Home Ice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,

An overtime goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs is like a rowdy bar shutting down with a closing time picked entirely at random. Especially when the visiting team wins.

One moment, the arena is full of life and good times and possibilities. The next, things are silent and everyone files out quietly to the parking lot. What’s the closing-time mantra? You don’t have to go home. But you can’t stay here.

The Sharks were at home Friday night. But they didn’t stay on task. Playing against a Dallas Stars team in Game 1 of their second-round series, the Sharks spent far too much time playing hockey exactly the way the Stars wanted both teams to play. Which is why the game ended in a 3-2 victory by Dallas.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Stars Make Most Of Their Opportunities

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Colishaw of the Dallas Morning News,

The Stars also were surprisingly incapable of mounting any kind of consistent attack on Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov. They finished with 18 shots on goal.

And that included overtime.

And they still won.

Meet the new opportunistic Dallas Stars, who steal wins even when they may not fully deserve them.

Brenden Morrow’s second goal of the night just 4:39 into sudden death gave Dallas a 3-2 victory at HP Pavilion in Game 1.

“It’s exciting to see him lead this team,” goaltender Marty Turco said. “I’ve had a center seat for his career.”

Watch the OT goal…

more

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Penguins Never Quit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP,

Down 3-0 in the second period to the Eastern Conference’s stingiest team this season, Sidney Crosby and his teammates rallied back for a 5-4 thriller in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal with the New York Rangers.

“I don’t think you’re ever happy on the bench when you’re down three-zip, but there’s a difference between not being happy and quitting,” said Crosby, who was the game’s best player while putting up two assists.

It was an important achievement, psychologically most of all, for a young core playing only its third-ever playoff series.

“At that point (down 3-0) we were a little shaky, but it showed the character of this hockey team,” said Penguins head coach Michel Therrien. “We never quit. This is a great accomplishment for that young group to be able to bounce back against at a team like the Rangers who are really committed defensively.”

read on

added 11:48pm, from Lynn Zinser at Slap Shot,

The Rangers have plenty of things to blame for their 5-4 loss to the Penguins in the first game of their playoff series Friday night, most self-inflicted, but they took issue with the call that set up the game-winning power play goal.

Rangers forward Martin Straka was called for interfering with Penguins center Sidney Crosby on a rush started by Marian Hossa. Rangers center Scott Gomez had knocked the puck away from Hossa at the blue line, seemingly thwarting the threat. But on the other side of the play, away from the puck, Straka ran into Crosby.

“I just saw him,” Straka said. “He was diving and that was it.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Hockey Players Are Recognized In Montreal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wayne Fish at phillyBurbs,

Doesn’t get any better than playing hockey in Montreal in April or May. There’s no such thing as bandwagon fans in this city because everyone — repeat, everyone — is a Canadiens fan. Even little dogs are wearing red, white and blue sweaters.

Canada sort of feels like it invented hockey, just as America has baseball, football and basketball as its birthrights. Face it, it’s the only game in town, so why shouldn’t rooting interest be over the top.

Here’s how rabid — but knowledgeable — the fans are. Joffrey Lupul was walking down the street on Friday and fans not only recognized him but booed him!

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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