Kukla's Korner

Decisions Ahead For The Wild

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

Kim Johnsson or Marek Zidlicky? Or both?

Owen Nolan or Eric Belanger? Derek Boogaard’s iron fists?

As the Wild works to make the playoffs this second half, General Manager Chuck Fletcher and his staff will be hard at work off the ice.

Over the next two months, the Wild faces some enormous decisions that will shape the future of the franchise.

Minnesota has nine potential unrestricted free agents (the five aforementioned players and Petr Sykora, Shane Hnidy, Andrew Ebbett and John Scott). It must determine which players to retain and then determine if it can afford to do so.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

NHL & WJC Hockey Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul


We also have the semi-finals of the WJC.

Canada vs. Switzerland at 5:00pm ET and Sweden vs. United States at 9:00pm ET.  Both games are on the NHL Network in the USA and TSN/TSN2 will cover the games in Canada.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Penguins Need To Play A More Desperate Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

There weren’t outward signs of anger after the Penguins’ fourth loss in a row and fifth loss in six games. Nor was there an outpouring of bewilderment.

Yet definitive answers weren’t forthcoming, either.

“It’s kind of like we’re just showing up and—I don’t want to say expecting to win because you do have to have kind of a confidence or swagger that you expect to win, but I think right now we think we’re good enough to show up and beat whoever we play, and we’re not,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said yesterday after the Penguins folded in a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay at the St. Pete Times Forum to match their longest skein of the season.

“I don’t know how good we are, to be honest. I think early in the season we got lucky with a lot of games in a lot of different aspects. Maybe it’s catching up to us. I guess that’s the best way to describe the picture—the level of desperation isn’t what it needs to be.”


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

Questions For Team Canada

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• My biggest concern on Steve Yzerman’s Team Canada: The apparent dependence on veterans Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger on defence. This is Pronger’s fourth Olympics. This should be Niedermayer’s fourth. Neither play at all-star levels anymore. Maybe they have one great tournament left in them. Maybe not.

• Another area of concern: Yzerman has added the entire San Jose line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley. Thornton has 10 NHL seasons with more than a point a game in the regular season, not one in the playoffs. Big games have never been his thing

more hockey talk…

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: team+canada

David Booth’s Return Is Uncertain

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Richards of the Miami Herald,

The Panthers have been saying that injured winger David Booth is expected to return to the lineup sometime this month.

Coach Pete DeBoer on Saturday added some doubt to that timeline, saying that it’s possible Booth could be done for the season.

Booth, who led the team in goals last season, was knocked unconscious by Philadelphia captain Mike Richards in a brutal open-ice hit on Oct. 24. Booth sustained a major concussion and has resumed skating and working out. But DeBoer said Booth’s return is an uncertainty.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: david+booth

Team USA Conspiracy Theory

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,

• Gionta is being excluded for having missed 21 games with a broken foot from Nov. 14 through Boxing Day, no matter his ice generalship, two-way excellence and dressing-room leadership. And no matter Burke’s Friday claim that, “We tried to pick a team based on the body of work rather than how a (player) is playing now. We tried not to penalize players off to a slow start.”

• Gomez remains at home because Team USA assistant coach John Tortorella, head coach of the Rangers, had little time for the Anchorage native who played 21 games under him in New York last season.

• Burke would choose a Canadien over his dead body simply for his having been nearly booed out of the Bell Centre last June at the NHL entry draft. A Size XL ego who is loved or loathed with no grey area beyond his snowy scalp, Burke immediately claimed that he didn’t take the podium abuse personally. But ...


Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: team+usa

Andy Murray Fired For Doing Too Well Last Year

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The St Louis Blues fired coach Andy Murray yesterday.  Murray was a Coach of the Year nominee last year and the man I thought should have won the award.  About half a season later, he is apparently not fit to coach in the NHL.  What changed?

The St Louis Blues are not a particularly good team.  They do not have any particularly potent scorers.  Brad Boyes leads the team with 28 points.  Erik Johnson has been their most successful defenceman so far this season.  He made the US Olympic Team but would not likely be worthy of he All Star Game.  Chris Mason and Ty Conklin have provided solid goaltending, but there is little talent in front of them.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Hockey Talk On A Sunday Morning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal via Faceoff.com,

• People who have watched Jiri Hudler with Moscow Dynamo say his heart’s not in it, but as one NHL executive says, “How do you turn your back on $10 million?” I’m sure he’ll be back in Detroit in two years. I know one thing: If the Red Wings knew Hudler was bolting for Russia, they would have moved to keep winger Mikael Samuelsson. Instead, they saved money for Hudler, who is seven years younger.

- - The Wings don’t feel Johan Franzen (knee) will be back until mid-February, so the Olympics are out, but if he somehow makes a quicker recovery, they have no objection to the Swedes adding him.

• The NHL is taking bids for next year’s Icemen Cometh outdoor game, but come on, if Alex Ovechkin, the best player in the game, isn’t on the bill at Yankee Stadium for the Washington Capitals against the New York Rangers, they’re missing the boat.


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Kovalchuk Talks Gets Serious

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell was slated to meet with Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, this weekend at the World Junior Championship in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in what could be a defining moment in this long saga.

If the Kovalchuk camp doesn’t sign the multiyear deal (10 to 12 years) that’s on the table, hold on to your hats. Then, the fun begins as the Thrashers will finally pick up the phone and open up the bidding for Kovalchuk on the trade market.

My guess is you’ll see the usual suspects inquire about Kovalchuk, teams such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston and several others, but an NHL executive from a Western Conference team told me recently he wouldn’t be surprised if the Chicago Blackhawks got involved…

If Kovalchuk is put on the trade market, I believe the Thrashers will not allow other teams to talk contract with him. He will be dealt as a rental only.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+kovalchuk

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Winter Classic aimed at Americans and non-hockey fans; WJC for Canadians with true passion for the sport.

-Damien Cox of the Toronto Star on his Twitter

Any other truly passionate American hockey fans feel like this is a shot at us?.

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: damien+cos

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