Kukla's Korner

Spezza Is The Key

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of Off The Posts,

The road to the Stanley Cup final goes through the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Do the Senators stand a chance? Absolutely.

No, they won’t have Alexei Kovalev. I’m not sure that’s a big loss.

The key for the Senators to win is Jason Spezza.

He has to be the No. 1. He has to go head-to-head with Sidney Crosby.


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

Pronger’s Time

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

When the playoffs arrive, Pronger goes from nasty to nastier. His game becomes more intimidating, more punishing.

Opponents skate through the slot with caution, realizing Pronger thinks it’s his territory.

“We all know his style in the season, but when the playoffs come, you kind of notice a little bit of difference in his play,” left winger Simon Gagne said after Monday’s light practice in Voorhees, where the Flyers prepared for the upcoming playoffs against New Jersey. “He might be a little more physical. That’s the way I’ve seen it. That’s the way I saw him play in his last two playoffs in Anaheim.

“He’s a physical guy during the season, but when the playoffs come, he’s got that little bit of extra edge.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+pronger

Canucks With The Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Dupont at NBC Sports,

Before the 2009-’10 NHL season began I picked the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup. Well, I’m not turning back now. ‘Nucks all the way, baby.

I see it clearly: first Cup in the franchise’s history. Old Canuckleheads Harold Snepsts and Tiger Williams tag team Roberto Luongo amid the wild on-ice celebration at GM place, wrest the Cup away from the stunned team captain and disappear with it into Gastown before Henrik Sedin gets a chance to hoist it above his head….

Let’s look at some of the other top Cup contenders and why they won’t measure up to the distant sons of King Richard Brodeur:


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Real San Jose Sharks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,

The 113 points compiled by San Jose in the regular-season standings might be the most meaningless number in the NHL.

When the playoffs begin, they cease being Sharks.

They turn into clown fish.

In the name of accuracy, San Jose really should adopt an alternative uniform in April.

Dump that teal sweater with a shark chomping a hockey stick. That mean image doesn’t fit the joke that San Jose becomes when the games really matter.

Wouldn’t it be more appropriate if San Jose star Joe Thornton took the ice against Colorado while wearing an orange-and-white uniform featuring a cuddly cartoon from “Finding Nemo” as the team logo?


Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Columbus Hopes To Hit The Lottery

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

With only one exception in 10 seasons, the Blue Jackets have headed to the NHL’s entry draft lottery with high hopes of moving up in the pecking order, perhaps even into the No. 1 overall draft pick.

But in all 10 seasons, the Blue Jackets have either drafted in the spot they held according to the overall NHL standings, or they’ve headed back one spot. One might say they’ve had worse luck with pingpong balls than pucks.

Howson is hoping the club takes a step - or three - forward when the NHL entry draft lottery is held at 8 p.m. in New York.

“If we get the No. 1 pick, it would be a great opportunity for our franchise,” Howson said.

The Blue Jackets, who finished 27th in the 30-team league this season, have the fourth-best shot (10.7 percent) at landing the No. 1 overall pick. Edmonton (48.2 percent), Boston (18.8) and Florida (14.2) are the only clubs with a better shot at No.1.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Fixing The Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

I regret that I have become so personally entwined with this coach that I’m compelled to stipulate that I am not engaged in a vendetta against him. I have neither written about nor spoken of the breakdown in our relationship and have no interest in doing so.

But I must state that my relentless criticism of Tortorella—whom, by the way, I enthusiastically endorsed for the job a week before he replaced Tom Renney—is the cause of the rift and not its effect.

I do not believe a coach can win in this league by creating an environment of underlying tension, or by constantly screaming at players, or by changing line combinations every five minutes, or by obsessing over players staying out of the penalty box at the expense of protecting teammates, or by trying to win with two forward lines.

It does not, though, on the day after the Rangers’ playoff dream died, appear that either Sather or Tortorella is going anywhere, unless the GM decides on his own to step away from the operation.

So what should the Rangers do, assuming that Sather and Tortorella remain?


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

Hockey Hot In Phoenix

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,

Karalee Hoge will leave the playoff beard to the male constituency of Phoenix Coyotes fans.

But the ’Yotes season-ticket holder — and wasn’t that a rare species eight months ago — will join 17,000 plus at Jobing.com Arena and wear white for Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinal on Wednesday and Friday night.

Whether it be for a week or a month, no one can be sure, hockey is hot in the desert.

As the Coyotes get set to face the Detroit Red Wings, fans are being encouraged to grow facial hair and embrace the tradition first established by the forefathers of the franchise, the Winnipeg Jets, and join the “White Out” for the first playoff games here since 2002.

“Hockey is hot here and it’s amazing,” Hoge, a Coyotes diehard, said on Monday. “The arena has been more full each game and the last few have been sellouts, which was unheard of a couple of years ago.

“The whole row next to me was empty most of the season. Now it’s full.”


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

Beating The Odds

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Who in their right minds predicted that any – let alone all – of the Phoenix Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche would qualify for the 2010 NHL playoffs?

Collectively, the aforementioned were supposed to be the Western Conference also-rans, either too young or too bankrupt or just too mediocre to qualify for postseason play.

And yet, here they are, against all odds. As the Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars and other more noteworthy teams book tee times and issue mea culpas for seasons gone sour, the party-crashing newcomers are trying to figure out how to keep it going.

Last year, the Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues were in exactly the same position, qualifying for playoffs unexpectedly. The players said all the right things in the 72 hours between the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason, and then were promptly dispatched in four quick, easy steps.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Forced To Choose A Winner

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

It’s one thing to express dissatisfaction with Washington’s goaltending, or Chicago’s goaltending for that matter, or Nashville’s lack of offensive punch or Colorado’s inexperience or Montreal’s lack of size up front.

And sure, Pittsburgh certainly looked more solid on the back end en route to the NHL championship last year when Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi made like the shutdown pair of the century (it’s only a decade old).

Gary Bettman and Co. wanted regular season parity, and now they’ve got post-season parity to the max.

Nobody looks good enough.

But some team will win — it’s in the rules.

So who’s going to win the Cup?

Here we go, but be advised, this is no prediction. It’s a, well, a guess. Something you can stare at and try to decipher just like those odd, funny looking words they make you type in a square before you order opera tickets on-line.

So the best guess from this guesser’s corner is — ta dum! — the Detroit Red Wings.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Two Proposals To Purchase The Coyotes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Matthew Coller of The Biz of Hockey,

Here’s an outline of the Reinsdorf and Ice Edge proposals…
Terms of the two Coyotes deals

Reinsdorf Group (Glendale Hockey LLC) would:

• Buy the team from the NHL for $65 million, less than half of what the league paid for the Coyotes in bankruptcy court.

• Fund the team’s purchase price and up to $100 million in losses over seven years through a community facility district, which the city would create around the arena within 120 days. The independent taxing district would sell bonds and collect other revenues….

Ice Edge Holdings LLC would:

• Offer the NHL between $140 million and $150 million, the price paid by the league for the team last fall, through bank financing.

• Raise $14.5 million per year from landowner fees, parking fees and ticket surcharges, including non-hockey events, paid through a community facility district, to cover team losses….


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

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