Kukla's Korner

Sean Avery’s Fine Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Mark Herrmann at Newsday,

There is no neutral zone on the subject of Sean Avery, former boyfriend to actress Elisha Cuthbert, suitor to Paris Hilton (he was shut out), member of People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” contingent, provocateur in Toronto Nov. 10 in a pregame dustup that left Avery denying a rumor that he had ragged Jason Blake for having leukemia. Avery later said that that’s over the line.

For someone like him, everything is a fine line. It’s part of NHL strategy for a team to have someone who challenges players physically and tries to intimidate them verbally. Euphemisms refer to them as “pests” or “agitators.” They are different from “tough guys” or “enforcers,” who are known for using their fists, not their vocabularies.

This protocol is one of hockey’s quirks that non-fans find hard to understand. Maybe the sport would be more popular if more people took the time to love or hate the likes of Avery.

continued…


A friend of mine (not a Rangers fan) argues that—love him or hate him—Sean Avery is good for hockey in many ways.  I’m not always sure, myself… but he certainly does does know how to draw a spotlight.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: new+york+rangers, sean+avery

Spezza Plays His Trump Card with Sherwood

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Allen Panzeri at CanWest News,

To get Sherwood-Drolet to keep making his sticks in Canada, Spezza had to play his trump card as a longtime, valuable customer. He has been using the company’s sticks since his final years in junior hockey, and he’s also featured on the company’s home page.

“I made it clear with them that, if I was going to continue using their sticks, I wanted to make sure they were still made in the same place they’ve been made for the last seven, eight years,” Spezza said on Monday.

more…

Spezza goes through 300+ sticks a season.  As mentioned recently, Sherwood will be discontinuing its production of wooden sticks in Quebec, and having them made in China and Estonia starting in January.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, Hockey Equipment, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: hockey+sticks, jason+spezza, ottawa+senators, sherwood

Fixing the NHL Schedule

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Al Strachan at FoxSports,

But judging by the early returns, the attempts to maintain the current schedule, led by Lou Lamoriello of the New Jersey Devils, will fail.  Lamoriello’s dearly beloved concept of eight divisional games per year will be scrapped and reduced to six.

That frees up room to make sure that every team plays each other at least once. The existing format of playing the non-divisional teams in your conference four times — two in each venue — will stay.

So that will give us 24 divisional games, 40 conference games and 15 non-conference games. That’s a total of 79, which should be enough to determine which teams belong in the playoffs. But it’s three short of the existing total and you have to know that there’s no way the governors will voluntarily reduce revenue.

Therefore, the league will add three wild-card games.

more…

Note: Presumably, none of this can be confirmed till after the NHL’s Governors meeting on November 29th.  This issue was also addressed briefly by Bruce Garrioch in the Ottawa Sun yesterday

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nhl+schedule

Tonight The Canadiens Honor Larry Robinson

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,

MARVELVILLE—The road from this hamlet south of Ottawa to Montreal goes east and north to Hwy. 417. For Larry Robinson, it was paved with the work ethic of a farmer’s son.

Broke after his first year in pro hockey, and with a young wife and son, Robinson worked on the paving crew—7 a.m.-7 p.m.—on the 417 between Russell and Maxville in the summer of 1972.

Robinson made just $7,500 the previous winter playing for the Canadiens’ AHL farm team in Halifax. With wife Jeannette and son Jeffrey, money was stretched thin, especially when the team went on a long playoff run and won the Calder Cup.

added 8:56am, Habs Inside/Out has some Robinson memories you may be interested in.  Some nice postcard pictures of Robinson and Red Fisher looks at Robinson.

Update 5:25pm ET: (alanah) From The Hockey News,

If the Montreal Canadiens keep retiring the numbers of everyone who deserves it, they’ll look more like a football team than a hockey team in a few years.

The Canadiens, who do these ceremonies far better than anyone else in the NHL (are you watching, Maple Leafs?) are set to retire their 12th number Monday night when Larry Robinson’s No. 19 is raised to the rafters of the Bell Centre. That will be followed by Bob Gainey’s No. 23 in February with it all but certain the Canadiens will retire Patrick Roy’s No. 33 next season when they celebrate their 100th anniversary.

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Update 8:22pm ET: (alanah) via TSN:

Montreal Canadiens fans had waited a long time to give Larry Robinson the ovation he received Monday night, and they weren’t going to sit down until they were good and ready.

Robinson joined 12 other Canadiens legends when his No. 19 was retired and raised to the Bell Centre rafters before Montreal’s game against the Ottawa Senators.

Robinson received an ovation of several minutes when he was first introduced to the crowd, and he tried sitting down to get the fans to stop.  But they refused, continuing for several more minutes despite Robinson’s repeated attempts to get them to sit down.

More photos here.
_________________________
*original time of post 8:28 a.m. ET. Last update 5:22pm ET

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, NHL Talk, Old School, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: larry+robinson, montreal+canadiens

Ducks’ Bertuzzi Near Full Recovery

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Eric Stephens at the LA Times,

The Ducks are anticipating the return of forward Todd Bertuzzi, who appears to be near a full recovery from the symptoms related to the concussion he suffered on Oct. 14 against Minnesota.

The exact date of that return remains the final question. But Bertuzzi has been cleared for full contact and is expected to practice Tuesday at Anaheim Ice, General Manager Brian Burke said today. And it is possible, he said, that Bertuzzi will accompany the team to Dallas for its game Wednesday against the Stars.

“I anticipate that for the first time, we’ll have our team all together,” Burke said.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: anaheim+ducks, concussion, todd+bertuzzi

Sharks Getting Their Bite Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet.ca,

The San Jose Sharks have finally shown signs of why so many people picked them to win the Stanley Cup this season (including me). They’ve picked up points in six straight games (4-0-2) to take first place in the Pacific Division with 25 points (11-7-3).

“We like what we have, it’s just a matter of applying it on a nightly basis,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson told sportsnet.ca. “When we do apply ourselves, we’re a pretty good hockey team. When we don’t, we’re an average hockey team.”

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: san+jose+sharks

All Star Campaigns

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

Behind the scenes as the Boston Bruins prepare their All Star Campaign, with comedian Lenny Clarke. (The Bruins are also starting to build a collection of photos on Flickr dedicated to getting the fans out voting.)



More Youtube video campaigns for other teams and players can be seen here, with more to come, no doubt.  To vote for your favorite players be sure to cast your ballot soon.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: all+star+game, boston+bruins

More Praise for Ron Francis

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated, asks “Is it too late to applaud Ron Francis as a Hall-of-Famer?”  Certainly not…

His career may be just under the radar where the general public is concerned, but his peers have long revered him. They appreciated his night-in-night-out contributions and understood the competitiveness below the surface of his stoic demeanor. As an 18-year-old rookie, Atlanta Thrashers center Bobby Holik played with Francis in Hartford. Holik says he learned a lot from Francis that year, and even more about him as the two competed countless times as Eastern Conference rivals.

“He was extremely competitive, despite being so calm,” Holik says. “You could never take him off the ice, in any situation. He was the ultimate complete hockey player—the last great two-way player.”

continued…

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ron+francis

Havlat May Return for Hawks Next Week

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

Press Release from Chicago Blackhawks:

Blackhawks forward Martin Havlat underwent a strength and evaluation test on his injured shoulder today at the Cleveland Clinic. The results verified that Havlat’s shoulder continues to improve and get stronger. The possibility exists that he may return to the Blackhawks lineup on Wednesday, November 28th, when the Blackhawks host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center at 7:30 p.m.

*Previous updates on the ups and downs of Havlat’s recovery.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, injuries, martin+havlat

Lehtonen Back in Practice - Goalie Surplus in Atlanta

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

“It’s been a long month, but it was great today to come here when everybody else comes and not three hours before,” Lehtonen said. “It’s fun to be a part of the team.”

And suddenly it’s a team that will have three capable goalies. According to general manager and interim head coach Don Waddell, Lehtonen’s return to the lineup won’t be rushed. In the past, he said, Lehtonen might have been hurried to action this week. But not now.

Johan Hedberg is coming off his first shutout with the Thrashers and will get the start tonight against Tampa Bay. He’s 4-0 in his last five starts and with his shutout in Carolina, dropped his goals against average to 2.38 in November.

Rookie Ondrej Pavelec is 3-1 in four starts and has a 2.71 GAA on the season. His only other loss came in a relief appearance against Ottawa.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, goalies, johan+hedberg, kari+lehtonen, ondrej+pavelec

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