Kukla's Korner

Madden Has Always Carried A Chip On His Shoulder

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune,

He’s been asked to tell the story so many times that at first you get a little roll of the eyes.

But it’s there, a movie-of-the-week tale that begins in Toronto’s poverty-stricken Parma Court housing projects 37 years ago.

John Madden, who has joined the Wild—coming to Minnesota with three Stanley Cup championships in his past—will tell you that a difficult childhood and a life spent proving that a 5-11, 190-pounder has a place in the NHL will give you an edge. It’s just that he doesn’t want to make too big a deal of it.

“It’s true,” said Madden, whose parents had divorced by the time he was 10, when asked about learning hockey on a flooded basketball court, about looking out for himself while his mom worked two jobs, about how he had to carry his bag onto the bus, and then the Toronto subway, just to get to games when he was 12.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+madden

The Not So Bad NHL Training Camps

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,

Other than being stuck indoors, hockey training camps have it all over football when it comes to the necessary evils of seasonal preparation.

You don’t see hockey veterans faking injuries (OK, hardly ever) to avoid training sessions.

Hockey doesn’t have a Brett Favre, who just happens to end his annual retirement as training camp is coming to a close.

Legendary is the veteran football players’ hatred for camp. With reason. Two-a-days in brutal heat, in full gear. It’s boot camp. Thirty-year-old men, fathers many of them, are housed like students in a dorm, eating, sleeping, drinking football for weeks at a time.

In comparison, the hockey player is a free man. Free to go home to his family each afternoon, save for an exhibition game here and there.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

It’s Different In Edmonton

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal,

The eggshells are gone.

If your name is Andrew Cogliano, Sam Gagner or Tom Gilbert, that should have been among the first things you noticed upon your return to the Edmonton Oilers dressing room.

For the past two years, the comfort level of those kids in that room was affected, both positively and negatively, by some dominant and veteran personalities. The youngsters were too often better seen than heard—quieted by tradition, circumstance and demographics—even as they assumed larger on-ice roles than some veterans.

But a chaotic summer of personnel change has wrought a serious culture shift and it takes all of a few minutes at this Oilers training camp to feel it. The atmosphere has lightened. The room will not belong to anyone or any faction the way it did to Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios, Shawn Horcoff and Sheldon Souray last year.

There is an opportunity, and more than that, a desire to have new voices heard, be they the respected, veteran opinions of Horcoff and Jason Strudwick or the younger takes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Souray is a risk worth taking. If he comes aboard, he would be the best defenseman on the Jackets’ roster - arguably, the best they have ever had. He says he is healthy and seeking redemption. His swagger and brashness would be welcome among a troop of Boy Scouts, in a town where season-ticket sales have tanked, on a team with a huge hole on the power play.

-Michale Arace of the Columbus Dispatch where you can read more on Souray.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sheldon+souray

All Patrick Kane

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Q: Nobody’s won back-to-back Stanley Cups since the Red Wings did it back in 1997 and ’98. You’re going to have to deal with the effects of all the players that you lost [due to salary cap pressure], plus the effects of that short summer. Do you think maybe some of the changes actually help you because it puts a lot of hungry hockey players into your lineup, all of whom want to win their first championships?

A: That’s what we’re kind of noticing now. You talk to somebody like [new No. 1 goalie] Marty Turco. We’re all excited about winning the Stanley Cup. He’s excited about winning one this upcoming year. He’s so enthusiastic about the season. He wants to get back on top of his game, he wants to be a big part of the team. … Sometimes, you talk to a guy like that and it just gives you motivation to get back on the ice and want to do it for him because you were in the same position last year.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: patrick+kane

Worst 20 Players By Goals Versus Threshold

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

A few days ago, I listed the top 20 players by goals versus threshold.  Today I will look at the flip side and look at the worst players by Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold system.  These are players who performed worse than a threshold replacement level player last season.  These players are likely to find themselves out of the NHL if they continue their current level of play.  In many cases, the fact that they played enough games in the 2009/10 season to do as poorly as they did is noteworthy.  These are likely players who have had some success and established themselves as NHL players in the past and their team hoped for a return to form, which would have them playing above replacement level but this return to form did not occur last season.

Here are the worst 20 players last season by goals versus threshold:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

The third day of the Red Wings’ training camp: impatience versus assessment

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

Check for news updates at the bottom of the story: The Detroit Red Wings made their first series of cuts this afternoon in Traverse City, MI, ahead of their training-camp-concluding “Red vs. White” game, after which the Red Wings’ trainers and equipment staff will begin a process they hope to repeat at least 46 times this season—they’ll pack up the Wings’ still-wet gear, using a moving van instead of a Ryder truck-sized vehicle because there are still 51 players on the roster, and truck it first to Detroit, where they’ll air it out, and then half of that gear will be moved again as 20 players head to Pittsburgh to face a stacked Penguins team on Wednesday (and thanks to MarkK for the tip). 

A good chunk of the Wings’ press corps and scouting staff will precede the equipment and players, most of whom drove themselves or carpooled this time around, as the “Red vs. White” game (which MyFoxDetroit promises to stream live at 12 PM) is more of a formalized and, if you look at the roster, NHL-heavy scrimmage which the players use to crank up their pace of play and say, “Thank you” to Traverse City for hosting the team and its prospects for the better part of two weeks. 

And because I’m starting to feel burnt out after spending the better part of two weeks running on little sleep and doing little else than going to the rink, writing, and catching a few non-Zetterberg “Z’s” here and there, I’m employing a cheesy metaphor: Wings coach Mike Babcock truly believes that it’s through the exhibition season that jobs are really won and lost, so the man whose decisions will ultimately decide whether Drew Miller, Mattias Ritola, Kirk Maltby, Aaron Downey, Derek Meech or Jakub Kindl have to call a moving van of their own may as well have worn the tag placed on the Coast Guard helicopters that fly in and out of the base near my hotel every day: “REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT.”

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

The Top Defensive Pairing In LA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

When you see them on the ice together as a pairing, you wonder if you aren’t watching the makings of one of the NHL’s great defensive tandems for the 2010-11 season.
Free-agent newcomer Willie Mitchell was again skating alongside blueliner phenom Drew Doughty at Kings training camp Monday, a fit that makes so much sense.

“Mitchell and Doughty—I really like the look,” Kings coach Terry Murray said Monday between on-ice sessions at the team’s practice facility. “A great veteran player in Mitchell, a defensive guy whose really a solid character person, is going to help push Doughty along.”

Mitchell, the towering, shutdown D-man, plus Doughty, the offensive wizard and puck-mover and ... voila! You have the Kings’ top pairing.

“A perfect fit for a guy like Doughty,” Kings GM Dean Lombardi told ESPN.com on Monday.

Lombardi’s eyes rarely shifted away from the ice surface while he discussed his team with ESPN.com. His excitement for the Mitchell signing is unmistakable; so much so that, while he would never say it out loud, I’m convinced Lombardi would be more excited about signing Mitchell even if Ilya Kovalchuk would have become a King this summer. Seriously.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Turnaround in Tampa Starts at the Top

Blog: KK Hockey By Jon Jordan

Before a single tweak to the roster, the Tampa Bay Lightning were already poised for improvement in 2010-11. With the tumultuous era of previous ownership already behind them when the sale of the team to Jeff Vinik was completed late last season, gone in an instant were any and all off-ice concerns and the circus went back to being an annual visitor to the St. Pete Times Forum rather than a permanent resident. With the appointment of Steve Yzerman as general manager, credibility returned to the franchise and new head coach Guy Boucher was widely regarded as the hottest commodity on the off-season coaching market.

Without a solitary player move, hockey life in Tampa was good again.

But far be it from Yzerman to rest on the comfort that fans surely feel by him simply not being one of those other guys. The addition of former Flyers forward Simon Gagne headlines a list of shrewd off-season maneuvers for the rookie GM and the revamped roster could very well translate to the sort of on-ice success that will make Lightning followers quickly forgot about three non-playoff seasons gone by.

 

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Atlanta Thrashers, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+tanguay, andrej+meszaros, antero+niittymaki, antti+niemi, blair+jones, brad+richards, brett+clark, brett+connolly, carter+ashton, cedrick+desjardins, chris+durno, dan+ellis, dana+tyrell, dominic+moore, dustin+tokarski, eric+perrin, guy+boucher, james+wright, jaroslav+janus, jeff+vinik, johan+harju, kevin+quick, khl, kurtis+foster, lady+byng+trophy, marc+pouliot, mark+barberio, mark+parrish, martin+st.+louis, matt+lashoff, matt+walker, mattias+ohlund, mike+smith, mitch+fadden, nate+thompson, nhl+awards, nhl+previews, niklas+persson, paul+szczechura, pavel+kubina, radko+gudas, randy+jones, richard+panik, riku+helenius, rocket+richard+trophy, ryan+craig, ryan+malone, sean+bergenheim, sidney+crosby, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, stephane+veilleux, steve+downie, steve+yzerman, teddy+purcell, training+camp, traverse+city+prospects+tournament, ty+wishart, victor+hedman, vincent+lecavalier, vladimir+mihalik, zenon+konopka

Watching The Flames

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

While the media has been skeptical about the direction of the club throughout the summer and into the fall, it’s evident city-wide support of the club is still on the up-and-up.

If you couldn’t tell by the full parking lot outside the northeast rink, you could see it in the eyes of jersey-wearing parents and kids dotting the railings alongside scouts, scribes and even GM Darryl Sutter.

Clinging to free lineup sheets they picked up at the front door, they oohed with every shot and awed with every save as part of a memorable afternoon of hockey hooky.

They cheered when Jay Bouwmeester found himself on the opposition’s goal-line, slapping home a rebound and they roared when Miikka Kiprusoff kicked out a tester.

The highlight of the early-afternoon affair came when the top trio of supposed saviours — Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay and Olli Jokinen — combined for a nifty goal.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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