Kukla's Korner

Canucks Have Gone Soft

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,

What a difference two games make. Two straight losses and the Canucks couldn’t look lower.

The coach is steamed, the players bitter — some so frustrated Tuesday they refused to talk after the game (hello, Mikael Samuelsson).

Maybe it will do them some good. Back-to-back wins to start this road trip didn’t.

continued

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

Kovalchuk Performing In A Contract Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ian Busby of the Calgary Sun,

The Thrashers have done everything possible to make it attractive for Kovalchuk to stay.

This off-season, they dipped into the free-agent market to bring in fellow Russians Nik Antropov and Maxim Afinogenov.

Although Kovalchuk doesn’t want to talk about hitting the open market, he admits staying in Atlanta is a solid option because his family has settled there.

The only thing that was missing was making the Thrashers a contender, and they are this season with a 15-9-3 record heading into tonight’s meeting with the Calgary Flames.

“The team has taken tremendous steps this off-season by signing free agents,” Kovalchuk said yesterday after practice at the Corral. “I think we’re a very competitive team right now.

“We’re playing better. We became a better team, bigger and stronger. We have much more experience and our special teams are much better than last year and that’s a huge difference.”

more

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

Bothered By Twitter

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Why the Universal Cynic has stopped Tweeting…

• I got particularly peeved whenever I saw press pull this stunt on Twitter:

“Hey, I’m interviewing (player name) tomorrow. What should I ask them?”

Here’s an idea, Mensa—why don’t you do your own goddamn work?...

• Live-game tweeting. I understand chiming in here and there, because we all do it. But unless it’s a big event, or you’re actually present, no one needs minute by minute updates of Ottawa v. Tampa Bay or similar.

more

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Bloggers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Avs Continue With Their Winning Ways

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,

This isn’t cause for Mayor John Hickenlooper to start planning a parade, but it at least helped get Avalanche coach Joe Sacco in a good enough mood to call off practice Tuesday.

Colorado regained first place in the Northwest Division on Monday night with a 4-0 victory at St. Louis, and it stayed there when the Calgary Flames lost 2-1 at Los Angeles in a game that ended as the Avalanche was en route back to Denver.

Also, the Avalanche is back in second place in the Western Conference, behind only San Jose, and will be there going into tonight’s game against Minnesota at the Pepsi Center because all three of the teams a point behind Colorado — Calgary, Chicago and Los Angeles — didn’t play Tuesday night.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman doesn’t add or deduct points in the standings for perceptions and expectations, so it doesn’t matter that each Avalanche misstep so far this season generally is viewed as a sign that a slide down the standings is inevitable.

continued

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

Bruins Have A Fighting Chance

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

Three times this season, the Bruins have recorded two or more fights in a game. All three times, they have won.

On the other hand, some of the Bruins’ worst outings - last Friday’s 5-1 stinker against Montreal the latest example - have come when they’ve tucked their tails and sleepwalked through a game without showing any resistance.

“We’ve touched on that a few times this year,’’ Ference said. “There’s certain teams you play against that let you sleep. I’m sure that’s what some teams like to do with us, let some of our guys sleep.

“The onus comes upon yourself to create your own emotion in the game. Get yourself engaged without having to be pulled in by the other team. It’s something that can slip away from your game if it’s not brought to your attention.’’

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Capitals A Legitimate Threat

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

What the Capitals either don’t realize, or don’t acknowledge, is how Ovechkin’s little two-game ban was actually a blessing in disguise. It helped him heal for starters; but far more importantly, it also demonstrated to every player on their team that they can now play at an elite level, even without their most important contributor.

This is a pivotal part in the evolution of any championship team, which is what the Capitals imagine they are, after making the playoffs in each of the past two years, and pushing the Pittsburgh Penguins to the limit in the second round last spring.

The Penguins ultimately won last year’s championship, putting Ovechkin’s rival, Sidney Crosby, one up in terms of their personal battle.

But the Penguins’ evolution was greatly enhanced these past two seasons by the adversity they faced. Two years ago, when Crosby missed 29 games with a high ankle sprain, Evgeni Malkin stepped up his level of play and picked up virtually all of the scoring slack. When Crosby returned, the Penguins were measurably better overall.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Leafs Finding Their Space

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Thanks to The Gap, life is better these days for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

No, they have not landed new wardrobes thanks to a sponsorship deal with the clothing retailer, but they have, as Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Ken Hitchcock pointed out about the Leafs last week, “found the right balance between offence and defence.” To mix coaching and transit metaphors, that is known as minding the gap.

Hockey coaches love to go on about the gap – the distance between the forwards and the defencemen. Keep the gap at the right distance at both ends of the ice, coaches say, and keep the distance constant as you move up and down the ice, and success will follow.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Smyth Still Wearing The Red Practice Sweater

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,

Question: Do you have a target date in mind for a return?

SMYTH: “No. I’ve got to listen to what they say. Obviously I want to be back right now, but it’s a matter of letting nature take its course and listening to the trainers and the doctors.”

Question: Are you giving any thought to that three-day Canada trip as a possible return, just to have a target to shoot for?

SMYTH: There are always positives, for sure, but I’ll see what the doc says on Saturday and then I’ll know more. For me to speculate on something, over the top of the doc, I don’t want to do that.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+smyth

Oilers Go The Online Route

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Tomorrow (Wednesday) night’s date in Tampa between the Lightning and the visiting Edmonton Oilers. It is one of two games this season the Oilers are unable to broadcast through traditional media outlets, according to Allan Watt, the team’s vice-president of communications and broadcast. As a result, for the first time in their history, the Oilers are making the game available on their website. Game time is 5:30 MST; but the broadcast will kick off 15 minutes earlier with a pre-game show.

Watt suggested the Oilers were “venturing into new territory with this webcast” (true) and that it would provide fans with “a unique new format to catch the game” (also true).

To enhance the overall viewing experience, the play-by-play team of Kevin Quinn and Louis DeBrusk will be tweeting with fans throughout the broadcast via Twitter.

more

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

Emery On IR, May Be Facing Surgery

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via CSNPhilly,

The Flyers have placed goalie Ray Emery on the injured reserve with an abdominal injury, according to sources.

The injury may require surgery.

added 5:18pm TSN says he will have surgery and out for 6 weeks.  He’s been trying to play the injury for about 3 weeks.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ray+emery

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