Kukla's Korner

NHL’s Extra Credit Breeds System of Inequity

Blog: KK Members Blog By Brian Halverson

The concept of academic extra credit has forever puzzled me. Despite the occasional motivation to exploit it, the notion of offering additional points as a means of atonement for under-performance has always felt fundamentally wrong to me.

Academic instructors typically distribute a syllabus at the beginning of each semester which, among other things, outlines the course’s key dates and includes a grading plan which specifies a value by which a student’s performance is ultimately evaluated. The National Hockey League has such an outline which contains similar criteria; although the NHL refers to theirs as a season schedule.

Like the aforementioned syllabus, the NHL’s season schedule consists of key dates otherwise known as games in which the league’s students—referred to as teams—are tested with points awarded dependent upon performance in those “exams”. While the number of tests each team receives is equal, the tests’ cumulative value is not.

How can this be you ask? Extra credit, of course.

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Filed in: | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: brian+burke, david+poile, lockout, nhl, overtime, pierre+lebrun, points+system, shootout, standings

Phaneuf Ready For The Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

The defenceman’s game-day scowl was screwed on pretty tight, three weeks before camp medicals on Sept. 16.

“It was a long summer and it’s no secret we weren’t happy where we finished last year,” Phaneuf said. “Back at the first press conference I said what a huge honour it is to be the captian of this team. But I’m not going to change.”

Phaneuf got the gig because he can bring an intimidation factor to his own dressing room. But he also made sure to call every new Leaf acquired since July 1 to introduce himself and give a pep talk, which hasn’t always been the protocol around here in the 43 years without a Stanley Cup.

“I talked to every guy and everyone was excited for the chance to play here,” Phaneuf said. “Camp is coming up quick and we have to be ready. Every guy we added will help us.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dion+phaneuf

Andrei Markov skating again;  no Price news is (good?) (bad?) no news

Blog: KK Hockey By The Upper Canadien

18 days to training camp, and we have some good news: Andrei Markov is back on skates. Yes, the Canadiens best defenceman is skating on his own and apparently ahead of schedule in his recovery from knee surgery, the result of a hit during the playoffs so many months ago. More on that available here:

Markov back on skates

However, there is still no news regarding unsigned Canadiens starting goaltender, Carey Price. Vacationing in Quebec, I am able to testify first-hand that the “holdout” whispers are beginning. It is quite strange that neither player nor team has commented on the contract in weeks, as normally the odd quote filters out to diffuse the situation publicly. Perhaps we’ll hear more in the coming days, but for the time being we are bombarded by the sounds of silence.

In other Habs news, it was announced today that Jaroslav Halak is on his way back to Montreal…for a large public autograph signing next weekend. You can bet thousands will line up with their “HALAK” stop signs to get them signed and say thank you. Normally I am not a fan of these sorts of things, but proceeds from the sale of pictures Halak is signing are going to charity, so I think it’s a pretty neat gesture. From the reaction to the announcement on the radio, the city is still in love with the Bratislava Brick Wall.

Free agents still out there that the Canadiens SHOULD be interested in: Owen Nolan, Bill Guerin, Brendan Witt. But I would be very surprised at this point if any more moves take place before training camp – except the presumed signing of Mr. Price.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: markov, price, ufa

HHOF Worthy?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater at Versus,

Therefore, with apologies again to some of those judged here not to be Hall-deserving, we bring you a determination of worthiness for 10 players. This is not a scientific process; some of the guys technically haven’t retired yet, or haven’t even become eligible for Hall consideration because they haven’t been retired a full three seasons - the usual criteria for induction, unless you’re somebody like Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux and just go right to the head of the line….

Claude Lemieux - Oh boy. This could come down to the final petal on the flower.

He was never a truly great player in the regular season, but Lemieux was great many times in the biggest of hockey games. And it wasn’t just that he scored big goals at times and was fortunate to play on some teams with other truly great teammates. Thing is, Lemieux always seemed to be a presence in games that mattered most.

You just couldn’t ignore him. He was a guy that everybody in the building had something to say about. Yeah, he dove and embellished (Sports Illustrated writer Michael Farber had a memorable line once, that Lemieux played two positions, “right wing and prone”) and he took nights off sometimes in the regular season.

But people forget he did score 379 regular-season goals. Then, you factor in his 80 goals in 279 playoff games, four Stanley Cup rings with three teams and one Conn Smythe, and I have to give him the nod.


more on nine other players…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: claude+lemieux

All Daniel Briere

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chuck Gormley of Flyer Files,

Q: You set a Flyers franchise record for playoff scoring in a single season last year. Did you expect to be that effective in the playoffs?

DB: “No, not at all. Things got rolling. The first playoff series against New Jersey was tough to get going. I don’t think me and Jeff Carter had a single point in the first three games of that series. Then we got hit by some injuries and we needed some guys to step up. I was asked to play a bigger role and was given more responsibilities. My confidence grew with these added responsibilities. I felt good and all of a sudden Peter (Laviolette) ended up putting me, Scott Hartnell, who had somewhat of a tough year like I did, and Ville Leino, who barely played up to that point, together. There probably wasn’t much expected from our line but for some reason chemistry set in right away and things got rolling. It was amazing. It is one of the best feelings in the world when every shift you are going out there you have the feeling you are going to make something happen and you have the chance to score. I know I had a blast playing with those two guys in the playoffs. I am praying that the chemistry stays right off the get-go at the start of next season.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: daniel+briere

Kings Have Big Plans For Willie Mitchell

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rich Hammond of Kings.com,

Whether he ends up being paired with Drew Doughty or Jack Johnson—the two most likely options, heading into training camp—Mitchell will play a significant role in the Kings’ stated goal of improving their 5-on-5 scoring margin.

Mitchell chuckled at the discovery that he, at 33, is the Kings’ oldest defenseman—now that Sean O’Donnell has moved on to Philadelphia—and the Kings will particularly rely on Mitchell during the first month, while Matt Greene recovers from shoulder surgery.

For the past two seasons in Vancouver, though, Mitchell served as an alternate captain, so he figures to become part of the Kings’ leadership group, if only informally.

“I’ve been fortunate to be around some great, great minds in the game,” Mitchell said. “I was coached by Jacques Lemaire, by Larry Robinson, and I thank God that I was lucky enough to listen to those guys. They’re great, great minds. I played with Scotty Stevens and (Scott) Niedermayer, and I think I learned a lot of things from those great players and great minds. I hope to maybe help out in that capacity a little bit with some of the young players on this team.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: willie+mitchell

Burke Gets a Bargain in MacArthur

Blog: KK Members Blog By Anthony Murphy

In my column from Friday, I suggested the Maple Leafs take a run at free agent Tim Kennedy after Buffalo gave him the pink-slip. Yet a few hours after posting, this – or the addition of any scoring forward – seemed unlikely. As he often does, though, Leafs GM Brian Burke surprised me with his ability to make the best of a bad cap-situation

A trade with Tampa Bay late on Friday added Matt Lashoff to Toronto’s defense corps, bringing their number of NHL-level d-men up to nine and pushing them within $1.5 million of the cap ceiling. Although Lashoff has only played 63 NHL games over the last four seasons, he’ll have to clear waivers this season to be sent down to the AHL, so it looks like the Leafs want him for big-club duty.

By Saturday though, Leafs GM Brian Burke pulled the trigger on a deal that looks even better than what I was proposing with Kennedy. Left wing Clarke MacArthur – another Sabres product – signed with Toronto for a steal at $1.1 million,after Atlanta walked away from his $2.4 million arbitration award. After posting career numbers in both games played (81) and points (31), the 25-year-old is just entering his prime.

While only a year older than Kennedy, MacArthur already has 208 NHL games under his belt, leaving him far more experienced at this level than Kennedy, who has only played in 79. Add in MacArthur’s points-per-game average at 0.42 over Kennedy’s 0.33, and the fact that Toronto will still hold MacArthur’s RFA rights after this season, it’s clear that Burke is getting the most bang for his team’s buck.

With less than $400,000 left in cap space, it’s looking like RFA Christian Hanson will be the odd man out on the Leafs roster. I’ll keep tabs on this story as it develops.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, clarke+macarthur, matt+lashoff, tim+kennedy

Guess The New Group Interested In Buying The Coyotes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Sunnucks of Phoenix Business Journal,

A mystery buyer has stepped to the forefront in efforts by the National Hockey League and city of Glendale to sell the Phoenix Coyotes to a new owner who will keep the team in Arizona.

An undisclosed wealthy buyer is leading a new ownership group that is interested in buying the Coyotes from the NHL. The league has owned the team since October when it bought the Coyotes via Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Details of the new ownership group are very limited, though Glendale and the NHL could announce details and developments soon, according to sources familiar with the situation. The ownership group has asked for the city and league to keep negotiations private. The new buyer would keep the Coyotes in Glendale and is not a household name. In addition, sources say progress on the purchase is serious and substantial.


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

Eric Staal Ready For A New Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chip Alexander of Canes Now at the News & Observer,

The captain is back.

Eric Staal is healthy. He says he’s a little leaner. He says he’s ready to get back on the ice, ready to lead the Canes by example.

While much has changed for the Canes, Staal is a constant. He’s the player everyone will look to for the big goals, for the big plays. He’s a player many believe belongs among the NHL’s elite, but also a player going into this season with something to prove.

“I’m like everybody else on this team, making sure we’re pushing forward and getting better every day,” Staal said today. “For me, it’s about getting to know some of these (younger) guys and making sure they’re pushing themselves to be better and to make our team better.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eric+staal

It’s too easy to get lost

Blog: KK Hockey By Samantha

Help me welcome Samantha to the KK blogging world.  She has great insight on our game and I have always enjoyed her past blogs.

Her KK blog, like all the other new bloggers, will be up and running sometime in September and yes, there are more bloggers coming.

Hello from Portland, Oregon, where I live and will be blogging for Kukla’s Korner. I’ve been blogging about hockey for about a year now, and I’m very honored and excited to be joining the KK community.  If you’ve already visited 87in107, then you know how I ended up here. Sometimes I wonder myself. I grew up in Arizona (pre-Coyotes), and my hometown had exactly one ice rink. But that didn’t stop me from discovering hockey. Of course, it was on television and far away in Lake Placid in 1980.  Despite my humble beginnings in a desert, I still thought I knew and understood the sport. Until the 2009 playoff season, when I was watching Malkin’s no-look, back-handed shot into the Carolina net, and I realized that I didn’t even know what a hat trick was. And I certainly didn’t know the rules. So I learned them: all 87 in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, the 30th anniversary of the day I discovered hockey. Since then, I’ve learned the entire IIHF Rulebook and I’m moving on to the collective bargaining agreement and anything else that strikes my fancy.

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

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