Kukla's Korner

Zherdev Returns To Columbus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jay Greenberg of the NY Post,

Tonight Zherdev returns to Columbus, the scene of his first four NHL years of underachievement, with two goals and three assists in his first nine games as a Ranger.

“To me, he’s a 40-plus goal scorer,” Blue Jackets Coach Ken Hitchcock said about the 2003 fourth-overall pick. “When I took over in November [2006], he was moody and very unhappy but he made big changes.”...

“He’s a good guy, really coachable,” said Renney. “His dangle instincts are a little different than a North American guy and I don’t want to take that away from him. He’s a great passer….

Asked about his game and expectations of a breakout, the English-shy Zherdev smiled and said: “Next level.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nikolai+zherdev

Those Classy Devils

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Empty Netters,

...a Penguins fan who was hit by a puck during the team’s home opener wrote in to give us an update on his health.

I was the guy that was hit with the puck in A 27 Row B at the 3:28 mark of the first period. Just to be clear, I WAS paying attention. Have you ever sat down that low? You can’t see a damn thing…

After receiving medical attention for my bleeding head, I returned to the game for the second period. In a very classy move by the Devils, one of their trainers handed me a Reebok Devils hat, signed by all of the scratched players that evening.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Flyers Bad Start Not A Coaching Problem

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull at the Philadelphia Inquirer,

This is Philadelphia, so there’s already a buzz that Flyers coach John Stevens’ job security could be in trouble if the club’s losing streak reaches eight games after weekend games with the New Jersey Devils.

Puh-leeeeeeze.

Stevens should NOT be on the hot seat. Last year’s strong regular-season finish and the team’s drive to the Eastern Conference finals has to count for something, right?

The Flyers are 0-3-3 because their goaltending and defense have been lousy, their power play has been inconsistent, and they miss some of last year’s players (R.J. Umberger, Jason Smith, Sami Kapanen, the injured Derian Hatcher and Jim Dowd) more than they expected.

continued

added 7:32am, via Al Strachan at Fox Sports,

Over the years, the Philadelphia Flyers have become known as the most cutthroat organization in the league when it comes to coaches. This is a franchise that once fired a coach because he contracted cancer.

So don’t expect John Stevens to enjoy a long and leisurely tenure if the Flyers continue to struggle. The Flyers were on the brink in the late stages of last season and back then, the word was out that Stevens was in a precarious position. As it happened, the Flyers rallied down the stretch and had a commendable playoff run.

Even so, the honeymoon is over.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Milan Lucic Checks Mike Van Ryn;  The Glass is Not Happy

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From HockeyFights.com:

Milan Lucic threw a big hit on Mike Van Ryn, shattering the glass, and cementing the two of them on this season’s highlight reel.

Update 1:18am ET— In the Metro West Daily News, a quote from Lucic:

“It felt kind of weird because you usually just bounce off the boards and this time you went through.”

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+van+ryn, milan+lucic

Already Time to Panic in Philly?

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Wes Goldstein at CBS Sports:

Fortunately for the Flyers, the baseball club’s World Series presence is hogging the spotlight around town these days, but those who are paying attention to the ice prancers couldn’t be faulted for seeking out the panic button because Philadelphia is the NHL’s only winless team two weeks into the season.

If that seems like an overreaction to a slow start, consider that last season only four of 14 teams that were below the playoff cutoff line at Thanksgiving ended up getting to the postseason. And Philadelphia, which has allowed more goals than anyone already has six teams to climb over as it readies for a home-and-home set this weekend against the surging New Jersey Devils, an arch division rival. In other words, Philadelphia could find itself in a potentially insurmountable hole before Halloween.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Thursday’s GM Meetings

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Pierre LeBrun at his ESPN blog:

The NHL’s 30 general managers met in Chicago on Thursday and left with some homework. They’ve got to chew on three rule change recommendations before reconvening at their next meeting in March and possibly voting on them.

• The first is the Larry Pleau idea that I first detailed last weekend, essentially changing the delayed penalty rule to the penalized team having to fully clear the puck from their defensive zone to get a stoppage in play, as opposed to simply having puck possession. The St. Louis Blues GM believes, and he’s probably right, it would create more offensive chances with the sixth attacker on the ice for a bit longer before a whistle goes. I like this one.

• The second has to do with hand passes and making them more consistent all over the ice.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rules

More Isn’t Necessarily Better

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Cassie Campbell at CBC’s blog:

All leagues, including the NHL, should be looking at how they can improve not only their medical tests, but also the way they conduct fitness testing and their training throughout the season.

During the NHL’s general managers meetings this week, team representatives will be looking at the medical tests that need to take place. Obviously it is a no-brainer that enhanced medical testing at all levels of elite hockey must occur to help prevent such incidences as the tragic passing of young Russian hockey star Alexei Cherepanov. However, the physical fitness testing for hockey players needs to be minimized as much as possible and in-season training regimens need to be amended.

I applaud the Carolina Hurricanes for understanding that more is not necessarily better.

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: injuries, training

An “Edgy” Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Mike Ross at NHL Home Ice (XM Radio) blog:

Since we came back from the lockout, I’ve heard complaint after complaint from many hockey fans that the league is looking to soften-up the game. That the NHL is becoming a less edgy game.

But the actions of players like Tom Kostopolous, Rene Bourque and Alexandre Picard have me wondering if some players aren’t making the game a softer game all on their own.

All three of these players jumped an opposing player after a hard, clean and legitimate hit had been levelled against one of their teammates.

We’re told by George Laraque that such acts are justified whether the hit was clean or dirty. As Ken Campbell pointed out in a recent blog on thehockeynews.com, we’re told that opponents can not take liberties and get away with it.

But since when does a hard, clean body check get defined as a “liberty”.

continued…

Incidentally, Adam Proteau at The Hockey News wrote on something similar today, reflecting on Bob Clarke’s interview on TSN yesterday.

Filed in: NHL Talk, Cheap Hits, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Thrashers Meet Hossa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ben Wright of Blueland Blog,

So now we get to see how he reacts to playing the Thrashers. It would be tougher for him if he was playing in Atlanta, so maybe this won’t be a big deal given that the game is in Detroit. Maybe it will. And maybe it’ll be a big deal to some of his former teammates. Last year the Thrashers went into Detroit and won 5-1 on the strength of a Hossa hat trick. Wouldn’t you love to see Ilya Kovalchuk torch the defending Cup champions for a hat trick of his own?  And will former Red Wings Jason Williams, Mathieu Schneider and Slava Kozlov pull out the stops in a building where they all had so much success?

more

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

Anaheim Signs Bret Hedican

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Sportsnet.ca,

Sportsnet has learned Bret Hedican has signed a one-year, $870,000 deal with the Anaheim Ducks.

The veteran defenceman spent the last six seasons in Carolina and has also spent time in Vancouver, Florida and St. Louis during his 16-year career. Hedican has appeared in 988 career games recording 288 points.

continued…

added 4:52pm, More on the signing at Ducks Blog.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bret+hedican

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