Kukla's Korner

Don’t Forget Ovechkin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from In the Room at the Washington Times,

The latest batch of voting results was released Thursday. With upwards of 445,000 votes, Sidney Crosby has about 2 1/2 times as many as Vinny Lecavalier and Daniel Alfredsson, who are in a tight battle for second. Ovechkin was more than 46,000 votes behind those two with Daniel Briere in between and Ilya Kovalchuk nipping at his heels.

This might not seem like a big deal to some, and it is not like Ovechkin won’t be in Atlanta as a reserve. But I don’t think I am making a bold or inaccurate statement by saying Alex is the second-most popular player in the NHL (and this voting stuff is really just a glorified popularity contest).

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin

Why Aren’t People Following Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler at the Daily Freeman,

WHY ISN’T big league hockey more accepted by the average fan than it is today?

Or, to put it another way, will it forever be known as a “niche sport” to sports editors and TV producers who decide which sports get the big play and which do not?

These questions have bedeviled National Hockey League honchos as the circuit expanded from six to 12 and on to the 30 teams now spread across the continent.

ONE WOULD think that any league with footprints in such diverse metropoli as Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Nashville, Boston, Vancouver, and Montreal - just to name a few - would develop admirable TV ratings.

continued

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

McCarty Has Passion To Play Again

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Detroit Free Press,

“When Mac came back into town, probably about a month ago, he gave me a call and expressed interest that he wanted some help and wanted to get back to the NHL,” Draper said Sunday by phone. “The last three weeks before Christmas, he spent at CORE training every day.”

Draper was convinced after their hourlong lunch last month that McCarty was serious about returning to the NHL.

“I hadn’t talked to him, really talked to him, in like three years,” Draper said. “Last couple years have been frustrating and disappointing for him. I don’t know if it was coming back to the city ... maybe he got that passion again.”

read on

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: darren+mccarty

Get Crosby Some Help

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Madden at the Beaver County Times,

The Penguins are about $12 million under the cap. With new-arena revenue starting to accrue in 2010, there’s no reason the team can’t spend more to get the right player.

Who is that player? Tough call. Atlanta winger Marian Hossa, 28, has averaged 39 goals over his past five seasons. He’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, but will likely be traded before that. The Penguins shouldn’t get a rent-a-player. If you swap for Hossa, hammer out a new contract with him before making the deal.

San Jose is reportedly shopping winger Jonathan Cheechoo, 27. Cheechoo averaged 40 goals over the last three campaigns, including a league-best 56 in 2005-06. He has just four goals this season, but that might lessen what the Penguins would have to surrender. Cheechoo is signed through 2010-11, and makes a reasonable $3 million per.

Here’s something that would be fun to do: Washington mega-scorer Alexander Ovechkin, 22, is a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Offer Ovechkin what Crosby makes, then wait for the Capitals to match the offer. They would, but it would make for a marvelous week of dreaming.

more

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

The Writers Know

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from CamWest via the National Post,

Gazing into their crystal balls, CanWest writers and columnists expect Los Angeles coach Marc Crawford to be the next coach on the chopping block, claimed Vancouver stopper Roberto Luongo is the league’s best goaltender, and gave Sean Avery of the New York Rangers the title of the league’s biggest mouth.

Voters were divided on several questions, however, including naming the league’s MVP to this point of the season, who will win the scoring race, and the biggest off-season free-agent bust.

Patrick Marleau of the Sharks and Mats Sundin of the Leafs were the deemed the most likely big-name players to be the first dealt when the calendar flips to 2008.

read on for many topics and categories…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Ice Is Ready In Buffalo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP,

“There’s no relaxing for the next 48 hours - none, zero,” Craig said emphatically Sunday afternoon.

The NHL’s magic man when it comes to ice is up to his old tricks. People in and around hockey had serious concerns about a hockey rink going up at Ralph Wilson Stadium in less than half the allotted time the league had to build the ice surface at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton four years ago for the Heritage Classic - the NHL’s first outdoor foray for a regular-season game.

So far so good. Craig had his staff split up and work 12-hour shifts so that it was nearly non-stop 24/7 since last Sunday night at 7 p.m. The result? As of Sunday afternoon, they were pretty much right on par with where things stood in Edmonton 48 hours out from game time.

“The rink itself looks fairly well ready to go,” Craig allowed himself to say. “We’re ready to go, let’s drop the puck and play hockey.”

read on

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winter+classic

The NHL In 2008

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

Any idiot can tell you what’s happened in the first half of the NHL season. But only this idiot can tell you what’s about to happen in the league’s second half….

Feb. 26: After two weeks of near-hysterical trade rumours, the deadline comes and goes with just one major deal. Anaheim’s Brian Burke orchestrates a three-team trade in which he moves Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy. Buffalo then sends Getzlaf and Perry to Tampa Bay for Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis before Burke deals Vanek and Roy to Tampa for Getzlaf and Perry and the Lightning ship Vanek and Roy back to Buffalo for Richards and St. Louis.

True, all six players end up on their original teams but TSN fills four hours of programming on the deal.

“I was bored,” Burke explains.

“This is proof the new NHL is working,” says Bettman.

much more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Rangers Should Wait On Trade

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Daily News,

The recent mutual observation society involving scouts from the Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets raised anticipation that a deal might be imminent. But the Rangers’ best course of action is to hold off as long as possible in case a big bang is required at the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

more plus another look at Sean Avery…

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Western Swing After Action

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Another productive trip West.  A whitewash of our JV sisters from St. Louis, a grinding win over the mediocre Dive and last night’s slush-fest in Phoenix.  6 possible points: done.

Check this out:  counting OT and the now completely lifeless shootouts, the Wings have lost seven times on the road out of twenty games. 

Of those 7 losses?

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Hurry Up And Sign Cleary

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

The Wings have a stacked club, but GM Ken Holland doesn’t want to let unrestricted free agent forward Dan Cleary get away. He may be their most versatile player, creative enough to play with the big boys, strong enough defensively to be a shut-down forward. “Some other team may think Danny can be a No. 2 centre and may offer him a lot of money,” said one NHL scout.

much more Western Conference talk…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+cleary

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