Kukla's Korner

Enough Of The Bruins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,

The renaissance of the Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks has been fantastic for the game of hockey, because the poor management of these two Original Six teams hamstrung the NHL for too long. The league is lucky those markets were dormant, not dead.

The NHL needs strong teams in those cities, and thankfully, Bruins fans voted with their feet, forcing the Bruins to join the 21st century.

With a Harvard-educated Canadian lawyer as general manager, the Bruins spent big money to bring Zdeno Chara to Boston, outbid other teams for the services of 21-year-old free agent Blake Wheeler last summer and have a strong core of young players.

So bravo to the Bruins for bringing hockey back to life in Boston, but let’s stop it there. Their fans deserve a title, no question about it, but the city of Boston has had more than its share lately.

It’s time for the Hurricanes to say the same thing to Boston teams that anyone stuck sitting on a plane next to a Red Sox fan has been saying for the past five years: Enough.


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

Ducks Must Deal With Wings Talent

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

From what Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle was saying Saturday, it didn’t matter so much that the Red Wings juggled their lines in Game 4 to put Marian Hossa with Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula, forming an explosive trio that produced four goals and seven points in a series-tying victory.

As Carlyle saw it, the Red Wings could have sent out Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio and Gordie Howe—average age over 80, though Lindsay probably still throws a mean elbow—and might have won because the Ducks were so woeful defensively, especially around their net.

That’s not an insult to Hossa, a dynamic winger who’s so intent on winning the Stanley Cup that he took less money last summer to play in Detroit than he might have gotten elsewhere.

“No matter who they put together, we know they have world-class players to put in and out in those situations,” Carlyle said Saturday.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Happy Mother’s Day

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

May you have a glorious day!


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

With Ovechkin In The Lineup, Pens Send Their Message

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Well, aren’t you glad the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin played last night? Didn’t that make the Penguins’ 4-3 overtime win that much more fun? Isn’t it better to beat him in his own house and put his team on the edge of playoff elimination than to do it with him serving a suspension and giving the Capitals some sort of lame excuse?...

“Definitely, it’s better,” Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik said in the immediate, joyous aftermath of teammate Evgeni Malkin’s winning goal, just 3:28 into the extra session.

It was pretty clear all of the Penguins thought that way after this throbbing Game 5 win, their third victory in four nights in the series. It gave them a three games-to-two edge and the chance to turn out the lights on the Capitals’ season in Game 6 tomorrow night at Mellon Arena.

Much work remains to be done, of course.

Much, much work.

read on

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

The More Games, The More Revenue

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,

When the Red Wings, Canucks and Bruins swept first-round playoff series, their fans were presumably thrilled. Paul Kelly, the executive director of the NHL players’ union, was not.

“We were a little bit troubled to see three sweeps,” Kelly told the FAN 590 last week. “From our standpoint, from a business perspective ... we like to see six- and seven-game series.”

These ears, and call them overly sensitive, were troubled to hear one of the game’s most influential power brokers advertising his wish for longer post-season series. Yet there was Kelly in Washington last Monday, before Game 2 of the second-round beauty between the Capitals and Penguins, making no bones about his wish to see the Penguins tie the series 1-1, no matter what his cheerleading might suggest.

“If the suggestion is somehow you’re telling players to blow games to extend series, number one we would never say that, we’re not saying that, and even if we did say that, players would ignore us. I mean, these guys are out to win,” Kelly said the other day. “I’m stating the obvious, which is, when we have large-market clubs in the playoffs and we have six- and seven-game series, it generates more revenue for us and particularly in a year like this one, that’s a good thing. I don’t think there’s anything controversial about it.”

continued with a ‘conspirecy theory’...

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

Chicago Dmen The Difference In The Series

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles at the Chicago Daily-Herald,

There aren’t enough superlatives to describe how well the Hawks’ defensemen are playing against the Canucks.

Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Brian Campbell, Cam Barker, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Matt Walker are deciding the series, just as they did in the first round against Calgary.  Keith and the rest of the defense are too fast for the slower Vancouver forwards. They’re moving the puck out of trouble and getting it to the forwards, taking the punishment in the process.


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

How Refreshing- A Coach Calls Out His Players, Not The Refs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,

Dave Bolland’s game-winner came with five minutes remaining and after a high-sticking penalty on Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa. That was one of several penalties that drew protest from the 18,630 in attendance. Fans were also disgusted by a holding penalty on Ryan Kesler in the final four minutes and twice littered the ice with debris.

“Those two penalties to Bieksa and Kesler were, in my mind, deserved,” Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said. “We’ve got a lot of players right now, without naming anyone, who can play better.”

read on for more on the Canucks/Blackhawks game…

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

What To Do With Scott Gomez?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

If Tortorella—who, by the way was on the other bench in the spring of 2007 for an up-close-and-personal look when New Jersey’s Gomez dominated Tampa Bay in the first round—believes Gomez has both the talent and character to be a part of the Rangers’ core, then the Blueshirts will commit to the center and seek to acquire a north-south sniper to add to his line.

But if not, if Gomez’s play down the stretch and in the series against Washington created large enough doubts in the head coach, then Sather will attempt to move No. 19, which will not be easy to do.

Understand: The contract, which features an annual cap hit of $7,357,143 for another five years and has $33.5M remaining in actual salary, is going to be the trade, if there’s a trade. If there’s an exchange, the value for the Rangers will come in removing the contract from the cap, not in the return coming the other way. The contract will be the trade.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: scott+gomez

Best Defenceman In The Playoffs

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

We are well into the second round of the playoffs and I thought I would take a look at the best defenceman thus far through.  Several defenceman have been playing very well including Chris Pronger, Sergei Gonchar, Scott Niedermayer and Brent Seabrook, but one guy stands out in front of the pack.  That man is Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings.  It isn’t unusual to see him in front of the pack; he has six Norris Trophies that show he is often in front of the pack of defencemen.  So far in the playoffs, Lidstrom is scoring at better than point per game rate (9 points in 8 games).  This points him in the offensive lead among defenceman, even though several have more games played.  His +5 +/- rating is among the best in the playoffs as well. 

It was a regular season where Nicklas Lidstrom looked like he might be showing his first signs of decline.  He is unlikely to win the Norris Trophy this year (despite a nomination) and is no longer his team MVP in the regular season.  He suffered through elbow tendonitis for much of the season.  He recently turned 39 years old and it is easy to believe that his best days are gone, but what we have seen so far in the playoffs shows otherwise.  Nicklas Lidstrom has had a very good playoff so far and has been the top defenceman in the playoffs.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Blackhawks Head Home With A Chance To Move On To The Western Conference Finals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Chicago skates into Vancouver to take game 5 with a 4-2 victory over Vancouver.

That’s makes two road teams with victories on Saturday, will the trend continue on Sunday?

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

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