Kukla's Korner

Zenon Konopka Brings The Room Together

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

The day I sat with him, Konopka had two black eyes, one from a stick and one from a fist. His nose has flattened out, having been broken 14 times - sticks, glass, pucks, punches.

“My face leads me wherever I go,” Konopka said. His lovable mug has had 400 stitches. Who needs to go over the Falls?

Somehow this fourth-line center who has just two goals and two assists, who’s lucky if he gets nine minutes of ice time a night, who until this season had played just 39 NHL games, has, yes, somehow become an important part of this team, and it’s more than fighting, having everyone’s back. Konopka is good at face-offs, he’s smart, funny, keeps everybody loose, card games, pranks, jokes, never any let up, not Zenon.

“I don’t want to call him a loose cannon, but he just does things, on the ice, obviously, but off the ice, too,” Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. “Team building stuff. He’s always got something going on to create an atmosphere in the room that bonds people together.”

more and to get all the fight information on Zenon Konopka, check out hockeyfights.com.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zenon+konopka

Parity Not Delivered

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The NHL sold the current central bargaining agreement as one that would deliver parity to the NHL.  This idea was a one of the more popular explanations for why the lockout had been necessary.  By removing the New York Rangers advantage to have the highest payroll in the NHL (and miss the playoffs eight years running);  the new NHL would be one where anyone could win (for example 2004 Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay).  That was the theory the NHL advanced and it is one that is commonly repeated in the media, but with little effort spent in trying to verify if this parity exists.

Mudcrutch hockey wrote two very good posts on this topic here and here.  These posts were made in responce to a radio interview with Gary Bettman that aired on Edmonton radio station 630 CHED.  Interviewer Dan Tencer asked softball questions that assumed that parity had been delivered and that it was a good thing.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

The Sedins In Action

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: daniel+sedin, henrik+sedin

Senior A Game Featuring Former NHL Players Gets Physical

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun,

The Clear Lake Jets have withdrawn from the provincial senior A hockey playdowns due to a lack of players, but its manager/coach/promoter isn’t going down without a fight.

Merv Bodnarchuk has asked the RCMP to investigate two hits in Clear Lake’s game against the Grandview Comets on Jan. 17. The Mounties in Grandview say they will look into the matter, but they aren’t sure how far they will go considering it happened on the ice.

“It’s in the hands of the law now,” Bodnarchuk said on Tuesday from his home in Onanole. “If the law of the land falls on to the law of the ice, we’re suggesting that a charge be filed.”

The Jets, featuring former NHL stars like Dale Hawerchuk, Claude Lemieux and Cliff Ronning, weren’t expecting a hard-hitting contest against Grandview in the opener of their two-game, total-goal series.

The Comets won the contest 8-6, but Hawerchuk, Lemieux and Ronning told Bodnarchuk they didn’t want to continue in the series because it was too physical.

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

No Major Deals For The Flyers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Anthony J. SanFilippo of the Daily Times,

Considering the Flyers are frequently in the trade discussion mix, whether at the deadline, draft, or free agency, it’s no surprise that they have been linked to several proposed megadeals.

Some suggest they might go after Atlanta superstar Ilya Kovalchuk. Others have them in deep talks with Calgary for hard-hitting defenseman Dion Phaneuf. There are still others that suggest they might try and pry Vincent Lecavalier away from the Tampa Bay Lightning while the nostalgic have them bringing back Rod Brind’Amour as another veteran voice to a locker room that can never have too many of those.

It’s fun to play fantasy hockey and figure out how each of these high-priced and big name players can impact the Flyers, but the reality of the situation is none of them will be coming to town unless they are wearing a visiting uniform.

read on

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

GDT - Game #53: Red Wings at Wild (8:00)

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Jeff OKWingnut

Detroit has blown third-period leads in four consecutive games and five of its past six. It has squandered two-goal leads in four of those games.  In their last nine games, DET has won two.  You tell me, does this team look determined to make the playoffs?

Can anyone else say Panic in Detroit?

Babcock, after the latest incarnation of the implosion:  “The last while, even though we’ve given up some leads, I didn’t think it was because we were getting outplayed.“But tonight, when we were ahead 4-2 with about five minutes left, we got a little tentative instead of going after them.”

What is the cliche, the team has to find ways to win games?  With this team, they seem to find new and inventive ways to lose, and they seem hell-bent to find a way to miss their “19"th consecutive playoff appearance.  In last nights episode of the Theater of the Absurd, Lebda +1, Stuie -3.

Big game tonight, yada yada yada. 

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

All About Fighting

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,

In other sports with sanctioned fighting, the goal is to win, to have your arm raised in triumph and watch your opponent hang his head in disappointment. Whether one “wins” a fight in the NHL is beside the point.

Sticking up for a teammate after he takes a big hit and showing you won’t be pushed around is often just as important for hockey teams. Not only are the star players “protected,” but an esprit de corps can develop. No matter how one fares in a hockey fight, teammates almost always tap their sticks on the ice as a show of respect.

That said, fighters always are trying to get better at their craft.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Dealing With The Young Players

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

Since a salary cap was implemented coming out of the 2004-05 lockout, young players have become more proliferate in the NHL. Entry-level contracts come with their own salary restrictions, giving cap-conscious GMs a ready source of cheap labor. As a result, young players are being pushed to the big stage as soon as possible.

The heat gets turned up when these young players come up on their second contracts. Those who are deemed talented enough are signed long-term—to define a young core, save money, or both. The Pittsburgh Penguins are a classic example of this. They locked up Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal as soon as they could. They provided themselves some cost certainty in defining where the bulk of their money was going to be spent. They structured their roster so as to avert the most expensive forays into future free-agent markets.

If teams are going to pay long money on second contracts, it follows that the players who sign these contracts are expected to fill important roles sooner rather than later. Crosby & Co. are a textbook example of talented young players stepping nicely into such roles. The Penguins fired a tough coach, Michel Therrien, and elevated a softer, younger Dan Bylsma to achieve this result. And they won the Stanley Cup.

This sort of thinking now prevails. If a coach fails to extract the maximum from his young charges, said coach is in trouble.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Who Stays, Who Goes In Toronto

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,

For the rest of the season, and especially leading up to the March 3 trade deadline, it will be hard to view Leaf players as anything but commodities.

For a non-playoff team on which futures are on the line, the big game won’t be so much hockey as it will be guessing who stays and who goes.

Against the visiting L.A. Kings on Tuesday, for example, the final score was 5-3 for the impressive young team from California.

But the important result was that a player like Niklas Hagman improved his stock on the trade market while goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, a restricted free agent this summer, only created more questions about where he might fit with the Leafs.

continued

via Darren Dreger of TSN,

Rugged Maple Leafs forward Jamal Mayers believes he has at least a few good years left him in, but doesn’t see Toronto in his future.

Leafs general manager Brian Burke granted Mayers agent, Pat Brisson, permission to speak to teams in an effort to generate trade interest.

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

Jack Hillen Takes A Shot To The Mouth

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,

The Islanders defenseman did what hockey defensemen do, throwing his face in front of an Alex Ovechkin slapshot at close range. The results were about what you’d expect; a pool of blood, a lot of quiet fans and scared players, and a trip to the hospital.

“It’s the game of hockey, but you never want to see a player go down like that,” Jason Chimera said, via FanHouse. “He took the full force of the shot. Difficult to watch.”

more

added 12:06pm, Hillen suffered a broken jaw and out for around 2 months.  Video of the play is below…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jack+hillen

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