Kukla's Korner

Against All Odds

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet.ca,

Not since the spring of 1986 has every single NHL team in Canada made the playoffs in the same season. That’s right—22 freakin’ years.

The Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs, apparently putting rocket fuel in their cereal these days, seem determined to help end the streak.

With just under two weeks left in the regular season, the two Canadian clubs, written off by the hockey world long ago, are waging quite the campaign to get into the playoff dance against all odds.

continued…

Update 3:17pm ET: Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail adds some more thoughts on the Oilers “Cinderella Story” as they race to make the playoffs.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: playoffs

It Is All About Winning The Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adam Schwartz of NHL.com,

There’s a reason Stanley Cup championships produce some of the best celebrations in sports. After four rounds of some the most demanding competition on earth, the euphoria can no longer be contained after all the sacrifices needed to claim the hardest trophy to win in sports.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Hockey Has No Borders

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com,

Hockey fans are everywhere.  They can live in Key West, Florida, they may live in any European country or could be following the game from a remote island in the Caribbean.

Wherever they are, they have a common bond with all of us; they are hockey fans.  Fans who love the game, a certain team and no matter what it is, they are hockey fans, just like us.

Now I must ask, why do certain hockey scribes continue to play the “south of the border” card when writing about the state, both current and future, of the NHL?  According to those who write these types of rants, the only place hockey should be played is in Canada and if it is being played elsewhere, well, then it is a problem until it gets fixed.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: hockey+fans, media

Do They Have Enough

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,

The Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks refuse to say uncle out west while in the east, someone forgot to tell the Toronto Maple Leafs to look to next year. The Alex Ovechkin-led Washington Capitals are defying all logic with their relentless playoff pursuit. And while those four situations are engaging in their own right, the two teams that have piqued my interest the most the last several weeks are the Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers.

Now, the Panthers do this routinely every year: Fall far behind in the first half and surge at the end of the season, only to come up short of the playoffs.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Stars Of The Week

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (March 24, 2008)—Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Vesa Toskala and Philadelphia Flyers center Daniel Briere have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending March 23.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

How To Increase Scoring

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,

It’s a problem that has existed almost as long as Gary Bettman’s tenure as commissioner: There isn’t enough scoring in the National Hockey League.

There’s no need to go overboard on this. The league doesn’t need to see teams hitting double figures every game. But on the other hand, there are too many 2-1 games, and even games that are scoreless after 65 minutes.

As a result, the league’s movers and shakers are looking at some rule changes that can lead to a few more goals.

1. Limit freezing the puck by goaltenders (a 90% chance of implementation)...

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Lack Of Chemistry

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,

Lack of continuity has been the problem. Much of it has been their fault. Some of it hasn’t. Injuries, for example, remain a crippling presence, literally and figuratively.

“It seems like when we get on a roll, something happens. We get an injury or lose a guy, and it’s back to square one, trying to find chemistry,” said Brunette, the team’s second-leading scorer. “For me, the biggest thing has just been chemistry. Through injuries, through different things, we can’t seem to all get together on the same page when we’re out there.”

Those “different things” for why chemistry hasn’t been better, critics say, lie at the feet of coach Joel Quenneville. A growing chorus of fault-finders, on radio waves, chat rooms and the like, say Quenneville changes his lineup too often.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Setting The Tone

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald,

Twilight of the Goons? Requiem for the Heavyweights? Guess again. In case you missed the memo, fighting is officially back in the NHL. Saturday’s tilt with Minnesota featured a card of three, count ‘em, three staged scraps (at least IDLM was spared Mark Smith or Eric Nystrom risking life, limb and incisors for the cause).

The NHL mantra of having your tough guy and my tough guy square off in ritual fashion is that it “sets a tone” for a big game. Funnily enough, none of the NCAA games in March Madness featured a punchup at the opening tipoff to “set a tone.”

continued

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

Leafs Face Must-Win Games

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Since Sundin was lost on March 15, the Leafs have a 3-1 record, which sets up this week’s home-and-home series against the Boston Bruins as the key to their NHL season. Since they are four points behind the eighth-place Bruins with six games to play, the Leafs have to win both games in regulation time to have any hope of making the playoffs. It is still the longest of long shots.

But it’s a shot, which is good enough for this group. They might even get Sundin back for tomorrow’s opener against the Bruins. Sundin plans to test his injured groin in practice today, and if the improvement he felt on the weekend continues, he might play.

Ask Maurice who is responsible for holding the team together in Sundin’s absence, and he says he can name just about everyone on the team. From goaltender Vesa Toskala, who made his 27th consecutive start to beat the Senators, to defenceman Pavel Kubina, who seems to have a hand in every winning goal lately, to young centres Matt Stajan and Alex Steen, who both have picked up the scoring slack.

read on

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

We Don’t Need The Cheap Shots

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Chicago Tribune,

“I’m just ticked off about a bunch of their players taking free shots at us,” an upset Savard said after the Hawks’ 4-3 victory over St. Louis. “After whistles, taking cross-checks behind their heads and behind their backs.”

Savard singled out the play of the Blues’ Barret Jackman and David Backes.

“Our game is a great game; let’s keep it that way,” Savard said. “We have two young kids ( Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews) who are playing their hearts out. If it’s [Pittsburgh’s Sidney] Crosby or [Evgeni] Malkin, I don’t see any difference. We have to protect them….”

more

Watch the post game press conference with Savard…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: denis+savard

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