Kukla's Korner

The ‘Next’ Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wes Gilbertson at Slam,

After adding Taylor Hall to a stockpile of offensive prospects that also includes world junior hero Jordan Eberle and skilled Swede Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, the Oilers are being billed as a future force to be reckoned with.

Jonathan Bernier finally seems ready for stardom, giving the Kings a hotshot puck-stopper to complement an up-and-coming core featuring sniper Anze Kopitar and blueline ace Drew Doughty.

The Coyotes and Avalanche have stashed a cache of young weapons, while sharpshooters Steven Stamkos and John Tavares are trying to author turnarounds in Tampa Bay and Long Island, where they’re not yet legal drinking age.

But the Capitals seem closest to sipping champagne from Lord Stanley’s mug.

In an era when the best way to rebuild is undoubtedly to hit rock-bottom and load up on long-term investments, Leonsis’ squad has been there, done that.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Talking Marc Savard

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Douglas Flynn of NESN,

For a guy who has led the Bruins in scoring in each of his first three seasons and was still the club’s highest point-per-game producer in an injury-plagued campaign last year, Marc Savard sure has a lot of people willing to pack his bags, drive him to the airport and send him on his way.
Despite agreeing to a cap-friendly seven-year deal in December with a full no-trade clause for the upcoming season, Savard has been the subject of countless trade rumors this offseason. While he enters August still a member of the club, the rumors continue to persist, largely because even with Savard on a relative bargain deal, the Bruins remain in need of further cap relief….

The reality is that the Bruins might very well have to part ways with Savard if they want to keep Bergeron and Krejci around long-term and eventually move Seguin to center. But is now the best time to explore those options?


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marc+savard

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“We would have loved to go to the Flyers, but it’s not happening.”

-UFA goaltender Marty Turco.  More on Turco from Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marty+turco

The Key Question For Stan Bowman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times,

The question, and a legitimate one at that, is whether Bowman & Co. can replicate the depth and versatility that clearly made the difference this season. Bowman thinks they have what it takes to make up the difference. And this is his best point:

‘‘My key guys definitely haven’t reached their peak yet,’’ Bowman said. ‘‘Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are 21 and 22 years old. They’re still getting better. You could say the same things for [Brent] Seabrook and you go on down the list. They’re going to be better a year from now than they are right now.

As for replacing the Ladds, Steegers and Byfugliens ...

‘‘You have to have guys grow into it,’’ Bowman said, ‘‘Remember, it was a process for those guys to get to where they were at. You don’t just snap your fingers and get that depth. But the first step is giving them the opportunity. We have some young guys, new faces, but they’re excited about the challenge. They have some great players they’re playing with, so that’s going to make it a little easier for them.’‘


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

You Don’t Have To Be Fluent In French To Be A Canadien

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette,

Under the headline “He shoots, he scores,” Journal columnist Richard Martineau attacked Ted Bird for writing on his Bird’s Eye View blog at ctv. ca that the Canadiens’ Andrei Markov doesn’t need to learn French after recently becoming a Canadian citizen. The blog was followed by some anti-French comments from readers.

Wrote Bird: “It’s like this: Markov pays his taxes in Quebec, but as a National Hockey League player, even in Montreal, he lives and works in overwhelmingly English-speaking circles. He doesn’t need to learn French.

“Yes, it would be a nice courtesy to the provincial majority if he could appear on l’Antichambre and exchange bon mots with les boys, but learning a new language is a substantial undertaking, and Markov has more important things to do in-season and better things to do off-season than sit in a classroom conjugating verbs if he doesn’t want to, which evidently he doesn’t.”

Responded Martineau: “We are not asking Markov to recite by heart the complete works of Moliere, just to be able to get by in French.”

I like Bird, but I have to disagree with him on this one. Markov should make the effort to learn some French, even if it’s just to say “bonjour,” “comment ca va?” and “merci.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrei+markov

How Jay Feaster Started Working In The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,

It’s Jacques Demers on the phone. He’s got one simple question.

“Why aren’t you in the National Hockey League?”

The immediate response, as Jay Feaster remembers it, is equally straightforward.

“Because nobody’s ever given me the chance.”

This is 1998.

Demers, new general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is looking for an able assistant. Feaster is looking for a leg up.

It appears to be a fit.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jay+feaster

Dump The All-Star Game?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

Anyone miss the All-Star Game in 2010? Didn’t think so. After skipping the event last season because of the Olympics, the All-Star Game will return Jan. 30, 2011, in Raleigh, N.C. It’s a mystery why the league continues to feature the exhibition, especially if it’s to be played in a nontraditional market. The All-Star Game’s fatal flaw is that it bears zero resemblance to what hockey’s core audience appreciates about the sport — fierce, physical battles for the puck and for body position. Fans couldn’t care less about trick shots and obstacle courses that are harder to explain than the Large Hadron Collider. What gets fans and players looking up at the scoreboard during timeouts? Those black-and-blue clips of checks, thumps, and fights, which are all absent from the All-Star Game. It would be a better use of everyone’s time to turn the Winter Classic (Washington vs. Pittsburgh at Heinz Field on New Year’s Day) into the sport’s yearly midseason celebration.

more hockey topics…

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Only An Arbitrator Can Stop Bettman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The NHL’s effort to disallow front-loaded, long- terms deals that are permitted by the collective bargaining agreement through arbitration is an attempt to legislate from the bench.

Commissioner Gary Bettman and the league are using this circumvention case against Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils to try and gain the right to inflict arbitrary term-limits on contracts through the finding of an arbitrator after failing to gain that power through the 2004-05 collective bargaining process that created the current CBA.

“They absolutely tried to get the right to limit contract length,” one of the NHLPA’s prime negotiators into and throughout the lockout told Slap Shots. “It was another cap they wanted to impose, but we were able to win that one.”...


Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+kovalchuk

You Had Me at Draft Picks Four and Five

Blog: KK Members Blog By Samantha

Greetings from Portland, Oregon, temporary home of eight picks from the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. That includes the 4th and 5th overall picks, Ryan Johansen and Nino Niederreiter. It wasn’t always this way. Last year at this time, the Portland Winterhawks were very nearly the worst team in the WHL, we hadn’t made it into the second round of the playoffs and we certainly weren’t home to a small minivan full of NHL prospects.

What a difference a year, a new owner and a few well-chosen prospects makes. Today, I paid out the second of several installments on Winterhawks season tickets.  It’s the first time I’ve ever owned season tickets to anything, even hockey. This is in addition to my cable package with the NHL Network and the NHL Center Ice Package.

Since I’m investing in hockey the equivalent of a down payment on a small car, it got me to thinking about why we even watch the game in the first place. It’s violent, loud, bloody, smelly, vulgar and ruthless. No place for a respectable girl, my grandmother would say. Why, then, do I love the NHL Network, bobbleheads, fatheads, beer and shameless use of profanity? No clue about the fatheads and the bobbleheads, but I do know this: 

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Members Blog | Permalink

Plenty Of Unsigned Talent Available

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

“You could probably make a pretty good team with the talent that’s left available,” said a league executive. “People are still trying to juggle money and find out where they stand.

“Now that the arbitration period has ended, that might spur some signings. Teams know what they’re going to have to spend on certain players. There could be a sense of urgency again.”

Plenty of teams have money to spend, including the New York Islanders, Colorado, Atlanta, St. Louis, Nashville, Dallas, Anaheim, Carolina and even Los Angeles.

After taking a forced break from signing players, one player agent hopes the executive is correct.

“If I’d known there wasn’t going to be any signings between July 15 and Aug. 1, I would have just taken these two weeks off. The last couple of weeks have been a little frustrating.”

Another agent said older players are being squeezed by clubs giving younger prospects a chance.

more with possible destinations of some of the players…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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