Kukla's Korner

A Look At The Western Conference ASG Voting

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

New York (December 24, 2008) – Three of the top defensemen in the world are vying for just two spots while five forwards are within a final-week surge of snatching the last opening up front for the Western Conference in the XM NHL® All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports that will select the starting lineups for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal.

        Six-time Norris Trophy-winner Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit remained the leading vote-getter on defense as of 7 a.m. ET today. However, his lead had been trimmed to a mere 3,036 votes by supporters of Chicago’s Brian Campbell. And those two hardly had locks on their starting spots, as Calgary’s Dion Phaneuf was within 66,500 votes of Campbell with nine days left in online and mobile text voting.

Continue Reading »

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TSN Experts Discussion

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

The panel then offered their thoughts on their leading candidates for Comeback Player of the Year this season. McKenzie and Matthew Barnaby went with Philadelphia Flyers’ winger Simon Gagne while Dreger chose Michael Ryder of the Boston Bruins.

“Coming back from a concussion is a very difficult thing to do and Gagne is scoring in the tough areas,” said Barnaby. “The Flyers are having a great year and he’s a big reason why.”

McKenzie stressed the enormity of Gagne’s return to form and the road he has had to travel to get there. Through 32 games this season, Gagne has 17 goals and 38 points.

“Gagne’s not just coming off a bad year, he’s coming back from having his career threatened,” said McKenzie.

more topics…

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NHLPA Gives Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

On the night of June 9, 1972, heavy rainfall, and the failure of the nearby Canyon Creek Dam, unleashed a wall of water that wiped out all of the homes in the area. The flood left 238 people dead.

In the wake of that tragedy, the city decreed that virtually all commercial and residential development along the creek that winds through Rapid City would be turned over to green space.

Bob Fuchs, a local businessman and hockey dad, went down to the rink at 10 p.m. on cold winter nights and flooded the surface so kids could skate the next day. There was one corner of the rink that caught more sun than the rest, so they had to add extra water. If it was windy, the leaves played havoc with the surface. Occasionally, the water pump for the rink would deliver a small trout or two from the creek.

At best, it was bumpy, but it was ice. There was hockey in Rapid City.

read on

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12 Days of Hockey x 2

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via XM204 Home Ice Blog,

A new creation ‘12 Days of NHL Voices’ featuring NHL Radio Play-by-Play announcers you here on NHL Home Ice and of course the classic 2 Days of Sabres announcer Ric Jenneret!.

Listen to both…

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Mediocre Ducks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Wood of Ducks Blog at the OC Register,

The now-completed pre-Christmas portion of the NHL schedule, usually a pretty good indicator of the league’s relative strength, reveals that the Ducks are far more pretenders than Stanley Cup contenders.

Tuesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames at the Pengrowth Saddledome supplied yet another damning piece of evidence that the Ducks, as currently constructed, are a middle-of-the-pack playoff team at best, one highly unlikely to make any significant noise come post-season play….

“Penalties (Monday) night and just some mistakes tonight,” Ducks right wing Rob Niedermayer said. “Everyone in here is playing real hard. It just seems to be that one mistake that’s killing us.

“We’re frustrated, especially losing the last two heading into the (Christmas) break — close games and against (conference) opponents. It’s tough. We have to find a way to make the other team make that mistake.”

more

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The Tension Breaker

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,

Puck drop for the Calgary Flames game in Detroit was a couple of hours away.

As players milled around preparing to face the Red Wings, the tension in the dressing room was palpable.

Then Andre Roy raced through.

With an elastic serving as a head band, his T-shirt tied in the front “like a bar beer-tub girl” and his shorts pulled up in a manner that would make Daisy Duke blush, the Flames enforcer went through the room in a flash.

He then reappeared moments later as if nothing had happened….

Off the ice, the 33-year-old right-winger relishes his job to make his teammates laugh.

It’s been that way since he was a youngster, getting kicked out of class for disrupting.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andre+roy

Chicago Feeling Confident

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,

With an 18-6-7 record, the Hawks aren’t just playoff contenders—they’re championship contenders. Defenseman James Wisniewski doesn’t think it’s too early to think that way.

‘‘We’re 31 games into the season now,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s not like we played eight games and started 6-1-1. You look at some of the games we lost. We lost five in shootouts; if we won those, we’d be five points better and right there with [defending Stanley Cup champion] Detroit.’‘

Just making the playoffs would be a big improvement, given that the Hawks haven’t experienced postseason play since the 2001-02 season, but winning the Stanley Cup remains their goal.

‘‘I don’t think it’s too big a goal,’’ Wisniewski said. ‘‘I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but if we bear down in a couple games and shut down San Jose and Detroit, we’re right up there at No. 1 in the [Western Conference].’‘

more on the Blackhawks…

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Gaborik To Sit Out Next Two Games As Rumors Swirl

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Russo’s Rants,

After tonight’s game, assistant GM Tom Lynn announced that the Wild will hold out Marian Gaborik Sunday vs. Chicago and Monday vs. Calgary.

“Marian’s going to take the Christmas break off and it looks like we’re not going to play him in the two games back-to-back. We’re doing this, not him,” Lynn said. “When he played back-to-back the other day, he got very sore. We were thinking of playing him in one game and not the other, but [GM] Doug [Risebrough] made the decision that he’s going to make [Gaborik] rest for four days and hold him out. Hopefully he’ll be back full-time after that.”

This does seem awfully suspicious.

First of all, the Wild is clinging to eighth in the West. To sit its best scorer in back-to-back games against two quality teams seems a little strange.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marian+gaborik

Leafs Catch Schedule-Fatigue

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star,

According to the coach, goalie Vesa Toskala played well, despite being yanked and booed off the ice after allowing his seventh goal midway through the second period.

“He didn’t have a chance on any of those goals,” Wilson said to a stunned media at his post-game briefing. “I don’t think it was fair that the fans got on him if that was their intention. Shot, rebound, shot, rebound and then someone puts it in the empty net. It certainly wasn’t Vesa’s fault, at all.”

Hmm. Wilson reiterated his feelings that the schedule-makers pretty much set the stage for his squad’s horrible contra-performance last night, as if nobody else had ever played back-to-back games within the same time zone in the history of the league. And yes, the goaltender had been sent home from Atlanta on Sunday to nurse his slightly pulled groin back to health – and rest up.

“It was more fatigue than anything,” Wilson argued. “We didn’t have our legs. We didn’t have our minds. Unfortunately it got ugly. It’s already behind me.”

read on

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

Don’t Be Fooled By The Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

You know what the Rangers are? They’re the team that has allowed six more goals than they’ve scored this season.

You know what the Rangers really are? They’re the team that lost a 5-4 overtime game at the Garden last night to the decimated Capitals despite holding a 4-0 lead by the five-minute mark of the second period.

This was and is the one. This was and is the one that doesn’t allow the Rangers - management, coaching staff and players alike - to ignore glaring deficiencies in size, toughness, presence and discipline.

read on

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

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