Kukla's Korner

Thrashers Franchise Changing Decision

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Ilya Kovalchuk has been the best player in Atlanta Thrasher franchise history.  Ilya Kovalchuk will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.  How will the Atlanta Thrashers handle the likely loss of their best player?  Do they trade him before the NHL trade deadline?  That would trigger a likely end to any hope of contending for a playoff berth this season.  Currently Atlanta sits four points back of eighth seed Montreal in the East Conference with three games in hand.  They are currently mired in a slump where they have won only one of their last eleven games.  Before it started, they looked like a sleeper team that could make some noise in a playoff run.

There are plenty of reasons to imagine that Kovalchuk will not want to return to Atlanta.  Atlanta is a franchise that has never won a playoff game in their history.  Kovalchuk may want a better chance of winning.  Atlanta is not a financially strong franchise.  Atlanta ownership has been fighting one another in court and not put sufficient capital behind the franchise.  They are a strong contender to be one of the next teams that the NHL is forced to keep alive on life support (much like the Phoenix Coyotes).

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I see that many people are worried because of my decline in productivity. But the season is long and everybody has slowdowns. Do not worry I will be in my best form by the Olympics and I hope I will not let my country down.

-Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Team Russia.  More from Malkin at RussiaToday.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: evgeni+malkin, team+russia

GDT - Game #45: Red Wings at Islanders (7:00)

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Jeff OKWingnut

LAK have “hit the wall”, going 3-7-0 in their last ten, and losing to SJS last night.  IF DET win tonight at NYI (who are 6-3-1 in last ten), they will move into playoff position.  NSH, who did win last night, aren’t setting the world on fire either, 5-5 in their last ten.  Bubba has 57 pts in 46 games; DET are 5 pts back, but have played two fewer games.  Opportunity to close the rankings tonight against an opponent DET should handle easily.  DET is statistically better in every category, and are riding their red-hot Calder candidate again tonight.  Howard, in his last seven games, is 5-1-1, and has a ridiculous .959 save percentage. 

But for the love of gawd, can they do something about the damn PP (not the PK) - - 2-for-42 (4.8%) in the last 13 games - - ugly.

Honestly, I don’t have a good feeling about tonight, then again, I had the same creepy mojo before the Shark game and that ended up pretty well.

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The Sutter System

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,

For more than half a season, (Kevin) Weekes has watched his former coach with his new team and seen Sutter try to implement his way of doing things on a Flames team that has battled through its ups and downs, yet still went into last night’s clash with the Colorado Avalanche atop the NHL’s Northwest Division.

Weekes, who retired after a 13-year pro career, says nothing he’s seen from Sutter has come as a surprise to him.

“He has his system, in terms of the way he wants to do things, what he believes in, why he believes in them and how he wants them executed. He’s very steadfast in those things.

“I know those four things are big for him,” Weekes said.

He understands making things interesting for the coach in Calgary is that New Jersey has had a way of doing things for a generation, compared to a Flames team that had little structure the past couple of years.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brent+sutter

Why Kovalchuk May Leave Atlanta

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Imagine this scenario: Kovalchuk signs a 10-year contract with Atlanta for $10 million a year. Then, starting next year, outside economic forces push the league’s escrow up from 13 per cent per paycheque to say, 20 per cent.

So now he’s getting $8 million a year.

Then, in 2012, a new collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players includes another 24 per cent salary rollback and new limits on term for individual player contracts.

Finally, the Thrashers sell to new ownership, who sensibly give up on Atlanta, moving the team to Kansas City.

So Kovalchuk might end up playing for a sharply devalued, shortened contract in a city in which he doesn’t want to live for owners he doesn’t trust or like.

Now, it’s unlikely all these dynamics would come into play, but they might.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+kovalchuk

Senators Searching For Help At Center

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

As the Senators continue their five-game road trip tonight against the Thrashers and struggle to hang onto a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, two league executives told the Sun yesterday that Murray is trying to deal for a centre.

With top centre Jason Spezza sidelined the past three weeks, Mike Fisher struggling and Peter Regin miscast as the No. 1 pivot at the moment, the indications are Murray would like somebody who can play in a top-six role and possibly move to the wing once the team is healthy.

The most consistent centre for the Senators this season has been Chris Kelly, who has looked quite comfortable in his third-line role.

Making a deal is tough with the salary cap, but talk has started to heat up.

“That’s easier said than done,” said one NHL executive. “There’s just not a lot out there right now. Not enough teams are eliminated.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Cleary’s Return Boosts Wings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,

For most of the season, the story around the Detroit Red Wings has been who is leaving the lineup with injuries. The Wings finally have some good news with Dan Cleary retuning from a separated shoulder that placed him on the club’s long injury list for a dozen games.

And so far, so good. Cleary has goals in two straight games, netting one against the Kings on Jan. 7 and another against the Sharks on Jan. 9 with the opportunity for more Tuesday night on Long Island.

“It doesn’t even look like he’s lost anything,” goalie Jimmy Howard told Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. “He was flying out there again. He really picked that top corner there. He’s got a heck of a shot, and he definitely used it to his advantage.”

continued and more Central Division notes…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+cleary

Dater Critiques The Flames

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

If I can apply some of the same critical thought to the Flames for a second here, like I always do with the Avs, I would say that Jay Bouwmeester too often looks like just another guy out there. He doesn’t seem to play with a lot of passion somehow. He skates fast, but it seems like he’s always got somewhere better to get -instead of place like the front of the net or dangerously cutting into the slot areas.

Dion Phaneuf is another guy I’d want to carve a little. Some bad decisions with the puck, a slap shot that too often sails wide of the net. Olli Jokinen too often looks like a bigger version of Wolski.

more on the Avs victory over the Flames last night…

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

Alexandre Burrows Calls Out Referee

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows did not hold back about what he felt were unjust penalty calls, ripping into NHL referee Stephane Auger after Vancouver’s 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Monday night.

Burrows, who was called for diving in the second period and interference in the third, also received a 10-minute misconduct with seconds left in the game, and he was not shy his post-game interview.

“It was personal. It started in warmup, before the anthem,” Burrows said of Auger’s penalty calling. “(Augers) came over to me and he said I made him look bad in Nashville on the (Jerred) Smithson hit and he said he was going to get me back tonight.”

continued

added 7:18am, You can judge the calls against Burrows last night…

added 8:31am, Watch below the post game comments from Burrows and others….

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexandre+burrows

Nice Job 19

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

You idiots somehow made a list of top ten hockey blogs.  Congratulations. The Sports Media Challenge does an annual deal, ranking the top NHL blogs and the 19 strolled in at #4.  Reaction and reasoning is below.  First, the criteria…the Media Challenge guys list “content and influence” as two of the three top variables.  Hmmm.  Interesting.  Repeatedly using the words “bitch”, “vomit”, “prison washroom” and “Murph’s wasted again” does not, in my opinion, qualify as “quality” content. 

Influence?

 

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

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