Kukla's Korner

Oilers Could Use Some Veteran Leadership

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,

Even after all these years, we’ve got Gretzky on the brain here in Edmonton. We’re expecting that old story to happen again. We’re looking for that one great, young player to come in, and with a group of other great young players, rise up and grab hold of the Stanley Cup.

Hell, we are so captivated by that particular narrative that we even convinced ourselves a few years back that the group of talented youths led by Sam Gagner was a some kind of remake of the Gretzky years, with Gagner playing the Wayne Gretzky Superstar part, and Andrew Cogliano, Robert Nilsson, Tom Gilbert, Ladi Smid, Denis Grebeshkov and others in that tarnished group filling in as the supporting cast of shiny disciples.

And now we’re doing it again, the true believers, the faithful, heading out to the Clareview Arena to watch the Oilers latest bunch of young hot shots, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, Anton Lander, Teemu Hartikainen, Jeff Petry and others, go through repetitions of boring drills.

This is how we roll in Edmonton. Nothing too wrong with it, as far as us fans go, but I wonder if the adoration of this particular narrative doesn’t also have some impact on Oilers management, who get a bit too swept up in the youth movement themselves.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Players Watching The World Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mitch McDonald of NHLPA.com,

The biggest single event in sports, the World Cup, has dominated the sports landscape over the past month, bringing action from South Africa to fans in all four corners of the globe. With the Netherlands and Spain set to square off in the final this Sunday, July 11th fans are stoked for what will undoubtedly be a thrilling cap to a fantastic tournament.

With a membership that is made up of players from countries around the world, it comes as no surprise that many of the members of the NHLPA have taken time in their summer workout schedules to enjoy the action of the beautiful game.

Michael Cammalleri, a left-winger for the Montreal Canadiens, has Italian heritage on his father’s side and grew up cheering for Juventus and Inter Milan, two teams in the Italian Serie A. Inter Milan is the club team that is supported by the town where Cammalleri’s descendants originated from.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: world+cup

Columbus Still Looking For An Upgrade On Defense

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,

“We’d like to make an upgrade, sure,” Howson said. “But if we don’t get a deal done, I’m fine taking this group of defensemen into the start of the season with us. We think it’s a good group; a group that can win games for you.”

Howson also said no trades are imminent and none are currently in the works, but the Blue Jackets do have “feelers” out with a few clubs. He would not comment publicly on any possible trade partners.

Vancouver, which has two too many defensemen, is a club that is known to have had at least preliminary talks with the Blue Jackets, though a source tells The Dispatch that no names have been exchanged.

The Canucks have pulled back from the table, and Howson—not wanting to appear desperate—is not banging the drum to make a deal, either. It could be days, weeks or a month or more before something is consummated.

more plus other Columbus notes…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The History Of Black Hockey Goes Way Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Paris, Jr. of Boxscore News,

It is time to shut down some myths and old stereotypical mentality of the past which remains alive.

First of all, ignorance has no colour! A case in point, ever since the airing of the hockey show,“Blacks in Hockey” where former and current NHL Black hockey players were the guests, Ray Neufeld, PK Subban, Tony McKegney, and Jamal Mayers resulted in negative comments, particularly from Whites.

As a Black man with a hockey pedigree, the most surprising and disturbing revelation was, this panel of Black participants did not know “their own” hockey history. To add more fuel to the fire, it goes without saying the remark by Ray Neufeld of “being more white than black” leaves one to wonder if mirrors exist in his world. His comment, or lack of diversity training, regardless of the intent made some waves among many of my white acquaintances, in newspaper commentaries, and in website blogs comments.


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

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“It is when everyone is playing at their potential that great things can happen.  It doesn’t mean that they will happen, but they can happen and it’s always a matter of having the right pieces of the puzzle that makes great teams. With the young kids that we have on our team and with the success that they’ve had individually in the last couple of years, they’re on the right path.”

-Mike Bossy on the New York Islanders.  Much more at Islanders.com.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+bossy

Weber The New Captain Of The Predators

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from NHL.com,

There’s a new captain in Nashville, as talented young defenseman Shea Weber will wear the “C” on his jersey this coming season, the Predators announced Thursday night.

Weber, 24, led Nashville defensemen in scoring and finished sixth overall on the team with 16 goals and 43 points. He was also a valuable member of the Canadian Olympic Team that won the gold medal in the Vancouver Olympics.

“In addition to being one of the top young defenseman in the League today, Shea is a natural leader, and we are confident he has the respect of his teammates, opponents, the Predators organization and its fans,” Nashville GM David Poile said. “He becomes the first Predators draft pick to be named captain, and has been part of the culture and belief system we have worked hard to create.”


added 9:09pm,

Nashville, Tenn. (July 8, 2010) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that defenseman Shea Weber has been named the fifth captain in franchise history. He is the first Predators draftee to receive the honor.

“In addition to being one of the top young defenseman in the League today, Shea is a natural leader, and we are confident he has the respect of his teammates, opponents, the Predators organization and its fans,” Poile said. “He becomes the first Predators draft pick to be named captain, and has been part of the culture and belief system we have worked hard to create.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: shea+weber

Turco Still A Fit In San Jose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,

If Nabokov does honor his KHL agreement, it would seem that Marty Turco benefits to some degree. Turco acknowledged at the start of the signing period that it was “scary” leaving Dallas (a franchise that no longer wants or can afford him) and going on the open market at an age when retirement is easier to foresee than a two-year contract. However, the Sharks could use him for his remaining talents and knowledge of Western Conference shooters. Having him as a mentor to Niittymaki isn’t a bad idea, either.

Despite the spin that San Jose gave his signing, Nittymaki is not a proven playoff performer. He’s not even a proven No.1 in regular season play. The Sharks haven’t broken up their team with an eye to rebuilding, they are still attempting to go farther than they did in last spring’s playoffs and will need some help in net to realize their goal. More than a few teams can say the same. Turco can fit that bill.

more plus options for Kovalchuk…

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

Jay Feaster Now Asst. GM In Calgary

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Calgary, AB - Calgary Flames Executive Vice President & General Manager Darryl Sutter announced today that Jay Feaster has been appointed Assistant General Manager.  Feaster joins the Flames organization to build on his decorated managerial career which includes a Stanley Cup Championship as General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004 and a Calder Cup Championship as the President of the Hershey Bears (American Hockey League) in 1997.

“We have contemplated additional hockey management resources for sometime,” said Sutter. “We are pleased to have someone of Jay’s experience and track record become part of our executive group. He will make important contributions to our organization.”

Feaster joins Senior Vice President & Assistant General Manager Michael Holditch as central figures with the Flames hockey management group.

“I am very pleased to join such a first-class organization as the Flames, and I truly welcome the opportunity to work with Darryl and his entire hockey department staff,” said Feaster. “Having managed in the NHL, there were not many situations that would have been attractive in an AGM role; however, the minute Darryl phoned me I was ready to sign-on. My family and I look forward to making Calgary our new home.”

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

It’s All About The Cap With Kovalchuk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

... several GMs, governors and agents told ESPN.com over the past few months that they didn’t believe any team would be willing to pay Kovalchuk $10 million a year. You can’t pay anyone that amount of money and still expect to ice a competitive team around him under the salary cap. That’s a popular sentiment around the league.

But perhaps more intriguing is this rumor making the circles among owners and team executives—the league will fight for a lower salary cap (change the way the percentages are calculated in order to get a lower cap) in the next collective-bargaining agreement two years from now (the players will likely be led into the next labor talks by the battled-tested Donald Fehr and will certainly have a say in that.)

Whether the lower cap comes to fruition, the potential for it has clearly effected the way some teams are already thinking, including the Los Angeles Kings, the team Kovalchuk wants to sign with.

read on

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

Lebda Wants Bigger Role In Toronto

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevn McGran of the Toronto Star,

The defenceman essentially tutored under the likes of Nik Lidstrom, Chris Chelios and Brian Rafalski in his time with the Red Wings.

As great as it had been to play with them, and win a Cup, Lebda believes it’s time to fulfill the promise of his youth when he signed as a free agent out of Notre Dame.

In Detroit, ice time was limited for the slick, puck-moving defenceman, largely because the Wings had a great cast on the blue line. He played just about every game, but only about 15 minutes or so per game in his five seasons in Detroit.

He believes he’ll get his shot with the Toronto Maple Leafs after signing a two-year, $2.9 million contract.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brett+lebda

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