Kukla's Korner

The Battle Of Styles

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

As the noted philosopher Scott Hartnell observed yesterday, playoff hockey “isn’t rocket science.”

There is some physics involved, though, in terms of velocity and mass and impact. There is also more than a little bit of sociology, as the NHL finds itself in a transition game between the Bad Old Neanderthal Days and the ideal of a physical but fluid collision (but not violent) sport.

So much of the tension in this suddenly interesting series between the Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins is the result of this conflict. The league’s on-ice officials are mandated to call penalties for any stickwork above the waist or any clutching or grabbing that impedes the flow of the game. Like most team sports, hockey has been trying to legislate more offense into its game.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Perfect PK

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

In a few days the Ducks have gone from nearly-missed-the-playoffs to placing their skates above the tightening throats of the San Jose Sharks, from playing with fire often enough to torch the penalty box to still playing with fire but quenching their blazes surprisingly well.

The Ducks’ penalty killing ranked 23rd in the NHL at 79.7% this season, one of many areas that suffered while defenseman Francois Beauchemin recovered from knee surgery. It wasn’t for lack of practice—the Ducks were the second-most penalized team and were short 76 more times than they had an advantage—but the penalty killers were erratic.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Early Playoff MVP

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Teams have played either two or three games each at this point in the playoffs.  I think it is the earliest meaningful point to try to pick an early playoff MVP.  I think the clear choice at this point is Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Malkin leads the playoffs in both goals and points with four and seven respectively. 

Malkin is carrying on his dominance from a regular season where he won the Art Ross Trophy.  His offensive totals have made large jumps every season in his young NHL career (from 85 to 106 to 113 points).  If he has another jump like that next season, I think many people will begin to call him the best player in hockey (and some people are already making arguments of that nature). 

Malkin is off to a great start in the playoffs so far.  Will he keep it up and help the Penguins have a deep run?

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Capitals Produce Some ‘Dirty’ Goals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

In what was a rare sighting in the opening two games, we saw Washington players fighting their way to the Rangers’ net, taking hits to make the right pass, and getting their faces smashed in the glass to keep the cycle going in the offensive zone. There were sacrifices made all over the ice.

Consider the opening three goals Monday night, a pair from Semin and a rebound goal from Brooks Laich. All three tallies were from within 15 feet of the net. That’s a dirty area of the ice that’s painful to access. But good things happen when you’re willing to fight your way there.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Post-Season Has Not Been Kind To Tkachuk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,

When Keith Tkachuk calls it a career, which won’t be this summer, he will go down as one of the greatest Americans to have played in the NHL.

But there is an uncomfortable truth about the 37-year-old forward, whose hair and beard are now primarily grey, and it seems to be continuing this spring. The St. Louis Blues are facing playoff elimination, down three games to none to the Vancouver Canucks in a best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final, and are climbing a mountain of history to erase that disadvantage.

For Tkachuk, first-round exits are par for the course. They have happened 10 times in his 12 postseason appearances, and it’s about to be 11 of 13 if the Canucks can win tonight in Game 4 at the Scottrade Center.


Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: keith+tkachuk

“We Stunk Defensively”

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Rangers coach John Tortorella discusses the loss to the Capitals tonight.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+tortorella

Habs Season Just About Finished

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette (Tuesday edition),

The Canadiens’ 100th season will come to a stunning halt tomorrow night, the Habs cleanly swept from the postseason, if they don’t win the 100th playoff game of their illustrious history.

And who a year ago dared imagine the prospect of such an inglorious exit for a team one season removed from an Eastern Conference championship, one picked by many last fall to be a Stanley Cup contender?


added 11:46pm, from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,

There is, of course, a statistical possibility the Canadiens can sweep the next four against the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference.

There also is a statistical possibility that you will win the Powerball.

Tough odds, in either case.

So while genuflecting to the patron saints of no-hopers, the 1942 Maple Leafs and the 1975 Islanders, the two NHL playoff teams to ever come back from the abyss, let’s fast-forward to the moment, whenever that might be, that Bruins and Canadiens players shake hands and Boston trudges forward into the second round and Montreal retreats to survey the wreckage of the 100th anniversary season.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Vancouver Playing With Confidence

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,

There is no I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-us giddiness around the Canucks as there was only two years ago when Vancouver bolted to a 3-1 first-round series lead against the Dallas Stars.

Even on their romp to the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final in 1994, there was at least as much hopefulness as expectation that the “magical” run would continue.

There is no sense of magic now about the Canucks. This is a good thing.

There are the forwards who have elevated for the playoffs, the deep, robust defence that has no weak link, and there is Roberto Luongo in goal.

The Canucks have mustered the intensity and emotion that are base ingredients in all playoff success, but have also a detached, business-like approach. Nothing personal, they’re just moving on.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Waddell: Wings Better Equipped To Avoid Traditional Game 3 Letdown

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

While many of you did your juvenilicious best to avoid work, family and adult responsibility today?  Well, I don’t have much else other than that since I was right along with you.  Dave Waddell of the Windsor Star?  I guess he worked.

“Last year, we let some goals in right after we scored,” Kronwall said. “The key shifts are right after you score to keep the momentum going.

“Right from the start we need a good push and hopefully we can take their will to win right away.

“We feel good about our game the first two games. We’ve played 60 minutes.

“We haven’t had any periods of the game where we sat back and relaxed.”

There’s much more a feel that the Wings are in control of this series compared to a year ago.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

What The Sharks Need To Do

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Drew Rememda of the Seagate Broadcaster Blog,

First the Bad News, some things did not change from Game 1. The powerplay is still “0 for.” I believe the Sharks have to make the adjustment on the breakout and into the neutral zone. Better more patient support, using the ice behind and building up speed would be my change, (I know the Coaches are working on solving the entry problems). Puck recovery is also an issue. In the first two games the Ducks PK is outworking the Sharks Powerplay.

Obviously Nabokov needs to be better. I’ve always believed Evgeni to be a top flight goalie but he’s being beat by a rookie netminder. True Nabby has made some big stops, like the breakaway chance by Marchant in Game 2. But if the Sharks are going to get back into the series he can’t let anymore Andrew Ebbett wristers from the goal line in.

It may not be fair but it is accurate.

The BIG GUYS for the Sharks need to deliver….


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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