Kukla's Korner

Hockey 101 In Israel

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Marek of CBC,

“So, you’re from Canada? You can play ice hockey whenever you want then?”

This was the beginning of the first conversation I had with one of my students at the Canada/Israel Hockey School 2010.

I’m in Metulla, the northernmost city in Israel and a wrist shot away from the Lebanese border. Hockey is not the first thing you normally think of when you enter this part of the world. But talk to any of the kids in this program and hockey is ALL they want to talk about.

For many of these kids hockey starts outdoors, like it does with Canadians, but not on frozen rinks, but roller rinks


Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

All Tortorella

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler of MSG,

Right off the bat, I asked Torts to give me some reasons for optimism.

“I feel good about what we did so far this Summer,” he shot back. “We didn’t deal any of our kids and the foundation for the team is in place. We have to build a club without relying totally on free agency.

“We want to keep our youthful core and keep adding to it.”

He also is pleased that Glen Sather signed Martin Biron, an experienced goaltender who will provide the Rangers what they’ve lacked since just after the last Lockout; someone who can enable Henrik Lundqvist to obtain more rest than he’s had for years.

“Marty is a good back-up goalie,” said Tortorella. “I’d like to see him play between seventeen and twenty games next season. He’s solid and I expect him to win games.

read on

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

The Drafting (Or Lack) Of European Players

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from HabsWatch,

The hockey world changed in 2005 and it had nothing to do with the NHL lockout that cost owners, players and fans the 2004-05 season. Starting with the Crosby draft lottery of 2005 which signalled the end of hostilities between the NHL and NHLPA, teams began a broad, calculated and intentional shift away from drafting European players.

Teams across the league re-focused their scouting and began drafting more North-American hockey players to stock the NHL of tomorrow. How dramatic a shift? Only the Swedish leagues have managed to maintain or increase their average annual crop of NHL draft picks since the lockout.

Looking back at the five draft years preceding the lockout and the six years since has revealed some startling numbers that I haven’t seen discussed in detail anywhere else. Normally my focus is on the Montreal Canadiens but I believe this subject warrants discussion and should be of interest to hockey fans everywhere.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Weak 500 Goal Scorers?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Rand of the Star Tribune,

Our ignorance of the NHL record book became apparent when we thought, for some reason, that Mark Messier was the all-time leading goal scorer in the league’s history. Don’t ask us why. We remembered that Wayne Gretzky has more career assists than anyone else even has career points. From there, we decided he must not have been that much of a goal man. And we were obviously way wrong.

But back to the matter at hand. There have been 41 players who have topped the magical 500 goal mark in their NHL careers. Who are the weakest members in this group? Since it’s a longer list than the past two, we will accept answers for both top 20 and overall. The goal is to reach a consensus, then go to that person’s house and tell them. (OK, actually it’s just for a little bit of mid-August fun). Here is your list of the 41…


My suggestion, don’t vote for anyone.  I believe the writer doesn’t understands how difficult it is to reach that mark.

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Players Waiting For A Phone Call

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Pisani, who can’t fathom so many players waiting for the phone to ring with camps approaching.

Pisani doesn’t know if he would take a two-way offer from some team, if that’s all he could get.

It beats the alternative: a simple training camp invite, where trying to make the team would be like trying to bail water out of a sinking boat with a shot glass. Darned near impossible. It’s hard enough making a club when you’ve got a two-way NHL contract and everybody else is on a one-way.

Would he take an invitation to somebody’s camp?

“I’m not sure yet. I haven’t got to that point,” he said.

“I’m not ready to retire.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: fernando+pisani

It’s All About The Dallas Stars TEAM

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Stepneski of Andrew’s Stars Page at ESPN Dallas,

The Dallas Stars have parted ways with some popular individual players this summer, but hockey is considered by many to be the ultimate team sport, and that’s what the Dallas Stars will be emphasizing this season – team.

It’s a message that GM Joe Nieuwendyk and Marc Crawford will push and it’s a message that the team’s marketing staff will capitalize on as well.

“Your marketing message for the year has to flow up from an authentic place; it flows up from the team because you are trying to encapsulate the best of your team. This year it is: ‘It’s About TEAM’ and team will be in all capital letters,” Geoff Moore, executive vice president for sales and marketing. “It’s because the Dallas Stars were not built by one player. Certain players had more to do with it than others, but it was always about a team. “


Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Can The Devils Sign Kovalchuk And Parise?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Marc Everson of the NY Post,

It’s really what late Devils owner John McMullen meant when he said “You don’t want 50-goal scorers. Then you have to pay them.” The update is you have a huge cap hit.

It was a nice try, elegant even, and the Devils’ attempt to keep Ilya Kovalchuk’s cap hit manageable should have succeeded. Now that the arbitrator upheld the NHL’s rejection of the contract, the extra cap space it’s going to cost makes it even more likely that New Jersey will have to choose between Kovalchuk and Zach Parise in its long-term plans, and make that choice now.

It was going to be a tough go anyway, now it’s that much harder. For this season, they can have both if they can get under the cap with Kovalchuk’s hit. Next summer, Parise can become a restricted free agent, and that’s when what they do now will really matter.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink

My Kind Of Girl

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Marcia C. Smith of the OC Register,

“I’m not the normal teenager. I’m actually really lame,” a grinning Annie Pankowski confessed shyly on Tuesday at The Rinks-Anaheim ICE. “It’s because I train a lot, like, really, a lot.”

The commitment would explain how this rugged 5-foot-8, high-scoring right wing and captain on the 16-and-under AAA Lady Ducks became the first California-born, coached, groomed and competing player to make USA Hockey’s 18-and-under Women’s National Team….

Ask Pankowski whether she plays video games? No. Goes to the movies? No. Likes any bands? No. Has Justin Bieber on her iPod? Who?

Her favorite thing since teetering on blades at age 6 has been playing ice hockey, followed closely by competing hobbies of doing gym training for hockey, decorating her Laguna Hills bedroom with medals and memorabilia from hockey nationals and dreaming of playing college hockey and, “if it’s an option,” she says, Olympic hockey, too.


Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: annie+pankowski

Canes Playing With Their Own Salary Cap

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,

As an overwhelmingly quiet summer winds down for the Carolina Hurricanes, with training camp a little more than a month away, it’s clear the belt-tightening imposed by owner Peter Karmanos has had an effect on the roster.

Good or bad, it’s hard to say right now, but there’s no question it’s a different look than last year, or the year before, or the year before that.

The question at the start of the summer, when Karmanos insisted general manager Jim Rutherford slash the payroll to stem the NHL team’s operating losses and make the franchise a more attractive proposition for a would-be buyer - no takers yet, it must be noted - was this: What does $44 million get you?

At this point in August, we’ve got some answers.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Leaving College For Other Hockey Opportunities

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Pollard at the Toronto Sun,

It’s been a tough off-season for NCAA hockey teams and the NHL is responsible for most of the pain.

Although it’s really nothing new, the exodus of players from American colleges to the pro or junior ranks seems to be more pronounced this year….

Since April 1, 17 players gave up NCAA eligibility to sign with NHL teams, according to figures compiled by insidecollegehockey.com. Factor in the others, like Tinord, Lessio and Melchiori, all of whom never even showed up on campus, and you can see how hard the U.S. schools have been hit.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Non-NHL Hockey, College Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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