Kukla's Korner

Ron Wilson Not Thinking Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

When Ron Wilson stepped behind the bench of the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer, he knew he was taking over a team that was in the first year of a long-term rebuilding project. He knew that developing players - not qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs - was the immediate objective. And he knew that there would be “bumps and pratfalls and potholes in the road ahead.”

Of course, knowing the NHLseason would end this way does not make accepting it any easier.

“You want to play in the playoffs,” Wilson said. “That’s what I’m used to; going at least two rounds, if not farther for the last four years, so that will be a little tough to take.”


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

How To Get The Devils Out Of Their Funk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,

1. Book them on commercial flights to and from Ottawa next week. Private team jet? How about traveling like the rest of us and going through Customs at the Canadian border? And let them get their own transportation to and from the airport. It’s truly fun.

2. An appearance from Lou Lamoriello in the dressing room. That might scare some people, especially this late in the season. Their eyes would immediately zoom in to see if the GM had his skates on. Lamoriello is good at frightening his employees, whether they are office personnel or players.


Update 3:02pm ET: From Stu Hackel at the New York Times’ Slapshot

In fact, the Devils are having a devil of a time (sorry) on offense. In their current slide, which has now reached five games (!!!), they have only six goals. They’ve lost six of seven, a slump that began after Brodeur broke Patrick Roy’s record for career victories and, when you read Coach Brent Sutter’s post-game statements on their lack of urgency, you have to wonder if the club emotionally peaked to help Marty go on that great run when he returned from injury.


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

Spend Some Money On The Avalanche

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Woody Paige of the Denver Post,

Revenir au pouvoir, Pierre, Patrick, Bob, Eric and Joe.

Come back, Avs, come back.

Stan Kroenke — who owns the Avalanche, the Nuggets, the Rapids and the Mammoth, the arena, the soccer stadium and the Paramount Theatre (and, for all I know, my house) — has just forked over about $60 million to purchase another 5,000 shares of Arsenal and now owns 20.5 percent of the English Premier League football (soccer) club — and could be negotiating to buy out Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.

As an aside, because of the tumultuous economy, Kroenke Sports Enterprises has laid off an unspecified number of personnel who did not make nearly $70 million altogether.

Hey, Stan The Man, can you spare some change for the Avalanche?

Aren’t the Avs as important as the Ars?


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

Winners Need More Of A Reward

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of The Spin,

But once more, we see a system in which the top 10 teams in the league are basically just spinning their wheels, biding time until post-season play commences with little to be gained by finishing much higher in the standings.

So what if San Jose finishes ahead of Detroit? The Sharks get nothing for it. Does it really matter a whole bunch if Philly finishes fourth or Carolina does?

Until the league starts rewarding teams more for winning their divisions and accumulating more points than is the case now, you’re going to get this sense of inertia in cities when the good teams are just waiting for the season to be over.

At the other end of the spectrum are the teams that won’t be making the playoffs, a group of nine teams or maybe 10 if you believe the Wild are done.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Columbus Will Have To Work To Keep Playoff Position

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Six points separate sixth-place Columbus from 11th-place Minnesota with Nashville, St. Louis, Edmonton and Anaheim sandwiched in between. Five of those six clubs play Tuesday night as the dance continues.

Every game matters, every single point is crucial. We know we’ve been talking about parity for a few years, but seriously, have you ever seen anything like this?

“No, I have not,” Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock told ESPN.com. “And teams have been in this playoff mode for a long time. There’s about eight of us that have been in this mode for a long time. We’re just used to playing this way.

“We’ve been saying around here, ‘You play 82 playoff games just to get into the playoffs.’ And that’s exactly what it is.”

read on

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

Luongo A Vezina Candidate

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,

Vezina voters (NHL general managers) are loath to support upstarts and tend to vote for established stars. None of the established powerhouses—including Miikka Kiprusoff, Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Brodeur—is having a powerhouse year (at least not statistically).

And that’s opened the Vezina door to Luongo, whose up and down season has been nothing but up for two months.

The remarkable 18-4-1 run he’s on leaves him with a 29-11-6 record. That’s just six fewer wins than he had all of last year when he played 26 more games.

“There are a lot of reasons, and many things have had to go well to go on a run like this,” Luongo said.


Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: roberto+luongo

All Carrie Milbank

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave McBrayer of Barry Melrose Rocks,

BMR:  Pick one: Ed Olczyk or Barry Melrose?

Carrie: Eddie O with Barry’s mullet…yummy.

BMR:  You just gave us a very disturbing mental image with that last answer.  Clearly, you don’t mind blogs since you’re talking to us and have dabbled in some of your own. What are your thoughts on blogging and where sports media is headed?

Carrie: I loooooove bloggers, and it seems that the Internet is quickly becoming our main source for news and entertainment so get comfy boys…I don’t think you’ll be unemployed anytime soon.


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carrie+milbank

Oilers With A Must Win Game Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from JoAnne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal, “

We have to win tonight. That’s where we start,” said captain Ethan Moreau.

“The burden has to be shared by everybody,” coach Craig MacTavish said. “Everybody has to step up. A lot of times you go to great degrees trying to complicate it or explain it or rationalize it, but it’s very simple. We need everybody in here to play the game hard, play with intensity, and execute. Everybody has to add something.

“The canvas will be finished over these next six games. How is it going to frame us? We still have an opportunity to turn it around.”

more and watch the video as the Oilers ask for fan support…

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

Fans Share Their Hopes, Pain & Questions Too

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I receive around 500 emails a week and most of them are from hockey fans who want to express their feelings on our great game.

Here is a sampling of those emails and I will be pointing to this blog post in my NHL.com article today, so feel free to add your comments & questions too.

Continue Reading »

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

Sharks Stay Loose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,

Starting as friendly banter between Joe Thornton and Brian Boucher, the joking morphed into a full-fledged competition.

“We were rating guys bodies. I think I gave him a six or something like that,” Boucher said after yesterday’s morning skate at the Saddledome.

“He was devastated.

“It turned into, ‘Let’s see who’s the better athlete.’ “

It’s Boucher who’s a little devastated right now, trailing the 10-event contest with a record of 0-2-1, losing in ping-pong, golf and settling for a controversial tie in timed push-ups.

“I’m in desperate need of a win,” Boucher said.

The team isn’t.


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

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