Kukla's Korner

Fighting Smyth

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Denver Post,

Choosing to fight Smyth, who is playing on the top line with Joe Sakic and Andrew Brunette, appeared inexcusable, like a Broncos defensive lineman trying to beat up quarterback Jay Cutler. It also appeared that Laperriere’s fight with Love was meant to send a message that you don’t mess with high-salary, skilled forwards like Smyth.

Afterward, the players presented a different picture. Turns out that Smyth, who signed a five-year, $31.25 million contract in July, picked the fight with Love, and Laperriere only fought Love to remind Smyth that he will be handling his dirty work.

more on the Avs…

added 8:14am, The Denver Post also has a nice feauture on Steve Konowalchuk.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: colorado+avalanche, fighting, ryan+smyth, steve+konowalchuk

Erik Johnson Keeping It Simple In St. Louis

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News-Democrat,

While his progress has been watched intensely by Blues fans since being selected first overall in the 2006 draft, the 19-year-old Johnson tries to let others worry about things he can’t control.

“I’m not a guy that really puts pressure on myself too much,” he said. “I feel really good out there, I haven’t been nervous at all. I’ve been happy with how I’ve been playing and I’ve really been trying to keep things simple, so that’s helping me out a lot.”

Johnson is staying at the former Blues star’s family home in St. Louis, following a recent trend that saw Blues winger David Backes living with Keith Tkachuk for a time last season and Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby once sharing a house with Mario Lemieux.

“I usually talk to him a little bit every day, he’s a great guy to have around and he’s a great mentor,” Johnson said of MacInnis, now a Blues vice president. “It’s good because you get home-cooked meals and you don’t have to pay rent, so that’s nice.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: erik+johnson, st.+louis+blues

Vlasic Fits In Sharks “D”

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Mercury News,

While Vlasic’s name now is chiseled onto the Sharks’ roster, he faces a different challenge: finding a defensive partner. The steady Scott Hannan is gone, having signed as a free agent with Colorado.

“I thought Scotty and I had a pretty good chemistry,” Vlasic said. “If I made a mistake, he was there to back me up. He showed me how to position myself on the ice. It was great to play with him.”

Actually, Wilson countered, it was the other way around.

“I think Mark helped Scotty more, to be honest,” he said. “Marc is the last guy I’m worried about. We just have to find him someone to play with now.”

read on... Is that a backhanded shot at Hannan from Wilson?

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: defense, marc-edouard+vlasic, san+jose+sharks

Schneider Hurts Ankle - MRI Scheduled

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the OC Register,

Veteran defenseman Mathieu Schneider, signed as a free agent July 1 as insurance against the possible retirement of captain Scott Niedermayer, left the game midway through the second period because of an ankle injury. Schneider is scheduled to undergo an MRI today.
“I really don’t know what to tell you,” Schneider said. “It didn’t feel like much on the ice, but it stiffened up on me. My skate just kind of stuck on the ice.”

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: anaheim+ducks, injuries, mathieu+schneider

Hockey Thoughts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• The Ottawa Senators have quietly expressed some interest in Curtis Joseph as a backup goaltender should they be able to find a home for Martin Gerber and his $3.7-million US contract.

• Word around is that the new tough NHL was ready to give Mark Bell a 30-game suspension had he not shown such remorse and personal growth to the league. Doubt Ferguson, who said he did his due diligence on Bell, was aware of that when he tied up $2 million in summer cap money trading for him.

• A waste of money: Whichever NHL team ends up signing Peter Forsberg. He has little left to offer.

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: goalies, ottawa+senators, suspensions, toronto+maple+leafs

New Season For Pitkanen

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Sun,

The Oilers had been searching for a puck-moving defenceman almost from the moment Chris Pronger left town.

They found one in Joni Pitkanen, but skeptics saw his glaring minus-25 last season in Philly and wondered if he’d be moving the puck out of his own net as often as he moved it out of the zone.

“We lost a lot of games last year,” said Pitkanen. “The year before I was plus-25 (22, actually, and plus-15 the season before that). It’s almost like if you win a lot of games, absolutely you get a lot of pluses. When you lose a lot of games you get minuses.

“I played last year the most ice time on the team ... they’re (minuses) coming if you lose.

“It’s a new season, I know what I can do.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: edmonton+oilers

Foote & Fedorov Hope To Define Their Roles

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Last week, both acknowledged frustration with their Blue Jackets careers, and they shouldered some of that blame. But in the wake of front-office shuffling in the offseason, Foote and Fedorov vowed that different days lie ahead, both for their own careers and for the Blue Jackets’ success on the ice.

“I want to have more fun here,” Foote said. “I want to win.”

Fedorov put it another way: “I came to training camp excited as hell.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, sergei+fedorov

Contract Year For Mike Fisher

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Erin Nicks at the Ottawa Sun,

While the Senators would undoubtedly be overjoyed if No. 12 experiences a healthy and fully productive season in 2007-08, they surely must realize that if Fisher comes away with a newfound goal scoring vigour, he could easily price himself out of the franchise’s range by next summer. Keep in mind that the Senators already have their backs creeping against the wall before the season has begun, with similar players such as Scott Hartnell landing a six-year, $25.2-million (all terms US) contract with Philadelphia. It’s a safe bet to assume that many GMs would willingly cough up a Hartnell-type salary—an average of $4.2 million per season—for one of Ottawa’s greatest assets. In fact, several would probably consider that number as a starting point.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ottawa+senators, salaries

Overseas Trip For Leafs?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

The Maple Leafs are rumoured to be on the short list should the NHL again choose to open the 2008-09 season in Europe.

“I have heard about it,” general manager John Ferguson said yesterday. “No question, the Leafs are a team with global appeal.”

Stockholm would be a strong possibility for the Leafs, who have Swedes Mats Sundin—for this year anyway—as well as Alex Steen. A perfect match would be the Vancouver Canucks with the Sedin twins and Markus Naslund.

more... hmmm, I know another NHL team that would be even a better fit to play in Stockholm than either the Leafs or Canucks…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sweden, toronto+maple+leafs

Kasparaitis On The Comeback Trail

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the New York Times,

Last March, Kasparaitis hit what he called rock bottom. At midseason, he had been banished to the Rangers’ top farm team, the Hartford WolfPack. He had arrived for training camp out of shape after off-season operations and was replaced on the Rangers’ roster by younger players. A 14-year N.H.L. defenseman, Kasparaitis was also going through a painful divorce and said he felt as if he were losing everything.

After a practice in Hartford, he had what he now describes as a panic attack. It alarmed team doctors enough that he was rushed by ambulance to a hospital, where doctors found nothing physically wrong.

“It was emotional, the divorce and injuries and I don’t know, I was just tired from all the pressure in life,” he said. “Then I had the panic attack in Hartford after the practice.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: darius+kasparaitis, injuries, new+york+rangers

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