Kukla's Korner

Questioning The Goaltending

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Really, has there ever been a time in recent history when the overall level of the goaltending has been so underwhelming in the final?

The NHL is trumpeting it as a triumph of offence – 40 goals in five games, the second highest total in 30 years.

And yet, it’s not as if there is sustained action going back and forth, or teams trading chances on the rush, or even a lot of odd-man attacks going both ways. That’s how the game was played three decades ago and you pretty much have to go back that far to find a time when the Stanley Cup final produced games that finished 6-5 and 7-4.

The fact is, the clock has struck midnight on both of the Cinderella goaltending stories in these playoffs, Leighton’s and Antti Niemi’s on the Chicago side. The question is why. After they were so good for three rounds, why have they become so ordinary now?


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Watch And Learn Toronto

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star, AMaple

Leafs general manager Brian Burke, a Stanley Cup winner with Anaheim in 2007, has his own ideas on how to build a winner.

And he’s sure to be watching Wednesday night when the Chicago Blackhawks, on the cusp of their first Stanley Cup championship since 1961, take on the Flyers in Philadelphia in Game 6. A Chicago win means the Leafs would take over the dubious distinction of being the NHL team with the longest Cup drought (43 years).

The game is ever-changing and there are lessons the Leafs can learn from the Blackhawks and Flyers about how they made it to the finals:

Atmosphere matters. From their rocking pre-game theme songs to spine-tingling cheers for the anthems to post-goal celebrations, the fans at both Chicago’s United Center and Philly’s Wachovia Centre are having a good time.

At the Air Canada Centre, any attempt at cheering — especially that “Go Leafs Go” chant after a whistle — is immediately interrupted by an in-game advertisement or some lame promotion that basically sucks the life out of the building. The Leafs tried a theme song this past season — “Free To Be,” by Alan Frew, the former front man for Glass Tiger — but it was kind of slow and kind of preachy.

The Hawks are 8-3 at home in the playoffs and the Flyers 9-1 because their buildings are hard to play in….


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

Teams Show Interest In Kaberle

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Traikos of the National Post at the Montreal Gazette,

Ever since Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke sent a note to the National Hockey League’s 29 other teams explaining how Tomas Kaberle’s no-trade clause works, interest has reportedly grown for the puck-moving defenceman.

But while the Leafs are free to move Kaberle at the upcoming NHL entry draft, the 32-year-old’s agent suggested that teams might want to first find out whether his client wants to play for them.

Kaberle, who has repeatedly expressed his desire to remain in Toronto, has one year remaining on his current contract. That means that if he goes to a team that he does not approve of, he might end up being nothing more than a rental player.

“As of the draft, we don’t have a no-trade (clause),” agent Rick Curran said. “But it’s almost effectively a no-trade, because unless Tomas wants to go there most general managers that I’m familiar with are not giving up asset value for a one-year player who may not even want to come to my team. Especially with what Brian wants in return.’’


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tomas+kaberle

Pronger On An Off Day

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Chris Pronger answers numerous questions from the media today.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+pronger

Want To Work In The Application Development Department At The NHL?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Your New Head Coach In Columbus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from ColumbusBlueJackets.com,

The Columbus Blue Jackets have named Scott Arniel as the new head coach of the National Hockey League franchise, club General Manager Scott Howson announced June 8. Arniel (pronounced ahr-NEEL) agreed to a three-year contract through the 2012-13 season and was introduced at a press conference today at Nationwide Arena.

“Scott Arniel possesses all the qualities we were looking for in a head coach and we are very pleased to have him join the Blue Jackets organization,” said Howson. “He played in the NHL for many years, was an assistant coach in the league and has been successful in developing young players. Scott has been one of the top coaches in the American Hockey League the past four years, averaging 45 wins and 99 points a season playing an attacking, up-tempo game.”

“I am excited to have Scott Arniel join Scott Howson to lead our team together as the Blue Jackets begin a new era in our 10th NHL season in 2010-11,” said club president Mike Priest. “I think in these men we have two individuals whose abilities and compatibilities will compliment each other very well as we continue to build a team that will compete at a very high level year in and year out.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: scott+arniel

Leighton Likely To Get The Start

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette did not announce outright his starting goalie, but hinted strongly at going back to Michael Leighton.

“Our goaltender has the best numbers in the playoffs, I don’t think I have to announce it,” Laviolette told reporters during media availability Tuesday afternoon after practice.

Leighton twice has been pulled in the Cup finals, including Game 5 in Chicago.

I think going with Leighton is the right call, but any sign of his game being off, he will be replaced.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: michale+leighton

Watching The Finns Late At Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Risto Pakarinen at NHL.com,

“You have to be a superstar in the NHL to be a superstar in Finland, because the NHL still seems so far away. Even if people complain about the level of hockey at the Worlds or the Finnish league, the majority of people still follow mostly those. However, for anyone following the NHL, there’s never been a better time,” said Aki Mäki-Kuhna, a Helsinki-based fan.

Niemi and Leino have never represented Finland in a major tournament, and while Leino was a bona fide star in the Finnish SM-Liiga just two years ago, he wasn’t the kind of household name that makes people get up in the middle of the night to watch a hockey game—regardless of how good the matchup is.

All Cup Final games start at 3 a.m. in Finland, probably the worst possible time for the working man. But of course, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

“I do time-shifting, so I record the game, and get up at, say, 4:30, then watch the first two periods, fast forwarding past the commercial breaks and the intermissions, and then watch the last period live,” Mäki-Kuhna said.

There is another option. The games are broadcast the next day as well.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

See The Apparel Before You Buy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,

In our digital age, the designs for Stanley Cup championship merchandise have been leakier than an old faucet. Please recall last year when Shop NHL accidently gave away the shirt and hat designs for the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins after fans simply increased the last digit on site URLs by one to discover the “hidden” gear. (A flaw the NHL corrected after that leak.)

Two years ago, Shop.com goofed by releasing Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup champions gear before the Wings actually won the championship.  That same site is the source for the collection of small images of Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers designs you see, including the official 2010 Stanley Cup champions hats that some collect annually.

continued with pictures (none photoshopped)...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Theodore Likely To Hit UFA Market

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,

The agent for goaltender Jose Theodore, who just completed his second season in Washington, said there have been no discussions regarding an extension for the 33-year-old unrestricted free agent to be.

“They haven’t communicated with me at all,” Don Meehan said this morning from his Toronto area office.

Meehan didn’t want to speculate about the Caps’ plans. But we know this: if there hasn’t been a single discussion of an extension by now, most likely there’s not going to be one.

“Jose can’t control anything as far as his association with Washington,” Meehan added. “It’s a matter of going to free agency on July 1 if Washington chooses not to establish a relationship with him. He’s a veteran, he’s been around a long time, he’s positive.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jose+theodore

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