Kukla's Korner

Havlat’s Game Improves

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press,

Onlookers have witnessed a blossoming in the play of Wild winger Martin Havlat.

One of those onlookers has the view from behind the Wild bench.

“A visible change,” coach Todd Richards said of Havlat’s play, noting that the shifty winger’s wheels are on fire.

“He can make a play at any moment,” he said. “There are a select few in the NHL that have that potential of making a play, and he did that in Phoenix by going coast to coast on the power play and put it off the pipe.”...

While the Wild have been climbing the NHL charts since an awful start, going 12-5-3 in their past 20 games, Havlat coincidentally has found the game so many expected from him after he signed a six-year contract worth $30 million. After scoring 77 points on 29 goals and 48 assists for the Chicago Blackhawks last season, he came on board expected to pick up the slack left by the departure of star winger Marian Gaborik.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: martin+havlat

Blue Jackets Struggle Again

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Arace of Puck-rakers,

Is anyone else feeling like they’ve been transported back to 2004? Holy sheep shank. The Jackets are stringing together some absolutely brutal performances – particularly against teams that can skate – and tonight brought another dismal outing.

The Nashville Predators defeated the Jackets 5-3 before a small band of ticked-off hard-cores in Nationwide Arena. Home ice. Archrivals in town. No forecheck. Awful. There was a crowd of 12,856 on hand, and half the folks were shuffling for the exits, heads bowed, with 7 minutes remaining. The rest stayed to boo after the final horn.

“I’d boo too,” defenseman Mike Commodore said.

read on

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

Playoffs Creep Into Leafs Vocabulary

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

Wilson isn’t issuing a bold prediction to order tickets for April to beat the rush, but if the Leafs can overcome some Northeast Division demons this week and continue a string of home success, the Eastern Conference standings will start to speak for itself.

From an 0-7-1 start and national scorn, the Leafs began last night just four points back of a post-season berth as they began their final 50 games of the NHL schedule.

“We’re getting close enough to that eighth-place line to realize where we’ve come from,” coach Wilson said before taking on the Senators. “We do want to make the playoffs this year and to take our foot off of the gas right now would not be a wise choice.”

read on

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

Duchene Looking Forward To First Match Against Ovechkin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,

Matt Duchene spoke with a slight lisp Monday morning, the result of just having work done on a chipped front tooth. Although the prized Avs rookie missed the team’s optional practice because of it, it would take a lot more than that to keep him out of tonight’s game against Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

“It’s going to be very cool. Obviously, he’s one of the best players in the league,” Duchene said. “I know I can pick up a lot of great things from him. To be able to play against him, it’s going to be great. He’s pretty exciting and a guy I’ve really watched and admired growing up.”

continued

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

Cherry Responds To Negative Remarks Aimed At Him

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globa and Mail,

Don Cherry is not very impressed with neurologist Charles Tator. Approached on Sunday for comment about Tator’s claim that Cherry is a “negative influence” in the fight against head injuries, the star of Coach’s Corner dismissed Tator’s allegation with a series of profane remarks.

Tator was quoted as saying that Cherry’s embrace of rock ‘em, sock ‘em hockey on Hockey Night In Canada was an impediment to getting players to play safer.

Asked his response by a reporter outside radio studios in Toronto on Sunday, Cherry replied “I don’t give a [expletive] about him, I don’t give a [expletive] about him.”

continued and hear Cherry’s response, unedited, so turn the speakers down if need be…

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: don+cherry

Rick DiPietro Update

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Katie Strang (took 3 tweets),

Statement from Garth Snow after the game:

“Ricky has been seen by the team doctors and most recently a specialist to make sure we are taking the proper steps in his rehabilitation.  We will seek an additional opinion and should have a time line by the end of the week.”

In case you were unaware, DiPietro left his last rehag game early due to soreness in his leg.  He was scheduled to play again tonight but did not.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rick+dipietro

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up:  Ericsson Down With Knee Injury

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Via Bruce MacLeod, the Anti-Digger.

Coach Mike Babcock said after tonight’s game that Jonathan Ericsson’s knee will be checked tomorrow.

“We’re hopeful,” said Babcock. “We’ll see what happens. It didn’t look very good on TV.”

Ericsson left the game after being checked by Shane Doan with five minutes left in the first period. The hit caused Ericsson’s left knee to buckle backwards.

MacLeod also reports that Uncle Mike indicated Thursday’s starter will be Jimmah Howard.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Hockey Thoughts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,

• Brooks Laich with a great observation on Nicklas Backstrom: He’s a great passer because he doesn’t need to turn his body before firing one tape-to-tape. He can do it all in one motion.

One GM told me that if you’re going to sign a player to a long-term, big-money deal, he’d better be three things: critical to your success, consistently healthy and, most importantly, extremely self-motivated. Backstrom (who has not missed a game in three years) fits that profile.

Serious question Capitals must ask themselves – does Alexander Semin?

• Don’t understand why Senators fans are so infuriated with Alexei Kovalev. What did they expect? After 15 years, he’s going to change?

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Bolts Won’t Make Any Panic Moves

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damian Critodero of the St. Petersburg Times,

So, what is a GM to do when his team has one win in nine games while scoring 13 goals?

Maintain patience, Lawton said, and faith in the players.

“One of the things that has happened here, in my opinion, the last few years, it has been panic at times,” he said. “You’re not going to see that. It’s slow and steady. It’d be nice to make three blockbuster trades and be first in our division two weeks from now, but it doesn’t work that way.”

Besides, Lawton added, “I have complete confidence in the group. At some point, everybody in that room recognizes and understands that this business, everything around it is predicated on winning. But as far as my confidence level in the group, I have tremendous confidence in the guys here. They’ve just got to get the job done.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Jonathan Ericsson Out With Knee Problem

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Jonathan Ericsson was hit by Shane Doan of the Coyotes tonight and will not return.  Looked like a knee-on-knee hit that was clean. 

Wings report he will not return tonight.

update 10:16pm, No more information on Ericsson until tomorrow after more tests.

added 10:27pm, Video of the hit.

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonathan+ericsson

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