Kukla's Korner

What The Thrashers Need

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terence Moore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

The issues are many for the Thrashers, but the solutions are few. Despite three straight victories after Tuesday night’s 4-2 slaying of an impressive Montreal bunch at Philips Arena, the Thrashers still need many things just to become decent after this weekend’s All-Star break.

They need to rise further from the bottom of the NHL in defense. They need to do more than flash signs here and there that they actually can score. They need to have Ilya Kovalchuk continue to resemble other true stars around the league, and that is, he must continue to lead on the ice as well as in the locker room. They need to keep more fans from becoming allergic to their turnstiles, with Philips Arena less than half full again despite having the historically popular Canadiens in town.

Mostly, they need to acquire more talent, period, especially with the trade deadline barely six weeks away.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Detroit Loses A Sports Station

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Somewhat hockey related, since WDFN did a much better job of covering the Wings than the flagship station…

On a personal note, I know the guys who suddenly lost their jobs and it hurts and it hurts too when it was done, on Inauguration Day, to limit the press coverage…

from Mike O’Hara Sports,

It’s what I didn’t hear on radio today that has me steamed. It’s what I didn’t hear from Rush Limbaugh snaking through his personal slime pit, and the termination of sports-station WDFN as we have come to know, love and hate it.

First, the important stuff.

Uh, sit down, Rush. You’re not important. You were the whoopee cushion of the coverage of President Obama’s inauguration – an unpleasant, misplaced noise.

WDFN-1130 – best known, affectionately to Detroit sports fans as “The Fan” – has been emasculated by Clear Channel Communications, the parent company.

Clear Channel has cut all of the local programming and replaced it with syndicated mush.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: wdfn

Flames Forget Hockey, Focus On Obama

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,

The fact that it could infiltrate the cloistered and single-minded quarters of the Calgary Flames, that history could supersede habit, says plenty.

“We can catch highlights later—that’s usually on, but this was obviously a big day in history, a special day,” Flames captain Jarome Iginla said after Tuesday’s practice at the Pengrowth Saddledome. “We had it on all our TVs. A different beginning to the hockey day. It was good. Pretty amazing.

“It’s pretty cool how many people came out, how excited people are about it, in different countries. There was a lot of hype for his speech, and what his speech would be. He’s such a good speaker. Most of the guys, yeah, were watching it.”

Craig Conroy, one of four Americans on the roster (David Moss, Eric Nystrom, Andre Roy are the others), agreed with Iginla. It was indeed a morning like no other.

“Every TV in here—anywhere you walked in the rink—it was all him. Him!” said Conroy. “It was Obama everywhere, you could go from one room to the next. It was fun, because everyone knows it’s history. First African-American. Probably the most powerful man in the world….”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: barack+obama

Little Gary’s Wet Dream:  No Wings In ASG

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

The happy clowns are racing to Gary’s HQ.  The fire trucks are warmed up, helium tanks are on ready-standby and re-runs of Blossom are showing on every monitor in the NHL’s front office. All the special things that make Little Gary Bettman’s life a happy one are converging on this wonderful day.

Capped off by this news:  there will be zero representation from the Detroit Red Wings in Montreal. 

Datsyuk? Hurt last night. Hip flexor.  Lidstrom?  Well, now we’re talking a few new frames for our Deep Diggers’ highlight reel.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

AO In His Own World

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,

The Zamboni driver has the ice to himself—except for this other figure, on skates, wearing what could be the underwear of Santa Claus.

The ensemble: Red long johns, red shorts overtop and a red T-shirt.

The figure is Alexander Ovechkin—bare head, bare arms, muscles bulging, testing out a new stick on the Scotiabank Place ice on the morning of the game, playfully following the Zamboni’s clean patterns.

While his teammates, fully dressed in hockey gear, wait patiently by the Washington Capitals’ bench for the Zamboni to finish, Ovechkin whirls, spins, shoots a puck gently against the boards. His own man. In his own world.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin

Lidstrom & Datsyuk Out Of ASG - Replacements Announced

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

ROBIDAS GOES HOME; PRICE BACKSTOPS HIS CLASSMATES; MARLEAU’S FABULOUS FIRST HALF NETS ALL-STAR NOD

NEW YORK (Jan. 21, 2009) – Having produced a marvelous first half of the 2008-09 season that has him fifth in the League with 24 goals, San Jose center Patrick Marleau now has a spot in the 2009 NHL All-Star Game to show for it. Having been named to the 2008 All-Rookie Team, Montreal goaltender Carey Price has chosen to do double-duty by coming to the aid of his class and will play goal for the sophomores in the 2009 NHL YoungStars Game presented by Upper Deck in addition to starting for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game.

    Marleau and Dallas Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas have been named to the Western Conference team to replace injured Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom, respectively, in the 57th NHL All-Star Game in Montreal’s Bell Centre on Sunday.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: all-star+game

Coyotes Can Build On With The Win Over The Wings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Dave Vest of The Desert Dog Blog at PhoenixCoyotes.com, Truth be told, when the Red Wings tied the score at 3 with six seconds left in the second period, the vibe I felt in the building was that Detroit would rally to beat Phoenix for the 10th straight time.

But that didn’t happen. And because it didn’t, the Coyotes may have turned that corner that leads to the NHL playoffs.

“I think a year ago we would have probably somehow found a way to lose that game,” Head Coach Wayne Gretzky told reporters after the game. “But maturity and want and will to win have really come a long way here, and effort and goaltending have sort of risen, and that’s the difference.”

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

The Net Experiment

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,

The NHL is experimenting with different-shaped posts and crossbars to see if more shots that normally clang off the iron might instead be directed into the net.

It’s a way the league might be able to increase scoring without changing the size of the nets.

Mike Murphy, the league’s vice-president of hockey operations, described the new post as a “teardrop” shape, like the rim of a paper coffee cup that has been squeezed.

The league did its first testing of the new nets at the Air Canada Centre during yesterday’s Leaf practice, filming the workout to see how pucks reacted when they hit the posts. A DVD of the experiment will be studied internally and then passed on to the league’s general managers.

“It’s a little bit of research and development to see if, without changing the size of the nets, we can make the nets more rewarding offensively,” said Murphy.

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

With Other Options, Why Is Prucha Always Pulled?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Petr Prucha doesn’t need to look up at Tom Renney’s greaseboard to read the writing on the Rangers wall.

“When the team needs a spark by changing players, there are not too many who can come out, and so it’s me,” Prucha told The Post following yesterday’s morning skate. “I’m disappointed.”

Prucha, a healthy scratch for 27 of the first 38 games, was in street clothes for last night’s match at the Garden against the Ducks after a run of nine straight played. The winger scored goals in each of his first two after being restored to active duty before recording three assists in the following seven matches.

“I feel like I need to [score] points to stay in,” Prucha said. “The coach probably doesn’t have much confidence in me to keep me in the lineup.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: petr+prucha

Worst Player This Season

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

One thing I try to track over the season is which player, who is getting as regular a shift as possible, has been the worst player in the NHL this season.  It is interesting to see why players continue to play in the NHL, despite ineffectual play.  This is an interesting study in that question.  I had been picking Raitis Ivanans of the Los Angeles Kings as this player.  Ivanans has done little this year.  He has two points (both goals) in 44 games played and sports a -7 +/- rating.  He is the goon on the Kings.  He has 91 penalty minutes (which leads the team) while playing less than seven minutes per game (which among players who have been on the roster all season is by far the least).  The fact he plays so little per game is evidence that he is not a very good hockey player, but it also allows for a player who gets more ice time to be a better choice as worst player in the league. 

That player is Brendan Witt of the New York Islanders.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

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