Kukla's Korner

What Has Surprised You?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Conference Finals are two games in and Chicago and Philadelphia hold a strong 2-0 lead.

What has surprised you the most during this round?

They play of Ville Leino, maybe the goaltending of Antti Niemi or Michael Leighton?

Maybe the road play of the Blackhawks or the Flyers actually playing disciplined hockey?

Let me know below….

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Why The Flyers?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Gaughan at Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,

This is a very rare post from the football writer invading the Sabres Edge to express his chagrin over the fact the Flyers are leading the Habs, 2-0. I can handle just about any team in the Stanley Cup Finals but the Flyers, who have to be high on the list of all-time Buffalo sports enemies. Naturally, this stems way back to the Cup finals in ‘75 when the Flyers and Bernie Parent foiled the Sabres. The Flyers always have been a hard team to like.


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

Memories With Bernie Parent

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Elliotte Friedman talks with Hall of Fame goaltender Bernie Parent.  Great piece by Elliotte which starts at the 1:51 mark in the video below.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bernie+parent

Mind Games

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal,

“It’s a very big project,” said Tambellini. “We are working on all components of our player development system. One of those components is the psychological aspect.

“Call it whatever you want, a consultant or a sport psychologist, but I want that position to be part of our player development model. I think it’s very important. Some (players) already have their own. We need to do that as an organization.”

He was talking about one-on-one, face-to-face, player-to-psychologist sessions, not team psychology. The Oilers did not employ either last season.

The need is obvious and not just because they finished dead last in the National Hockey League. Tambellini said at the end of the season he was determined to find players who wanted to be Oilers, who were proud to put on the jersey; the assumption being that some of the current crop weren’t all that thrilled to be here.


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

Chicago’s Dominating First Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

The best line in hockey is unstoppable right now.

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien are befuddling a very good San Jose Sharks team through two games of the Western Conference finals, just like a very good Vancouver Canucks team had no answer for the line in the previous round.

“Big Poppa” Byfuglien and “Captain Serious” Toews each scored Tuesday night, while “Doctor” Kane added a pair of assists as the Chicago Blackhawks disposed of the Sharks 4-2 to sweep the opening two-game set at HP Pavilion.

Anyone think the United Center might be a little loud Friday night? Oh my.

Imagine how dangerous this Hawks team might be if Marian Hossa and his $7.9 million salary decided to resume his playing career anytime soon?


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

Bertuzzi May Call Detroit Home

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

“Certainly the organization liked what Todd did, and Todd enjoyed his year in Detroit, and is interested in coming back,” agent Pat Morris said.

Bertuzzi, 35, made $1.5 million last season. He was one of three Wings (with Lidstrom and Brad Stuart) to play all 82 games, during which he produced 18 goals among 44 points. He followed up with 11 points in 12 playoff games.

The deal might end up being for two years, as Bertuzzi, after moving every year since first leaving Detroit in the summer of 2007, is eager for some continuity. Earlier in the season, in discussing Detroit, he told the Free Press, “When the grass is as green as it is here, why go anywhere else?”...

The Wings also are expected to re-sign unrestricted free-agent forward Tomas Holmstrom, and possibly defenseman Andreas Lilja.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: todd+bertuzzi

Habs Magic Coming To An End?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

It sure seems like the magic has evaporated in a hurry for the Canadiens. Maybe a trip back to Canada will bring it back. Maybe being giant underdogs was a better fit for them.

But suddenly Cammalleri can’t score, Jaroslav Halak can’t make enough stops and P.K. Subban is looking like a rookie.

And the Canadiens are heading to Game 3 on Thursday night with their season on the line at the Bell Centre.

“I don’t feel the heat,” said Cammalleri after a 3-0 defeat in Game 2. “I feel like it’s time to go home and play some hockey.”

The Habs, seemingly blessed by fortune for the past month, are now themselves faced with a surging playoff opponent that can do almost no wrong.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Leino On A Hot Streak

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News,

Playing on a line with Danny Briere and Hartnell, Leino has 11 points in 10 playoff games and continues to impress with his poise and his speed. He and Briere together are a truly dynamic combination.

And nobody saw it coming. Repeat, underlined: nobody.

“It was an awful regular season,” Leino said. “It was a really, really tough stretch there. I don’t know if you sometimes have to go to the bottom to get back on top. Mentally, it was tough. Hopefully, I got stronger from that.”

In February, when the deal was made, it was viewed as a nothing kind of transaction, just a little roster churning by general manager Paul Holmgren. What they knew all along was that Leino needed to play with skilled players to show his skill, that he really didn’t have a checking-line function. And it was hard for coach Peter Laviolette to find a place for him - that much was obvious.

“I think Detroit had some cap issues,” Holmgren said. “When I talked to [Red Wings GM] Kenny Holland, I don’t think he wanted to trade him. He liked him, and I know the coach [Mike Babcock] really liked him. But they got themselves into a bind and they were going to lose him on waivers. I think somebody would have claimed him if they went that route. We were able to make a trade.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ville+leino

Nabokov Has To Be Better

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Cam Inman at the Mercury News,

You wonder on every goal he allows. You wonder on every save he makes. You wonder on every breath Evgeni Nabokov takes.

OK, that last line is too much like a song lyric. But Nabokov’s lasting legacy with the Sharks is being defined right here in these Western Conference finals.

How many more games will he play in that menacing Sharks helmet? How will his final game end this season, in heroic fashion with a Stanley Cup or in a familiar sad handshake at the end of a receiving line?

Nabokov, whose contract is up at season’s end, has had a strong postseason. It needs to be stronger.


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: evgeni+nabokov

What Went Wrong Joe?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Lozo of NHL.com,

Despite the late-game slash and garbage time melee, McLellan was happy with Thornton’s overall game.

“If I look at Joe’s game, I thought Joe played a pretty solid game,” he said. “He was skating. He was big. He was strong.”

Thornton sat down at his locker for a quick interview session with the media following the game:

Q: What went wrong tonight?

Thornton: I didn’t think we gave them too much, to be honest with you. I thought we played good defensive hockey. I don’t know how many chances they got. We were just not capitalizing on our chances. They are with theirs. We aren’t with ours.

read on

Thornton has to be better than -4 for the WCF.

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joe+thornton

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