Kukla's Korner

Wild Looking For Winning Formula

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

In recent games, the Wild has faced off with Pittsburgh, Chicago and Los Angeles—three teams in various stages of development but all stacked with young, star-studded talent.

This is what the Wild wants to become. It’ll be a tedious task, however, because the Wild doesn’t have the luxury—so to speak—of following their blueprint.

“All three of those teams have been built through the draft with some great young talent,” Wild first-year GM Chuck Fletcher said. “The flip side of that: There were some tough years along the way to acquire those top picks.”

It’s too risky to assume already-patient Wild fans are willing to tolerate two or three years of painful losing to get blue-chip draft picks. Plus, the Wild wants to win now.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Nothing New On Lilja

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Red Wings TV analyst Mickey Redmond said during Saturday’s telecast on Fox Sports Net that Lilja could return next week. This was news to Holland, who last spoke to Lilja on Tuesday and was told nothing had changed. Lilja also said Thursday in Minnesota that he was not close to returning.

“Nothing has changed,’’ Holland said. “I’m not aware of that (Redmond’s comment). He (Lilja) has good days and bad days. Nobody has said anything to me that he’s getting close.’‘

Redmond also mentioned Niklas Kronwall could return next week too.

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

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I don’t think of this as a step back. I made one mistake. You guys (in the media) can jump all over that if you want. I played well the rest of the way, so …”

-Columbus goaltender Steve Mason (via Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers) on the Eric Belanger goal he gave up last night, which could be considered a weak goal. 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steve+mason

Minor Trade Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

• The Phoenix Coyotes are on the lookout for cheap offensive help; they can’t take on too much of a payroll bump. Ideally, they’re looking to make a dollar-for-dollar move. That’s not an easy thing to do in this market right now, although that’s exactly what Minnesota and Montreal pulled off in the Guillaume Latendresse-Benoit Pouliot deal (both players are earning the exact same salary).

• The New York Islanders continue to cast their fishing lines around the league in an attempt to move goalie Martin Biron ($1.4 million salary, UFA July 1). The Isles are pretty open to what they’d want in return: a draft pick, a defenseman or a left winger. Any one of those three apparently will do.

more talk, most of which has been covered on KK in the past few days…

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Bad Blood Between Ladd & Kesler

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,

There are so many of the Vancouver Canucks for Blackhawks fans to dislike - Willie Mitchell, Kevin Bieksa, Rick Rypien, the hair pulling Alex Burrows, even goalie Roberto Luongo.

But Ryan Kesler might now be at the top of their list.

Kesler called out Blackhawks winger Andrew Ladd after Saturday’s 5-1 win by the Canucks at GM Place during which Ladd got the best of Kesler in a first period fight.

Kesler was looking for revenge for what he said was a hit from behind from Ladd in last spring’s playoffs and wound up taking a punch to the face that opened a cut under his eye. Instead of trading punches with Ladd, Kesler’s only response was to wrestle Ladd to the ice.

“He’s a coward, he’ll always be a coward,” Kesler told reporters after the game. “At least he was man enough to hit me when I was looking this time.”

continue for a look at last night’s game and watch the quick fight below…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+ladd, ryan+kesler

Sunday Morning Hockey Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

• Bruins fans dreaming of a No. 1 pick in June’s amateur draft cheer a little more with each Maple Leafs loss. However, by the looks of the total ineptness in Carolina and Edmonton, the Hurricanes and Oilers will have the most ping-pong balls in the barrel come lottery time.

In Raleigh, just about everyone other than Staal and Cam Ward can be had for an offer. The Oilers, flat as the Alberta plains, will find a taker (Los Angeles or New Jersey) for defenseman Sheldon Souray, whose no-trade clause disappears anyway after this season.

• Ex-Boston College star Patrick Eaves, bought out by the Bruins as part of the deal that sent Ward back to Carolina last summer, keeps busy with third- and fourth-line duty with the Red Wings. His pace, in fact, is about in synch with Bruins winger Michael Ryder. Headed into the weekend, Ryder stood 12-8 -20 in 49 games while Eaves was 6-7 -13 in 38 games. Ryder: $4 million per year; Eaves: $500,000.

more hockey topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Questioning Kessel’s Conditioning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• Every time I see Phil Kessel bent over at the bench sucking wind, I wonder: How do you build the Maple Leafs around a kid who doesn’t seem to be in game condition?

• This is why the surprising Colorado Avalanche will make the playoffs and the Phoenix Coyotes might not: Of Colorado’s final 32 games, 19 are at home. Of the Coyotes’ final 30 games, only 12 are at home.

• If I’m Vince McMahon I’m lining up John Tortorella and Larry Brooks for Monday Night Raw.

a few more hockey notes…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: phil+kessel

Want To Save Money?  Cut The Scouting Staff

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

As the recession grinds on, the gap in spending among the NHL’s wealthy and not-so-wealthy teams continues to widen, with scouting becoming one of the key differences.

An informal survey of general managers and scouts reveals that some teams have cut back on their scouting budgets in recent years, mostly the lower-revenue teams, while some of the big-market clubs have thrown more money at finding talent. The way they see it, the more bird dogs you have beating the bushes, the better your decisions will be at the draft table and in making trades….

The size of the scouting departments of NHL teams varies from a high of 22 with the New Jersey Devils to a low of nine with the Carolina Hurricanes and the Colorado Avalanche. The average is about 13, including scouting directors, who also scout players, full-time and part-time scouts.

“It’s one of the easiest places to cut costs,” said NHL Network broadcaster and former Calgary Flames GM Craig Button, who also spent years as a scout and player personnel director. “We have Central Scouting [the NHL’s service] so people ask why not use Central Scouting?”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Rangers Lack Compete Level

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post, T

here is no better way to explain what became yet another blowout and yet another shutout, last night in an embarrassing 6-0 defeat to the Canadiens in which the Rangers competed only sporadically for one another and for head coach John Tortorella.

There’s a correlation, you know, between not protecting your goaltender when he’s run, not avenging your captain when he’s concussed, not protecting your all-world scorer when he fights with an opposition enforcer, and lame white flag performances like this that occur regularly.

Team character defects that are so glaring do not develop in a vacuum.

“You can say it’s a lack of preparation, but that’s BS; it’s a lack of competitiveness,” Sean Avery, perhaps the Blueshirts’ best player, told The Post. “We do not play hard enough.

“I don’t have the explanation for it. I don’t know if it’s us not holding each other accountable, or what, but it’s a total lack of respect for our fans and the organization. It’s a joke.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Leads Are Weak?  You’re Weak.  The Cup Is For Closers

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By VooX

Pay attention Detroit Red Wings, I am only going to say this once.

Let’s talk about something important.

Put.  That.  Cup.  Down.

The Cup is for Closers only.

You think I’m fuching with you?  I am not fuching with you.

Have I got your attention now?

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

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