Kukla's Korner

Shakeup Woke-Up Panthers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Richards of the Miami Herald, .

..Florida lost that night, 4-2 to the red-hot Boston Bruins. The Panthers were 7-11-1.

‘‘We had hit a crossroads in the season,’’ DeBoer said.

As soon as the team got back, Martin put enforcer Wade Belak on waivers. Players were shocked.

Belak, who had signed a two-year deal to stay with the team in the offseason, cleared waivers and was welcomed back. Then he was traded to Nashville.

The Panthers haven’t been the same since.

‘‘I didn’t have a problem with Wade; he worked hard every day and did his job,’’ DeBoer said before Florida beat Belak’s Predators 3-0 on Tuesday. ``But at that point of the season, we needed to shake things up. He was a casualty of that. He’s gone on and done good things for Nashville.

``We’ve turned our season around, but it wasn’t because of Wade Belak or because of that trade. That would be simplifying it a bit. But everyone on our team needed to be put on notice, know that status quo wasn’t going to be good enough.’‘

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Play Prucha

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

It is unfathomable that Petr Prucha Petr Prucha cannot get a chance to play for this team.

If Tom Renney doesn’t believe that Prucha is a more viable option on either wing for Brandon Dubinsky Brandon Dubinsky than Aaron Voros or Fred Sjostrom, then Glen Sather must either give Prucha away in a trade (if he can) or put him on waivers once the holiday roster freeze lifts at midnight tomorrow.

The Rangers simply cannot afford to plant a $1.6 million player in the press box every night. Deleting Prucha from the roster - if he clears waivers and both parties are amenable, Prucha could play in the Czech league rather than in Hartford, and perhaps for Martin Straka’s club in Pilzen - will open approximately $886,000 of cap space. The team needs it.

read on

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

Bruins Have Cap Issues Ahead

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,

The B’s have about $43 million already locked up in 2009-10 contracts, leaving about $13 million open. It’s easy to see how the Thomas, Kessel, Krejci and Hunwick contracts will total, say, $14 million - which would leave no cash for other signings, like unrestricted free agent P.J. Axelsson.

Thomas declines comment on contract matters, but likely will be the first guy with a new deal. It will be interesting to see how high he aims. He has arguably been the Bruins’ MVP the last three seasons - while earning a total of just $3.3 million, which is the best bargain in the game. His age (35 next season) cuts his earning potential, but he should still command something like a three-year, $12 million pact.

The 21-year-old Kessel and 22-year-old Krejci are more difficult to peg.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Hockey Night In Paris

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Peter O’Neal at Canada.com,

The City of Lights, typically associated with sophisticated images of culture, fashion, architecture, food and romance, would seem to be an unlikely target to promote the lowbrow sport of ice hockey.

Yet French organizers think there is a hockey culture here strong enough to justify their bid to make Paris join the ranks of three other European cities - London, Prague and Stockholm - that have hosted season-opening National Hockey League games since 2007.

They are counting on the thousands of hockey fans from Paris, and from hockey hotbeds like Rouen in the northern Normandy region and Grenoble in the French Alps, who regularly attend games to cheer on local teams or their own children in minor league programs.

French fans would be hard to distinguish from hockey moms and dads in Canada except that they are typically better dressed and arrive clutching dainty little cafe noisettes (an absurdly tiny jigger of dark coffee with a faint splash of milk) rather than double-doubles.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sharks May Have The Edge Over Detroit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Emmons of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The quickest explanation for why the Sharks (27-4-3) will face the Blues on Saturday night in the Scottrade Center with the NHL’s best record is this: They have become the mirror image of Detroit.

The Sharks hired Red Wings assistant Todd McLellan in the offseason, and the first-year coach has installed much of the same system that has helped make Detroit, well, Hockeytown.

But that’s not all. The Sharks might very well be bigger, stronger and faster than the vaunted Red Wings.

read on

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

The State Of The Thrashers With Don Waddell

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Knobler of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

Q. You’ve said you won’t trade Ilya Kovalchuk. Are there any other players you rule out trading?

A. There are some guys that I won’t trade, but I’m not going to get into the names. There are certainly some younger guys, and you can figure it out, that we want to continue to build around.

Q. What’s the first priority you’re looking for in a trade?

A. A centerman would be No. 1, but if it’s a player that’s going to make us a better team at this point, particularly a forward, we’ll look at pretty much anything.

Q. When do you start having to make a decision, is this a team that has a chance to make a run or is it time to look to the future?

A. The trade deadline’s March 4. In February we only have [five] home games. We have to put ourselves in position over the next five, six weeks. If we don’t, it’s going to be tough for us.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: don+waddell

Comparing The Rangers To The Islanders

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Arthur Staple of Newsday,

The Islanders are the other team in the Atlantic, and they only thing they seem to be chasing - other than opposing players with the puck - is the first overall pick in the June draft.

And yet, our two local teams have more problems in common than you might think.

Huh? What’s that? How can a team that’s 10 games over .500 have anything in common with a team 11 games under and in the midst of a 10- game losing streak?

Plenty.

The Islanders’ problems are more obvious, thanks to their lesser talent all the way round the rink. Scott Gordon has been beset by injuries (unlike Tom Renney and the Rangers), so he’s juggled lines and defense pairings and tried to get a variety of players to adhere to his coaching system and style.

read on

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

Caps Continue To Win No Matter Who Is On The Ice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,

While it’s unclear who will be able to suit up, this much is known: The Capitals have been one of the league’s best teams over the past month despite an injury-ravaged lineup that, on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, was minus eight players who were on the ice opening night.

Since the roster became a virtual revolving door on Nov. 24, they’re 10-4-0 and have built a comfortable eight-point edge in the Southeast Division.

In that span, 11 players have been recalled from the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears, five have made their NHL debuts, and even a front-office employee was signed to serve as a backup goaltender. In all, 35 players have donned a Washington jersey this season compared with 26 at this point a year ago.

read on

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

Sullivan Feels Like A Hockey Player Again

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of USA Today,

It’s been 22 months since Nashville Predators forward Steve Sullivan has played an NHL game, and no timetable has been set for his return.

But as his family prepared for the holidays, Sullivan felt like he had already received a gift “because I feel like a hockey player again.”

After two back surgeries and overflowing frustration, Sullivan has been able to skate with teammates and embrace the idea his comeback will be sooner rather than later.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steve+sullivan

Red Wings Send Their Hockey Greetings To You

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

TSN has their version of Twas The Night Before Christmas dominated by notable faces from the hockey world.

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

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