Kukla's Korner

Stan Bowman Four Wins Away From His Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

Let’s face it, there’s pressure that comes with being Scotty’s kid and being named after the trophy you’re chasing. Much like their young general manager, the Blackhawks have embraced expectations for greatness rather than wilt under them. Together, they have enjoyed an unforgettable ride.

See, he was there when Blackhawks games weren’t on local television, when they missed the playoffs six times in seven years, when they were nothing. He spent four years as a special assistant to the general manager, whatever that means, and two more as director of hockey operations. He took over for GM Dale Tallon last July.

Now, at age 36, having twice beaten cancer, the Canisius High grad is four wins against the Flyers away from winning it all. The series starts Saturday in hockey-crazed Chicago. The Blackhawks haven’t won the Cup since 1960-61, the longest drought for an Original Six franchise. They have been to the finals once since 1972-73.

“There are passionate sports fans here,” he said. “The Bulls had a great run for a number of years. The Cubs are always beloved. You have the Bears and the White Sox. There are a lot of things in sports that capture people’s attention. For a while, the hockey team wasn’t one of them. Over the past couple of years, you could see it building.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: stan+bowman

Blackhawks Use Social Media To Their Advantage

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from rian Louis and Tony C. Dreibus of Bloomberg,

The Chicago Blackhawks four years ago were losing fans to the Chicago Wolves, a minor-league hockey team with cheaper tickets.

This season, the Hawks are the National Hockey League’s biggest draw. Team owner Rocky Wirtz is mining the world of Facebook and Twitter to keep it that way.

“People my age aren’t the ones you go after,” Wirtz, 57, said in an interview before heading to his seat, a padded folding chair amid the fans, for the playoff victory that sent his team to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1992.

“The question is how do you get the 20-year-olds?” he said. “We want to work more with social media than ever before. We want to recruit them to be fans for 30 more years.”

The Blackhawks, whose 49-year championship drought is the longest of any current hockey franchise, are schooling others on and off the ice this season as the NHL struggles to boost a fan base that remains the smallest of the four major professional sports.

continued

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

Burke Prepares For The Draft At The Combine

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

Memo to would-be Maple Leafs draft picks: Know what kind of car your dad drives, who gave you that nice watch, and for goodness sake, brush up on the American League standings.

Those everyday questions are the ones general manager Brian Burke likes to throw at the kids who will be attending this week’s NHL scouting combine at a Toronto hotel.

Burke leaves the left-field queries and psych evaluations to his scouting staff, team psychologist Dana Sinclair and a small army of league-approved fitness and medical experts, believing he can get a good read on a player through some casual talk covering more mundane topics.

And though Burke’s team has no pick in the first or second round at present, he has already interviewed some of the potential first-rounders in case he pulls a draft-day doozy on June 25 in Los Angeles.

“You want to be ready,” Burke said on Wednesday.

continued

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

Pay Attention To The Goaltenders

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

In what has been a riveting and consistently entertaining NHL postseason thus far, the oddest back story of all focuses on the respective starters in net. And how a series of here-to-fore lightly regarded goaltenders are facing each other, while the big names either missed the playoffs altogether or were quickly dispatched.

Of the 100 goaltenders listed by salary on stats website nhlnumbers.com, Niemi ranks 57th (at $827,000 U.S.) while Leighton is dead last (No. 100). Leighton’s price tag is $600,000, but because the Flyers grabbed him on waivers, they were responsible for just half.

Even in today’s inflated NHL salaries, both represent exceptional value.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi, michale+leighton

Get Rid Of The Indian Head

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

With this year’s Stanley Cup final fairly oozing with possibility and potential, there’s a great deal of preening going on at NHL headquarters.

Ask them and they’ll tell you every indicator that matters is up, up, up and business is good, good, good.

So, in the tradition of not letting these folks get too big for their britches lest they order another lockout, we choose to ask an uncomfortable question.

Does anybody notice, or should anybody notice, that the team that will open this series on home ice skates out with the cultural equivalent of a cigar store Indian on their chests every night?

continued

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

Without His Grandfather, Iginla Would Not Be In Hockey Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

When you are one year old and your parents split, no one knows how it can effect the trajectory of life.

Jarome Iginla knows one thing, however: He wouldn’t be a hockey player today had he not landed back at his grandparents’ home at the age of one, his mother Susan working to pay the bills, and his grandfather — a fine fellow named Rick Schuchard — taking over as his father figure.

“The NHL?” asked Iginla on Thursday afternoon. “I wouldn’t have been able to play at all had I not had my grandparents there for me. My mom was busy working. My dad was going to school. I wouldn’t have even BEEN in hockey as a kid.”

They will lay Schuchard to rest on Friday afternoon at the St. Albert United Church, and Jarome will eulogize on behalf of the grandchildren.

Rick was Susan Schuchard’s father, Frances’ loving husband, Jarome Iginla’s grandpa, and an old friend of this sportswriter.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jarome+iginla

The Broadcasters Talk Stanley Cup Final

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, Pierre McGuire, Mike “Doc” Emrick and Keith Jones took part in a tele-conference today.

Q.  Just a question on the goaltending matchup.  Long held belief you needed kind of a really good big-ticket goaltender, goaltending was so important.  Ken Holland over the last couple of years says you don’t always need to spend a ton of money on your goaltending.  I wanted to get your thoughts on this matchup, and is there a shift, maybe a shift in philosophy coming with goaltending?

  DON CHERRY:  Well, again, Leighton is my guy and everybody’s waiting for Niemi, whatever his name, to falter, and he hasn’t.  So it’s really funny, two guys that they thought it’s their weak spot.  Philadelphia has always had a weak spot.  And everybody’s been saying about Chicago, they’ve got a good team; but their goaltender was suspect.  Now here they are in the Finals.

  I think it’s going to be which one falters.  And boy it’s going to be something.  Of course, you know what I think of Leighton.

  PIERRE McGUIRE:  I think a big part of what’s allowed these goalies to prosper in the post season is the fact that both teams have unbelievable defensemen in front of them.  Just to go to Don’s theory about what Ken Holland said.

  The reason why Detroit can get by with Chris Osgood or, quote/unquote, no name goaltenders is the fact they had Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski and Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall, unbelievable depth on defense.

  You’ve got the same thing happening with both these teams.  While both goaltenders have had great post seasons, the truth of the matter is the defensive in front of them, and Don and Mike would appreciate this being former defensemen, those guys aren’t getting enough credit on both sides, the defense for both teams has really helped the goaltenders to survive.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“My thinking is if I stopped doing that and get out of the way of pucks, I might as well retire because nobody is going to want me.  The day I start thinking like that, I’m done because they’ll take a younger guy that will do my job for half the price.”

-Ian Laperriere of the Philadelphia Flyers.  More on Laperriere from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ian+laperriere, ian+laperriere

The Stanley Cup Final Takes Over The Windy City

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

It may not have the pizzazz of the Super Bowl’s now famous media day—we didn’t see the Cartoon Network working the room at the United Center on Thursday—but the NHL’s annual pre-Stanley Cup finals event has definitely evolved into a big day on the playoff calendar.

There is a bit of a carnival feel with the broadcasters and roving bands of journalists moving from table to table, and the players sporting their cool new hoodies. And there is never a shortage of anecdotes and stories to be told as the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers gear up for Game 1 on Saturday night.

continued

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

KK- Light Night From Me Until Later In the Evening

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I am taking a little down time tonight, knowing I won’t be able to enjoy the full Memorial Day Weekend due to the Stanley Cup Final.

I should be back by 9:00pm tonight with any necessary posts.

Filed in: KK Website Business, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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