Kukla's Korner

Stars Of The Week

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (December 7, 2009)—Centers Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals, Stephen Weiss of the Florida Panthers and Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche have been named the NHL ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Dec. 6.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Worst Free Agent Signing

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

It is far enough into the season to begin to look at the free agent signings made this summer.  One stands out as being a complete failure so far.  Martin Havlat left the Chicago Blackhawks to sign with the Minnesota Wild.  He signed a six year contract worth $30 million.  He was intended as a replacement for NHL goal scoring leader Marian Gaborik, who had jumped to the New York Rangers, but it has not worked out that way.

Havlat has not been a key to the Wild team.  He has two goals and nine assists, for eleven points.  This places him seventh on the Wild team in scoring.  His -17+/- rating is a team worst ranking.  It is second worst in the league.  He has not been successful so far in Minnesota.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Lecavalier Needs A Fresh Start

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,

Hotstover Pierre LeBrun’s weekly ESPN blatherings included more rumblings that Vincent Lecavalier is unhappy in Tampa. I have no doubt Pierre is correct. Lecavalier simply does not trust Lightning management/ownership after everything that happened last year. No matter what anyone connected with that franchise says - number four was available for trade.

That said, someone he trusts must tell him to get over his funk. He’s playing himself off the Canadian Olympic team. He’s hurting his reputation around the league. Rick Tocchet raised eyebrows by giving him less than four minutes in the first period in Philly on Nov. 2, but if you check his ice time since then, it’s been consistently around the 20-minute mark.

The Lightning outraged its fan base last winter as it turned L’Affaire Lecavalier into a fiasco. I never thought I’d write or say this, but I think it’s best for both the franchise and the player to sit down and figure out how to give everyone a fresh start.

more plus additional hockey talk…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vinny+lecavalier

The Best Rookie

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of The Spin,

t would be pretty much impossible for Tyler Myers to hide.

At 6-foot-8 — 6-foot-9? — the Buffalo Sabres blueliner is noticeable from the pre-game skate on at any NHL game involving the Sabres, but its time to understand that Myers is noteworthy for something beyond his unusual height.

So far, he’s the NHL’s best rookie this season on this scorecard, an early leader for the Calder Trophy.

Now, this is no easy award for a freshman defenceman to capture. Only one rearguard — Barrett Jackman in 2003 — has won the Calder in the past 11 years, and if the multi-talented Drew Doughty wasn’t good enough last year, you have to wonder what defender actually could be.

But watching Myers live in two games last week against the Canadiens and the Rangers convinced these eyes that he’s not just the real deal, but possibly shaping up into a better blueliner than anyone ever thought he would.


My suggestion is we wait until the 60 game mark before deciding the rookie of the year.  Many young players seem to hit a wall about that time and those that can avoid a slump or downturn may just grab the award.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tyler+myers

PPS (Points per Shift)

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from The Colonel at On Goal Analysis,

At On Goal Analysis, we have a tradition of looking at things with a different twist. While we like to key on points, sometimes they are misleading because theoretically speaking the leading point scorer in the NHL still might play on a team that does not even make the Playoffs. And yet, maybe points themselves just need a slightly different emphasis to make their true significance understood.

That’s why we are recommending for your consideration Points Per Shift – PPS – as a new statistic to use when analyzing who is the most productive player on the ice. PPS analyzes how many Points Per Game (PPG) each player provides divided by the average number of shifts he takes in order to tell you what he brings to the Great Game each and every time he goes over the boards….

Based on the Top 30 players’ stats as of 5 December’s games, here is how the Top 10 PPS rank:

Scoring Rank Player PPS
14 Alex Ovechkin 0.07186
27 Ilya Kovalchuk 0.07065
22 Evgeni Malkin 0.05860


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Flames In The Sutter Zone

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,

As people around Calgary know, there can be a significant gulf between expectation and reality.

But the current edition of the Flames is 18-7-3. When they woke up Sunday in Los Angeles, there were only three teams in the National Hockey League with more points, only five teams that were better defensively.

To boot, Sutter’s bunch made hay through what was considered their most hellish hunk of schedule.

“What we’ve found out through all this . . . is what our team is about — how we have to play to have success, how we need everybody to do it together, how to do it the right way,” says Sutter. “When we do that, the end result usually takes care of itself.”

In the past two-plus weeks — eight road dates, one home pitstop — the Flames have been in the zone.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink

What’s Wrong With Emery?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

After an outstanding first six weeks, Emery has crashed. He has a 5.36 goals-against average and .814 save percentage in his last five starts. Brian Boucher replaced Emery in two games.

Emery was in the trainer’s room receiving treatment after getting shelled for five goals in a little over 31 minutes against Washington. When he came out and faced reporters, Emery was surly and barely responsive.

He used 34 words to answer five questions.

None of them explained his recent problems.

Asked if he was healthy, Emery said, “Good enough to play the game.”

Asked if he had some sort of nagging injury, Emery glared at a reporter and did not respond.



Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ray+emery

Wings Lose Even When They Win

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Press Association at the Guardian,

The New York Rangers came from behind to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 and complete a satisfying weekend’s work in the NHL. Brian Boyle put the Rangers ahead in the 16th minute of the contest but Pavel Datsyuk levelled the scores in the second period.

However, the home side finished strongest and after Dan Cleary had netted with 2min 3sec remaining, Kris Draper put the gloss on the victory with an empty-net goal seven seconds from the end.

Jimmy Howard excelled in the home net, stopping 28 shots – including a penalty save from Ryan Callahan in the second session which kept his team just a goal adrift.

The result enabled the Rangers to follow up Saturday’s defeat of the Buffalo Sabres in style, while Detroit’s disappointment continued – they had gone down 4-3 in a shoot-out to the New Jersey Devils the previous night.

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

Gilbert Perreault Likes The Sabres Chances

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

Here’s one to make all you Buffalo fans over 35 squirm a little: The greatest Sabre of them all is less than a year away from 60 and you can call him Grandpa Gil.

Here’s one that will make you smile: Gilbert Perreault likes what he sees from this year’s Sabres. A lot. Whereas Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is voicing all that needs fixing with the dysfunctional Bills, Perreault is able to sit back, relax and dream about what could be for his former team.

“They have a good chance to go all the way. I really think so,” Perreault told The Buffalo News over the weekend following an autograph signing in HSBC Arena. “I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on them but they have a very good team. There’s a lot of excitement to watching them.

“I just hope they keep going like that. I know it’s a long season. So far they’re having a great year. They have to stay away from the injuries. The goaltending is great, very hot so far.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gilbert+perreault

Hitchcock Safe In Columbus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

“Hitch is safe,” Howson said. “To suggest otherwise is just ludicrous. It has not even entered anybody’s mind. It’s not something we’d even consider.”

Hard to believe, but Hitchcock—hired by the Blue Jackets on Nov. 22, 2006—is the sixth-longest tenured coach in the NHL, trailing only Randy Carlyle of Anaheim, Lindy Ruff of Buffalo, Mike Babcock of Detroit, Barry Trotz of Nashville and Alain Vigneault of Vancouver.

“I’m like most coaches,” Hitchcock said. “I worry about (getting fired) each and every week. I always feel like I’m one bad week away from being in trouble. As a coach, that’s what helps you keep your edge.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ken+hitchcock

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