Kukla's Korner

Owning A Junior Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,

In cities such as London, junior hockey has become big business across Canada and the United States. But no franchise has undergone such a transformation as the Knights.

The team struggled mightily in the mid-1990s. It played in a deteriorating building on the south end of town and its on-ice performance was as horrible, setting a Canadian Hockey League record for futility at 3-60-3 in 1995-96.

Former NHL player Mark Hunter, along with his older brother, Dale, was at the old London Ice House for the final game that OHL season. The current co-owner of the Knights — then the Sarnia Sting head coach — and Stanley Cup winner with the 1988-89 Calgary Flames didn’t need a degree in risk management to see the possibilities.

“Dale and I always had interest in owning a major-junior franchise one day,” said Mark Hunter, 46. “I saw 4,000 people in that rink that final game. I saw 4,000 loyal fans for a team that won three games. This is a hockey city.”

more

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: london+knights

A Look At The Central Division

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

Signs of trouble: 1. Which Osgood will show up: the 2008-09 playoff star or the average regular-season version? 2. The team depth clearly isn’t as strong as a year ago. 3. Backup G Jimmy Howard is unproven.

Prediction: The news of Detroit’s demise is greatly exaggerated. The Red Wings still are in the hunt to be best in the West.

Signs of trouble: 1. Huet needs to prove he’s ready to be the guy. He couldn’t beat out Khabibulin last season. 2. Hossa (shoulder) is on the disabled list. 3. Bowman must find enough money to pay Toews, Kane and Keith after this season.

Prediction: The Blackhawks have a shot to become this season’s version of the 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Prediction: West Conference

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

As I continue with my pre-season predictions, here is my predicted order of finish for the West Conference teams.  To see blurbs about each of the teams in question, you will have to look to my division previews(Northwest, Pacific and Central).

This is my predicted order of finish in the West Conference:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Prediction: Central Division

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

My pre-season predictions continue today.  I have posted predicted finishes for the Northwest Division and the Pacific Division.  Today, I proceed into the Central Division.

Here is my predicted order of finish in the Central Division:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Look For More Instigator Calls

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via the Globe and Mail,

Gregson, who has replaced Stephen Walkom as the NHL director of officiating, says the priorities this season will be calling the instigator penalty on fights more often and standardizing the way officials drop the puck for faceoffs.

Officials were told that the instigator has been overlooked too often.

”It’s not new,” Gregson said in a recent interview. ”We’re not changing the wording and we’re not trying to make every fight an instigator call.

”But if a player travels (to start a fight), you have to ask ’did someone clearly instigate?’ And if so, apply the rule.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Havlat Stays Loose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

But one player who has avoided the injury thus far is Martin Havlat.

As Havlat says, “Knock on wood.”

After problems earlier in Havlat’s career, he seems to have solved the issue. Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti said he thinks he knows why.

“Nobody prepares before a game or a practice more than ‘Grizzly,’” Torchetti said of Havlat. “His prepractice and pregame stretch is one of the most intense things I’ve ever seen. Forty minutes, and it’s more rigorous than most people’s workouts.”

While some players do some quick stretching and then hop on the ice, Havlat commits himself to showing up well before practices and games. In an attempt to survive practices or games injury-free, Havlat then puts himself through his sweat-filled regimen.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: martin+havlat

Follwing The Wings In Sweden

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

In his native land, Henrik Zetterberg is a regular in the gossip pages. There are times a simple trip to a café with his famous fiancée becomes an exercise in stealth. He is that popular….

Zetterberg’s popularity in Sweden began with his dazzling play in the Swedish Elite League and for the Swedish national team—with which he won a medal in four of the five years he played in the World Championships—and grew to astronomical proportions when he began dating Swedish TV personality Emma Andersson. Since the two got engaged in summer 2008, they’ve become the “it” couple of their summertime home on the island of Alnon outside Sundsvall.

“Hank is the king there,” Jonasson said, “and Emma the queen.”

Lidstrom, on the other hand, is more of a national treasure, and an underappreciated one at that. It’s partly because he’s been gone since 1991, and partly because he hasn’t played nearly as much on the national teams as same-generation stars such as forwards Peter Forsberg and Mats Sundin due to the Wings’ regular playoff runs.

Even with six Norris trophies as the NHL’s top defenseman, along with four Stanley Cups, Lidstrom’s stature isn’t fully recognized in Sweden.

more

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

Canadiens Have Lost Their Identity

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,

Not only have the Canadiens lost four good players and quality individuals, they’ve also lost a good piece of their identity. They are left with only three francophones in the room - Georges Laraque, Guillaume Latendresse and Maxim Lapierre.

Given that the Vegan Laraque apparently intends to malinger his way through the balance of his contract, that leaves two players in the room who can communicate in the language spoken by the vast majority of fans in this province.

Does it matter? Of course it does. It goes to the identity and character of this team, but it also matters in purely practical ways. Imagine the Toronto Maple Leafs with only two players on the roster who could speak English - the demands on those two would become absurd.

more

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

Recipe For Success

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,

There’s no doubt in my mind the Blackhawks will make a run at the Stanley Cup this season. They certainly should, given their surprisingly strong finish with a young, inexperienced team last season and the offseason additions of Marian Hossa, John Madden and Tomas Kopecky.

Hossa, Madden and Kopecky all played on teams that were big winners last season. They don’t just bring necessary experience; they also bring the mind-set necessary for the Hawks to take their next step forward…

Here are the five biggest potential pitfalls the Hawks must overcome if they are to make a run at their first Stanley Cup title since 1961:

Nikolai Khabibulin was pretty good in goal last season, but he was no world-beater in his four seasons with the Hawks overall. The Hawks should be successful without him.

Cristobal Huet? He just needs to play—virtually all the games, not just every other one.

more

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

Rivalries- NHL 10 Style

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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