Kukla's Korner

Sutter Believes In His Core

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Johnson ot the Calgary Herald,

As we sift through the fallout of the latest comeuppance, there’s been growing chatter from apoplectic fans about the

Flames perhaps considering the unthinkable—dealing one of the four cornerstones in the club’s foundation—captain Jarome Iginla, defencemen Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr, along with Kiprusoff—while market value remains high.

From Sutter’s tone Monday, that ain’t happening….

“If you’ve only got four of them,’’ he argued, “then all you’ll be doing is fighting to get into the playoffs every year.’‘

Phaneuf, at 24, the ideal You-Tube age defenceman—heavy on the highlights, light on the consistency—has come in for the most flak. And justifiably so. He was highly erratic most of the regular season, and then beat to blazes come playoff time. His upside is such that not investing at least one more year of time and effort, despite the inherent frustrations, seems foolish. A lot of people believe what he needs is a good-sized cowboy boot (old junior coach Brent Sutter’s favoured brand, perhaps?) upside the rear end to knock him off his high horse and get him to listen.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: darryl+sutter

Back At It Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Wood of the OC Register,

For their next trick, the Ducks and Detroit Red Wings will toe the starter’s blocks Tuesday night at Honda Center, just 52 hours after having completed a marathon three time zones away.

Whatever effects linger from Sunday’s 4-3, triple-overtime Ducks victory at Joe Louis Arena could go a long way toward determining which team takes a 2-1 lead in Game 3 of the best-of-7, second-round Stanley Cup playoff series.

“That’s a factor in playoff hockey,” Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer said. “You play these long games and you have to bounce back, be ready to go in two days. Everyone has to deal with it – us and them. That’s part of the challenge.”

continued

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

Chicago Ready For Round 2 Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

Thanks to blowing a 2-0 lead, giving up five consecutive goals, and losing 6-3 at home to Chicago in Game 2, the Canucks come here where the Blackhawks are unbeaten in the playoffs and where the environment is expected to be like it hasn’t been for a hockey game in Chicago since the Blackhawks used to play across the road in the now-levelled Chicago Stadium.

“All the way home it’s all everybody was talking about,” said Hawks’ Adam Burish of the charter flight from Vancouver.

“It’s going to be louder than ever. From the way it’s been building and the way it was for Game 5 against Calgary, it’s going to be the same kind of atmosphere as everybody says it used to be around here when it was the loudest rink in the NHL,” he said of Chicago Stadium, where the little hairs on the back of your neck stood at attention during the national anthem.

read on

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

Bettman Plans To Fix The Coyotes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gary Loewen of the Toronto Sun,

Forget about the Phoenix Coyotes heading back to their Winnipeg roots.

Asked on ESPN Radio what he planned to do with the Coyotes, commissioner Gary Bettman said, “We’re gonna fix them. That’s what we do when we have franchises in trouble.”

So, take that Kansas City and Las Vegas and Hamilton/Waterloo.

As for those who believe that the NHL is a Canadian game:

“If you think back to the late ‘90s early 2000s, there were numerous articles suggesting Canadian franchises other than the Maple Leafs couldn’t make it and there would be only one team left in Canada,” Bettman said.

“But we don’t buy into that hysteria.”

more

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

PK Sticks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,

So I’m watching the Caps and Pens tonight, and I see Pittsburgh score the first goal of the game on a power play, an effort aided by the fact Washington penalty killer Brooks Laich had his stick broken by a shot just before the goal was scored by Sidney Crosby. Nothing looks more awkward than a fellow trying to kill a penalty with no stick….

But, I says to myself, a penalty killer doesn’t necessarily need the benefits these fancy new carbon fibre/plutonium/kryptonite weapons give your everyday player when he’s trying to score or shoot.

He just needs to kill the penalty.

So why not wood? Why wouldn’t guys on the PK use wooden sticks, far less likely to be broken, and then switch back to the uranium models they usually use for 5-on-5 play or power play duty?

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Hockey Equipment, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Both On Top

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Columns at CBC,

On Monday night in Washington, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin pushed one another to the highest of levels, raising their games to places only the best can reach. Maybe it wasn’t a Game 7. Maybe it wasn’t the Stanley Cup final. But it was something special, something spectacular, something we can only hope to see again.

When it was over, the home crowd booed as Crosby, who did not appear, was named the second star. I was disappointed in that, and hope those people reconsider. Crosby deserved respect for his brilliance in defeat, as much respect as Ovechkin deserved for his greatness in victory.

The Crosby vs. Ovechkin debate should be retired after this one. If you love sports, you can like both. You can recognize that these are the best young players since Gretzky and Lemieux.

read on

added 7:16am, from John Buccigross of ESPN,

In the opening scene of “Batman and Robin,” Chris O’Donnell (Robin) and George Clooney (Batman) fight Arnold Schwarzenegger and his legion of ice-skating villains. At one point, Robin turns to Batman and says, “This is a hockey team from hell.”

Playing against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in D.C. can sometimes feel like that. Ovechkin, feeding off the energy of the home crowd like a solar panel, becomes a hockey player from hell. On ice. You can tie your CCMs with those laces of irony.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are Pittsburgh’s Batman and Robin fighting Ovechkin and his waves of teammates. Pittsburgh has complementary pieces, but make no mistake, the Penguins will only go as far as Batman and Robin will take them.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin, sidney+crosby

Your View On The Incident

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins with a stick to the throat of Capitals goaltender Simeon Varlamov last night…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+kunitz, simeon+varlamov

Enough Of The Hats

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,

If you’re one of the best hockey players in the world, and you have a potentially undeserved reputation for excessive complaining, and you’re asked what you were discussing with a game official following your rival’s game-clinching playoff hat trick, you could potentially say, “Oh, it was nothing.” Or, if you were feeling frisky, you could venture further afield.

“People kept throwing hats,” Sidney Crosby said tonight. “I was just asking if he could make an announcement to ask them to stop. I mean, the first wave came and then I think they were all pretty much picked up, and then more started coming. So for us, we just wanted to make sure we kept kind of moving and kept the game going, wanted to try to get back in it. So wasn’t complaining about anything.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sidney+crosby

Rangers Get Some Salary Cap Space

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The New York Rangers are in a bit of a jam due to the salary cap.  As the 2008/09 season ended they had five forwards, four defencemen and a goalie signed for a total salary cap hit of about $42 million.  They have to fill half their roster with the remaining money under the salary cap.  If we assume that the salary cap remains constant or falls slightly (due to economic recession) this leaves about a $1 million salary cap hit on average for the players to be signed.  You can be pretty certain that restricted free agents Nikolai Zherdev and Brandon Dubinsky will take larger than the average salaries.  It will be hard to field a competitive team under those conditions.

The Rangers have had a bit of luck.  Markus Naslund is retiring.  He signed a front-loaded $8 million two year contract with the team last summer.  He is passing up the second year (and $3 million) to retire. He could have waited and had his contract bought out and made $2 million over two years for doing nothing.  Both of those scenarios would have given the Rangers a salary cap hit from Naslund.  Naslund retiring frees up $4 million that can be spent on next season’s salaries.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Ericsson Growing Into His Position

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail (Tuesday edition),

“I didn’t even know I was drafted,” said Ericsson, whose Wings are tied 1-1 with the Ducks in their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series. “I wasn’t following it that day. I wasn’t even thinking about it.”

Ericsson was an instructor at a youth hockey camp in Sweden when a local reporter informed him of the news. Ericsson remarked that he didn’t contemplate the tall odds he had to overcome to play in the NHL, he was just excited to be taken by the same NHL club that housed Swedish heroes such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom.

“I was just thrilled to be drafted,” the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Ericsson said….

“He’s a lot like [Anaheim’s Chris] Pronger, only he doesn’t crosscheck and do that sort of stuff,” Babcock said.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonathan+ericsson

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