Kukla's Korner

Avs Closing In On Calgary

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Woody Paige of the Denver Post,

“We’re in a position that if we keep winning, we can be where we want to be,” Budaj said.
Let me translate for Budaj, who is from Slovakia.
The Avalanche has 80 points, Calgary 84. They are even at 72 games. They are even for the season at three games apiece. They play two more - April 3 in Calgary and on the last day of the season, April 8, in Denver.
The last is a makeup from Dec. 21, when one of the 50 snowstorms postponed the game. Wouldn’t it be odd if that game determines the playoff team. Very well could be.
If the Avalanche maintains pace with the slumping Flames in the teams’ other eight games and then wins those two close encounters, the Avs are in, the Flames out.
That’s what the Avalanche goalie was trying to say. You don’t have to translate that he is 26-15-5 in net and getting stronger.

more

Filed in: Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Boston Remains Average

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,

Why try to pretend that the Bruins are much more than a rather mediocre team? As with all bottom-half teams in the NHL, the B’s have had some good stretches of play and some genuinely great games. But they always seem to slip back to their true, slightly-over-.500 selves….
The problem for the Bruins, as was painfully revealed in Saturday’s 7-0 humiliation at the hands of the Rangers, is that they already have more than enough second-tier players - and several who don’t rate even that high.
In a game they should have given heart and soul to try to win, the Bruins were, as Lewis so candidly expressed it, “slow, weak, soft and intimated.”

more

Filed in: Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Vancouver Could Be The Surpise Of The Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

The Canucks look like they will be a force in the playoffs. I have a suspicion they might be the Oilers of 2006 or the Flames of 2004.
The Canucks have an all-world goalie in Roberto Luongo. (Now, really, did anyone think the Wings were going to rally from that 3-1 deficit after two periods Saturday?) It’s similar to what the Wings enjoy when Dominik Hasek is on his game.
It makes all the difference in the world when you have the confidence of knowing that your goalie will not surrender a lead in the third period.

a little more on the Nucks plus a little Wings talk…

Filed in: Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Does San Jose Need A #1 Goalie?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gary Peterson of the Contra Costa Times,

A lot of people are convinced there will (and should) come a time when Team Wilson (coach Ron and general manager Doug) will submit to tradition and name Nabokov the team’s postseason horse.
Of course, a lot of people have been nothing but wrong to this point. But hey, we—um, they—can’t be wrong forever.
Can they?

read on

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

Sens Needed Roberts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Was Gary Roberts worth a No. 1 pick?
The Senators didn’t think so….
Muckler refused. He didn’t want to gamble away the future.
Instead, Ottawa acquired Phoenix winger Oleg Saprykin, who sat out his fourth straight game last night.
Since joining the Penguins, Roberts has added character, grit and leadership alongside the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal.

read on

Filed in: Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Flames Feeling Avs Heat

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Calgary Sun,

This morning, a mere 18 sleeps later, the Avs are only four points back of the Flames with both teams having 10 games remaining.
The Flames are looking over their shoulders.
“Everybody’s written us off but that’s fine,” said centre Craig Conroy, one of a handful of players who practised yesterday. “You have bumps and hiccups (in a season) but who’s to say this isn’t it? This could be the point where it turns around and things start going great.
“It’s got to start Tuesday, though, because we can’t take any time off and can’t wait any longer because Colorado’s coming and we’ve put ourselves in this position.”

read on

Filed in: Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Leighton Settles In

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Montreal Gazette,

Goaltender Michael Leighton was given a warm welcome by his new Canadiens teammates when he joined them in Buffalo on March 2, three days after being plucked off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.
“And then the guys told me I should put Velcro on the front of my practice jersey,” Leighton recalled, grinning. “That way, I could tear off the crest and add a different one every other week.”
Montreal is Leighton’s sixth team this season - from the Anaheim Ducks to their American Hockey League minor-pro Portland Pirates, to the Nashville Predators, to Philadelphia (the Flyers and their AHL Phantoms) and finally to the Canadiens, where he’ll finish the season.

more

Filed in: Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Preds Step On Lites’ Nerves

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Dallas Morning News:

Nashville Predators management did a disservice to the game of hockey Saturday night by not informing the crowd of Mike Modano’s achievements, Stars president Jim Lites said Sunday.
And further, coach Barry Trotz’s comments praising Jordin Tootoo for showing calm when punching Stephane Robidas was “patently ridiculous,” according to Lites.
“Their owner, management, public relations people, coaching staff – I think they all failed the game,” Lites said. “It’s because of people like Mike Modano that they even have a team in Nashville. He has helped pioneer the game in the South, and for him to be treated like that in a milestone moment ... it’s just a horrible thing.”

“I understand it’s a competitive situation, but we’re also working together to sell the game,” Lites said. “They get more money from revenue sharing than any team in the league, they voted against the new schedule because they wanted to have an easier schedule for themselves. They take and take and take and take and never give back, and I’m sick of it.”

continued

added 8:35am, via David Vest of the Arizona Republic,

It is also unfortunate that fans in Nashville could not see the big picture and/or are not hockey-savvy enough to appreciate what they witnessed.
Spectators inside the Gaylord Entertainment Center reportedly booed and mocked Modano after he scored his record-setting goal late in the third period of a nasty game the Predators won 3-2.

Filed in: Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Another Cheap Hit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Morrison of the CBC,

Quite likely, Tootoo will receive a suspension of at least a few games and the league makes headlines again for all the wrong reasons, which again raises the question of whether harder, black-and-white penalties need to be in place for any kinds of blows to the head. Of course, had Tootoo and Robidas been actually fighting, he would have been applauded for the knockout.
And what about sticking up for star players getting hit, is that line between answering a clean or dirty check becoming a little blurred?
Just asking…

more

Filed in: Cheap Hits, Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Goaltender Would Have Helped The Habs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,

Why didn’t Bob Gainey go out and get a goaltender at the trade deadline?
Of course, there would be lots of other grist for the mill as well, Alexei Kovalev’s unfortunate Russian interview and Sergei Samsonov’s exile and the Craig Rivet trade, a move that may have unsettled the team’s delicate chemistry.
But in the National Hockey League, it has always been true that great netminding can turn mediocre teams into something more than the sum of their parts (see the New York Islanders minus Rick DiPietro). That was certainly the case at the Bell Centre on Saturday.

more

Filed in: Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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