Kukla's Korner

The Panthers Are Doing Something Right

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ethan J. Skolnick of the Sun-Sentinel,

This statement is so startling that it can’t wait for a second paragraph: the Panthers’ plan appears to be working.

Yes, working.

Collect yourself. Call a witness.

“It’s important to have a plan,” Panthers general manager Jacques Martin said.

It sounds simple. You would assume that every self-respecting sports franchise would conceive one, develop one, follow one. A plan making sense. A plan seen through, tweaked when necessary but abandoned only in emergency. For too many years, however, even the Panthers’ best-laid plans were prematurely laid to rest, buried alive when the team got buried again in the standings. Play the kids. Bring in vets. Play the kids. No, go with vets. The Panthers switched strategies like teens change crushes.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Is There A Pattern Developing Here?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,

Memo to NHL coaches: think twice before accepting that all expenses paid trip to Europe to start the NHL season.

It may shorten your coaching career.

When Pittsburgh’s Michel Therrien was fired on the weekend, he became the fifth coaching casualty of the NHL season, but the third coach to lose his job after his team opened the 2008-09 season in Europe. Incredibly, two of those fired coaches had just been hired prior to the season.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Leafs Plan At The Trade Deadline

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Spin at the Toronto Star, T

he Leafs, it’s needless to say, have only one untouchable on their roster, and that’s Luke Schenn. Otherwise, any player could be had, with different trade values assigned to them all.

The four players believed to be most in play, however, are rearguards Pavel Kubina and Tomas Kaberle, and forwards Nik Antropov and Dominic Moore. Kubina and Kaberle both have no-trade clauses and time on their contracts beyond this season, while Antropov and Moore are both pending unrestricted free agents.

Interestingly, the approach on all four is likely to be very different.

For Kaberle, don’t listen too closely to what Burke is saying publicly. He’s trying to set a market.


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

Buccigross Talks Caps

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Homer McFanboy,

John Buccigross is an exception to the rule.

While ESPN has largely ignored professional hockey, the former NHL 2Night co-host has gone above and beyond to show the NHL some love. His weekly column on ESPN.com is a must read for any diehard, so we asked him to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about the Washington Capitals. Thankfully, he agreed to play along….

When it’s all said and done, where will Alex Ovechkin rank among the league’s elite? You’re already on record as saying he’s the best player in Capitals history, but will he be mentioned in the same breath as Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux as one of the best to ever play the sport?

“I think that will depend on how prolific his goal totals end up being,” Buccigross said. “He has already proved to be one of the more unique players in NHL history. Really, who else compares? If he approaches 800 goals that would be interesting, but I wonder with Ovechkin’s style of play if he can have a long career. Either way he will go down as an NHL great and a player teenagers will grow up talking about and comparing subsequent players to.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink

You Have To Bury Those Kyle

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Cruickshank at Flames Insider,

After stunning saves on RW Steve Bernier (left pad) and C Mats Sundin (glove), Kiprusoff had needed to lunge to his right when puck squirted over to Wellwood. The shot, seemingly into an empty net, was batted away by the back of the Flames netminder’s paddle.

Great save, right?

“Kyle got what he deserves,” said Vigneault. “I mean, he is not bearing down and had an open net. He’s shooting the puck two miles an hour. You have to bear down, you have to put your full weight into it, you have to shoot it. He might have been standing there a little bit. Obviously, it looked like the goalie made a big save, but the player didn’t have a great attempt there.”

read on and watch the save below…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kyle+wellwood, miikka+kiprusoff

Gainey Sending Messages

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Columns at CBC,

If Bob Gainey really wanted to trade Alex Kovalev right now, the Russian winger wouldn’t be “resting.” He’d be packing.

Sunday’s loss in Vancouver wasn’t necessarily No. 27’s final game in a Canadiens uniform. Unless he shows up on the upcoming off-day Friday dragging the Stanley Cup behind his car – a la George Costanza with the World Series Trophy in Seinfeld – Kovalev will play for this team again.

This is part of Gainey’s three-pronged attack to warn the roster that no one is secure, that spoiled behaviour and indifferent play will no longer be tolerated. Add Kovalev’s banishment to Sergei Kostitsyn’s demotion and the trade for Mathieu Schneider and what has Gainey done? He’s rattled everyone without permanently getting rid of anyone. And that’s critical to the point here.


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

Ingredients Required To Repeat

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Interesting read from Philadelphia, of all places.  Rich Hoffman devotes quite a bit of time and space to the ‘97 and ‘98 Wings as he discusses the possibility of a repeat performance from his hometown Phillies.

Philadelphia Daily News

If it was the Konstantinov tragedy that bonded them spiritually, it was a typical mad-scientist move by the great Scotty Bowman upon which the second Cup run was built. Bowman changed goalies. Chris Osgood and Mike Vernon were both on the roster in the 1996-97 season, pretty much splitting time, but when the playoffs began, Vernon played just about all the time and ended up winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.

So what did Bowman do? He traded Vernon, and Osgood ended up starting and winning the second Cup. Neither guy was viewed as spectacular - the team and the coach were spectacular - but there is no more visible change than the goaltender. And it worked.


Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

A Look At Ken Hitchcock

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

Nationwide Arena is dark and quiet when Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock arrives each morning around 6, a newspaper in one hand and a coffee in the other. He doesn’t go straight to his office. That can wait. He heads for the arena’s empty lower bowl.

“I love the solitude of the rink in the early morning,” Hitchcock said. “I can think when it’s that quiet I sit there and soak it all up while I’m getting ready for the day to get rolling. You can feel the building and all the stories it has to tell, almost like it’s alive.

“To me, it’s a beautiful place to be, especially when they have the curtains pulled back from the upstairs windows and the sun comes shining in on the ice.”


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

Read The Deke Much?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

And I’m talking about the Triple Deke.

Oh, I’ll be back a little later and we’ll talk about some of the same fun stuff that had you all in a lather yesterday. 

But for now?  Wrap your head around this little ditty.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Manitoba Running Away With The AHL Lead

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

When I last looked at the AHL slightly under two weeks ago, I described a two team race for the AHL lead between the Manitoba Moose (Vancouver Canucks affiliate) and the Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals affiliate).  Commenter Pharazon wrote that the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings affiliate) and the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators affiliate) looked like they might be in the mix as well.  Since then, Manitoba has clearly run away with the race.

The Manitoba Moose have not lost in regulation in their last eight games.  Manitoba now has 81 points.  They have a five point lead over Hershey (though Hershey does have a game in hand).

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

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