Kukla's Korner

Carolina Is Hot - And It’s All For Naught

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Over the last few games, one of the hottest teams in the NHL has been the Carolina Hurricanes.  The have won nine of their last eleven.  That has gone largely unknown because their 24-37 record (with seven regulation tie points) has them in second last place in the East Conference.  Carolina is currently nine points out of a playoff spot and that is likely too big a margin to make up in the remainder of the season.  The Carolina Hurricanes have recovered from horrible start where several key players were injured and nobody stepped forward to fill their roles.

Over the last eleven games, Carolina has had several very good performers.  Jussi Jokinen has 15 points in that stretch.  Eric Staal has 13, Ray Whitney has 11, Brandon Sutter has 10 and Joni Pitkanen has nine points.  Most of these players were injured earlier in the season.  The others are having breakthrough seasons.  Jussi Jokinen has 49 points so far this year.  That is his highest total since 2006 and is likely to improve by season’s end.  Brandon Sutter only had six career points before this season.  Their improvement is important to the team and has been significant in the last few months.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

KHL Full Of NHL Type Players

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

Take a look at the Olympic rosters of all teams competing in the men’s tournament and then tell me the KHL hasn’t hurt the NHL.

No way you can say that. While many thought the KHL would be able to lure away many of the top-level players, so far that hasn’t happened—unless Ilya Kovalchuk has a genuine surprise for everyone at the end of the season.

But that’s not likely to happen either because, while he might get a long-term offer from a Russianleague team, he’d be nuts to take it—contracts in Russian not having quite the same meaning, if you get the drift here.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: khl

Six More Games Before The Olympic Break

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Action starts at 1:00pm ET today, then we turn our attention to Vancouver for the next two weeks.

image

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Close Only Counts In Horseshoes And Bocce Ball

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Almost a dangle-dangle between-the-legs goal for Datsyuk.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pavel+datsyuk

Hossa Doubtful For Game Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,

For the second time this season the Blackhawks watched one of their best players knocked out of a game by shot to the head.

Atlanta’s Colby Armstrong laid out Marian Hossa early in the third period of Saturday’s game at the United Center, sending the Hawks winger to the dressing room for the rest of the night.

Was it a clean hit or not? Armstrong led with his shoulder, which is fine, but he caught Hossa on the chin.

The point here isn’t clean or dirty, however, it’s how much longer Hawks general manager Stan Bowman is going to let his best players be targets?

Maybe this isn’t a problem that can be solved this season with the March 3 trade deadline so close, but next year the Hawks darn well better have someone tough enough and nasty enough to show other teams they better not be going after Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: colby+armstrong, marian+hossa

Emery’s Injury Could Threaten His Career

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

If goalie Ray Emery does have a torn hip labrum - as the Flyers have hinted - “it’s fixable but career-threatening,” said a doctor who used to work for the club.

“Any injury to a joint is potentially a career-challenging injury,” Arthur Bartolozzi said. “It can affect your timing, your speed, your agility.”

The labrum is a ring of fibrous cartilage around the edge of the joint surface of a bone.

The Flyers would not reveal what the MRI exam on Emery’s injured left hip showed. Instead, they shut him down for three weeks in the hope the rest will enable him to return this season.

continued

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

Cam Janssen Hit On Matt Bradley Last Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,

Janssen, who appeared to lead with his elbow, said: “I was just coming back and [Bradley] had the puck. He cycled it back, and he was looking back like he felt the puck was still on his skates. I finish my hits. I thought it was a good opportunity. His head was down and I was just trying to get the boys into it. I hope no suspension, but we’ll see what happens. If it happens, it happens and that’s the way it is.”

more

Scroll to around the 2:00 minute mark to see the hit a little more clearly…

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cam+janssen, matt+bradley

Olympic Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• My buddies from Quebec are outraged—they are always outraged about something—that none of the five final torch-bearers for Canada were French-Canadian. No Gaetan Boucher, they say. To be honest, I couldn’t find a thing wrong with Gretzky, Catriona Le May Doan, Steve Nash, Nancy Greene and Rick Hansen. Four Western Canadians and a guy who lives in California. Let the Quebecers whine.

• Chris Mason is the standby goaltender, which is nice for him. But in truth, if Team Canada needs a fourth goalie, they’re in trouble

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL Has Nothing To Gain By Not Going To Sochi

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

But if the NHL pulls out, the flavour and competitive nature of the tournament will be enormously different in Sochi when it returns – correctly – to the larger international ice surface. With no NHLers, the U.S. will have to go back to using college kids, Canada’s team will look like a Spengler Cup entrant again and the NHL will be handing over the tournament marquee to the KHL, which already will have 60 or more players in the Vancouver tournament.

Which league will look big-league then? How will the NHL gain by retreating into self-imposed Olympic exile while countries like Latvia and Germany suddenly find themselves able to compete with the top North American countries, home to the NHL?

This, to be fair, shapes up to be a brilliant hockey tournament, one without a clear favourite. There’s Canada with home-ice advantage, the Swedes as defending champs and the Russians holding bragging rights from back-to-back world titles. The U.S. will be sentimental favourites due to Brian Burke’s personal ordeal and everybody seems to forget Finland won silver four years ago.

But without the NHL, there might be even more intrigue, more of a sense of the unknown.

Better than anything Bettman’s league can ever serve up in the final two weeks of February, for sure.

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winter+olympics

Florida & Edmonton Trying To Make Moves

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

• There is plenty of talk about the future of Florida G Tomas Vokoun with the Panthers sending out word they’re getting ready to clean house. Would he waive his no-movement clause to go to the Flyers? Philadelphia has shut down G Ray Emery for three weeks because of a hip problem and there are concerns about whether he might need surgery. The issue with dealing Vokoun is he’s been the Panthers’ best player all season. He is the one guy they should keep. Florida could also move C Stephen Weiss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

• The Oilers have been trying to move C Shawn Horcoff ($5.5-million cap hit through 2014), C Robert Nilsson ($2 million through 2011), D Sheldon Souray ($5.4 million through 2012), D Steve Staios ($2.7 million through 2011) and D Tom Gilbert ($4 million through 2014).

“They’re going to have a real tough time moving those players,” said a league executive. “(Katz) might have to be willing to put money in the minors to give (Tambellini) flexibility to make changes. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses.”

more

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

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