Kukla's Korner

Dan Bylsma Wakes-Up the Penguins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

“This day and age, it’s like the old Yogi-ism, 90 percent of the game is half mental, and a lot of that is true,” said Penguins defenseman Mark Eaton after another of Bylsma’s upbeat practices. “A month ago this was a pretty fragile hockey team with a timid attitude. Now it’s like we feel there’s nothing we can’t do. We can get behind, come back and win, but it was a long time coming.

“I think everyone knew the team had this kind of potential. Going back to the beginning of the year, we knew this team was capable of playing this kind of hockey.”...

“At times before he got here,” Sidney Crosby said yesterday, “we could all look around the room and see guys who could give more than they were giving. It wasn’t easy for him. It’s been a combination of things, but part of it was we had to face up to the fact that we weren’t doing everything we could do.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+bylsma

Edmonton Could At Least Taste A Point - Then Nothing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via the Globe and Mail,

The Edmonton Oilers had the Detroit Red Wings on the ropes for two and a half periods, but their failure to deliver a knockout punch left them in a precarious position in the tight Western Conference playoff race….

“Those are the games that drive you to drink,” said Oilers forward Dustin Penner. “It doesn’t feel good. I’d say that feels worse than losing 10-2. Especially at this point of the season with the way we have been playing and who we were playing tonight. That one stings.”

Edmonton head coach Craig MacTavish admitted it was tough to take the loss when he felt his team had done so much right in the contest.

“A game like that leaves everybody with a heavy heart,” he said. “It’s an incredible sense of disappointment. But at the same time we played pretty well and in a lot of ways outstanding. The way we checked and killed penalties. It’s disappointing but we’ll take some solace in that.

“It’s going to be quite the nine-game stretch here down to the end.”

read on

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

Avery Leading The Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler of Game On,

Playing his best hockey — EVER! — as a Ranger, The Great Gabbo is making the homestretch look rosier for the Blueshirts every day and in every way; and that’s not a stretch either.

To avoid famine, a hockey club must feast and next on John Tortorella’s menu is a Thrasher named Atlanta to be served on Thursday in dear, old Georgia. And if Avery plays his all-rink game then, as he did on Tuesday at The Garden, the Thrasher will be sauteed and sliced….

New York’s gears have meshed so perfectly that the Sunday night loss to Ottawa seems so distant, so much an aberration, one might imagine that it happened in 1939.

Avery made forgetting Sunday possible by challenging Cal Clutterbuck in an old-fashioned first period sluggeroo. Each worthy doffed gloves and then — great stuff! — also their helmets in a who-cares-who-wins tilt that lifted The Garden a few feet off its moorings. For Gabbo it merely was the beginning of an MVP night.

more & watch the Avery/Clutterbuck battle below…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Senators Playing Well

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

After a rather disastrous season and a half or so, the Ottawa Senators are finally playing well.  It is too late for them to challenge for the playoffs this season, but they have been the hottest team in the NHL lately.  The Senators have won their last five games and nine of their last ten games.  That has improved the Senators to 12th place in the East Conference.  They are nine points out of the playoffs with ten games to go.  It is too little too late, but it is good to see that the team has it in them.

Why are the Senators suddenly playing better?  I think their on ice problem for the last season plus has mostly been no supporting cast.  The only reliable scorers have been Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley.  When nobody else was reliably scoring, opponents concentrated on these three and reduced their effectiveness and usually stopped the Senators.  This season, the highest scorers on the Sens outside the big three have been Filip Kuba with 36 points and Nick Foligno with 29.  There has been no scoring depth in Ottawa.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

The Hossa/Franzen Contract Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Contract talks between the Detroit Red Wings and free-agent forwards Marian Hossa and Johan Franzen appear to be at a standstill, as neither side is budging.

General manager Ken Holland is hoping to sign one before the end of the regular season. If he has no deal in place by the first week of April, he will postpone talks until after the playoffs.

“I’ll obviously stay in touch,’’ Holland said. “I understand where they’re at and they understand where I’m at. We’re talking.

“They both have indicated their first choice is to stay. I can address it in June if I have to. They know the (team’s other) contract commitments.’‘

continued

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

Wild In Need Of Offense

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,

The Wild just didn’t create a whole lot tonight (outshot 30-19), but in the end, if Marian Gaborik buries the partial breakaway or Dan Fritsche doesn’t redirect the puck wide on the 2-on-1 or Eric Belanger buries the 3-on-2 or Cal Clutterbuck can score on that late scramble, it’s a tie game.

But there’s no what-if’s anymore, not when the season’s quickly evaporating and the Wild lacks such go-to guys right now with the injuries to Mikko Koivu and Brent Burns. The Wild has missed the spark Burns provides for some time. But tonight, you really saw how much Koivu’s absence kills. Not just the 22 minutes a night he plays — “and not just 22 minutes of skating around,” said James Sheppard — but the big minutes.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Did You Know…

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Japers’ Rink,

Each of the last three Stanley Cup Winners have entered the playoffs with a starting goaltender who was on the bench when they hoisted the trophy. In Carolina, Ward supplanted Gerber. In Anaheim, Giguere reclaimed his starting job from Bryzgalov. And last year, Dominick Hasek was riding the pine as Chris Osgood took over in net the last 18 playoff games.

In their teams’ last 10 regular season games, Osgood started only 3, Giguere 5, and Ward 2.

read on for a looks at the Capitals goaltending situation…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Gillett Should Have Sold The Canadiens Last Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,

If George Gillett was a really smart guy, if he was the craftiest of wheeler-dealers, adept at getting into deals and getting out, at trading assets like hockey cards — and a seer — he would have put the Montreal Canadiens on the block a year ago.

Think back.

Emotions were riding high, the team was first in the NHL’s Eastern Conference and obviously playoff bound. Its mix of veteran talent and an apparently endless supply of terrific young players from the farm seemed to bode well both for the Canadiens’ present and future.

continued

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

The State Of The Stars

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Richard Durrett of the Dallas Morning News,

Stars owner Tom Hicks said he doesn’t blame coach Dave Tippett for the team’s slide in the standings.

“In hockey, you always worry about if the coach has lost the team,” Hicks said Tuesday. “Dave Tippett has not lost this team.”...

Hicks, in an interview at his Dallas office, commented on several Stars-related items, among them:

• He hasn’t decided whether he’ll continue with the co-GM setup next season. The Stars are the only NHL team with such a system.

• Missing the playoffs would cause a budget shortfall of $3 million to $4 million because the Stars expected to play at least one round.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Joseph With A Great Relief Performance

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,

If this was his last hurrah at the Air Canada Centre, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Curtis Joseph found a way to maintain his popularity with the Leafs’ faithful.

Joseph was pressed into action after starting goalie Martin Gerber was tossed late in the game against the Washington Capitals last night for bumping into an official. Joseph not only stopped all nine shots he faced in the final minute of regulation time, but also the Capitals’ three shootout attempts to give the Leafs a 3-2 victory.

In the shootout, Joseph stopped Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin and Alexander Ovechkin, who scored his 51st goal in the second period. Joseph was chosen first star for his brief but effective outing.

continued and watch below the shoving incident with Gerber and the referee…

Continue Reading »

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

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