Kukla's Korner

Aaron Ward Nearing Retirement

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Curtis Zupke of Ducks Blog,

And Ward, like Selanne, seems to be in the twilight of his career. An unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, Ward, 37, can’t help but think about his future.

“When you get to this stage of your career, you let the season end and then you let everything settle and you go from there,” Ward said.

“First off you have to generate interest and then you have to determine whether or not you’re ready to play. At this point I’m ready to play. I’m looking forward to next season.”

Whether that would be with the Ducks remains to be seen as a transition stage looms for the club. Selanne and captain Scott Niedermayer might retire, and the Ducks could use Ward as a mentor for their younger defensemen.

But if Ward retired no would blame him.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: aaron+ward

Watch Out For Detroit

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The Detroit Red Wing season has not gone according to plan.  They spent much of the season just outside the playoff positions in the West Conference.  Detroit’s problems have been due to age, injuries and player losses due to salary cap constraints.  They have recently been able to avoid any key injuries and this has helped the team to get on track.  They have climbed into sixth in the West with a 40-36 record (with 13 regulation tie points - the highest total of any playoff team).  They are one point back of fifth seed Nashville, with two games in hand. 

It is clear that Detroit is going to make the playoffs, barring a major collapse.  Most likely they won’t be a bottom seed looking to knock off a team that just won the conference; they will likely face a team that had approximately the same record they had in the regular season.  As things stand, they would face the Vancouver Canucks and if they slide into fifth seed they would face the Phoenix Coyotes.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Is It Time To Start Worrying In D.C.?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,

For those keeping score at home, tonight’s 5-4 loss to the Senators marked the 10th time in the past 18 games in which the Caps went to extra time.

While annoying - particularly for writers on tight deadlines - going to OT isn’t the reason fans should be getting concerned. This is why: For the second straight season, the Caps are closing out the regular season with a thud instead of a bang.

read on

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

Blackhawks Continue To Stumble

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Sassone of Between the Circles,

So it’s come to this for the reeling Blackhawks, trying to find positives in a loss.

That’s so five years ago.

“That was a major progression from the last two (losses) for me,” coach Joel Quenneville said after Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Blues.

The Hawks have lost seven of their last nine games and right now don’t look like a team that’s even going to get out of the first round of the playoffs.

continued

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

Gordie Howe Turns 82

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Happy Birthday Gordie Howe

thanks to Snapshots for the pointer

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gordie+howe

Ryan Kesler Hit On Derek Morris Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Kesler received 5 for boarding, a 10 and game misconduct.

Kevin Bieksa and Morris received 2 for roughing.

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: derek+morris, ryan+kesler

Elias Lets His Voice Be Heard And Will Probably Pay For It

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,

Patrik Elias did not want to get into specific or talk about the officiating at all, but it was clear he wasn’t happy with the job referees Kelly Sutherland and Dan O’Rourke did tonight in the Devils’ 1-0 overtime loss to the Bruins.

He wasn’t the only one in the Devils’ locker room that felt that way, but he was the one who told the officials so after Patrice Bergeron scored teh OT winner for Boston. He picked up a game misconduct for whatever he said.

“I voiced my opinion,” was the most Elias would reveal about what he did to earn the game misconduct.

“It’s not worth me even saying anything about their job tonight,” he said.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: patrik+elias

Coach Sutter Defends Inginla’s Play

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald at the Times-Colonist,

Calgary Flames head coach Brent Sutter lashed out at Jarome Iginla’s critics on Tuesday.

The captain has popped just one goal in his last 10 games, with the Flames desperately fighting for their Stanley Cup playoff lives.

“Do you need Jarome Iginla to score goals here down the stretch?” a reporter asked Sutter after a brisk practice.

“I’ve told you guys this before,” Sutter responded. “We need our team to be a good team. You guys focus on one guy so much.

“To me, it’s not right.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

What Happened To The Wild?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press,

Wild fans knew this would be a transition season from former coach Jacques Lemaire’s defensive-minded system, and the goals-against average of 2.44 a game last year has worsened by more than half a goal. That translates into perhaps half a dozen additional losses, certainly enough to drop Minnesota from playoff contention.

Richards planned to counter that with offense and installed an aggressive system of forechecking that required some adjusting by his players early in the season. But during a grueling March when the Wild played 15 games in 27 days, that forecheck has been only intermittently evident.

The result is a 7-6-2 record this month plus long stretches in the defensive zone, which lead to penalties, all of which makes life tough on the goaltenders.

Backstrom, whose goals-against average of 2.33 last season has bumped to 2.67 this season, says it’s not about numbers.

“We are out of the playoffs,” he said. “I don’t think anyone is happy in the locker room. That’s the only thing you play for is to get there.”

more

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

Hot & Healthy Wings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Dupont at NBC Sports,

Hey, where have these guys been? For those who lost track this season of the Red Wings, forgotten among the Western Conference also-rans, suddenly the Winged Wheels are anything but past tense.

In fact, the Wings could win the whole thing, which wouldn’t be all that novel (four Cup wins dating back to ‘97), but it would remind us all once more the key of the regular season is: survive to thrive.

As recently as the mid-Februrary Olympic break, the Wings remained in the ‘‘We’ll-get-it-together-maybe-one-of-these-days’’ mode, still unable to inch their way into the playoff-qualifying top eight seeds. Then March became their month to roar, including a dazzling 11-2-1 run through March 29 that has them leapfrogging up the standings.

continued plus more hockey talk…

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

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