Kukla's Korner

Lang & Markov Skating This Morning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Dave Stubbs at Habs Inside/Out,

Robert Lang is skating in equipment, shooting the puck, and he’s wearing a grin a mile wide. Andrei Markov is on Bell Centre ice, as well, both guys firing on Concordia goalie Maxime Joyal.

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

Can The Flames Make It A Series?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald,

One by one, the Calgary Flames subjected themselves to public psychoanalysis in the bowels of Pengrowth Saddledome.

“You can’t ever have that defeatist attitude, or you’re done,” said Flames centre Craig Conroy. “You’ve got to believe.”

The Flames returned home in the wee hours of Sunday morning to a city of non-believers—or, at the very least, doubters—after losing the first two games of their best-of seven Western Conference quarter-final at United Center against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, a longtime Calgary nemesis, seemed as impenetrable as ever. With their early dominance, Chicago captain Jonathan Toews and sidekick Patrick Kane have already given Calgary supporters painful flashbacks to the time Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier wore Edmonton Oilers jerseys.


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

Penguins Play Philly Style

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

A lot of things contributed to the Penguins’ 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday at the Wachovia Center in Game 3 of this first-round playoff series.

Right winger Petr Sykora believes at least one of them was the Penguins’ own doing.

The Penguins, he said, allowed themselves to be drawn into too many post-whistle scrums and scuffles, something they made a point of avoiding in victories in Games 1 and 2 at Mellon Arena.

“We knew they were going to try to suck us in, play their style, try to get those scrums, get those little fights,” Sykora said. “That’s the way they want to beat us, and it worked because we got sucked in.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Quiet Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,

One longtime announcer and former NHL player, while watching the Sabres practice in his team’s arena on game day, remarked, “I’ve never, ever been to such a quiet morning skate. Nobody’s saying anything.”

No one is saying the Sabres need a loudmouth like Sean Avery in the room. But too many quiet players did lessen the Sabres. During a few off-the-record chats, some Sabres said the silence diminished their days.

It was described as this: Imagine walking into a room eager to start your day. You’re excited about getting ready to play in front of 19,000 fans, thrilled to be living in the fantasy world of a professional hockey player. You’re bubbling to chat and get more psyched up, giddy with anticipation about the drop of the puck.

You get to the rink and ... nothing. It seems no one is sharing your fun or excitement. You look left and a guy is silently lacing his skates. You look right and the teammate may as well be Charlie Chaplin or Marcel Marceau.

read on


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Canucks Have All The Answers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

It’s been a great series to watch. But why hasn’t it been a series?

Why is it over before it begins? Why are the Vancouver Canucks up 3-0 on the St. Louis Blues?

Two words? Roberto Luongo?

Two teams? Vancouver’s special teams?

Two tougher twins in Daniel and Hendrik?

Yes. Yes. And yes.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The ‘Spring Of Scrum’

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

It was the first Sunday of the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, anything but a day of rest.

It was a day that contained meaningful hope for the Flames, Blue Jackets, Canadiens and Capitals, but also lessons of despair.

These are the mixed messages of the playoffs, with this year’s best described as the Spring of the Scrum. After all, have you ever seen so many 5-on-5, face-washin’, headlock-grabbin’ wastes of time since the days of Freddie (The Fog) Shero?

But back to Calgary, Columbus, Montreal and Washington and the lessons they derived from yesterday’s ferocious competition.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Odds Against The Sharks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Pollak of Working the Corners,

First, a couple numbers — of the 291 NHL playoff series where teams have started out 0-2, the team trailing has come back to win 12.7 percent of the time. Strangely, in the 66 cases where it was the home team that was trailing as the Sharks are now, 16 have ended up winning the series, or 24.2 percent. Makes no sense to me either.

Most players subscribe to the theory that you take the positives and move on after a loss like Sunday night’s where the Sharks genuinely did improve their play but still came out on the short end. Dan Boyle isn’t one of those players.

“Some guys have a different attitude,” he said. “I look at it as black and white. We lost the game. I don’t really feel good about stuff. I’m different, but you’ve got to win the game. That’s the bottom line.”

read on

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

A Different Feeling In Montreal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Columns at CBC,

From the moment we arrived at our hotel, we could sense the difference. The fans are disappointed, and the mood is much less jovial. There was hope that the team could overcome whatever ailed it at the end of the regular season, rise up and defeat the Boston Bruins. After all, the Bruins weren’t just battling the current Canadiens.

They were also battling the ghosts of Richard, Beliveau, Dryden and Lafleur.

Last stand?

That hope is all but extinguished. Game 3 is very much The Last Stand for Les Glorieux, because a 3-0 deficit is hopeless. But, where will the next level come from? Who is going to step up and save the Montreal Canadiens?

read on

added 9:18am, from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

According to the local media, as minor as this incident was, it was the third time in the past several weeks Gainey had lost his composure with the media.

This is the same Gainey who during his playing days was known for keeping his cool.

The same Gainey who always has held his emotions close to the vest.

And now, there seem to be cracks developing in his armour, just like there are in his team.


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

Pittsburgh’s Viewing Party

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Last season as the Pittsburgh Penguins went to the Stanley Cup finals, there was a big screen set up outside Mellon Arena where thousands of fans watched the games.  It was a successful promotion which likely paid off as the fans present at these viewing parties were more likely to buy Penguins memorabilia and to attend Penguins games in the future.  However in yesterday’s game three of their series with the Philadelphia Flyers there was no viewing party.  NBC vetoed it.

NBC had the television rights to the game.  They obtained them by paying the NHL nothing in advance and sharing revenues after the fact.  This agreement gives NBC the right to dictate some NHL policy.  This is policy which is against the NHL’s best interests.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Blues Will Be Playing For Pride

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Gordon of the Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

It’s over now. This was the Note’s chance to get back into the series and the home team failed.

The Blues didn’t get their must-have game. They took a good run at it, but fell short.

Now they will be relegated to playing for pride in Game 4. Now they will be fending off an embarrassing sweep on their home ice.

After entering the NHL playoffs as one of the NHL’s hottest teams, this is not the scenario they envisioned. But it is what it is.

The Canucks are the more experienced and more talented team (even with Mats Sundin sidelined) and the Blues couldn’t knock them off their game.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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