Kukla's Korner

Capitals Content With Their Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

As general managers wrestle over whether they are buyers or sellers before the March 3 NHL trade deadline, Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee speaks with the contentment of a farmer who already has his spring crop planted.

“If the trade deadline was tomorrow,” McPhee says, “we wouldn’t do anything.”

Why would he?

While the hockey world has focused on whether the San Jose Sharks finally have the right mix of players to win the Stanley Cup or whether the Chicago Blackhawks are this year’s Pittsburgh Penguins, the Capitals have effectively become the NHL’s most dangerous offensive team.


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

Bruins Trying To Make A Trade

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

While Chiarelli refused to discuss any specific names, another NHL source told ESPN.com the Bruins are very much in the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes along with Los Angeles, in particular. While Vancouver, Philadelphia and Chicago also have reported interest, it appears the Bruins and Kings are the front-runners at this point.

But will anyone pay the price? The Atlanta Thrashers, I’m told, are looking for a package that includes a first-round pick, a prospect and a player from their NHL roster.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Questioning Sutter’s Coaching

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,

This season, back in the heartland, the Calgary Flames are going backwards – and fast – under the irascible coach. In fact, it’s no guarantee the Flames will even make the playoffs, let alone face the indignity of once again bowing out in seven games or less.

With top names such as Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen, Miikka Kiprusoff, Robyn Regehr, Phaneuf and Bouwmeester at his disposal (not to mention some nice secondary pieces in Rene Bourque and Curtis Glencross), it seems utterly bizarre Sutter would be unable to coax wins out of the talent he has in that dressing room.

But here we are.

Sutter has been vocally upset with his team’s performance in the local press, but the Flames still aren’t bringing it every night. Is it possible Sutter’s abrasive nose-always-on-the-grindstone coaching style only works in junior?


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brent+sutter

Good Advice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider with some trade rumor advice,

I would urge you to follow legit reporters such as Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, Elliotte Friedman and the Hockey Night in Canada crew, the TSN guys, Hockey News, etc., and to stay away from the fiction writing.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Kings Know They Can Win

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

The Kings flirted with a playoff spot last season before crumbling down the stretch. They weren’t ready and they knew it. They learned from that, said Brown, the team’s impressive young captain.

“I think the one difference is that, last year, we hoped to win a game. This year, we’re going into a game knowing we’re going to win,” said Brown. “When you have that kind of confidence and belief system, not just from one or two guys but from 15 to 20 guys, that’s when you can see success.”

That’s the key, Smyth said, truly believing it.

“We believe in this locker room,” said Smyth. “When you believe something, it starts to trickle through your lineup. It gives us confidence to progress. Even though we are young, there’s some great experience on this team to help out, as well.”

much more on the Kings…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Questioning Team Pride In Boston

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe,

If I am Peter Chiarelli, this is what I do: I walk into the locker room and I tell the players, in no uncertain terms, that this season is entirely up to them. I tell them Claude Julien will be the coach here for years to come. I tell them that the management of the Bruins will continue to treat this team like a Stanley Cup contender, that help should be coming at some point in the next month.

And then I watch the next three weeks to see if my team has any pride at all.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Sykora Will Soon Have UFA Status

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,

The Wild is close to cutting all ties with Petr Sykora.

Sykora, 33, who’s been away from the team since being placed on waivers Jan. 19, was officially assigned to the Houston Aeros today.
However, Sykora has officially declined to report. The two sides have mutually agreed to terminate his contract, and once approved by the NHL in the next day or two, Sykora will immediately become an unrestricted free agent .

In essence, Sykora will be free to sign with any team before the March 3 trade deadline and the Wild will be free of the remaining $600,000 or so of Sykora’s contract and salary-cap hit.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: petr+sykora

Questioning Ron MacLean’s Integrity

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,

What started as a debate about Vancouver’s Alex Burrows’ integrity has now become a question of how to protect the integrity of broadcaster Ron MacLean, the CBC bingo caller who launched a one-sided takeout of the Canucks forward on the January 16 version of Hockey Night In Canada . Sources tell Usual Suspects that parties at both the Canucks and CBC now privately concede that MacLean was over the journalistic line for not allowing Burrows to defend himself on charges of diving and lying on his filibuster.

The question now is how does CBC placate the Canucks without publicly reprimanding its veteran host (something they are not offering to do at this moment)? Can it offer other concessions to satisfy the outrage in Vancouver?


I’d like to read your opinion on this topic.  I would be a little biased if I commented on this, since I’ve let it be known by questioning if Burrows would have gone public if the Canucks would have won the game that seems so long ago…

I also have met Ron on a few occasions and think he is the best in the business.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ron+maclean

Zenon Konopka Brings The Room Together

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

The day I sat with him, Konopka had two black eyes, one from a stick and one from a fist. His nose has flattened out, having been broken 14 times - sticks, glass, pucks, punches.

“My face leads me wherever I go,” Konopka said. His lovable mug has had 400 stitches. Who needs to go over the Falls?

Somehow this fourth-line center who has just two goals and two assists, who’s lucky if he gets nine minutes of ice time a night, who until this season had played just 39 NHL games, has, yes, somehow become an important part of this team, and it’s more than fighting, having everyone’s back. Konopka is good at face-offs, he’s smart, funny, keeps everybody loose, card games, pranks, jokes, never any let up, not Zenon.

“I don’t want to call him a loose cannon, but he just does things, on the ice, obviously, but off the ice, too,” Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. “Team building stuff. He’s always got something going on to create an atmosphere in the room that bonds people together.”

more and to get all the fight information on Zenon Konopka, check out hockeyfights.com.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zenon+konopka

Parity Not Delivered

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The NHL sold the current central bargaining agreement as one that would deliver parity to the NHL.  This idea was a one of the more popular explanations for why the lockout had been necessary.  By removing the New York Rangers advantage to have the highest payroll in the NHL (and miss the playoffs eight years running);  the new NHL would be one where anyone could win (for example 2004 Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay).  That was the theory the NHL advanced and it is one that is commonly repeated in the media, but with little effort spent in trying to verify if this parity exists.

Mudcrutch hockey wrote two very good posts on this topic here and here.  These posts were made in responce to a radio interview with Gary Bettman that aired on Edmonton radio station 630 CHED.  Interviewer Dan Tencer asked softball questions that assumed that parity had been delivered and that it was a good thing.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

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