Kukla's Korner

Wild Still In The Hunt

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

The knives are being sharpened in Minnesota these days. The Wild are four points out of playoff spot with five games remaining, including Friday night’s home contest against Calgary. They likely need to win at least four of those to get in.

But the frustration from fans and media in the market is beginning to show. This might be the most interesting offseason in Wild history. But first thing’s first—they’ve still got a shot. They were dynamite in a win at Edmonton last Sunday and got robbed in a 2-1 home loss to Vancouver on Tuesday night. Their level of play is keeping their GM encouraged.

“Even at this late stage, when you’re in our position—out but trying to get in—you still take a lot more comfort in how the team plays,” Doug Risebrough told ESPN.com. “You know time is running out a little bit. But, at the end of the day, you also know that if you ever have a chance, it’s how your team plays. Then you hope the results are there….”

continued

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

Ron Wilson Expected To Be Named Coach Of Team USA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson will be busy during the 2010 Olympic Games.

According to sources, Wilson will be officially named the head coach for the U.S. Men’s Olympic team on Monday.

Wilson, who has a long-standing relationship with USA Hockey, led the team to a gold medal in the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996. He was also coached the team again in 2004.

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ron+wilson

Peca In Playoff Mode

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

To say that Peca has been pacing himself wouldn’t be entirely fair. The first 70 games of the season matter, too, and he has been a solid player all season.

But ...

“Sometimes the seasons get really long,” Peca said. “When you can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and you can see the playoffs are right around the corner, my play has always gotten a lot better.

“I’ve always played in climates where the winters are gray and cold. When it starts to clear up a little bit, I tend to play a little better.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: michael+peca

The Blues Are A Playoff Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

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

By beating the Red Wings in frantic, hard-fought game Thursday night, the Blues told the world that they are, in fact, a playoff team.

The Blues still must finish well in their final four games, but that 5-4 victory at Detroit was an eye opener for their Western Conference rivals.

The Note had just suffered a tough loss at Chicago. The Red Wings had owned them all season. Detroit coach Mike Babcock leaned on his team, putting great focus on this game.

Everything was stacked against Andy Murray’s squad. The Blues even lost key center Patrik Berglund to injury during the game.

But the Blues won anyway, leaving the Red Wings muttering to themselves.

continued

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

Whoa…How About That?  The Wings Sucked Last Night And I Just Don’t Care

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

I know.  Less than twelve hours later and here I am.  Shocking, eh?  I guess I’m growing up.

Or…it could be that my stress level about this team has reached a shocking all-time low.  Does that mean I believe the Wings are looking so good that I don’t have to worry about what the next few weeks will bring?

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

It’s All About The ‘Shake’

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel,

His portable lab, which goes everywhere Panthers players do, is a trunk about three feet high and two feet wide—with wheels.

That helps because it’s heavy.

Andy O’Brien, the team’s strength and conditioning coach, keeps everything inside the trunk he needs to make his super shakes—different types of proteins, carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins and herbal supplements in abundant supply.

When he’s done mixing, usually with water and/or Gatorade—the latter adds electrolytes and improves the taste—players have funky-colored concoctions to drink, usually after games and practices.

continued

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

Oilers Owner- MacTavish Not Going Anywhere

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal,

So the owner has said Craig MacTavish isn’t going anywhere.

That’s not exactly the way to quiet the growing Oilers crisis, it’s the underlying problem. He’s not likely going to the NHL playoffs. Neither is his team. Again. Many Oilers fans knew it even before their local heroes fought hard and lost 2-1 to the San Jose Sharks at Rexall Place on Thursday night, they don’t like it and they aren’t afraid to say as much during home games, on call-in radio shows and Internet message boards.

So far, they have not put their money where their mouths are rather than into Oilers tickets, and chances are the joint will be sold out again next year, with or without MacTavish behind the bench, with or without a playoff afterglow.

But the growing cacophony of discontent in fandom and the Edmonton media grew rather more hostile and centred on MacTavish Thursday afternoon and it prompted owner Daryl Katz to issue a cryptic, pre-game vote of confidence for his head coach, via text message to the team’s radio rights holder.

continued

Update 2:46pm ET: From Mark Spector at Sportsnet.ca, more on Katz—

Well, the first full season under Katz is in the books in Oilerville, and some disturbing signs are beginning to emerge. Missing the playoffs is the least of the problems in Edmonton, as signs of a dysfunctional Oakland Raiders-like organization creep to the fore.

Moves like signing second-line centres to $7-million deals and backing coaches with cryptic text messages, all from a Howard Hughes-like owner who likes to manage his asset, but leaves others to speak to the fans who sell out his building every night.

The guy on the white horse is famously playing favourites, rumoured to be getting waaaay to close to a select few of his players, and has now left the impression that Craig MacTavish will continue as his head coach only because the two families like to spend time together.

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

Silently, A Great Season From Doan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Jim Gintonio of Ice Chips at the Arizona Republic,

Another season almost gone, and again Coyotes captain Shane Doan never seems to get the credit he deserves. 

If Doan were playing in New York, Philadelphia, Boston or any Canadian city, he’d be one of the biggest stars in town. Still, he never complains, and if he could get the Coyotes into the playoffs next season, it would be a huge accomplishment for him – even though he would deflect any praise to his teammates….

Doan reached the 30-goal plateau for the second time in his career in the Coyotes’ 3-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday … and wouldn’t you know it, he was overshadowed by a rookie goalie who recorded a shutout in his NHL debut.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: shane+doan

Flyers Look To Biron For Playoff Run

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,

Since Bernie Parent was minding the net during the Broad Street Bullies era of the mid-seventies, the Flyers haven’t had a sniff of the Stanley Cup and often goaltending was high on the list of explanations.

For the latest act, the team will turn to Martin Biron, who prior to 2007-08 hadn’t even started a playoff game in his nine NHL seasons.

“I’m not a person who gets extremely high or extremely low,” Biron said of the expectations that await. “I try to charge my emotion the right way. I’m not going to go out and say: ‘My confidence is sky high.’ Confidence comes with preparation: The rest falls into place.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marty+biron

Bozak Picks Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sportsnet,

The Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to terms with highly-touted free agent forward Tyler Bozak from the University of Denver Pioneers, sources tell Sportsnet.

A strong two-way centre, Bozak has been generating league-wide interest since his freshman year with as many as 25 NHL teams trying to get his name on a contract.

continued and a highlight reel of Bozak can be watched below…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tyler+bozak

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