Kukla's Korner

Blues Don’t Compete

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

OK, OK, I know that all teams have bad nights. I can accept that. But I can’t accept lethargic play. Given their difficult position in the Western Conference standings, the Blues can’t afford to snooze in any game. Not even after winning four in a row. They must play desperation hockey.

We’ll see what kind of mood they’re in when they compete in Montreal on Wednesday and Ottawa on Thursday. This is a good first test for Coach Payne. We’ll see what he can do to crank the boys up after they went to sleep on him for the first time since he took over.

The Blues’ kids have to do a lot better ... if they can: At some point, shouldn’t we begin to see sustained, elevated play from the Blues’ highly-touted youngsters? Or when do we start to conclude that perhaps they are not as good as promised?

more

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

Peca Retires

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NHLPA,

Michael Peca announced his retirement today from the National Hockey League after 13 NHL seasons….

“I truly have enjoyed my entire career as an NHL player,” said Peca. “Playing the game at the highest level, with and against the top hockey players in the world, has been a pleasure. Throughout my 13-season career I was fortunate to play on some exceptional hockey teams, particularly the 2002 Canadian Olympian team and the Sabres and Oilers teams that reached the Cup finals. Really I am grateful for the lasting friendships and memories that the game of hockey has given me, and I would like to thank my family, teammates, and the fans for all their support along the way.”

read on

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

Changes Coming In Calgary After Flames Lose To San Jose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Flames Insider,

The performance left coach Brent Sutter stuck for a description of what had transpired. He’s used the words casual, failure to engage and disappointing among others following certain losses this season but he was tongue-tied after this one.

He’d start a sentence, pause . . . start another sentence, pause . . .

He did get some things out but he really seemed to be dumfounded that his team could throw such a stinker and was truly stuck for an explanation.

It wasn’t just one player, it was an entire team.

Some sort of change is coming, of that you can be sure. In fact, you have to wonder if one or two players haven’t played their way onto the trade winds.

more

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

Jeff Schultz Developing

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Over the past couple of years, Jeff Schultz has been a whipping boy among Washington Capitals fans.  He has been the team`s number six or seven defenceman and a relatively frequent healthy scratch.  He has been given a lot of criticism for his apparent lack of effort.  This season, as Schultz has the second highest +/- rating in the league (+27 - one point back of teammate Alexander Ovechkin), he is showing that he can be an above average NHL defenceman.

Schultz is a former first round draft pick.  He was selected 27th overall by Washington in 2004.  He is one of the larger defencemen in the game at 6‘6“ and 230 pounds.  Historically these large defencemen tend to take a few years to fully develop into NHL players.  As a comparison, reigning Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara (6‘9“ and 255 pounds) had an 11 point -27 +/- season in 65 games with the New York Islanders when he was Schultz`s age (23).

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

New York Rangers interested in Edmonton Oilers’ Sheldon Souray

Blog: KK Members Blog By Slasher98

According to Pierre Lebrun of ESPN, the New York Rangers are very interested in the Edmonton defenseman, who would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to help the Oilers and play in New York.

But to make it happen, as Lebrun said, the Rangers would need to create cap room by shedding the contracts of either Michal Rozsival ($5 million cap hit; will earn $4 million next season and $3 million in last year in 2011-12) or Wade Redden ($6.5 million cap hit; four more years left after this season at $6.5 million for 2010-11 and 2011-12 and $5 million per year in 2012-13 and 2013-14). The only real option on Redden is to send him to the AHL and eat his contract. A buyout next summer doesn’t solve anything because the Rangers would still carry a $2 million cap hit from him for the next eight years.

image
Sheldon Souray (Getty Images)

 

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: edmonton+oilers, michal+rozsival, new+york+rangers, sheldon+souray, wade+redden

An Olympic-Sized Break

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

But which teams stand to benefit from not having players laboring away in Vancouver? Well, how about the surprising New York Islanders, who started the week in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference? The Isles are sending just one player to Vancouver (defenseman Mark Streit, who will play for Switzerland) and should be well-rested for the stretch run following the break.

Florida, just two points back of the final playoff spot in the East, will send two players, Tomas Vokoun and Dennis Seidenberg, and are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2000. A rest for top players Stephen Weiss, Nathan Horton and Michael Frolik won’t be a bad thing.

more plus additional hockey topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

GDT - Game #49: Red Wings at Capitals (7:00)

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Jeff OKWingnut

Three games this week: tonight at the Caps, Thursday at the Wild, and hosting the Kings on Saturday.  The Wings must win the game at home against the Kings, and one of the road games.  Detroit’s “D” will be tested tonight against the leagues highest scoring team.  The Caps have scored 36 goals in going 6-1-0 over the last seven games, and will be looking to score at least four goals for the eighth straight game.  WSH have been their best at home, averaging 4.0 goals per game while sporting an obscene 16-3-3 record.

Ovechkin was selected the NHL’s No. 1 star this week after he led all scorers with 10 points—among them three goals that gave him 30 on the season, second in the league.  Meanwhile, DET’s Calder candidate, Jimmy Howard has started 12 straight games and gone 6-3-3 with a 1.89 goals-against average. Babcock was happy with the teams performance Sunday against the ‘Hawks, despite the loss:  “I like the way we played.”  “We’re going in the right direction. That’s all you can ask for.” The Wings will need a repeat of that spirited play tonight if they hope to end their 2 game skid.

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Travel Complaints

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald,

If you blame the Bruins’ truly awful effort on their just-completed West Coast swing, you run the risk of being branded an enabler, and having hardliners scream at you about how every team has West Coast trips and how you have to suck it up, never quit, play to win the game and a bunch of other coaching cliches that sound like they were lifted from one of those beer commercials. Yet if you go the other way and shout that the schedule is no excuse, you then run the risk of being out of touch with the hard realities of modern-day sports travel, especially if you fail to take into account how banged-up the Bruins have been of late.

The facts: After playing three games out west, capturing three out of a possible six points (not too bad considering how banged up they are), the Bruins arrived home in Boston about 2 a.m. Sunday morning. B’s coach Claude Julien had the boys come in for some bike work Sunday afternoon as a tuneup for the annual Martin Luther King Day matinee. As for injuries, Patrice Bergeron (thumb) finally returned to the lineup, but Marco Sturm, Steve Begin and Byron Bitz were scratches yesterday.

Oh, and one other fact: The Bruins were blown out of the building by the Senators.

This is one in which each Bruins fan who watched the game must make his or her own call on whether it’s appropriate to pull the West Coast travel lever and give the Bruins a pass.

more

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

Character In Chicago

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wayne Scalan of the Ottawa Citizen,

Forty-three years after hockey’s bold 1967 expansion, the Original Six teams still resonate with hockey fans.

The classic logos, the tradition, rivalries that go back 80 years and more, still matter in today’s NHL.

And so when the Chicago Blackhawks come to town tonight, sitting in first place overall with 72 points and 34 victories, the grand indian head logo on the distinct uniform has rarely looked as proud.

It’s still somewhat early when it comes to establishing 2010 Stanley Cup favourites. There is an Olympic tournament to play, with all its ramifications, and plenty of experts believe Chicago still has to firm up its goaltending if it plans to end a 49-year Cup drought.

continued

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

Moving Raffi Torres

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

Management will leave room for a miracle but look forward with sobriety, which is to say that general manager Scott Howson will be selling when the trade deadline arrives March 3. Torres is in the final year of his contract. So are Milan Jurcina and Fredrik Modin, although Modin has a no-trade clause. These veterans have value, and, absent playoff contention, they should be dealt.

What will the Jackets get in return for, say, Torres? They won’t get the elite center or puck-moving defenseman they have craved for the entirety of their existence. They will get prospects and draft picks. So it goes. The long-range good of the franchise demands that assets be salvaged when and where possible.

There is a chance the Jackets will work out a contract extension with Torres before the trade deadline. But such shotgun negotiations normally do not fare well.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: raffi+torres

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