Kukla's Korner

Flyers Ready For Penguins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from CBC Sports,

Being down two games and staring elimination squarely in the eye is tough enough, but for Philadelphia, the task is even more daunting: The Flyers have lost their last five playoff visits to Pittsburgh and have won just twice in Mellon Arena in the past two seasons.

Last year in Game 5 the conference final, the Flyers were trounced 6-0 by the Penguins.

The Flyers are prepared for the Penguins to come out strong from the opening faceoff Wednesday night.

“We expect them to come out really hard in the first few minutes and try to put the game away early and try to get us to quit early and I don’t think any of us are going to do that,” Flyers winger Mike Knuble said.

“We’ve all been there before, we won’t get caught off guard.”

read on

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

Putting Time To Good Use

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from E.J. Hradek at ESPN The Magazine,

In the NHL’s looooong postseason, great coaches make every short second count. So we asked Cup-winning bench bosses Mike Babcock (Wings, 2008), Randy Carlyle (Ducks, 2007), Ken Hitchcock (Stars, 1999) and John Tortorella (Lightning, 2004) for the secrets to using every trick to their advantage.

00:40 — STOP AND GO

Detroit assistant coach Paul MacLean is never without his stopwatch, clicking it each time the Wings make a line change. “We use our own time,” says Babcock, eschewing the arena stat sheet. For playoffs, he wants short shifts—40 seconds, tops—making sure stars like LW Henrik Zetterberg stay fresh enough to sustain the tempo his two-way game demands.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

No ‘Stop Yapping’ Memo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,

The war of words between the Calgary Flames and the Chicago Blackhawks has caught plenty of attention around the NHL.

But not to the point the league has fired off a memo to all parties involved to cease and desist.

A published report stated the NHL’s senior executive vice-president of hockey operations, Colin Campbell, sent a letter to both teams to curb the on-ice chirping and post-whistle scrums.

Only problem, it didn’t happen.

“I did NOT send one,” Campbell replied yesterday in an e-mail.

continued

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

Economy Ends Ducks Playoff Sellout Streak

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Curtis Zupke of Ducks Blog,

Earlier this year, the depressed economic climate was enough for the Ducks to freeze ticket prices for next season.

But fans are feeling the pinch more than ever this season.

That was the main factor for the Ducks’ playoff sellout streak ending at 20 games Tuesday, according to Tim Ryan, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

“You don’t have to look any further than the economy,” Ryan said.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Marleau Must Provide Leadership

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,

This evening, as the Sharks attempt to even the series, Marleau must again be the impact player he was in the Game 3 victory two nights ago. As a leader, he also must help push the team’s collective thermostat up a notch higher.

But with the soft-spoken and even-keeled Marleau, there is always the question about whether he has the passion to spearhead a playoff charge. I think the passion simmers beneath the sunscreen. We’ll find out if I’m correct soon enough.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: patrick+marleau

Fleury Standing Out

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Is Fleury’s brilliance in frustrating the snot out of the Flyers better described as a miracle of elastic athleticism, or a celebration of athletic elasticism, and shouldn’t that second one be elasticity, as elasticism is more likely one of the thousands of ancient Eastern religions?

Happily, what Fleury did to the Flyers in a South Philadelphia cauldron called Game 4—stopping 34 shots in the final two periods, 16 of them on the power play, some via whirling, spinning, impossible reactions only he can imagine—always emerges in the hockey glossary in one of only two spots.

Again, you have the option.

Was it a case where “he stood on his head?” Or was he simply “unconscious?”

For help with this option, you may refer to this rough transcript of our conversation yesterday, starting with your reliably annoying columnist.

“Can you stand on your head?”

Fleury: “I could try.”

more

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

The Plan Hasn’t Worked

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,

Sixteen years, including the lockout year, have passed since the Canadiens won it all in 1993. Gainey had joined the organization as an executive vice-president and general manager in 2003. It was a year in which the Canadiens had failed to make the playoffs for the fifth time since they had won their 24th Cup in 1993 - with the promise of a five-year rebuilding plan.

At the time, he had said: “I can’t separate myself from my history. I was with some great teams in Montreal in the ‘70s and the ‘80s. Those of you with better memories will remember I was with some not so good teams in the ‘80s. But this is new. The city has changed since I left Montreal. The team has changed. I’ve changed. We’re gonna have to get to know each other again.

“We’re going to take the younger players and we’re going to improve them and we’re going to make them better. We’re going to push the players to do the things that need to be done to be a good team. It’s about tomorrow,” he said. “It’s not about the 1970s ... the 1980s or the 1950s!”

Gainey’s ‘tomorrow’ has come and gone. The dream is in tatters.

more

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

Still Talking Crosby Goal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,

Figuratively and literally, it would seem that Sid the kid crossed the line the other night. Maybe it was just me, but I think he was surprised his goal counted.

Anyway, here was “The Situation Room” explanation of why Sidney Crosby’s goal was allowed: “Play was reviewed to determine if the puck was batted in by the glove of Pittsburgh forward Sidney Crosby . . . The review determined that the puck went off of Crosby’s stick, then his body, there was no batting motion - call on the ice for good goal stands.”

Yesterday, the Flyers were still digesting that. So were fans, and, yeah, me, too. Hockey’s annual spring tournament is rivaled only by March Madness for its surprises and exciting endings. But among the nuances of sports, only the NBA salary cap is a greater irritant than the NHL’s annual and seemingly unending tinkering with its own rules.

more

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

‘Homer’ Gets Tossed

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

Goloborodko, a native of Russia, admits to throwing his third octopus in the past four seasons in Nationwide Arena on Tuesday during the closing minute of the Red Wings’ 4-1 win in Game 3 of a Stanley Cup playoff series.

He lobbed a 2 1/2 -pound octopus nicknamed “Homer” over the Plexiglas and onto the ice. Yes, Goloborodko names his octopuses for Red Wings players—the latest in honor of forward Tomas Holmstrom.

Goloborodko said he was detained by arena security, threatened by angry Jackets fans and enjoyed a chance encounter with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman before being escorted from the building.

“As I was being held downstairs, Gary Bettman and his security guys walked by,” Goloborodko said. “Like any good hockey fan, I recognized my commissioner and yelled out, ‘Hey, Commissioner.’

“I heard Bettman say, ‘I’m not happy about this one bit.’ I don’t know if he was responding to me or talking about something else.”

read on

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

Bruins Clear First Hurdle

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

In a corner of the dressing room, the towering Chara sat quietly and with little animation. He is finishing his third season as captain, and this is the first taste of real success he has experienced since coming aboard for a deal worth $37.5 million over five years.

If a team takes on the attitude of its captain, then it will be a sense of calm that follows the Bruins the rest of this spring.

“I don’t think we should be satisfied and happy,” said Big Z. “This is just the first step in that road. We realize it only gets tougher from here. The farther you go, the harder it gets.”

more

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

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