Kukla's Korner

What Do You Know, Burke Wants Team USA To Hit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal,

Brian Burke, the general manager of the U.S. Olympic hockey program, has a new plan to win gold in Vancouver. Forget the graceful, athletic style of play that dominates on Olympic ice. He’s planning to conquer the world the old-fashioned way: by hitting people….

With his shock of gray-white hair, red face and brash New England accent, Mr. Burke more resembles a dockworker on Boston Harbor than someone who makes his living in the NHL’s executive suites. Every four years, he says, hockey fans stop him in the streets after the Olympics to proclaim their love for the international style and convey their hopes that the NHL will switch to a larger rink. Mr. Burke has no use for them.

“I tell them to go watch a game in the Czech league, where every shot comes from 12, 14 feet away from the net and no one checks anyone the whole damn game,” he said. “It drives me absolutely nuts.”

more

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+burke, team+usa

Tallas Will Enjoy His Trip To Finland

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post,

It’s a business trip. Florida Panthers goaltending coach Robb Tallas is the first to say that, no matter how hopeless the mantra may sound. He and the team are embarking Friday on an eight-day tour of Finland in which they’ll have four games to sweat out, including two counting toward the regular season, but the operative word is “games.”

The kind of save Tallas will have in the back of his mind is infinitely more serious.

This is where Tallas came close to dying. While in Finland to play professional hockey, Tallas broke into a sweat one night, drove himself a hospital, walked into the emergency room - and went into cardiac arrest.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: robb+tallas

Welcome Dave Tippett

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

GLENDALE, ARIZONA —- Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have hired Dave Tippett as the 17th head coach in franchise history.

“It is a great pleasure to welcome Dave Tippett as the new head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes,” said Maloney.  “I have always been impressed with the playing style of the teams Dave has coached.  He coaches his teams to play the game with intelligence, discipline, structure, a sense of urgency and a team-first approach.  We feel we have assembled a first-class coaching staff that is comparable to any in the NHL and are looking forward to Dave leading us to success for many years to come.” 

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dave+tippett

Prediction: Northwest Division

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

With the regular season starting soon, it is time to begin posting my predictions for this season.  As I did last year I will post the predicted finish in each division with a little blurb about why I think each team should finish where they are ranked and then I will post a ranked list of where I think the teams should finish in the conference.  Of course when a significant injury, trade or other unforeseen event occurs, these predictions will likely begin to look a bit more incorrect.  Nevertheless, it is fun to see how close to reality I managed to get before the season.

I will start with the Northwest Division.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

It’s About Time

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune,

Gretzky’s resignation Thursday was long overdue. Frankly, he should have been fired years ago, but no one in the Coyotes’ organization had the courage or conviction to stand up to him. They were still in awe of his legacy, the greatest player ever, the untouchable icon.

Well, look at where that idolatry got them….

I don’t blame Gretzky entirely for the Coyotes’ dismal results. He was working with one of the smaller payrolls in the NHL. But his decision to surround himself with sycophants and yes men stripped the organization of a vital resource — someone to stand up to Gretzky or question his decisions.

Who did Gretzky hire as general manager in 2001? His agent, Mike Barnett. Never mind that Barnett had no experience in an NHL front office. He was Wayne’s buddy.

That kind of cronyism ran rampant. Gretzky hired friends and relatives. Younger brother Keith was named director of amateur scouting. Marty McSorley, Gretzky’s former enforcer in Edmonton and Los Angeles, was hired as coach of the Coyotes’ American Hockey League affiliate even though he had no coaching experience.

Now, it’s not uncommon for coaches or GMs to hire people they’re familiar with. The difference with Gretzky is that he seemed to be handing out favors.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: wayne+gretzky

Ray Ferraro On Dany Heatley

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Pollak of Working the Corners,

Heatley’s first roommate in Atlanta back in 2002, and now a TSN analyst. Turns out Ferraro had a lot more to say than what ended up in the story and Emmons passes the rest along for fodder here. Without further ado, here’s more of what Ray Ferraro had to say about Heatley:

On Dany Heatley’s image around Canada: “Much of the stuff written about him personally, is inaccurate. Now, you can disagree with his decisions — asking for a trade and then turning down the first one. You can say that’s the modern athlete and you probably wouldn’t be wrong. But it doesn’t change that Dany’s a good person and has a good heart.”

Describe Heatley’s mentality: “He’s far more competitive than you might think from his outward appearance. Off the ice, he’s the kind of guy who takes five minutes to walk five feet. He goes at his own pace. On the ice, he loves to score and he will do whatever is required to get himself in that position.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dany+heatley, ray+ferraro

Avs Extend Hejduk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed forward Milan Hejduk to a one-year contract extension through the 2010-11 season.

Hejduk, who is entering his 11th season in the NHL, has spent his entire career with the Colorado Avalanche.  Originally selected by the Quebec Nordiques in the fourth round (87th overall) of the 1994 Entry Draft, Hejduk has recorded 312 goals and 345 assists for 657 points in 783 career games.  He ranks fourth in franchise history in both games played and goals, and sits fifth in points.  Hejduk is the franchise’s all-time leader in regular season overtime goals with nine and his 52 career game-winning tallies rank second in franchise history behind only Joe Sakic (86).

“Milan has been an integral part of this organization over the past 10 seasons,” said Avalanche General Manager Greg Sherman.  “We are pleased to have him under contract and are counting on his leadership both on and off the ice to help this team move forward into the future.” 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: milan+hejduk

Ducks Trade McCarthy To Thrashers

Blog: Hockey News Wire By Paul

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has traded defenseman Steve McCarthy to the Atlanta Thrashers for future considerations.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Atlanta Thrashers, | Hockey News Wire | Permalink
  Tags: steve+mccarthy

Good Coach Gretzky

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Morrison of CBC Sports,

For the past couple of seasons, the Coyotes have been building with youth and were improving with that youth. No, they didn’t make the playoffs over the four years, but remember back to the middle of last season when Gretzky had his team sitting fifth in the Western Conference and was being touted as a coach of the year candidate, and a Team Canada Olympic coaching candidate.

Now, that’s not to say he was among the very best coaches in the league, but Gretzky learned and adjusted over those four years and he got better. Indeed, he was a smarter and better coach the last game he worked than he was the first.

more

added 3:03pm, from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,

Will Gretzky’s failure as a head coach tarnish his legacy as hockey’s greatest player or does the Phoenix disaster just become a footnote.

That was the topic of conversation last year with somebody who spent as much time on the ice with Gretzky as anybody. Longtime referee Don Koharski shot down any thoughts that Gretzky’s failure as a coach might erode his image as a player.

“You’ll never forget him for his greatness on the ice,” Koharski said at the time. “Not a hockey fan or sports fan in the world will ever forget what he did for the game on the ice. All the naysayers out there are probably ready to pounce on him for his coaching career. But his coaching career isn’t going to be what he’s famous for.”

The failure in the desert made sure of that.

more

added 3:06pm,

NEW YORK (Sept. 24, 2009) – National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released this statement following the resignation of Wayne Gretzky as the Phoenix Coyotes’ Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations:

“As always, Wayne placed the welfare of the team ahead of his own in making this extremely difficult decision. While the Coyotes have not had the degree of on-ice success that always has been Wayne’s objective, there can be no question he has played a vital role in the youth movement that has positioned the Coyotes for success in the future.

“We have nothing but admiration for all that Wayne has done for the game, and are extremely hopeful there will be a prominent role for Wayne with the Coyotes if the League’s bid for the Club is successful. We look forward to his continued involvement.”

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: wayne+gretzky

Schneider & Demitra On LTIR

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ben Kuzma of the White Towel at the Vancouver Province,

With Mathieu Schneider and Pavol Demitra going on long-term injury reserve, the Vancouver Canucks have found wiggle room under the salary cap ceiling.

Schneider confirmed Thursday morning that offseason shoulder surgery will keep the 40-year-old defenceman from opening the regular season on Oct. 1 at Calgary. Although he has been practising, Schneider has not been able to take contact. The news is worse for Demitra, who hasn’t even healed enough to practice. Offseason shoulder surgery could keep the winger sidelined until November.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mathieu+schneider, pavol+demitra

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