Kukla's Korner

Are The Top Teams For Real?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ray Ferraro of TSN,

The Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks clinched their respective divisions on Sunday, but like a lot of contending teams it seems like the last couple weeks have not gone that smoothly.

If you look at the top three teams in each conference, it speaks to how the road to the Stanley Cup doesn’t directly go through any one city.

In past years, you could see a definitive team or two that was a stand alone club. But not this year. Each of these six teams have blemishes (and maybe that’s a result of the salary cap evening out talent) but it certainly will make a for a wide open field once the playoffs start.

continue for a look at the top teams in the East and West…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Management Still A Mess In Tampa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,

How can this Bolts squad be so much less than the sum of its parts? How is it possible they still could finish the season dead last in the wishy-washy Eastern Conference and be in prime position to draft Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin in June?

More than likely, it has more than a little to do with a management/ownership structure that makes the Hatfield and McCoy clans look like Oprah Winfrey and her best friend Gayle Whatsherface.

Some of the blame for that has to fall at the feet of former Lightning owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules, who began their reign as good buddies and ended it communicating to each other exclusively through their attorneys.

However, the current management team of GM Brian Lawton and coach Rick Tocchet has disintegrated with spectacular results and deserves equal anti-kudos for their performance.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Stars Of The Week

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (April 5, 2010)—Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak, Anaheim Ducks center Saku Koivu and Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask have been named the NHL ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Apr. 4.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Debatable Hockey Topics

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN has some topics to debate…

1. The Calder debate

Let me preface this thought by saying I believe Jimmy Howard should be nominated for the Vezina Trophy; his season has been that outstanding. But I do not believe the Detroit Red Wings goalie should win the Calder Trophy….

3. Which team comes out of the West?

...I may still stick with the Canucks next week when I am pressed for my official Cup finals prediction, but right now I’m on the fence. The question is, if not Vancouver, then who?

San Jose has played better of late after breaking out of a March swoon that had Sharks fans feeling nervous. Still, the ghosts of playoffs past always give you reason for pause, not to mention the visions of Evgeni Nabokov in the Olympic quarterfinals.

The Blackhawks? There’s the team I’d personally love to see in the finals just for esthetic reasons….


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Top West Teams Have Goalie Issues

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The playoffs are almost upon us and it looks like none of the top seeds in the West Conference are without question marks in goal.  The Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks have all either clinched their division victory or are expected to do so soon, but none of these teams have had strong goaltending recently.

Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo may have been the gold medal winning goalie in the Olympics, but he has posted a .891 saves percentage since then.  That level of play is not likely good enough for a significant playoff run.

San Jose has another Olympic goalie in Russia’s Evgeni Nabokov.  He has a .890 saves percentage since the Olympic break.

Chicago’s Cristobal Huet is from France.  If France had qualified for the Olympics, he would have been their number one goalie.  In the NHL he has been bad lately.  He has posted a .833 saves percentage since the break.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

If Vokoun hits the trade block the Philadelphia Flyers would be amongst those very interested but they’ll have to move the equivalent of Vokoun’s $5.7 million cap hit for next season to comfortably fit him under their cap, plus would have to ensure they have sufficient cap space to re-sign him to a long-term extension.

-Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey.  More rumor talk from Lyle.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tomas+vokoun

As Ovechkin Goes, So Does The Capitals?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of The Spin,

But can they go deep into the post-season without Ovechkin finding his way out of his current funk?

Probably not, although the issue of goaltending, and whether it will be Jose Theodore or Semyon Varlamov between the pipes when the playoffs commence, is likely to be a much bigger issue. In addition to the Olympic letdown, Ovechkin, more than most of his teammates, seems to be suffering from the fact the Caps distanced themselves from the pack weeks ago and haven’t had much to play for in recent days.

Boudreau has tinkered with his lineup, at least partially to make use of the new players acquired by GM George McPhee at the trade deadline, and that has altered the rhythms and dynamics in the Washington dressing room. Again, however, the team has kept winning — 7-1-2 in the last 10 games — and there’s a sense this is a club with lots of weapons and improved depth (seven players with 20-plus goals), both of which should bear fruit in the Stanley Cup playoffs.


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

Did Burrows Do It Again?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,

It’s hard to say the Wild got the shaft after referees Dennis LaRue and Brad Meier awarded them eight power plays, of which the Wild only scored on the final one, BUT, the Wild got the shaft.

After the Wild shockingly forced overtime on goals by Cody Almond and Antti Miettinen 23 seconds apart in the final 42 seconds of the third period, Alex Burrows, the king embellisher in the NHL, drew a bogus penalty in overtime when he lifted Greg Zanon’s stick into his own face and then shot his head back like he was nailed by a Matt Cooke elbow.

Zanon was called for high-sticking even though Burrows essentially high-sticked himself. It’s clear as day on video.

The refs bit, the Canucks got a 4-on-3 power play and the Canucks won it on Sami Salo’s blast through traffic. So, basically, Burrows—as is his reputation—once again made a pair of refs look bad.

Now, this was not an easy call. In real time, the refs see Zanon’s stick in Burrows’ face, so it’s hard to blame LaRue and Meier. So here’s the solution: Burrows is a known diver, an embellisher and really I’m amazed refs ever give him the benefit of the doubt.

continued and I looked for a video of the play but no luck.  Did anyone see it and if so, do you agree with Russo?

added 8:38am, You can watch the game recap at TSN which shows the penalty, although brief.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+burrows

Take That R.J. Umberger

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Tes Leonsis of Ted’s Take,

I think this player should be talking to his ownership and coaching staff about their rebuild plan to compete for a Stanley Cup NOT to our fan base and players about ours.

And then I think this player should stand up and communicate to his team’s fan base about their plan to compete for a Cup and how they will qualify for the playoffs year after year. And then back it up. It is a simple formula: Outline a plan - communicate it - back it up.

As I have noted, the best way to compete for a Cup is to qualify for the playoffs which Columbus has done exactly how many times to date?

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

8th Spot In the West All Planned Out

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

Here we go. The final week of the season, four games in seven days, the first two on the road, the final two at home. Win two of these games – or just find a way to get four points – and your Colorado Avalanche is in the playoffs. Hard to believe it might still happen, isn’t it?...

I think what’s going to happen is this: I think the Avs are going to lose tomorrow night in Vancouver and the Flames are going to win at home against the Sharks. That would make things even again in the standings.
But the Avs will still have that one game in hand, and will have a date the next night with the worst team in the conference – the Edmonton Oilers. And I actually think the Avs will find a way to get at least a point that night.

But in the interest of “let’s not take any chances”, here’s what I propose: I think the Avs should start Peter Budaj against the Canucks, and give Craig Anderson another day of rest going into the Oil game.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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