Kukla's Korner

Youngsters Impressing Leafs Coach

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

After many rejected nicknames, the winner came to Christian Hanson in a flash after he and Ryan Bozak and Viktor Stalberg just completed another high-energy shift.

“The Frat Pack,” Hanson said proudly. “You know, like Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.

“We hadn’t come up with a good one yet. That’s your job (the media). Maybe we should hold a contest.”

Call them what you will—a Sun reader suggested Highway 86 in honour of their shared birth year—the Maple Leafs trio of NCAA grads has been one of the delights of camp for coach Ron Wilson.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Latest On The Lighthouse Project

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sandra Pettie of Newsday,

Although most of the questioning was polite, the developers - New York Islanders owner Charles Wang and developer Scott Rechler - appeared frustrated and at times ill-prepared for the questions about traffic, height of buildings and whether the developers would sell off parts of the project.

Town board members repeatedly asked for specific commitments, but the developers declined to make them. Instead, they extolled what they say are the project’s virtues - creating jobs, serving as a magnet for new industry and keeping young people on Long Island.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink

In The Field With Beliveau

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Stubbs of Habs Inside/Out,

The great Jean Béliveau has been celebrated in photo, film, documentaries, books and magazines.

His likeness has appeared on cereal boxes, bottlecaps, keychains and myriad other collectibles. He’s been immortalized in sculptures made of bronze, wood and ice.

But this, Le Gros Bill says, is the first time he’s been made of corn.

Chip and Tom Hunter, farming brothers in Florenceville-Bristol, N.B., have created a 600-foot-tall Béliveau atop a logo celebrating the Canadiens centennial in a six-acre field of feed corn.

continued with picture…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jean+beliveau

Let Duchene Stay

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,

Let the kid play.

That’s what I’d do if my name was Joe Sacco or Greg Sherman or Pierre Lacroix or anybody else with decision-making abilities around the Avalanche.

The kid is Matt Duchene, and he should not be allowed to go back to junior hockey this season. The betting line is that Duchene, the third pick in this year’s NHL draft and only 18, will be an Av all season.

But you never know with the Avs. They’ve often taken the cautious path with players, including the return to junior of previous first-round picks Alex Tanguay and Wojtek Wolski.

Those Avs teams were different, however, in that they weren’t relying on younger players as much. They had superstar veterans, so they could take their time.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: matt+duchene

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“Obviously some guys are a little louder than others when they give comments, and they get more play. But guys are very comfortable with the decision that we made. We did the right thing. It doesn’t make me feel any different from the moment that we had the meetings.’’

-Andrew Ference on the removal of Paul Kelly.  More from Fluto Shinzawa at the Boston Globe.

Filed in: NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+ference

Leafs Moves Not Reflecting In The ‘Other’ Betting Category

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Haney of the Las Vegas Sun,

In a reflection of how challenging it can be to make significant improvements in a single year in professional sports, the over/under on Toronto opened at just 85.5 points — a step up, but a total that would likely leave the Leafs out of the playoffs again.

The San Jose Sharks, who compiled the most points in the 2008-09 regular season (117), top the board at the Hilton with an over/under of 107.5 points for 2009-10, followed by the Detroit Red Wings (106.5), Chicago Blackhawks (105.5) and Washington Capitals (104.5).

The Bruins, who led the Eastern Conference with 116 points, could be due for a drop-off. They opened at over/under 101.5 points.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, the defending Stanley Cup champs, opened at 102.5 — a figure that would place them among the league’s top playoff teams. They compiled 99 points last season.

Hockey bettors represent a loyal but small subset of Nevada sports gamblers. The Nevada Gaming Control Board tracks NHL betting in a category called “other” — encompassing all sports besides the big three of football, basketball and baseball.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Former Ref Claims He Was Wrongfully Fired

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,

Former NHL referee Dean Warren is taking the league to the Ontario Labour Relations Board claiming he was wrongfully fired for his union advocacy on behalf of his black-and-white striped colleagues.

Warren, a Toronto native who learned the ropes officiating in the Greater Toronto Hockey League, will appear at a labour relations board hearing tomorrow.

He is alleging the league fired him in April 2008 for his “union activity” with the National Hockey League Officials Association.

The NHL argues in written submissions that Warren was fired for “substandard performance.”


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dean+warren

Let Canada Have Phoenix

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Frank Deford at NPR,

The Phoenix Coyotes, largely unnoticed by the inhabitants of Arizona, have now gone bankrupt. A wealthy Canadian wants to pay almost a quarter of a billion dollars to buy a franchise that is worthless in the desert, and move it to Hamilton, Ontario, where it would be positively adored.

But the NHL is fighting in bankruptcy court to hold on to the Coyotes.

What a shame. Look, it’s no insult for a sport not to be appreciated everywhere. Pride and television are no match for love and cheers, and hockey is too good a game to be held up to ridicule just because its vainglorious patrons’ reach exceeds their grasp.

The NHL should render unto Canada what is Canada’s and let the Coyotes go where they are wanted.


Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Small Crowd In Kansas City

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Baumbach of Newsday,

The Islanders came here hoping to be barreled over with support from a city supposedly desperate for its own NHL team. And how did the people of Kansas City react? With one huge, collective yawn.

The support for the preseason game against the Kings was so poor that every upper-deck section was blocked off by huge black curtains. You know, to block the many, many rows of empty seats.

Some threat, eh?

You know what this half-empty arena looked like? Any other Islanders home game.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kansas+city

Babcock Puts More Pressure On Jimmy Howard

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from James Schmehl of Mlive,

Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard might be out of minor league options, but Detroit coach Mike Babcock said that excuse won’t guarantee him a backup role behind Chris Osgood.

Babcock told told WZAM’s Sports Pen that Daniel Larsson, who was drafted by the Red Wings with the 92nd overall pick in 2006, is giving Howard a run for his money.

“(Larsson) is knocking on the door,” Babcock said. “Howard and he both played in the AHL last year and his numbers were every bit as good as Howard.

“(Larsson) has been the goaltender of the year before in Sweden. It’s not like he’s a kid – we thought he played real well for us the other day and made some big plays.”


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

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