Kukla's Korner

Craig Hoping For Perfect Weather For The Winter Classic

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via TSN,

The challenge for Dan Craig, the NHL’s facilities operations manager in charge of putting down the rink and creating the ice, is to make sure the playing surface at the home of the Chicago Cubs is of NHL-calibre.

‘‘What they’re going to feel underneath their feet skating will be as close to what they have for an NHL facility and that’s going to depend on the day outside,’’ Craig said….

‘We’re hoping for (-3 C) weather and then our machines just sit there in cruise because the temperature we want on the surface is (-6 C),’’ Craig said.

Inclement weather is a test for both the players and the ice. And it was a factor in last year’s game when it snowed during the game between the Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins.


Remember you can watch as Wrigley Field gets transformed into a hockey rink.  The lines are painted and the Winter Classic logo is in place at center ice.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winter+classic

A Turnaround Can Happen

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com,

If you’re the 0-for-‘08 Detroit Lions, there’s hope.

The galactically dysfunctional New York Knicks and Dallas Cowboys? There’s hope….

That’s because the perennially worst franchise in sports has performed reconstructive cosmetic surgery on itself—and it worked! Any prettier and the Chicago Blackhawks would have their own modeling deal.

You can hardly recognize the Hawks these days. They’re winning (nine in a row going into Tuesday night’s game against Stanley Cup champion Detroit). They’re compelling. They’re as cool as a fresh sheet of ice. And if they can do it, then any franchise can.

read on

added 4:45pm, For those few Detroit Lions fans, you may want to take a look at long time Lions beatwrter Mike Ohara’s new blog.

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

Bobby Ryan Making An Impression

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Matt Vevoda of AnaheimDucks.com,

Thrust onto the Finnish Flash’s spot on the second forward line and on the first power play unit, Ryan was given the burden of trying to emulate Selanne, who at the time of his injury was the team leader in goals and league leader in power play tallies.

The 21-year-old rookie has not disappointed. In the five games without Selanne (including the game against the Oilers, in which Selanne skated only one shift), Ryan has been on the scoresheet in each contest while netting two goals (both with the man advantage) and eight points. His current five-game point streak is the longest yet of his promising career. Also with his recent surge, Ryan has vaulted into a tie for sixth place among rookie scorers in the league despite playing at least 10 games fewer than anybody else in the top 10.

read on

This from the Stat Wizards at the Elias Sports Bureau…

Rookie Bobby Ryan assisted on the tying goal in the third period and scored the winning goal for the Ducks in their 4-3 victory in St. Louis last night. Ryan, who played 23 games for Anaheim last season but did not play his first game this season until Nov. 16, has scored 18 points (6 goals, 12 assists) in 19 games) since being recalled from the American Hockey League—the highest point total over that span among all NHL rookies. Chicago’s Kris Versteeg is second with 16 points.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bobby+ryan

Jean Beliveau Hospitalized

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via TSN,

The Montreal Canadiens say former star Jean Beliveau has been taken to hospital with an undisclosed illness.

update 4:33pm, via Kevin Mio of Habs Inside/Out,

Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau is doing well in hospital after falling ill on Monday. He was taken to a hospital after feeling ill while attending a funeral.

His blood pressure dropped suddenly, causing him to feel sick, according to reports.

update 5:23pm, Beliveau has been released from the hospital and resting at home.  Good news!

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

Washington Recalls Bourque & Send Varlamov To Hershey

Blog: Hockey News Wire By Paul

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have recalled forward Chris Bourque from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) and assigned goaltender Simeon Varlamov to Hershey, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Bourque, 22, has played in 27 games for Hershey this year. He has eight goals, is second on the team with 20 assists and has a +8 rating. Bourque tallied a goal and an assist last night in Hershey’s 5-3 win against Albany.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | Hockey News Wire | Permalink

Tuesday’s Gone.  Thursday?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Classic Skynyrd for your Monday.  Nick Lidstrom’s doubtful for Tuesday night, according to Khan(!).  Another MRI confirmed no break, but the swelling’s sticking around.

“It’s about the same as the other day, still swollen, not quite there yet,’’ Lidstrom said, after an off-ice workout. “It’s day-to-day, see if the swelling goes down tomorrow and feels better. I couldn’t skate today. I did an MRI this morning and it was negative, that’s good that nothing is broken, but it’s still real swollen.’‘

And Conklin’s starting Tuesday.  Thursday too, probably.


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Sens Sinking

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

So, when does meltdown occur in Ottawa?

Not sure about the exact timing, but the clock is surely ticking. Not only are the Ottawa Senators looking less and less like a playoff team, they’re looking more and more like a draft lottery team….

The challenge for Murray is that he is practically bereft of attractive assets to move beyond rock-solid defenseman Anton Volchenkov, who must stand as one of the team’s very few untouchables (along with captain Daniel Alfredsson). No one is going to be interested in Jason Smith at $2.6 million this year and next. Dany Heatley? With a $35 million price tag, plus what’s left of a $10 million tab this year, he’s hardly going to fit into most teams’ budgets. In other words: Yikes.

read on plus more questions and answers from Burnside…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Unsung Players

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,

Most of these guys aren’t dynamic league leaders. Rather, they’re skaters or stoppers who are having good seasons and really helping their respective clubs. Although a couple dozen guys could qualify for the list, I’ve decided to settle on 10. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to let me know.

Travis Zajac, C, Devils (10-16-26, plus-12). Let’s start with Z. This 23-year-old Winnipeg native was selected with the 20th overall pick in 2004 and seems to be finding his way in his third pro season….

Duncan Keith, D, Blackhawks (4-14-18, plus-19)
. In Chicago, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews get most of the attention. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, Keith has quietly become one of the top defensemen in the league.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Stars Of The Week

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (Dec. 29, 2008)—Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, Atlanta Thrashers center Bryan Little and Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Dec. 28.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Goodbye 2008

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,

Luc Bourdon, Alexei Cherepanov, Mickey Renaud, each still blossoming as an athlete and a human being, also died this year, long before they had the chance to best manifest their talents.

But above and beyond those gut-wrenching goodbyes, there just seemed to be something inescapably melancholy in virtually every facet of the hockey world this year.

There was ‘Boots’ Del Biaggio’s expensive, heartbreaking charade in Nashville and the myriad of questions it raised about the NHL’s leadership group.

In Tampa Bay, new owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules rode to the team’s rescue and promised an adventure for Lightning fans.

read on

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

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