Kukla's Korner

The Next Big Thing

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Burnaby News-Leader: Charlie Hodge is a busy man.

Hodge has been scouting for the NHL since 1979. Before Tampa Bay, he was scouting for Pittsburgh and before that, Winnipeg. He’s been all over North America, recommending names like Dave Babych to the Winnipeg Jets in 1980 and Andrew Ference to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1997. Some recommendations have been pat-on-the-back worthy, while others turn out to be hide-your-face shameful. “I don’t know if you need any particular skill to be a scout, basically you just hope the guy you recommend continues to develop after he’s drafted,” he said. For every game, Hodge prints off each team’s lineup from Rinknet.com, isolates the priority picks and looks at the teams as a whole. He familiarizes himself with each player’s age – the older, the younger – and he highlights the “futures” and the “don’t exists”. “Three guys don’t exist on Kamloops; they’re already drafted,” he said.
continued

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Atlanta Thrashers in Flames

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Karen Rosen at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

To make each Thrashers game Atlanta's hottest experience on ice, Rick Lambright and Andy Ulanowski bring the fire. The brothers-in-law operate the high-flying twin bird heads that spew 20-foot flames during introductions, after every Thrashers goal and whenever the NHL's rules allow them to fire up the crowd. They are also in charge of this year's new pyrotechnic effects at Hawks games. "We try to throw as much flame in the game as we can," Lambright said. Lambright, 50, of Kennesaw, and Ulanowski, 52, of Dallas, Ga., are certified pyrotechnicians who are as comfortable setting off fireworks as working with firebreathing birds. They provide the Atlanta flames for the 21st century.
Continued... (may require subscription)

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Another Staal Decision

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The Pittsburgh Penguins' Jordan Staal sat out last Tuesday's game against the Florida Panthers after playing fewer than eight minutes in their previous outing against the Montreal Canadiens, a mostly understandable development for the only player from the draft class of 2006, apart from the Boston Bruins' Phil Kessel, to jump directly from junior to the National Hockey League. With very few exceptions — and Staal's teammate with the Penguins, Sidney Crosby, is the most prominent recent one — this is the normal developmental pattern for teenage hockey players. By the start of the third month, the pace and the standard of play tend to ramp up across the board in the NHL.
continued... plus tidbits from around the NHL...

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Drake Gets Two Games

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

TORONTO (Dec. 8, 2006) – St. Louis Blues forward Dallas Drake has been suspended for two games, without pay, as a result of delivering a hit to the head area of Detroit Red Wing defenseman Brett Lebda during NHL game #415 on December 7. The incident occurred at 14:57 of the first period. No penalty was assessed on the play. Drake, who was suspended for two games in October, 2005, is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and forfeits salary based on the number of games in a season (82), rather than the number of days (187). He will forfeit $26,829.26. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. Drake will miss Saturday’s game against Columbus and Dec. 12 against Chicago. He will be eligible to return Dec. 13 at Colorado. image

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The Hype Is Building

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the NHL,

Information researched by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc. • Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin played against each other four times last season. Crosby (3-6-9) and Ovechkin (3-3-6) scored points in each of those four games, and they scored a goal in the same game twice (Jan. 25 at Pittsburgh, Feb. 11 at Washington). The Penguins won the first three meetings of the rookie phenoms and the Capitals won the last game (Mar. 8 at Washington). • Alex Ovechkin played his 100th NHL game on November 17. Ovechkin had 64 career goals through that date, matching the sixth-highest total at the 100-game mark for any player in the modern era. (since 1943-44, when the center-ice red line was introduced). Most goals through 100 games: Teemu Selanne (84), Maurice Richard (80), Mike Bossy (76), Dino Ciccarelli (69), Eric Lindros (67), Pavel Bure (64), Joe Nieuwendyk (64), Alex Ovechkin (64).

Continue Reading »

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The Devils Just Win

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Linda Cohn of ESPN,

"I get it, Linda, once a Ranger fan, always a Ranger fan," Parise said. "Despite the ups and many more downs, fans like you just don't switch your allegiance, no matter how many more Cups we win." As the words poured out of his mouth, I felt a change. The agitation was turning into appreciation. Now, if only New Jersey residents would experience the same. If you're afraid of roller coasters (Rangers) and prefer a steady ride at the top (Devils), then this team will provide all the thrills you need. If he was head of team marketing, how would Parise sell this Devils team? "I can only look at it from an athlete's perspective, and I would say, 'What more do you want, this team wins!'"
more

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Life In The CHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via CBC,

Bill McDonald is 54 and he thought that, at his age, he'd seen everything there was to be seen in the life of a hockey coach. Then he was shown where his Austin Ice Bats would be playing their Central Hockey League games. They've been installed in a 1,900-seat arena in the Texas city. There are Jr. B teams in Canada playing in larger arenas. Fans walk directly past dressing room doors to get to their seats via the same corridors the players use to get to the ice. Referees and opposing players don't have to wonder what is being said about them by spectators who could reach out and touch them.
continued

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Trade Deadline Going to be a Snoozer?

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

ESPN's Scott Burnside:

The annual holiday season segues into the rumor season as far as NHL teams are concerned. This year's "season of the rumor" may arrive early with the NHL trade deadline coming earlier than at any time in league history, Feb. 27. Sadly, for those who love to imagine big, juicy trades, the earlier date, coupled with unprecedented parity and the restrictions imposed by the salary cap, may mean there will be far more smoke than fire in terms of player movement.
Continued...

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Get Your Sticks Now

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Canoe,

Enjoy those low one-piece composite stick prices while you can, folks, because they won't last forever. If you look hard enough, you can find sticks originally priced well above the $200 mark selling for the last couple months at about $130 or less.
continued

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The Gordo Plan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Gordon of St. Louis Today,

Since they have no chance to reach the playoffs this season – due to the stunning failure of well-paid veterans -- the Blues need to focus on their retooling. Management hoped to put a competitive team on the ice this season to buy more developmental time, but that well-intentioned effort failed. So here is what we propose: -- John Davidson should gradually auction off his veterans and add long-term assets.
read on

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