Kukla's Korner

Will A Gold Medal Have an Effect On Rick Nash’s Game?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rob Oller of the Columbus Dispatch,

A painting of Rick Nash hangs in the office of Blue Jackets interim coach Claude Noel, an abstract piece of art in which one would struggle to identify the player within the frame.

The picture perfectly captures Nash’s career. Seven seasons in Columbus and Jackets fans still are not exactly sure what to make of the team’s best player. He is an enigma wrapped in a CBJ sweater.

Is Nash a top-15 player in the league? Sometimes. Is the Blue Jackets’ captain an effective leader? Maybe. This much is clear: Nash is a nice guy and ever-improving playmaker who might simply need a healthy dose of big-time success to finally bring his work into focus.

Winning Olympic gold as a member of Team Canada may well be that dose.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rick+nash

Time For Lecavalier The Leader To Show Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

The Lightning are coming off the Olympic break, the one they went into reeling. Vinny Lecavalier led the way, reeling right along. It’s time for No. 4 to get off his butt, or his contract, and be a captain and lead a playoff charge, score like a shooting star, perform like the highest-paid player in the National Hockey League.

Don’t hold your breath.

That Vinny doesn’t play here anymore.

Vincent Lecavalier is making $10 million this season, more than Sidney Crosby, more than Alex Ovechkin, more than anyone. Did you know that? Some nights it’s like common thievery. Vinny is shortchanging his team - and his own talent.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vinny+lecavalier

Possible Trade Targets For The Canucks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun,

If Gillis does go looking for a third-line centre, a possible name he might be considering is Florida’s Steven Reinprecht. Gillis kicked the tires on Reinprecht last season when he was a member of the Phoenix Coyotes and available as a rental.

Reinprecht, who has 13 goals and 33 points in 61 games this season with the Panthers, would not be a rental this season. He has another year, at $2.175 million, left on his contract. However, the Panthers are already without injured centre Nathan Horton and may be reluctant to move Reinprecht.

Rental centres with expiring contracts who could possibly be on the market include Eric Belanger (Minnesota), Doug Weight (New York Islanders) and Jeff Halpern (Tampa Bay). Of those four, only Belanger is having a good season. But the Wild are only five points out of a playoff spot and likely aren’t ready to surrender the season.

With Willie Mitchell’s status uncertain, the Canucks could also be in the market for a stay-at-home defenceman. There have been rumours posted on the Internet about the Canucks having interest in Carolina’s Aaron Ward and Andy Sutton of the New York Islanders.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

DiPietro’s Knee Issue Not Serious

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Martin of the NY Post,

Want to sum up the last few years for Rick DiPietro and the Islanders?

The goalie entered the NHL’s two-week Olympic break with his surgically repaired knee in good shape and not having missed a practice due to injury since returning on Jan. 6. And now, on the eve of the team’s return to the ice tonight against Chicago at the Coliseum, he’s out indefinitely with swelling in the knee.

Still, the 28-year-old was not terribly discouraged by the news, saying tests showed yesterday that everything is fine structurally with the knee.

“It’s precautionary,” DiPietro said after returning to the team’s practice facility after practice, where he worked out. “After seven or eight days off, to kick it back into full gear might have irritated it a little bit. There’s nothing major to report, just the stuff that goes along with the territory of coming back from a serious injury.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rick+dipietro

No Trade Talk In Calgary

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun at the Toronto Sun,

Darryl Sutter says he’s standing pat.

As the clock ticks towards Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline, though, nobody is nailing their name tags to their stalls in the Calgary Flames’ locker-room….

“You’re not nervous, but you know that it’s just around the corner and anything can happen,” said Flames centre Dustin Boyd. “It’s out of your control, so you’ve just gotta go play hockey.

“You just never know, right? Anything can happen, so you’ve just gotta make sure you’re ready to play, and whatever happens, happens.”

Twice over the past five days, the Flames GM has faced reporters and insisted not much will happen over the next two days.

Flames fans have heard that one before.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Zidlicky Contract Extension Talks Hit A Snag

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo and Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune,

The Wild and defenseman Marek Zidlicky have hit a potential snag in contract negotiations that could derail the whole thing and cause him to be traded by Wednesday’s 2 p.m. deadline.

According to multiple sources, a three-year contract with the veteran is all but complete.

However, Zidlicky is insisting on a no-trade clause to be included for the life of the contract.

The Wild has scoffed at that notion because of Zidlicky’s age. He turned 33 on Feb. 3, and the Wild so far has been willing to offer Zidlicky a no-trade clause for only part of the contract.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marek+zidlicky

Lilja Returns To Lineup After A One Year Absence

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Playing physical, dishing out hits and absorbing them, is a big part of Andreas Lilja’s game.

He is determined to make sure that doesn’t change, after returning to the lineup for the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, one year and one day removed from his last NHL game, when he suffered a concussion.

“I just have to go out and play my regular game, and if it doesn’t hold up, it doesn’t hold up,’’ Lilja said before playing the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. “I will have to deal with that then.

“If I stay away from playing physical I might as well start playing bandy (a form of ball hockey). It’s part of the game. Everybody plays physical. That’s what I have to do.’’

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andreas+lilja

How Should The Rangers Use Chris Drury?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

When we last left the Rangers, Drury was bouncing from one line to another, one position to another, sometimes on the fourth line, sometimes on the first or second. The fourth line isn’t going to cut it the rest of the way for the rejuvenated Big Moment Kid (if that title’s not reserved for Sidney Crosby).

Tortorella needs to construct three units that he believes in and will use. The Rangers aren’t going to make it from here to there if the coach insists on doubling down on his first two lines the way he has all season.

And they’re not going to make it without production from Drury, whose success in the Olympics may not presage success down the stretch, but sure presents a more encouraging platform than the alternative.

more

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

When All is Said And Done, Bettman Will Get A Deal Done For Sochi Winter Olympics

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail at CTVOlympics,

A modest prediction now that the 2010 Winter Olympic men’s hockey tournament is in the books: Four years from now, in Sochi, the NHL will be back with full participation - even if commissioner Gary Bettman is publicly dragging his heels over making a commitment now.

It isn’t just because the NHL got its preferred final either. Canada against the United States for the gold medal guaranteed fabulous television ratings and garnered interest in the sport across North America. (NBC even televised it live on the West Coast. That’s progress.)

Remember, Bettman is two things primarily: a lawyer and a skilled negotiator. It was his ability to craft deals that ultimately got him the job in the first place.

As a negotiator, Bettman is not about to give anything away he could potentially use as a chip - not with new collective bargaining agreement talks coming in 2012.

continued

added 6:14am on 3/2/10, A few comments about a misleading headline and I agree, sorry for the confusion.  I changed the headline to stop the confusion.

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winter+oiympics

Theodore Can Only Deal With His Son’s Death

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,

José Theodore had managed to keep his personal tragedy as far from the ice as possible. The Washington Capitals goalie didn’t want to make his teammates uncomfortable, and the rink was a place where, for three hours a day, he could go to escape.

But last week, Theodore sat on the bench at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, took a deep breath and, through tears, gave the first interview about his 2-month-old son Chace, who died August from respiratory complications related to a premature birth.

“Obviously, it’s a tough story for anybody,” he said. “It’s not something people are comfortable talking about. People say to me, ‘I can’t imagine.’ To be honest, they can’t imagine. They can try to imagine. But until you are there, you can’t put yourself in those people’s shoes.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jose+theodore

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