Kukla's Korner

Let’s Go For A Morning Skate

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province,

We know the game-day skate was already well established in the NHL by the mid-1970s.

What is less clear is how the ritual became so entrenched in the fabric of the league.

After contacting a number of former NHL players and managers, it appears the skate grew out of a number of factors, including: a natural progression from morning meetings at the rink on game day; growing rosters that meant “extra” players needed to skate when not playing that night; and even some influence from the Soviet national team—who were known for their hard practices the morning of a game.

continued

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

Watching The Blue Jackets

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,

The numbers (ratings) seem to say a couple of things: Local fans have noticed that this year’s team is better than last year’s squad, which competed hard but lacked the depth of talent to be in the race, and they’re increasingly interested in the good story lines (Benedict Foote), strong opponents (Calgary) and players worth watching (Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, whose Capitals drew a 2.35 rating).

If form holds true, the best ratings are going to come after the All-Star break. And if this team continues to trend upward, we might soon discover what a lot of people said nine years ago:

If the Blue Jackets ever have a good team, this is going to be one heck of a hockey market.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Around The NHL This Week

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

• The Predators, who can’t win because they can’t score, should be on the phone offering up their No. 3 defenceman Dan Hamhuis, 26, for a winger. Maybe they should be going after Flyers’ Joffrey Lupul, who is about Philly’s sixth best forward and has 15 goals. Hamhuis isn’t having a good year (minus-12), but he’s in his fifth NHL season and plays 22 minutes a night in Nashville. He’s a solid, two-way D-man.

• Slugger Derek Boogaard has the longest NHL run without a goal (150 games), but as he says, “how many fights has Mikko Koivu had in his 250 games?”

• Teemu Selanne is back skating after the quadricep muscle in his left leg was sliced by his own skate a month ago at Rexall Place. No explosive stuff yet,” said the Ducks’ winger, who could help a pretty ordinary Anaheim team, maybe this week. They’ve won only five times in 16 games since he was hurt.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Best Canadien- Jean Beliveau

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Red Fisher at NHL.com,

As long as anyone can remember, even before he was to become everything that was good about this Montreal Canadiens franchise, Jean Beliveau has been special.

Was there ever a player blessed with more grace on and off the ice? He was a quiet leader who led by example. He walked and skated tall—and always will be remembered that way. We rejoiced in his accomplishments and were left limp with grief when he was struck with adversity—on and off the ice.

continued

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

Bruins May Make Minor Roster Tweaks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

The kind of move Chiarelli may be pondering, he said, is something akin to what the Ducks did en route to winning the Cup in 2007. His club in need of a character boost and experience up front, then-GM Brian Burke hired on veteran winger Brad May, swapping Mike Wall to the Avalanche. Burke’s first move as Toronto’s new GM was to bring May to the Leafs earlier this month….

Boston’s forward corps, full of youngsters such as Kessel (if), Lucic, and David Krejci, received valuable maiden experience in last season’s seven-game run in the first round against the Canadiens. Veteran pivot Marc Savard, at age 30, also experienced his first minutes of postseason action. Untested, no. But support and experience could help come crunch time.

more an additional NHL topics are discussed…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Giguere Thinking Of His Father

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

The crowd at the Bell Centre today will roar for one of its own, the hometown kid who made it big in the NHL and brought the Stanley Cup back to Montreal—though only for a visit—in the summer of 2007.

But when the starters are announced for today’s All-Star game and Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s name is called for the West, the Ducks’ goaltender will be looking for someone who is not there, listening for a voice that was silenced too soon.

Giguere’s father, Claude, who bought the second-hand gear that launched his youngest son’s hockey career, died on Dec. 15 after valiantly fighting cancer that began in his colon and spread throughout his body. Claude rallied after J.S. visited him in late November but the disease won out before he could see his son’s All-Star moment.

“But I know he’s going to be there, somewhere, watching,” Giguere said. “He’s no stranger to me being there, too, I think. You’ve got to believe that he’ll be there.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: all-star+game, jean-sebastien+giguere

Bettman Throws Lidstrom Under The Bus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• The euphoria over the possible drafting of John Tavares, and what he could do for an NHL team, is overblown. Think about this: Rick Nash and Jay Bouwmeester were the best two players drafted into the NHL in 2002. Six seasons later, neither has been in a playoff game.

• Department of Dumb: Suspending Nicklas Lidstrom, who has played hurt, been to a million all-star games, and never has taken a shift off in his spectacular career, for not playing in today’s all-star game. This is so typical of Gary Bettman: He’ll protect his bankrupt owners but toss the best of his players under the bus.

more hockey notes…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nick+lidstrom

NHL Bits From Brooks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

• How hilarious, meanwhile, that Detroit’s GM Ken Holland, who led the misguided charge to limit information released to the media concerning player injuries, now believes it appropriate to tell the world that one guy’s got a bad hip and the other’s got a bad elbow. Guess that whole thing about protecting his players isn’t quite as critical as Holland posited last June.

• Tampa Bay management can deny, deny, deny in the best tradition of all sorts of scoundrels, but it is most certainly true that 2008 first-overall draft pick Steven Stamkos is available for trade, at least according to two franchises that have been in contact with the Lightning and have no reason to fib about it.

more

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

Top Five Players

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

A few days ago, Paul Kukla asked people to post their opinions of the top five players by position.  The task was not entirely defined.  Most people listed 5 forwards, 5 defencemen and 5 goalies, a few listed only 5 players and others broke up their forwards into right wingers, left wingers and centremen.  Some people picked the top five players so far this season, while others looked longer term and included injured players who would belong on their list.

I went through the comments as best I could and tallied the votes.  Most comments were votes.  A few comments were merely musings on the voting so far and were ignored.  A few of the votes were not selections of players (for example picking “New Jersey’s defence’ as one of the top five defencemen) and were ignored.

Here are the votes:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

AO & Malkin Together Again

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,

Ovechkin’s unexpected public interaction with Malkin had to catch most puck-watchers by surprise. The two Russian-born stars have been estranged over a personal matter that neither player was too interested in discussing. The feud caught the eye of fans and media when both players went out of their way to hit each other in recent games between the Caps and Pens.

According to one source, Thrashers captain (and fellow Russian star) Ilya Kovalchuk brokered the peace deal between Ovie and Geno. In playing the part of the peacemaker, Kovalchuk might have been looking toward the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The three snipers figure to be a big part of Team Russia’s gold-medal hopes.

more on the Saturday night festivities in Montreal…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin, evgeni+malkin

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