Kukla's Korner

Carolina Names Eric Staal As Captain

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

RALEIGH, NC—Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has named Eric Staal as the new team captain for the Hurricanes. Staal is the fifth captain since the team’s arrival in North Carolina, and the 13th player to serve in that role in franchise history. Rod Brind’Amour had served as captain from Aug. 25, 2005 until today, and will remain an alternate captain.

“Rod has been the consummate leader for the Hurricanes since his acquisition nearly 10 years ago,” said Rutherford. “He is the only captain in franchise history to lift the Stanley Cup, and he will continue to play a leadership role in our organization.

“The time has come now for Eric to assume the top leadership role for his teammates. This is part of the rebuilding process for the Hurricanes, as Eric is the player around whom the team will be structured. We feel confident in Eric’s ability to lead his teammates and are excited to begin this next era.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eric+staal

If Only They Had Goaltending

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Every season since I started to blog, I picked out one team that could improve the most if they added a top level goaltender.  Since a goaltending is the player that has the biggest impact on a team`s success, it is quite likely that this team will have a big jump in success if they do find that goalie.  This happened in 2005/06 when Edmonton added Dwayne Roloson at the trade deadline and went to the Stanley Cup finals.  Last year, my pick was the Detroit Red Wings.  They were a very good team last year that struggled much of the season in goal due to a poor regular season from Chris Osgood.  They were a team one top goalie short of being an elite team.  Detroit never added that goalie and nevertheless went to the finals and lost.  Osgood played much better in his playoff run than he did in the regular season.

Ironically, this year`s Detroit team seems to have found their goalie in Jim Howard, but the team in front of him is not nearly as good due to a combination of player losses, injury and age related decline.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

The ‘C’ Is Supposed To Mean Something

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

They put the captain’s C right there on the jersey, and in hockey, it is actually supposed to mean something. One thing it means is that when things aren’t going well, that letter becomes a bull’s-eye.

The captain, more than the other players, has to answer for a team’s occasional failings. He has to take more responsibility for getting his teammates ready to play, as if that small block letter could actually accomplish it.

Mike Richards, the Flyers’ current captain, has had an interesting and not entirely enjoyable week, and the letter has burned him like a branding iron at times.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+richards

Not The Same Iginla

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Johnson of the Calgary Herald,

“The desire is still there,’’ Iginla replied, without a hint of rancour. “The leadership (questions) . . . I understand that it happens when you lose a game the way we did (Monday) night.”

As polite and accommodating as Iginla is, CNN is never going to interrupt Anderson Cooper 360 to bulletin something Iginla has said.

Still, even for someone so accustomed to politicking, there was an unusual weariness about his address Tuesday. As if, like an actor in an extended Broadway run, he’d grown tired of reciting the lines.

Maybe Iginla has simply grown tired of the oppressive atmosphere that permeates Pengrowth Saddledome. Fidel Castro held less sway over Cuba for 32 years than Darryl Sutter does at the ‘Dome since being given absolute power. And Sutter is not a big one for laughs.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jarome+iginla

The Year Of The Underdog

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jamie Fitzpatrick of Jamie’s Hockey Blog,

It’s a long, long season, with many disappointments and tailspins yet to come.

But 2009-10 is already a success for the Axis of Underdog.

The Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes should have all faded away by now, according to media types like, well, me.

They remain among the top 10 teams in the NHL.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Showboat Shooter

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Bob McKenzie’s Tweet last night…

Memo to NHL: If u r going to do that showboat shootout at all-star, invite Nino Niedereitter. He just scored a beauty in CHL skills event.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nino+niedereitter

Offensive Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler of Game On,

No, I’m not going to call the Rangers a juggernaut; nor a jugger nor a naut. At least not yet.

But The Maven has this bit of advice for the Flyers whose City of Brotherly Love will be invaded by the Blueshirts on Thursday night: build a puck-shelter for whichever goaltender will face the new New York blitz.

And, a reminder to all of those pessimists in Rangerville who quickly are jumping back on the Seventh Avenue bandwagon; remember, it was The Maven who predicted at the start of October that John Tortorella’s skaters would finish FIFTH—read that again, FIFTH—in the Conference at season’s end.

That’s right; I based my prediction on the assumption that players such as Brandon Dubinsky, Marc Staal and Chris Higgins—among many others—would be meaningful contributors at some time or other this season. So, why not now?


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

Kronwall Progressing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall was feeling much chipper Tuesday morning after skating with the team for the first time since suffering a sprained left MCL on Nov. 21.

“Had a good day skating (Monday) and today it felt even better,’’ Kronwall said. “Hopefully, I’ll come in tomorrow morning and it will still feel really good. It definitely feels like we’re onto something.’’

He didn’t want to estimate when he might return.

“I don’t want to say too much, then I have the doctors and trainers all over me,’’ Kronwall said. “If I can just keep progressing like this it’s just a matter of getting the legs back and we’ll go from there.’’

Said Babcock: “As soon as you start feeling better and it looks like you’re turning the corner, it’s pretty easy to get energized. When it’s not, it sucks the life out of you.’’

added 10:08am, from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

Niklas Kronwall remains roughly a week to 10 days away, according to GM Ken Holland. Johan Franzen should be back just before the Olympic break or definitely after it.

more on the Wings…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: niklas+kronwall

Brian Elliott Gives It Up & Takes It Away

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Hossa probably still wondering how the puck did not hit the back of the net.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+elliott, marian+hossa

Bad Hockey In Alberta

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail, I

n the immediate aftermath of Black Monday – a night in which the two Alberta teams combined to get clobbered 15-1 by the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche – the only thing they share in common is the experience of being an NHL punching bag.

That’s been going for some time in Edmonton, which is 1-13-1 in its past 15 games. Heading into last night’s NHL schedule, the Oilers were in 15th place in the Western Conference, 10 points out 14th and 20 out of the final playoff spot. Their fate is sealed.

The only race worth monitoring there is the one between the Oilers and the Carolina Hurricanes for the right to draft Taylor Hall first in the June entry that – a consolation prize of some note. The Oilers, at least, can offer a reasonable excuse. They’ve been plagued by injuries and their talent level was only so-so to begin with. Without their top goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and their perennial scoring leader Ales Hemsky, they are too young and too small and too error-prone to compete this year.

Calgary, by contrast, has been extraordinarily healthy.


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

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