Kukla's Korner

Bruins Have A Fighting Chance

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

Three times this season, the Bruins have recorded two or more fights in a game. All three times, they have won.

On the other hand, some of the Bruins’ worst outings - last Friday’s 5-1 stinker against Montreal the latest example - have come when they’ve tucked their tails and sleepwalked through a game without showing any resistance.

“We’ve touched on that a few times this year,’’ Ference said. “There’s certain teams you play against that let you sleep. I’m sure that’s what some teams like to do with us, let some of our guys sleep.

“The onus comes upon yourself to create your own emotion in the game. Get yourself engaged without having to be pulled in by the other team. It’s something that can slip away from your game if it’s not brought to your attention.’’

read on

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

Capitals A Legitimate Threat

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

What the Capitals either don’t realize, or don’t acknowledge, is how Ovechkin’s little two-game ban was actually a blessing in disguise. It helped him heal for starters; but far more importantly, it also demonstrated to every player on their team that they can now play at an elite level, even without their most important contributor.

This is a pivotal part in the evolution of any championship team, which is what the Capitals imagine they are, after making the playoffs in each of the past two years, and pushing the Pittsburgh Penguins to the limit in the second round last spring.

The Penguins ultimately won last year’s championship, putting Ovechkin’s rival, Sidney Crosby, one up in terms of their personal battle.

But the Penguins’ evolution was greatly enhanced these past two seasons by the adversity they faced. Two years ago, when Crosby missed 29 games with a high ankle sprain, Evgeni Malkin stepped up his level of play and picked up virtually all of the scoring slack. When Crosby returned, the Penguins were measurably better overall.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Leafs Finding Their Space

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Thanks to The Gap, life is better these days for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

No, they have not landed new wardrobes thanks to a sponsorship deal with the clothing retailer, but they have, as Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Ken Hitchcock pointed out about the Leafs last week, “found the right balance between offence and defence.” To mix coaching and transit metaphors, that is known as minding the gap.

Hockey coaches love to go on about the gap – the distance between the forwards and the defencemen. Keep the gap at the right distance at both ends of the ice, coaches say, and keep the distance constant as you move up and down the ice, and success will follow.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Smyth Still Wearing The Red Practice Sweater

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,

Question: Do you have a target date in mind for a return?

SMYTH: “No. I’ve got to listen to what they say. Obviously I want to be back right now, but it’s a matter of letting nature take its course and listening to the trainers and the doctors.”

Question: Are you giving any thought to that three-day Canada trip as a possible return, just to have a target to shoot for?

SMYTH: There are always positives, for sure, but I’ll see what the doc says on Saturday and then I’ll know more. For me to speculate on something, over the top of the doc, I don’t want to do that.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+smyth

Oilers Go The Online Route

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Tomorrow (Wednesday) night’s date in Tampa between the Lightning and the visiting Edmonton Oilers. It is one of two games this season the Oilers are unable to broadcast through traditional media outlets, according to Allan Watt, the team’s vice-president of communications and broadcast. As a result, for the first time in their history, the Oilers are making the game available on their website. Game time is 5:30 MST; but the broadcast will kick off 15 minutes earlier with a pre-game show.

Watt suggested the Oilers were “venturing into new territory with this webcast” (true) and that it would provide fans with “a unique new format to catch the game” (also true).

To enhance the overall viewing experience, the play-by-play team of Kevin Quinn and Louis DeBrusk will be tweeting with fans throughout the broadcast via Twitter.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Emery On IR, May Be Facing Surgery

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via CSNPhilly,

The Flyers have placed goalie Ray Emery on the injured reserve with an abdominal injury, according to sources.

The injury may require surgery.

added 5:18pm TSN says he will have surgery and out for 6 weeks.  He’s been trying to play the injury for about 3 weeks.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ray+emery

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“It’s on the leaders. They have to understand we have to play a certain way. ... We’re playing the Washington Capitals. You can’t be out there 45 seconds and throw the puck blind in front. we’re trying plays that are not there. Zero-zero hockey game, there’s no excuse to do stupid things 22 minutes into a game. So, how should they take it? Honestly, I don’t care. We have enough guys playing the right way.”

-Lightning Coach Rick Tocchet on why he benched players during last night’s game against the Capitals.  More from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rick+tocchet

Cuts Can Hurt

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gare Joyce of Sportsnet,

Following the career paths of those named to the world juniors pales to following those who get cut….

Back in the mid-90s Dan Cleary was a heckuva talent at 15 and 16, and if somebody told me that he’d never play at the under-20s I would have wagered significant body parts against it. But Cleary was cut three times. My memory of him walking through the lobby after one of the cuts and it looked like he didn’t want anything to do with the game anymore. Yeah, top prospects have to become resilient to make it as pros but that’s stuff down the line….

I remember Mike Comrie and Matt Zultek tearing it up in the last exhibition game on the eve of the cut and yet they still got the early wake-up call. “Sour” doesn’t start to describe their reaction. Comrie has gone on to a pretty decent NHL career, although not one distinguished by team success and not one endorsed by the love of his team-mates….

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Hockey Equipment, RBK, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Wings Need More Goals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN responded to a Wings fan email…

I agree to a degree with your analysis on the defensive game of the Wings. For starters, I don’t think one of the game’s great all-time blueliners, Nicklas Lidstrom, has been up to his usual standard this season. The injury to Niklas Kronwall severely hurts the cause, as well.

But overall, I have to agree with GM Ken Holland, who recently told me his biggest concern was the lack of offense. It’s no surprise the Wings would find it more difficult after losing Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson, Jiri Hudler and Tomas Kopecky from last season and replacing them with Jason Williams, Todd Bertuzzi, Patrick Eaves, Brad May and Drew Miller. Not the same juice.

Now, let’s give you some historical backing. The Wings are 18th in goals per game right now at 2.76. I did a little digging just for you. In the last 10 NHL seasons beginning with 1999-2000, the Wings’ final regular-season goals per game average never dipped below 3.00 and the team ranked top five in the NHL in eight of those nine seasons

more plus numerous other questions and answers from Pierre…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Blues/Blue Jackets Trade

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today the club has acquired forward Pascal Pelletier from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Brendan Bell and Tomas Kana.

Pelletier, 26, has played in 25 games this season with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Syracuse Crunch, recording 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) and 23 penalty minutes.  Last season, the 5-11, 197-pound left winger notched 55 points (29 goals, 26 assists) and 45 penalty minutes in 71 games with Rockford of the AHL.  Pelletier led the team in goals and power play goals and was second on the club in points. 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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