Kukla's Korner

NHL Players on the Bubble

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

By Debbie Elicksen over at NBCSports.com,

Being on the bubble isn't about the table-top boards being fought over in half of hockey fans' basements. It's not the Missouri 2007 national bubble hockey championships being hosted by the St. Louis Blues. Life on the bubble is the stark reality for about 80 percent of NHL players. It means you can be sent up or down to and from the minors at any given moment, no questions asked. You may not even know why. You make a mistake on the ice, you think, is this going to be my last shift in the game? On the team?
Continued. (Plus a rookie initiation story involving Eric Lindros, Fred Brathwaite, and running naked through an Oshawa shopping mall. Ahh... the good old days before the concussions.)

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Fan Post Of The Day: Babcock Deserves Credit

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

image If the months following the Wing ouster at the hands of Edmonton was The Summer of Ken, then it's only fair that a similar microscope hover over the performance of Mike Babcock. By most accounts, he has the team he wants. And, this team is playing the style that suits him. The next 6 months will show whether this grit and hustle we've seen the last two weeks is a brief trend or a makeover that will translate into playoff success. But for now...credit is due. Our Fan Post of the Day comes from the Detroit News message board and belongs to CBlackburn from Grosse Pointe.

Continue Reading »

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Disability Doesn’t Stop Teen Goalie

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from WCCO,

Most opponents never know that her right lower arm and hand never developed during childhood. Yet, on average, only one shot on goal gets past her every game." I don't even notice, I just don't I am just used to it," she said. Despite all of her obvious talent, none of this would have been possible without a specially designed goalie glove with a built in prostheses -- probably the only one of its kind in the world.
more... with video... image

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Could Get Ugly

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Blue Jackets play the Blackhawks in Chicago tonight. The Chicago Bears take on the NY Giants about an hour later at the Meadowlands. Anyone else think this game should have been moved to an earlier start time? We may see an all-time low in attendance tonight.

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Roy Glad He Didn’t Have To Choose

Blog: KK Hockey By IwoCPO

Via the Buffalo News,

Players don't enter hockey's Hall tethered to a particular team, the way they do in baseball. The Dominator will waltz in the way he would prefer, by himself, assuming he'll someday follow through with his retirement plans. Good thing Patrick Roy wasn't forced to pick a sweater before entering the Hall this week. He wouldn't know which to choose, the Montreal Canadiens or the Colorado Avalanche.
Much more news from around the league.

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Shopping With Chiarelli

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Chiarelli has been busy the last couple of weeks. Not the kind of busy he would prefer. His club in the midst of an early-season belly flop in the Eastern Conference pool , he has been on the phone, chatting with other GMs, trying to find a fix. What's the fix? Chiarelli's not saying. "I have a sense now of what I'd like to do," he said "I'm talking to people. I'm calling other GMs. Other GMs are calling me. But it's not like I'm talking to everyone -- it's a selective process." That's about as specific as Peter The Patient will get on the subject. But based on chatter around the league, he is in hot pursuit of a goalie, and the list of available suspects is shorter than Darren Pang's catching glove. ...Coach Randy Carlyle yanked Bryzgalov in the second period of a 3-0 loss Friday night in Calgary, and after the game said he was yanked because the coach "didn't have confidence in him." Ducks GM Brian Burke, responding to an e-mail yesterday about Bryzgalov's availability after being yanked, wrote, "Not going anywhere."
more

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Rows Of Empty Seats In St. Louis

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

In the late 1990s, Blues defenseman Jamie Rivers was in his first stint with the Blues. His fondest memories are of the crowds that gathered to watch their beloved Bluenote. Nearly 21,000 fans packed the arena now known as Scottrade Center, and when they left, the buzz from the building continued to ring in their ears. "It was just crazy in there," said Rivers, who rejoined the Blues last summer. "You couldn't hear anything at times. Just the screaming alone, it's almost like it would mess up your thoughts." Those memories are in stark contrast to the cavernous feeling at Blues games this season. To find their seats, die-hard fans walk past rows and rows of empty chairs. Entire sections have their own personal beverage vendor. And the ultimate sinking feeling: being able to hear players chatter on the ice.
read on

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Sunday Odds and Ends

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Couple of interesting quotes from Chris Chelios on WDFN regarding the Williams/Torres situation. Among them were , "it's not over yet;" a reference to the fact that the Wings have two more games (regular season) with Edmonton and this situation has yet to be resolved by the players. Chelios also tells a story of Williams showing up at the rink the next morning, in scrubs, with dried blood in his hair. Listen to the entire interview here. Bruce MacLeod, a quality deep digger with the Macomb Daily Tribune, has some views on the Torres hit. Pretty strong views.

Raffi Torres was not finishing his check. Not this past Wednesday night, not when he knocked Jason Williams unconscious, not when he expressed afterwards that it was part of the physical nature of hockey. Not a chance.
MacLeod believes Torres had Danny Markov's hit on Jared Stoll (from two weeks prior) in mind when he drilled Williams. Dan Cleary is on fire. Well, for a Red Wing he is. The empty netter he scored Friday against Bubba was his fourth of the year and leaves him just behind Zetterberg and Lang for the team lead. According to the Detroit Free Press, the logical explanation is that his mom's in town.
"She always brought good luck," Cleary said of his mother. "I said it before she got here, I would score when she got here." Babcock apparently has a plan to keep Cleary going when his mother leaves town. "I told Drapes to make sure he gives him a big hug every day from now on," Babcock joked.
Oh yes, an implosion is on the way. That lockerroom is in utter disarray. Dave Lewis is having a tough go of it in Boston. It's tough to see because he's a nice guy. But it's not exactly surprising because, well, he's a nice guy. Milford Daily News
Lewis knows a thing or two about winning teams, and about turning around a moribund franchise. He served as an assistant and later head coach in Detroit, where the Red Wings rose from basement dweller to champion. "I came to Detroit when they were called the Dead Wings and I left when they were finished winning three Cups," said Lewis.
Yes, they did Dave. I'm thinking Scotty Bowman may have had something to do with that. Terry Frei writes this morning about Patrick Roy, and the swagger he brought with him. According to Frei two of the most memorable press conferences he ever covered featured Roy. He mentions Roy's reply to Jeremy Roenick when he said his ears were plugged with Stanley Cups as one, and Roy's open challenge to the Red Wings in '97 as the other.
I'll never forget that news conference on an off day when they were down, and they were struggling. He walked into a room in a hotel there and basically challenged the Red Wings to beat him by himself. He sounded like he should have been in 'Animal House,' giving the speech John Belushi made.
Yep, we fondly recall that too. A blog we like, The Puck Stops Here, believes there is one clear pick for MVP of this young season.
Nicklas Lidstrom leads the NHL in +/- with a +17 rating. He has 14 points in 16 games and has been a power on the Red Wings blueline for almost 26 minutes a game. That is why I pick Nicklas Lidstrom as the MVP of the season to date.

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“He’s got an office and everything.”

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Steve Yzerman is making the transition from player to executive. And those around him, his former teammates and his newly-found peers, are watching the adjustment with some amusement.

"Yeah, he's got an office and everything," said Wings winger Kirk Maltby. Yzerman is a vice-president with the club after spending more than two decades as captain in Detroit. "I think he's getting the idea what being a general manager is all about, the time commitment ... I think I may have talked him out of it," laughed current Wings GM Ken Holland, who welcomed the retired Detroit captain into the management club a few months ago to mentor him along with longtime Wings vice-president Jim Devellano.
More from the Edmonton Journal.

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Despite Sell-Outs - Buffalo May Lose Money

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Buffalo News,

These are giddy times for the Buffalo Sabres, sitting atop the Northeast Division standings and poised to sell out every seat for all 41 home games. The cold slap in the face comes in the profit-loss standings. The Sabres figure to have a difficult time breaking even this season, even with an extended playoff run. The culprit: The Sabres increased their payroll by $12 million. Even a yearlong sellout won't be enough extra tickets to cover half that amount.
continued

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