Kukla's Korner

I’ll Stay As Long As I Play

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson doesn’t doubt the words of prized prospect Nikita Filatov, who said he would consider returning to play in Russia if he was unable to become a regular in the lineup.

“Nikita is a pretty sincere guy,” Howson said.

But he also knows what motivates the 19-year-old winger whom coach Ken Hitchcock likens to former NHL standout Pavel Bure.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s driven to be a star in the NHL,” Howson said. “That’s his No. 1 goal in the NHL.”

Last week in Moscow, the winger said he’s happy with the Jackets organization and the direction his career is headed. The only way he would consider leaving for the Russia-based Continental Hockey League (KHL) is if playing time became an issue with the Jackets.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nikita+filatov

Sabres Haven’t Done Much

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,

What have the Sabres done since missing the playoffs for a second straight year? They brought in Steve Montador and Mike Grier in an inexpensive reply to critics who said they lacked the toughness and will to compete for a Stanley Cup.

Darcy Regier and Larry Quinn conceded that their team needed more “compete,” without identifying the offending players or moving anyone of consequence off the roster. Max Afinogenov is gone, but it will be essentially the same soft cast of characters that shows up in camp Sept. 12.

Regier has all the excuses. They’re up against their salary ceiling. Free agents were pricy and unattractive. It’s hard to find trading partners in this economic climate. Lately, Darcy sounds more like an accountant than a GM, content to educate us on the nuances of NHL finance.

But in the end, your actions, or lack of them, speak loudly. The Sabres believe in their players. They are building from within, with young guys — and let’s never forget how young they are.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Ealry Sunday Hockey Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• Brian Burke wants belligerence and truculence on the Leafs and the invitation of Jason Allison to training camp is further proof of that. A lot of people who have played with Allison in the past will tell you he has attitude, most of it off the ice ... Allison, by the way, had two speeds when he last played in the NHL: Slow and slower ... One more Allison question: If the Leafs are going to invite him, why not Jeff O’Neill, Alex Khavanov and Aki Berg?

• What wasn’t made public in Patrick Kane’s plea bargain agreement: How large a cheque did Kane write for the beaten cab driver?

more hockey topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Teams Showing Interest In Comrie

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

While Bryan Murray remains interested in the 28-year-old Comrie, the Senators GM doesn’t have salary-cap room. In fact, he has to cut $1.3 million — a byproduct of not finding a new home for Dany Heatley and his $7.5-million cap hit.

If the Senators aren’t able to trade Heatley before medicals Sept. 12 — and that’s looking more likely — Comrie will have options elsewhere.

“There are five or six teams interested and we’re quite confident that we’ll have something done before training camp,” said Winter Saturday. “Each of them have varying degrees of interest. We’re working on various, different types of structures.”

Comrie, who made $4 million last season, is likely going to have to take a paycut to the $1.5-$2 million range.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+comrie

A Little Bitter Tim?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly,

What was going through the mind of that brilliant strategist Mike Babcock this week, while he was skating players hard on the first day of his Team Canada Olympic orientation camp in Calgary?

Talk about brain cramps from one of hockey’s more obnoxious coaches – and we haven’t heard a single person question that serious lack of judgment.

Most of Babcock’s players hadn’t seen a pair of skates – much less laced them up – since last spring. True, Simon Gagne had been skating for two weeks. But he wasn’t skating hard.

Is it any wonder Gagne tweaked his right groin?

Good thing they had insurance, huh? Just to protect the players from Babcock.

continued & more topics too…


Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+babcock, simon+gagne, team+canada

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I went into the dressing room after the game to untie Mike’s skates and he was sitting right beside Liam. Liam’s dad, John, a ginger-haired Glaswegian who is an ardent member of the Glasgow Rangers Supporters Club, was untying Liam’s skates beside me. I was seething and not saying anything when Mike asked me a question: “How did I play, Dad?”

“Great, Mike, you played great. It’s not your fault if no one will pass you the puck.”

Unlike the targeting incident in lacrosse, where it took me years to realize what an ass I was, I knew I had made a big mistake the second the words came out of my mouth. Mike just looked at me. Liam looked at me. John Reddox, a good guy but every bit as much a Crazy Hockey Dad as me, just looked at me. No one said a word, which was good because it died right then and there. Under different circumstances, it could have evolved into quite a scene.

I was immediately embarrassed.

-Bob McKenzie in an excerpt from his new book, Hockey Dad by Bob McKenzie.  More at the Calgary Herald and the book is available at Amazon.

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Lecavalier Excited Tanguay Joining Bolts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes at the St. Petersburg Times,

The agent for free-agent wing Alex Tanguay said his client will sign a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning after he passes a physical that will occur in Tampa on Monday or Tuesday….

Lecavalier, who played with Tanguay for Canada at the 1998 world junior championship, said he spoke to Tanguay twice, including Friday night.

“He asked me about Tampa and I told him about coming to the tam and the direction it is going,” Lecavalier said, and added, “Anybody that plays with a guy like Tanguay, he’s such a great passer and can score. He brings a lot to the team, so I’m excited.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+tanguay, vinny+lecavalier

Nice Day For A Wedding

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Toronto Sun and Sportsbladet have pictures of Sundin’s wedding if you are interested.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mats+sundin

How To Rebuild A Defence Under A Salary Cap

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

In the salary capped NHL one must be careful when rebuilding a team.  It is important to do it while avoiding the long and often unnecessary process of blowing up everything and spending years out of contention.  Most teams are not in such bad shape that blowing everything up is a defenceable move.  The Vancouver Canucks have a top level goaltender in Roberto Luongo and a pretty good group of forwards led by Daniel and Henrik Sedin.  Their defence was looking rather thin.  The Canucks had four returning defencemen who had reasonable success last season in Kevin Bieksa, Alexander Edler, Sami Salo and Willie Mitchell.  The only other proven NHLer on defence was Shane O’Brien, who played a lesser role with the team last year.  It was clear that some additions were needed on defence.

When in that situation, most teams show up money in hand on the first day of free agency ready to hand a lot of it to the best defenceman they can find.  It is a move that can work out, but it often doesn’t as teams usually spend a lot of money in a long term contract that lasts well into the decline phase of the player signed.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Calling Of The Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Owen Good at Kotaku,

The scene is familiar: Midway through the first period of an NHL game, and the shot knots up the score. Randy Hahn considers the action for a split-second and leans into his microphone.

“The Sharks have come right back and tied this one up,” says the television voice of San Jose hockey. “That goal is a real refresher - you get down early, but you’ve come right back and tied it up here in the first period.”

It’s 2:30 p.m., Aug. 20 in Novato, Calif. San Jose’s next game will be 28 days and 400 miles away, in Los Angeles. Hahn is familiar to South Bay fans through his work on Comcast Sports Net. But he’s in the North Bay today as the play-by-play man for NHL 2K10, cutting some final audio for the game before its Sept. 15 release.

It’s a job Hahn could do with his eyes closed, and not because it’s easy.


Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: randy+hahn

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