Kukla's Korner

Two Takes On European Player Development

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

By George Malik Two articles from the Globe and Mail caught my eye recently: First, Ken Campbell does a nice job of debunking the IIHF's study on the NHL's "detrimental" effects on European player development:

The motivation behind the IIHF report was to try to convince the hockey powers to allow players to play longer in Europe, not only so that they’ll ultimately develop into better NHL players, but so they’ll fill more European rinks, and elevate the quality of play and the teams over there will make more money.
The fact is, playing as a teenager in a foreign land might not be for everyone. But is it that destructive for a player to come to North America and learn the language, culture and style of play before embarking on an NHL career? One of the stats in the study astounds me, quite frankly. It points out that 79.4 per cent of the Europeans who came to play in the CHL as 16- or 17-year-olds never went on to play in the NHL. That means, then, that 20.6 per cent of them did. That’s a phenomenal number!

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Malkin & Staal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal were involved in the NHL tele-coference today.

Q. Evgeni, what is it like playing with Sidney Crosby? Do you find Sidney Crosby thinks the game the same way you do when you play together? EVGENI MALKIN: It's great play with Sidney Crosby because he's one of the best players. He has a great view on the ice. He’s always going to find you with his great passes. It's still a little bit difficult because I'm not used to playing on the wing. But I think it's going to take a little bit of time. I think I will play my role better and better because it's easy to play with a player like Sidney Crosby. Q. What is it like playing on a team that has so many stars with Crosby and Malkin and Recchi? Does it make it easier for you to play your game knowing those guys are focused on a little bit more? JORDAN STAAL: Yeah. I mean, it's obviously a lot better when you're playing with a lot of great players. I think this team's really starting to join together, really creating lot of chemistry. I think we're starting to pull together in the last couple of games. We can really be a good team in the future.

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The Monday Report

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,

• Quote Of The Week: “It’s not a 16-game season!” Doug MacLean. The Blue Jackets poo-bah is right. Once Sergei Fedorov rounds into form, the BJs should be OK. • NHL execs are privately urging TV outlets to increase camera coverage to enhance the broadcasts. • Tim Thomas reminds us of another one-year-Boston-whiz-goalie, Blaine Lacher of yesteryear. A season after his flash, he was in the pan.
read on for more from the Maven...

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McGuire Pumped

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre McGuire at NBC Sports,

I'm pumped. I love hockey and I really love the NHL. Starting today, I get the chance to share information with readers around the world about the NHL and the people that make up this awesome league. If the NHL were a stock and I were a broker I would be advising you to buy, big time. The price is right and the future of the league is bright. Here are some of the major reasons why: The speed and skill of the Buffalo Sabres. These guys are for real, and are a must-see team.
much more...

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Nonis Rips Free Agency

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via TSN,

The age for free agents in the NHL "is a joke" and could result in the Pittsburgh Penguins losing Sidney Crosby when he's just entering his prime, Vancouver Canucks general manager Dave Nonis said Monday. "Pittsburgh is going to put seven years of development money into him and he can leave when he's 25," Nonis told a B.C. Chamber of Commerce meeting. "I think if you assemble a good team, fans want to see that team stick together for more than one or two years. Our current agreement does not lend itself to that." Nonis also criticized the NHL's current unbalanced schedule. "I hate the schedule," he said, answering a question from the floor. "It does nothing for us.
continued

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All About The Goaltender

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts at the Globe and Mail,

Goaltending is the difference this season. The Thrashers do not have a different goaltender, just a healthy one. "I think we've got really good balance in our lines and our goaltender is playing really well," said winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who was chosen the NHL's first star for last week with six goals and two assists in the first four games of the trip. "He is giving us good saves." He is Kari Lehtonen, who is tied with Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres and Manny Fernandez for most wins with eight. Last season, Lehtonen missed a total of 41 games due to groin and ankle injuries.
more

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Build It The Right Way

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Buccigross at ESPN,

I just hope there is an owner or an architect out there who has the vision and the courage to build the NHL fan a "destination" once again, a hockey rink of worship that has the sight lines and camera angles of Boston Garden and the soul of Chicago Stadium. An arena every hockey fan just has to experience to bring back that loving feeling. I don't see why this can't be done, why an intimate hockey arena can't be built again with the purist in mind. Baseball did it, and it reinvigorated the game. It appears Jim Balsillie, the Penguins' owner-in-waiting, will have the next shot at building that rink, whether it is in Pittsburgh or in Waterloo, Ontario.
read on

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Make It Personalized

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the D.C. Sports Bog,

From which we learn that the Sabres bandwagon is filling up, and that Pittsburghers are going way above and beyond their normal t-shirt buying responsibilities. T-shirts, I'll grant you, are a little bit lame, but here are the Web site's top 5 in uniform sales: 1. R. Miller 2. S. Crosby 3. M. Afinogenov 4. E. Malkin 5. A. Ovechkin
more

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The Play Of Malkin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News via the Globe and Mail,

I have never been the type to not admit when I am wrong. With that in mind, I stand before you and take back what I said about Pittsburgh rookie Evgeni Malkin. I suggested, a week or so ago, the Russian center would be a good NHL player, perhaps even great, but not a superstar. Wrong! With goals in each of his first five games, Malkin has served notice he very much has the potential to skate among the very best players the NHL has to offer.
continued

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Hockey Podcast Catalogue

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

imageBy Alanah Downie I've finally pulled together some hockey podcasts for everyone to sample and enjoy. Most are NHL-related, but there are other levels of hockey represented as well. The intention was to stick primarily with the work of amateur hockey broadcasters, but some professional efforts are found here as well, primarily the section of "Official" hockey podcasts produced by numerous NHL teams. The links below will take you to the main webpage of each podcast, so people can choose their own means of download. Quite a few are listed in the iTunes Store, for instance, but with many of these you can simply listen directly from a media player built right into the webpage.

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