Kukla's Korner

Have The Flyers Turned The Corner?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,

The Flyers have been mostly a disaster on and off the ice this season, but they finally appear to be turning a corner. Their poor play cost John Stevens his job and his replacement, Peter Laviolette, did not have an immediate positive impact on the team.

Slowly but surely, however, the Flyers are looking like a team that could make some serious noise in the second half. And that’s when it really matters….

Also, the Flyers still take too many undisciplined penalties. They can’t continue to take dumb minor penalties – Scott Hartnell seems to pride himself on the fact he leads the league in minors – and hope to compete for a title.

Finally, I worry about this team’s depth. It is fine to have abrasive players such as Daniel Carcillo, Ian Laperriere and Arron Asham, but does the team need all three of them? Perhaps switching one of them for a player with a little more skill might go a long way in pushing the Flyers over the top.

Clearly the Flyers are a work in progress.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Watch Your Language

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Darren Dreger of TSN,

It’s fair to say New York Rangers coach John Tortorella is as passionate a coach as you will find, perhaps, in any sport.

It’s also fair to say that Tortorella’s passion gets the better of him every now and again and manifests into an occasional rant with the odd profanity dropped in to emphasize his point.

Whether the salty language comes from Tortorella, another NHL coach, or team personnel, the National Hockey League has had enough and today issued the following memo, acquired by TSN, to remind teams and club representatives there may be consequences.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

No Need To Fire Hitchcock

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,

Here’s the future I see every time I read a “Fire Hitchcock” post on the Internet:

Hitchcock is fired, and two weeks later he is hired by a struggling big-market team that can’t believe its good fortune. That teams surges, and a few months from now he has it in the playoffs, and winning. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets are sitting at home and the angry Internet posts are about losing Hitchcock and general manager Scott Howson doing something with the flawed roster.

And what of Hitchcock’s successor? It’s hard to believe team owners are going to pay big bucks to another coach with Hitchcock’s credentials, or find one willing to come here, so the new coach would likely be an unproven guy who might be good and to whom some of the players might relate better. But six months or a year from now, would the Blue Jackets really be better off with him than they would have been with Hitchcock?

The unhappiness over the Jackets’ prolonged funk is understandable. But the big picture is more important than what happened in Vancouver on Tuesday or in Edmonton last night. At this point in this lost season, it’s not about where the team is next month, but where it is next year and beyond.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ken+hitchcock

Rangers Request To Practice On Fenway Ice - The Answer Is No

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Chris Drury may have lived in the shadow of Fenway Park when he attended Boston University, but the Rangers’ captain and his teammates were denied permission to practice at the old ballyard this afternoon by Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna, The Post has learned.

The Blueshirts, who face the Bruins here tomorrow afternoon, had requested about a half-hour of outdoor ice time early this afternoon, prior to the Hockey East outdoor doubleheader at Fenway commencing at 4 with a women’s game between UNH and Northeastern before the 7:30 men’s nightcap between BU and BC.

read on

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

First Half Numbers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Kreiser of NHL.com,

Here’s a look at some of the most interesting numbers from the first half of this season’s 1,230-game schedule:

0—Shorthanded goals by the Edmonton Oilers, the only team in the League that hasn’t scored while playing a man down. All 30 teams were scored on at least once while on the power play.

1—Games won by the Toronto Maple Leafs when the score was tied at the end of regulation. The Leafs were 1-9 in games decided after 60 minutes—including an 0-7 mark when the game was decided during the five-minute overtime period.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Odds Are Kovalchuk Will Leave Atlanta

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Theoretically, Kovalchuk could have an 11th-hour change of heart and sign with Atlanta before negotiations get past the point of no return, but if he doesn’t – and if the talks grind to a full stop – then the onus will be on general manager Don Waddell to maximize his return in a possible deal, in order to protect an organization that seems to be heading in the right direction.

So much of what the Thrashers have done in the past couple of years were steps taken to lure Kovalchuk into staying – making him captain, signing a couple of fellow Russians (Max Afinogenov, Nikolai Antropov) to play alongside him.

The fear in Atlanta is that Waddell will need to do with Kovalchuk what he did two years ago with Hossa, another player that Atlanta was obliged to deal at the deadline, once it became clear that he wasn’t going to sign an extension either.

more plus additional hockey talk…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+kovalchuk

We Heard From Ron Wilson Yesterday

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Now you can watch it.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ron+wilson

Wings Refuse To Give In

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

This is what it takes to win championships: an indomitable will and a refusal to give in when adversity strikes again and again and again.

Someday, if the Kings are lucky, they will win as many Stanley Cup titles as the Red Wings have captured.

Until then, they can look at Detroit’s 2-1 triumph Thursday and marvel at how thin the difference can be between victory and defeat and how close they came to bridging that gap.

continue for game breakdown…

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

Hershey Running Away With AHL Lead

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

When I last looked at the AHL standings in mid-December , it looked like a three team race with the Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings affiliate), Rochester Americans (Florida Panthers affiliate) and Texas Stars (Dallas Stars affiliate) fighting for first place and a few other teams including the Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals affiliate) not too far behind.  Things have changed.  Hershey has won every game they have played since that point.  They are on an eleven game winning streak.  They have a record of 27-10 (with two regulation tie points) that puts them in first place in the AHL.  Hershey is three points ahead of the second place Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens affiliate).  All three of the previous leaders have fallen on hard times in the past month.  None of Rochester, Manchester or Texas has more wins than losses in their last ten games.

Hershey’s offence is led by two players who have had NHL callups this season.  Keith Aucoin has 43 points in 30 games.  This puts him second in the AHL scoring race (behind Corey Locke of Hartford - NY Rangers affiliate) but with eight fewer games played than Locke - so he is a good bet to take over the AHL scoring lead if he stays healthy and out of the NHL.  Alexandre Giroux is fourth in the AHL scoring race with 38 points in 27 games.  Andrew Gordon is a third Bear in the top scorers.  He is sixth with 36 points in 36 games.  Having three of the top six scorers in the league, Hershey is an offensive powerhouse.  Hershey has more than twenty goals more than any other team in the league (Hamilton is second).

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Doan Doesn’t Complain, He Just Goes To Work

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

It doesn’t seem fair that any player — let alone one the quality of Doan — would have to endure two Twilight Zone seasons in their career but, this year, the 33-year-old native of Halkirk, Alta., again finds himself in circumstances you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

This offseason, as you are doubtlessly aware, the Coyotes declared bankruptcy and became wards of the NHL when Jim Balsillie’s attempt to purchase the team was thwarted by the league. That meant they were staying in Phoenix for one more season. But it also meant they started training camp without a coach and, more to the point, without any semblance of hope.

But, for all that bad news, the good news is Doan again finds himself in the middle of a remarkable story. The Coyotes — the team no one wanted, literally — have rallied around coach Dave Tippett, a steely group of veterans and their own sense of desperation and, against all odds, sat in fourth place in the West before last night.

I mean, before this season, you’d have got better odds on Tiger Woods being named Husband of the Year than the ‘Yotes making the playoffs.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: shane+doan

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