Kukla's Korner

The “Faces” Of The Pens

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Foster of the LA Times,

The face of the Pittsburgh Penguins seems to be evolving, with new profiles being added every week. The team has banked on a young-guns approach, on the ice and in its marketing campaign, plastering the hearts and minds of local fans with what amounts to a senior class photo. Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Ryan Whitney and Colby Armstrong were first to strike the pose, appearing on the media guide cover and billboards with the slogan "Experience the Evolution."
continued (reg. req.)

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Pushing E. Staal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News & Observer,

With seven goals in the past eight games and four in the past three going into tonight's game against the Atlanta Thrashers, Staal is close to his pace from last season, when he scored 45 goals and added 55 assists. Still, that's not good enough for Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette. "I thought last game his legs looked really good," Laviolette said. "Obviously he has a terrific stride, but I think when he has the juice in his legs, he's really powerful with it. You could notice that last game. Points, we need him to push the points. We need him to want to be better than he was last year. "You constantly have to push yourself, and he's the type of kid -- a young kid with a lot of skill -- he shouldn't settle for last year's numbers. He should push for more than that."
read on

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Rangers Need To Change

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Changes are necessary. The defense is a shambles without Henrik Lundqvist erasing all of the blunders. The forwards aren't collectively good enough without Jaromir Jagr consistently dominating. The team is far too slow on its feet and in moving the puck. It appears that change is coming. The Post has learned that the Rangers and Blackhawks are engaged in serious trade talks. As was reported in this space yesterday, Chicago pro scout Marc Bergevin has been tailing the Blueshirts from coast to coast. Last night, the Rangers were scheduled to send two of their personnel people to the Coliseum to scout the Blackhawks against the Islanders. Sources have told The Post that the name of veteran Chicago defenseman Jassen Cullimore has been prominently mentioned, but at the same time, informants confirm that the Blackhawks are mighty interested in Petr Prucha. The Rangers obviously aren't trading a promising 24-year-old winger coming off a 30-goal rookie season for a 33-year-old fourth or fifth defenseman.
more

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Boring Rivals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector of the National Post,

It was some brilliant work by Gary Bettman and his boys to avoid banning fighting altogether, and instead change the rules so that fighting would simply die a death of attrition over time. Honestly -- the game hasn't been this good in years. What has happened as a result however, is that the rivalries we've grown up on have become a casualty of the new NHL. Why are players and fans bored of seeing the same divisional opponent eight times per season? It's simple: familiarity no longer breeds contempt the way it used to. Teams used to brawl, which carried the excitement into the next game, and the next one. And, in the old divisional playoff system, rivals met each other every other spring like clockwork, intensifying the relationship.
more

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Clutching And Grabbing Over The Crackdown

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from William Houston of the Globe and Mail:

Support among the media for the obstruction-free National Hockey League game appears to be slipping, at least among some commentators. Greeted with enthusiasm a year ago, the league's zero tolerance for hooking, holding and interference is now raising questions and producing critics. "It's a myth that today's hockey is entertaining," co-host Bill Watters said on AM640 Toronto's Leafs Lunch program yesterday. Most of the complaints are over what are called phantom calls, or, as Ron MacLean of Hockey Night In Canada describes them, "chintzy calls."
continued

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Colin Campbell Offered Flyers GM Job

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

The Philadelphia Flyers have targeted NHL executive vice president Colin Campbell as their next general manager, but now it remains to be seen whether Campbell is going to take the job. Sources in Philadelphia have told TSN that Flyers' chairman Ed Snider has offered the Philadelphia GM's job to Campbell, the former New York Rangers head coach. When contacted by TSN, Campbell refused comment. But sources tell TSN the Flyer job, currently held by interim GM Paul Holmgren, is Campbell's if he wants it.
continued

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Kasparaitis To AHL For Conditioning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the NY Rangers,

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that defenseman Darius Kasparaitis has been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) on a 10-day conditioning assignment.

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Fixing The Schedule

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

There's talk about how long it is between visits by Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin or even the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Western Conference. The matter is likely to come up for discussion at the NHL's General Managers' meeting on Nov. 7. That being said, here are a few possible solutions to the problem: The challenge here is to fix the schedule so everyone plays everyone at least once each season while still maintaining a heavy emphasis on divisional games. There is really only one simple way to do that.
read on

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The Game Is Better

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre Lebrun of the CP via Metro News,

The NHL now has two Octobers under its belt since the lockout ended and the game is better even if fewer fans are watching. Through Monday night's games, 166 in total, compared to the same period last season, the NHL has had slightly fewer goals, power plays and fans - and a few more fights. "I think the game is much better to watch than it was last year at the beginning," Buffalo Sabres centre Daniel Briere said Tuesday. Players, coaches and referees alike were feeling their way through a crash course in the NHL's new rules last October, the biggest change being the league's crackdown on obstruction and interference. This season's opening month wasn't so confusing.
continued

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Who Would You Take

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via TSN,

Rock star or rocket launcher? If you had to choose between flashy Washington Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin and the hard-driving Calgary Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf, who would you pick? Flames winger Jeff Friesen, who was a teammate of Ovechkin's last season, sidesteps the question. "I would take them both," he declared. "You could flip a coin with either one if you had to pick one." Ovechkin and Phaneuf, along with Pittsburgh forward Sidney Crosby, were the NHL's best freshmen last season in the most competitive rookie class in years.
continued

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