Kukla's Korner

It’s All About Performance

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,

Let’s be honest; hockey is a results-oriented sport and when athletes are paid a lot of money and aren’t pulling the weight it’s hard to hide (especially when you are being paid the really big bucks).

As a result, the likes of Ottawa’s Jason Spezza ($8 million), the Rangers’ Chris Drury ($8.04 million) and Montreal’s Scott Gomez ($8 million) are often the focal point of conversations about some disappointing aspect of their team’s season….

There are players, however, who are enjoying excellent great bounce-back years and are taking steps toward re-establishing themselves as players of note, including:

Brad Richards, Dallas Stars: Richards was one of the NHL’s best centres when he helped the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup in 2004—winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the playoffs along the way. In the wake of that success his game slipped to the point where the Lightning traded him to the Stars. Despite playing better defensively last season, Richards’ production dipped to 16 goals and 48 points in 56 games. This season Richards has nine goals and 35 points in 28 games as of Wednesday, good for eighth in league scoring…


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Burke Now Has Options

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

Of course, a lot has changed in the last three weeks, where the Leafs have picked up 14 of a possible 20 points. So much so that general manager Brian Burke, whose self-imposed holiday trade freeze begins Wednesday, is having difficulty deciding what to do with the team’s many soon-to-be free agents.

Does he shop them around for draft picks? Does he try to sign them to new contracts? Or does he simply allow their current deals to expire?

“Obviously, the answer I give you Wednesday is different than after our 0-8 start,” said Burke. “So we’re in the process of finishing that evaluation, which of those guys we would like to extend and which we are going to cut loose at the deadline. And then the second thing will be what is a reasonable price for extending a certain player. If the price tag is not reasonable, then we’ll unload him at the deadline.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Reasons Why Lecavalier Will Stay In Tampa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Spector at FoxSports,

Whether or not you choose to believe the speculation there are three significant factors preventing Lecavalier from being dealt this season; his “no-movement” clause, his expensive contract, and the NHL salary cap.

It’s widely believed last season Lecavalier was close to being dealt but a disagreement between the club’s owners prevented such a move. Regardless, it was easier to move him last season as he didn’t have a movement clause.

Sure, his whopping 11-year, $70 million-plus contract with a movement clause would start this season but Lecavalier was a hot commodity last season and the Bolts ownership could have moved him without his permission to any club they wished.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vinny+lecavalier

Jovanovski Suspended

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via NHL.com,

Phoenix Coyotes’ defenseman Ed Jovanovski has been suspended for two games, without pay, for an incident in NHL game #436 against the Minnesota Wild, December 7, the National Hockey League announced today.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Jovanovski will forfeit $67,357.52. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

At 9:34 of the third period, Jovanovski delivered a forearm to the head area of Minnesota’s Andrew Ebbett. No penalty was assessed on the play.

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ed+jovanovski

Selke Trophy Leader

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The Frank J Selke Trophy for best defensive forward is usually a tough award to select.  There is rarely a consensus as to who to nominate for the award.  This year might be even worse than normal.  When Jams Mirtle looked at the top defensive forwards in the league so far, he noted that a lot of new faces were on the list.  It is also noteworthy that last year’s Selke nominees, Pavel Datsyuk, Mike Richards and Ryan Kesler are not on the list.  This suggests there is a wide open field for the Selke Trophy and that somebody who has not been a contender in the past might win it.

I think the leader at this point is Travis Zajac of the New Jersey Devils.  I scoffed at the fact that he received a sizable number of votes last season.  I thought it was a recognition of his high +/- rating (+33 last year) than his skill level and the role he played with New Jersey.  Afterall last season it was John Madden who was used as the number one defensive centre on the Devils.  Madden led Devil forwards by a significant margin in penalty kill time (Zajac was 2nd but with about 50% less penalty kill time).

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Canucks Have Gone Soft

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,

What a difference two games make. Two straight losses and the Canucks couldn’t look lower.

The coach is steamed, the players bitter — some so frustrated Tuesday they refused to talk after the game (hello, Mikael Samuelsson).

Maybe it will do them some good. Back-to-back wins to start this road trip didn’t.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Kovalchuk Performing In A Contract Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ian Busby of the Calgary Sun,

The Thrashers have done everything possible to make it attractive for Kovalchuk to stay.

This off-season, they dipped into the free-agent market to bring in fellow Russians Nik Antropov and Maxim Afinogenov.

Although Kovalchuk doesn’t want to talk about hitting the open market, he admits staying in Atlanta is a solid option because his family has settled there.

The only thing that was missing was making the Thrashers a contender, and they are this season with a 15-9-3 record heading into tonight’s meeting with the Calgary Flames.

“The team has taken tremendous steps this off-season by signing free agents,” Kovalchuk said yesterday after practice at the Corral. “I think we’re a very competitive team right now.

“We’re playing better. We became a better team, bigger and stronger. We have much more experience and our special teams are much better than last year and that’s a huge difference.”


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

Bothered By Twitter

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Why the Universal Cynic has stopped Tweeting…

• I got particularly peeved whenever I saw press pull this stunt on Twitter:

“Hey, I’m interviewing (player name) tomorrow. What should I ask them?”

Here’s an idea, Mensa—why don’t you do your own goddamn work?...

• Live-game tweeting. I understand chiming in here and there, because we all do it. But unless it’s a big event, or you’re actually present, no one needs minute by minute updates of Ottawa v. Tampa Bay or similar.


Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Bloggers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Avs Continue With Their Winning Ways

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,

This isn’t cause for Mayor John Hickenlooper to start planning a parade, but it at least helped get Avalanche coach Joe Sacco in a good enough mood to call off practice Tuesday.

Colorado regained first place in the Northwest Division on Monday night with a 4-0 victory at St. Louis, and it stayed there when the Calgary Flames lost 2-1 at Los Angeles in a game that ended as the Avalanche was en route back to Denver.

Also, the Avalanche is back in second place in the Western Conference, behind only San Jose, and will be there going into tonight’s game against Minnesota at the Pepsi Center because all three of the teams a point behind Colorado — Calgary, Chicago and Los Angeles — didn’t play Tuesday night.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman doesn’t add or deduct points in the standings for perceptions and expectations, so it doesn’t matter that each Avalanche misstep so far this season generally is viewed as a sign that a slide down the standings is inevitable.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Bruins Have A Fighting Chance

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

Three times this season, the Bruins have recorded two or more fights in a game. All three times, they have won.

On the other hand, some of the Bruins’ worst outings - last Friday’s 5-1 stinker against Montreal the latest example - have come when they’ve tucked their tails and sleepwalked through a game without showing any resistance.

“We’ve touched on that a few times this year,’’ Ference said. “There’s certain teams you play against that let you sleep. I’m sure that’s what some teams like to do with us, let some of our guys sleep.

“The onus comes upon yourself to create your own emotion in the game. Get yourself engaged without having to be pulled in by the other team. It’s something that can slip away from your game if it’s not brought to your attention.’’

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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