Kukla's Korner

The Loyalty Of Hockey Fans

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,

Hard-core hockey fans are, if nothing else, dead loyal.

Plenty of people, including the vast majority of Americans, may be oblivious to the sport’s charms, but those who love it tend to love it above everything else.

It is the No.1 game everywhere in Canada, it is at worst a strong second to soccer in parts of Northern Europe, and regionally in the northeastern U.S., including some major markets, plus isolated pockets elsewhere such as Minnesota, it more than holds its own.

That’s got to be the key to the NHL’s future – playing to strengths, catering to the devoted, building on the committed core audience while abandoning missionary work, leaving the heathens to their own devices.

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

Don’t Fault The Location, Fault The Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David J. Neal of the Miami Herald,

Northerners, rooted and transplanted, sniff at the travails of Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and the Panthers as proof that hockey should remain the province of cities that have snow days. It doesn’t fit their prejudices to note that each of those four franchises has a history of ineptitude that few markets would support these days. You don’t, for example, hear much griping about a team in San Jose. And the last time a lake froze in St. Louis, a glacier covered Chicago….

Fans of a team rebuilding a fan base can’t enjoy the championship the following season because of a money move by management—attendance springs back instantly from that within a year or two, right, Marlins?

Besides, warm weather doesn’t cause bad decisions. Rick Dudley’s office needing air conditioning in January isn’t why he traded up one spot to draft Petr Taticek ninth overall in 2002, leaving division rival Washington to take Alexander Semin three spots later.

It’s also not why, with the No. 1 overall pick in 2003, Dudley traded down to No. 3 and chose Nathan Horton. Horton’s a good player who hasn’t lived up to being the No. 3 overall pick in one of the best drafts ever. Dudley could have taken center Eric Staal, a great, clutch player who Carolina snapped up at No. 2 and followed to the Stanley Cup three years later.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

HNIC Opens The Seaon In Style

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Opening montage from tonight.

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Prediction: Northeast Division

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

My pre-season predictions continue today with the Northeast Division.  Here are my West Conference predictions.

This is the predicted order of finish for the Northeast Division this season:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Can Simmonds Become An Offensive Go-To Guy?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,

I’ll never forget seeing Wayne Simmonds in his first development camp. He was running around, all speed and energy, but it seemed as though a strong breeze might blow him over. The major, obvious question about Simmonds was whether he would ever get enough bulk to fill out his 6-foot-2 frame and be big enough for opponents to take note of (and not push around).

Simmonds has become stronger and showed himself to be ready on the defensive end last season, and is he now ready to step forward offensively? He had nine goals last season, but tied for the team lead with five during this preseason. I have said previously that I believe Simmonds has 20-goal potential. I don’t know if he will get there, but I think there’s a chance. Here’s what Terry Murray said today about Simmonds’ development.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: wayne+simmonds

You Learn Something Every Day

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

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

Rhett Warrener Named Scout For Flames

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Calgary, AB – Calgary Flames General Manager announced today that former Flames defenceman Rhett Warrener has joined the organization in a scouting position. Warrener will work closely with Director of Player Personnel Duane Sutter and Pro Scout Ron Sutter in identifying professional talent as well as assisting with the development process of prospects currently in the organization.

The former assistant captain with the Flames missed the entire 2008-09 NHL season due to a career ending shoulder injury. Over the course of a 13 year NHL career, Warrener played 714 games accumulating 106 points and 899 penalty minutes. He competed in three Stanley Cup Finals with Florida (1996), Buffalo (1999) and Calgary (2004) and played a total of 101 playoff games. Originally drafted by Florida, 27th overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, he was acquired by the Flames on July 3, 2003 in a trade with Buffalo.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rhett+warrener

Shanahan & The Devils Situation

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,

Was Shanahan cut or did he leave the team? Shanahan is still on the Devils’ roster, so, technically, he has not been cut. It’s clear, however, that Shanahan was at least urged out the door when Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello and head coach Jacques Lemaire told him during their Wednesday meeting that there was no room for him on the top three lines and that they intended to go with younger players. Shanahan is 40. Although Lamoriello would not discuss whether he wanted Shanahan to stay as a fourth-liner, a source told me today that Shanahan was no interested in a fourth line role.

If Shanahan is still on the roster, does his $1 million salary count against the Devils’ salary cap? Yes. As Lamoriello said, today, if a player is on the roster, his salary counts against the cap.

Is Shanahan being paid? Lamoriello did not want to discuss this. There apparently is some way the Devils would not have to pay him, but I don’t know for sure. Because the regular season begins today, I believe this was the first day players began being paid their NHL salaries

When will Shanahan be removed from the roster? Lamoriello said that would probably happen when Illka Pikkarainen is ready to come off injured reserve.

Does Shanahan have to be placed on waivers to come off the roster? Lamoriello said, “not necessarily.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brendan+shanahan

Leafs Crowd Goes A Cappella Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

OK, we can start the season now.

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

Ducks Relying On Niedermayer

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

Niedermayer is the only defenseman left from the group that was so vital to the Ducks’ 2007 Stanley Cup title. He’s not sure how this season will unfold, but he was intrigued enough by the possibilities to sign a one-year contract in July soon after his previous four-year deal expired.

“I’m going to watch him all day long, watch how he prepares for games, how he does little things,” Sbisa said. “I’m pretty confident I’ll take a lot of things from him this season.”

The man called “irreplaceable” by General Manager Bob Murray must be the Ducks’ glue if they’re going to regroup on defense and compete with the NHL’s elite.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: scott+niedermayer

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