Kukla's Korner

Winning Without Fighting

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

As debate about fighting in the NHL has come to the forefront, the Red Wings remain a prime example that while it may appeal to some fans, fighting certainly isn’t something a team needs to win.

Entering Tuesday’s games, the Wings had the fewest fighting majors (seven), with Washington next with 18. San Jose and Boston, the top teams in the league, had 26 and 30, respectively. Anaheim paced the league with 56

continued

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

Bruins Should Target A Dman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

However, given the punishing and defensive nature of the postseason, Chiarelli’s wiser upgrade could be along the blue line. That may sound odd, especially with captain Zdeno Chara looking capable of winning the Norris Trophy this season.

But come playoff time, opposing offenses aren’t going to be shooting the puck into Big Z’s corner for the 28, 30, or more minutes he’ll play each night. They’re going to overload to his partner’s corner, which likely points to Aaron Ward getting hammered. The next pairing with big minutes, Andrew Ference and Dennis Wideman, will take a beating, too. While both have outperformed expectations this season, Ference is small and Wideman, though much steadier this season, most likely will be heavily pressured on dump-ins and forechecking.

If, as rumored, the Ducks make towering blue liner Chris Pronger available at the deadline, he will become the Hossa of this year’s swap meet. Of the Eastern Conference contenders - Boston, Washington, New Jersey, maybe the Canadiens and Flyers - any one of them would become an immediate favorite to reach the Cup finals if they landed the 6-foot-6-inch Pronger. He is among the strongest, fiercest hitters in the game, a big part of why the Ducks body-slammed their way over the Senators to win the 2007 Cup.

With Pronger on the books for $6.25 million this season and next, the Bruins would have cap room for him, provided the league relaxes on the cap issue.

more

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

Possible Trade Partners For The Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

With all the uncertainty surrounding this year’s trade deadline, you can really only be sure of one thing. From now until March 4, Burke will be a closet fan of the Blues, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets. He wants them all to stay within a few points of eighth place in the West, so if they do anything at the deadline, they’re adding, not subtracting.

Because if it shakes out the way it looks - limited supply versus significant demand - that will make Burke’s handful of pawns look like shiny kings on that one crazy day when all reason disappears from the frontal lobes of NHL general managers.

more on the Leafs trade deadline planning…

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

The Rangers Must Show Up Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler of Game On,

Normally, when the Washington Capitals visit New York, the spotlight automatically trains on Alex Ovechkin, Bruce Boudreau and their merry band of High-Fivers.

Not on Wednesday night, it won’t.

Oh, yeah, Ovie & Co. will bear the usual watching, but the truly fervent focus of Blueshirts fans will be on the folks who simply have not produced satisfactory results. Namely, The Captain (Chris Drury), Scott Gomez, Wade Redden and Tom Renney, just to name a few whose contributions are being cantankerously questioned by the media and fans alike.

continued

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

Bruins Have Praise For The Sharks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Pollak of Working the Corners,

Milan Lucic and Coach Claude Julien said San Jose was the best team that Boston has faced all year.

“I think they’re heavy on their sticks, as you’ve probably noticed,” Julien said in explaining why he thinks the Sharks are the best opponent the Bruins have faced. “They’ve got a pretty good-sized hockey club. And when it was time to really battle . . . they certainly had the advantage on us. They were strong on their sticks and stronger than we were.”

more on the Sharks victory over the Bruins last night…

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

Is It All A Fairy Tale?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Dave Stubbs opened up Habs Inside/Out to Randy Renaud.

A wonderful, unsolicited piece reached us from Randy Renaud, a name, face and voice familiar to many in Montreal.

Randy wrote it for himself and sent it to me simply for a look-see, but I’ve asked him if we could run it here to share with Inside/Out readers….

The failed relationships that sting the most are the ones where you honestly felt it was going places, that it was going to be a beautiful romance filled with great moments, perhaps leading up to that very special celebration.

So when it becomes clear that your expectations were misguided, and that there is, in fact, no future, one generally feels betrayed and angry. For how could the once-beloved have led one on in this way?

The truth is, however, that the fault lies, at least partly, with oneself for seeing promise where there was little, and fashioning a storybook romance of success out of a trial fling.

read on

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

Unacceptable Avs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

The anger I’m feeling from you all is palpable. The Burgundy and Blue completed a four-game season sweep in the wrong way to the Columbus Dinner Jackets tonight, a 3-0 whitewash that was humiliating if, for nothing else, it came at the hands of a no-name goalie pressed into service with the recent injury of stud rookie Steve Mason.

The Avalanche’s third-period simply was unacceptable, I’m in agreement. It is unacceptable how this team is just folding whenever it gives up a tough goal on the road in a tight game, and seems to quit after that. It is unacceptable that coach Tony Granato and general manager Francois Giguere continue to trot out this same lineup night after night. It is unacceptable that Tyler Arnason continues to play major minutes, with one goal in his last 42 games.

read on

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

An Interesting Rookie

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Watching the rookie class to get a feel for the new players to the NHL is always interesting.  It is fun and challenging to try to pick out the rookies who will have significant careers and those who are flashes in the pan who will soon disappear from the league.  Often a rookie stands out as an interesting case who accomplishes something unusual for a player of his age.  This makes him a player to watch because it is not so easy to find comparable players for his talents.  It is those players who are most likely to become NHL stars, even if their rookie season does not put them in position to win the Calder Trophy. 

One such rookie this season is Blake Wheeler of the Boston Bruins.  He leads the NHL in +/- with a +32 ranking.  That is quite impressive.  Generally, the +/- leader is a player on a good team who is excelling in the role he plays on his team.  Wheeler is no different.  Boston is in first place in the NHL and Wheeler has been used in a protected role by the Bruins.  He is tenth on the team among forwards in ice time per game (behind Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Phil Kessel, PJ Axelsson, Marco Sturm, Milan Lucic, Michael Ryder and Chuck Kobasew).  Clearly he has been a success in that limited ice time.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Minus The Gamewrecker?  It’s A Live Blog

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

I’ve got nothing to say to any of you.

But Chris in Hockey Hell did see Terry Crisp and Pete Web(b)er making their way to the SoGay this afternoon and sent us this image.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

25 Teams In The Playoff Picture

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Craig Simpson of Blogs and Columns at CBC,

I don’t think there has ever been a time in modern-day NHL history when as late as Feb. 10 the last place team (15th) in the Western Conference was a mere six points out of a playoff spot.

The Western Conference playoff race is as crowded as the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby with about as much drama set to unfold as the storied thoroughbred race.

With just three weeks left until the trade deadline, there has never been a more difficult time to predict which teams will be buyers, and which will be sellers. Even the ninth and 10th place teams in the Eastern Conference are within two points of eighth, so in total, 25 of the 30 teams in the NHL are within six points of going to the post-season.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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