Kukla's Korner

John Halligan Passes Away

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from NHL.com,

John Halligan, the longtime hockey publicist, historian and author passed away Wednesday morning. The genial Halligan received the Lester Patrick Trophy in 2007 for his longstanding service to hockey in the United States.

“The thing that always stood out for me was the fun,” said NHL Group Vice President of Communications Frank Brown, who sold his first story—a piece that ran in the Rangers’ program—to Halligan nearly 40 years ago. “You get so bogged down in the work of it sometimes. I don’t think anyone who puts on a jersey is called a ‘hockey laborer.’ He’s a ‘hockey player.’ John always kept the ‘play’ in the game.”

Halligan was the New York Rangers’ publicist and historian for more than 40 years, working tirelessly to spread the gospel of hockey in New York and beyond.

He also worked in a similar capacity with the NHL.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, NHL Talk, NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+halligan

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

We won over a very dangerous Detroit team 3-2. It was a game that I thought we didn’t deserve to win. But we have reached that point now in our development. We don’t play as well as our capabilities and we can still beat a fantastic opponent. Everyone chips in and we get the two points. We have beaten Philly and Detroit back to back and now we go play Pittsburgh. I don’t ever remember a more competitive three game stretch since we bought the team 11 years ago.

-Washington Owner Ted Leonsis.  A bit more at Ted’s Take.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ted+leonsis

Ottawa Owner Enjoying The Sens Performance

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from James Gordon of Hockey Capital,

For the first time in a long time, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has reason to be thrilled about his hockey team.

Speaking with reporters here on Wednesday, he said he “couldn’t be happier” with its performance on the ice, though there’s room for improvement in the stands.

“If you really look at it, take any roster in the NHL and wipe out their top line, wipe out one of their best faceoff people, one of their best defencemen and, just for fun, take out their two goalies. Please, what do you expect?” Melnyk said shortly after promising in a radio interview that the Senators would go deep into the playoffs this season.

“That fact is this group of people have come back, this group of players have come back and been able to win four in a row and we’re just going to get better and better and better as the season progresses.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Joel Ward Recognizes Both Fathers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Glennon of the Tennessean,

When the Predators depart today on their annual fathers’ trip, forward Joel Ward will be accompanied by the man that in his own words “taught me the ropes” — how to drive a stick shift, how to tie a tie, how to play a little pool.

The twist here? It’s not his dad.

Randall Ward, the man who inspired Joel to play hockey, died when Joel was 14, days after suffering a stroke in the stands while watching his son play in a youth game.

Three years later, Joel Ward found a second father in Rodger Minard, the man whose family housed Ward when he left home at age 17 to pursue a professional hockey career. Ward would spend the better part of the next four years at the home of Minard and his wife — raiding the pantry, sleeping late whenever he could and forming bonds that have carried on to this day.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joel+ward

Bolts Are Below Average

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

This is a below-average team with below-average offense, below-average goaltending and a below-average captain, given the fact that we’ve hardly heard a peep from Vinny Lecavalier this season, and not just on the ice, but leading the team.

I was at the Florida loss the other night at the Forum. The Lightning blew a lead in the third period. Bad loss, especially after the Washington win. It would have been a perfect night for the captain to take this by the horns. Vinny was a ghost. Yes, media could have requested him. But on a night like that, he should have requested the media.

There are other troubling signs, like Alex Tanguay not producing, like this team still not having two consistent scoring lines, like goalie Mike Smith’s injury problems – again – or that Dallas, so far, got the better part of the deal by getting Brad Richards (remember him?).

General manager Brian Lawton has yet to find the right mix.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Carolina Names Eric Staal As Captain

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

RALEIGH, NC—Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has named Eric Staal as the new team captain for the Hurricanes. Staal is the fifth captain since the team’s arrival in North Carolina, and the 13th player to serve in that role in franchise history. Rod Brind’Amour had served as captain from Aug. 25, 2005 until today, and will remain an alternate captain.

“Rod has been the consummate leader for the Hurricanes since his acquisition nearly 10 years ago,” said Rutherford. “He is the only captain in franchise history to lift the Stanley Cup, and he will continue to play a leadership role in our organization.

“The time has come now for Eric to assume the top leadership role for his teammates. This is part of the rebuilding process for the Hurricanes, as Eric is the player around whom the team will be structured. We feel confident in Eric’s ability to lead his teammates and are excited to begin this next era.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eric+staal

If Only They Had Goaltending

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Every season since I started to blog, I picked out one team that could improve the most if they added a top level goaltender.  Since a goaltending is the player that has the biggest impact on a team`s success, it is quite likely that this team will have a big jump in success if they do find that goalie.  This happened in 2005/06 when Edmonton added Dwayne Roloson at the trade deadline and went to the Stanley Cup finals.  Last year, my pick was the Detroit Red Wings.  They were a very good team last year that struggled much of the season in goal due to a poor regular season from Chris Osgood.  They were a team one top goalie short of being an elite team.  Detroit never added that goalie and nevertheless went to the finals and lost.  Osgood played much better in his playoff run than he did in the regular season.

Ironically, this year`s Detroit team seems to have found their goalie in Jim Howard, but the team in front of him is not nearly as good due to a combination of player losses, injury and age related decline.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

The ‘C’ Is Supposed To Mean Something

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

They put the captain’s C right there on the jersey, and in hockey, it is actually supposed to mean something. One thing it means is that when things aren’t going well, that letter becomes a bull’s-eye.

The captain, more than the other players, has to answer for a team’s occasional failings. He has to take more responsibility for getting his teammates ready to play, as if that small block letter could actually accomplish it.

Mike Richards, the Flyers’ current captain, has had an interesting and not entirely enjoyable week, and the letter has burned him like a branding iron at times.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+richards

Not The Same Iginla

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Johnson of the Calgary Herald,

“The desire is still there,’’ Iginla replied, without a hint of rancour. “The leadership (questions) . . . I understand that it happens when you lose a game the way we did (Monday) night.”

As polite and accommodating as Iginla is, CNN is never going to interrupt Anderson Cooper 360 to bulletin something Iginla has said.

Still, even for someone so accustomed to politicking, there was an unusual weariness about his address Tuesday. As if, like an actor in an extended Broadway run, he’d grown tired of reciting the lines.

Maybe Iginla has simply grown tired of the oppressive atmosphere that permeates Pengrowth Saddledome. Fidel Castro held less sway over Cuba for 32 years than Darryl Sutter does at the ‘Dome since being given absolute power. And Sutter is not a big one for laughs.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jarome+iginla

The Year Of The Underdog

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jamie Fitzpatrick of Jamie’s Hockey Blog,

It’s a long, long season, with many disappointments and tailspins yet to come.

But 2009-10 is already a success for the Axis of Underdog.

The Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes should have all faded away by now, according to media types like, well, me.

They remain among the top 10 teams in the NHL.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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