Kukla's Korner

Central Scouting Rankings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,

The battle for the top spot at the 2010 Entry Draft has turned into a three-horse race. And like any good horse race, this one currently is too close to call.

In NHL Central Scouting’s midterm ranking of North American skaters, Windsor Spitfires forward Taylor Hall currently leads the Plymouth Whalers’ Tyler Seguin and Windsor defenseman Cam Fowler by a nose. And there’s a lot more time before the stretch run, meaning a lot can change between now and April, when the final rankings are released, and it could last all the way to the draft in Los Angeles, to be held June 25-26 at Staples Center.

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Attention Made-Up Rumor Guys

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

In a high-tech world in which fans have endless outlets to turn to for sports news, how is it someone hasn’t started a website to track all those who start trade rumours?

Given that 99% of all swap scuttlebutt is little more than baseless bunk, why not hold the source that starts each fabrication accountable?

It would be a great way to separate the real insiders from the pretenders who often float manufactured material to gain attention for themselves, their media outlets or their makeshift websites.

continued

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

Blue Jackets Winning Again

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Arace at Puck-rakers,

Coach Ken Hitchcock, who has been under fire here in Columbus, fielded scads of questions from large media hordes during the recent Western Canadian road trip (which began with a 7-4 loss in Vancouver). The questions were variation of “Are you worried about getting sacked?” Hitchcock needed to escape. He saw some old friends in Edmonton, his hometown, and they provided a mental lift. Then came the victory over the Oilers.

“The whole season changed with the third goal in Edmonton,” Hitchcock said. “It made a difference on the bench, a difference in the locker room, a difference in the feel. The tension was everywhere. Oh, no, here we go again. Something bad is going to happen. When we (Kristian Huselius) scored the third goal in Edmonton, the whole season changed.”

Hitchcock was asked whether the 2008-09 Blue Jackets have entered the building. They have allowed two goals or less in seven of the past nine games.

“Yeah,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t play like this the rest of the year. The players were comfortable with it. Obviously, it’s winning hockey. We’re grinding it out with some really good teams. Every night, if we play this way, we’ll give ourselves a good chance to win. Seventy-five to 80 percent of scoring chances are coming off the check, which is what good teams do. Rather than looking for space, we’re fighting for space.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Top Pranksters

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette via the National Post,

They remain little boys inside the hockey uniforms of grown-ups, not unlike playground gradeschoolers who get their jollies out of shoving a snowball down another kid’s pants.

Pranks and practical jokes have been a part of hockey forever, from house-leagues to NHL dressing rooms.

They can be craftily conceived and executed with skill:

Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame defenceman and then Calgary Flames assistant coach Guy Lapointe, the ruler-for-life in hockey’s Kingdom of Prankdom, was sitting in the sauna when he got wind of Flames trainer Brian Patafie coming his way with a bucket of ice water. So Lapointe beat Patafie to the punch, turning a hose from head to toe on his approaching fellow joker. Only then did he realize that Patafie’s pail was empty—and that the trainer was wearing Lapointe’s expensive new suit.

continued

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

Rangers Should Be Sellers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The Rangers’ recent correction in which they have gone 8-1-3 since the Dec. 16 Garden defeat to the Islanders that prompted the twin two-game exiles of Wade Redden and Ales Kotalik presents a challenge for GM Glen Sather.

Because even though the Blueshirts seem to be a playoff caliber team in a conference overloaded with deficient squads, this run against a succession of terrible opponents should not and must not interfere with the real business at hand of constructing a Stanley Cup contender.

To that end, no matter the standings, no matter the “game with points streak,” no matter the revenue the Garden would stand to derive from a few playoff home dates, Sather has the responsibility to be a seller rather than a buyer as the trade deadline approaches.

continued

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

Frustrated In Toronto

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,

Our fans have to understand I’m as frustrated as they are,” said GM Brian Burke. “Way more so.”

If there’s change to come, it won’t be the coach. Ron Wilson’s job is “100 per cent safe,” said Burke.

Change is more likely to come in the form of call-ups – Tyler Bozak and Jay Rosehill at the top of the list – followed by trades.

“I’ve been moving heaven and earth on the trade front for some time, I would be more concerned if there were deals going down all around me. There aren’t,” said Burke. “We’ve looked at call-ups. No one at this point has kicked down the door to the point where we have to give them a recall. Bozak and Rosehill have been strong the last couple of games, so we’ll think about giving them a look.”

Fans of a team on a 2-6-2 slide are understandably frustrated, but have yet to entirely throw in the towel. One site, boycotttheleafs at ipetition.com, is urging fans to stay away from the Air Canada Centre, to send a message that fans are sick and tired of losing. As of Sunday, there were only 18 signatures.

more

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

Sens Talk Amongst Themselves

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ian Mendes of Sportsnet,

The Ottawa Senators are hoping that a little bit of talk will lead to some action. And more importantly, they are hoping it can lead them to a much-needed win.

Following a 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Sunday night, the Senators held a players-only meeting in the dressing room at RBC Center. The meeting took only a few minutes, but the players insisted there was no tension inside the room. The message coming from several players was that now was the time to stick together, since the club is battling so much adversity.

“We’ve got to stay positive, we can’t start blaming each other. We’ve got to be honest with each other and realize we need to step it up,” netminder Pascal Leclaire said. “We’re not that far off.”

continued

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

Sharks Compete In Practice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Pollak of Working the Corners,

After about 15 minutes, Todd McLellan had players lined up against the sideboards, skating the kind of sprints that are euphemistically called conditioning drills. After that came some “compete” drills with more than a little physical contact as players battled for loose pucks in the corners.

Sort of what you might expect after a 4-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, though as it turned out, those sprints off the sideboards were part of a different message the coaching staff was delivering.

“That,” Todd McLellan said afterward, “was due to lack of execution in practice.”

read on

 

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

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“If you’re a tough guy you should respect the honor code. There were people fighting around us and I was holding Verot. Then he told me: “Ok, we are done. No fighting”. I released his hand and in a second he punched me in the face. I didn’t see that coming and that’s why I fell down.”

-Jaromir Jagr on the brawl in the KHL yesterday.. More from Jagr at RussianHockeyfans.com.

 

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jaromir+jagr, khl

Do You Want The NHL To Expand Into Europe?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from William Houston of Truth & Rumours,

Many in hockey believe there is a way for the NHL to escape the black hole dug by the ailing teams in the south. However, it would require decision making that was creative and bold.

  Here’s what the NHL would do. It would begin the process of expanding to Europe. And it would move quickly, because the Kontinental Hockey League is pushing ahead with its plans to establish a pan-European league. Once that happens, the door to Europe will close on the NHL.

  “It will be too late for the NHL very shortly,” a source with close ties to European hockey said this week.

  A pan-European league is likely to be announced in 12 to 24 months. The KHL’s billionaire founder Alexander Medvedev has hired a consultant in Sweden to advise him on expanding into Western Europe, and a recommendation has already been made.

  “The consultant has told Medvedev that the best way to expand hockey in Europe is not to conquer Europe but to bring partnerships together,” the source said.

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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