Kukla's Korner

Losing To Win

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Greg Logan of Newsday,

If the goal is to finish with the best shot at the No. 1 draft pick in the NHL lottery, then the first half of the Islanders’ season has been an unqualified success. One game past the midpoint of their season, the Isles are planted firmly in the 30th spot, four points below their nearest competitors for the chance to select either Canadian center John Tavares or Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman in the June 26 draft in Montreal.

As tough as this season has been to watch, the reality is that grabbing a player such as Tavares or Hedman is the best way to build a legitimate contender. Top teams have superstars, and no one on the Islanders qualifies.


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

Deadline Options For Bruins (Other Teams Too)

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Chiarelli has slightly more than seven weeks (52 days) before the March 4 trade deadline to figure out some contingencies if neither Bergeron nor Sturm can make it back before the playoffs.

Five names to consider:

# Keith Tkachuk - The former Malden Catholic star, who will turn 37 March 28, still has a little bit of touch (14 goals and 27 points) in those meaty hands (now 514 career goals and counting). He is finishing up a two-year deal with the Blues, with a cap hit of $4 million, and certainly will be moved at the deadline with the Blues able to trim some $800,000 in cap exposure….

Jason Williams - A season lost in the ongoing train wreck in Atlanta. Not big (5-11/195), but can play both center and wing and is only 28 years old. Cap hit is $2.2 million….

more plus additional hockey topics…

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

Hossa Exploring Detroit Options

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Ritch Winter, Maian Hossa’s agent states Hossa is enjoying his stay in Detroit and both sides are interested in seeing if the relationship can continue past this season.

Read more from Craig Custance of the Sporting News Today.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marian+hossa

Hotstove Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Along with host Ron MacLean, Al Strachan, Mike Milbury and Pierre LeBrun talked about contraction, the Penguins, Lightning and a few other topics last night.

Watch it here...


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Be On The Look-out For Expiring Contracts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,

But most NHL teams are just like the Oilers in this regard, having handed out numerous long-term contracts to players in recent years, perhaps in the mistaken belief that the cap would just keep rising.

In Edmonton, the only way out of this problem would be for the Oilers to dump some long-term contracts and perhaps get in return other players who have expiring contracts.

For instance, Brendan Morrison of Anaheim has an expiring contract at $2.7 million, Maxim Afinogenov and Tim Connolly of Buffalo have an expiring contracts for $3.5 million, Jaroslav Spacek has one for $3.3 million, Adrian Aucoin of Calgary, $4.0 million, Martin Havlat of Chicago, $6 million, Joe Sakic of Colorado, $6 million.

These are just a few examples, but if you were to acquire any of these players at the trade deadline, you would have their cap hit for the rest of the season, but you would have all of that cap space for the next season.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Pens Are Losing, Still Exciting

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

Yeah, the Pens are too loose defensively right now and it’s a major reason why they’ve lost seven out of eight. But, geez, it just leaves you green with envy when they leave town and you know you have to go back to watching the …zzzzzzzzzzzzz…..Minnesota Wild or the ….zzzzzzzzzzzz….Nashville Predators or the ….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….Columbus Blue Jackets 12 more times this year, or whatever it is.

The West might have the better teams as a conference, but let’s face it, the three most exciting players in the NHL play in the East: Crosby, Malkin and Alex Ovechkin. I just wish we could see them more, instead of Jacques Lemaire and his Ambien brand of hockey.

more observations from Dater…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

‘League Sources’ Talking

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of he Ottawa Sun,

• While league sources say the Oilers have a mild interest in Ottawa’s top centre (Spezza), the man Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini really wants in the middle is Mike Fisher.

Fisher has been struggling this season with only three goals in 35 games going into last night, after scoring 23 last season.

• A team that would love Spezza is Columbus. The word is Ken Hitchcock believes he can transform the struggling centre into the next Steve Yzerman. Hitchcock worked with Spezza at the world championship in Quebec City last spring.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Change Needed With Fighting

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Shame on Don Cherry, who referred to and embraced “the culture of hockey” at Sanderson’s funeral in Port Perry, Ont., while talking about how the deceased’s father “knows [fighting] is a part of the game,” as if the Whitby defenseman had died on the battlefield for some greater cause rather than on the ice for no reason whatsoever.

Bench-clearing brawls were once part of the culture of hockey. So were wood sticks, bareheaded players and barefaced goaltenders. But time moves on. Time leaves people like Cherry behind….

Shame on those who would argue against eliminating fisticuffs from the sport because “only one person” has died as a result of a fight. Only one? As in, one is acceptable? What about when that inevitably becomes “only” two? Will two be too many or will “only two” fatalities be regarded as an acceptable price of maintaining “the culture of hockey?”


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

New Vezina Leader

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

As the season progresses, I like to track the players who I feel are front-runners for the NHL’s awards.  I had been picking Craig Anderson of the Florida Panthers as the Vezina leader.  This pick was a little unsatisfactory because Anderson has only 21 games played (and only 18 decisions).  This is less play that Tomas Vokoun, his Florida teammate with whom he has been sharing the Panther goaltending position.  This makes him the nominal number two goalie in Florida and it is odd to call a number two goalie the NHL’s best.

The Vezina race is relatively wide open because none of the goalies who have the most games played are asserting themselves as front-runners.  It is hard to call the current games played leaders (Miikka Kiprusoff of Calgary, Marty Turco of Dallas, Henrik Lundqvist of the NY Rangers, Joey MacDonald of the NY Islanders or Vesa Toskala of Toronto) serious Vezina candidates.  None of them have been consistently outstanding goalies.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Senators Running Out Of Options

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from James Gordon of the Ottawa Citizen,

Option 1 didn’t result in a much-needed victory, though Elliott was good in his debut.

General manager Bryan Murray has found Option 2 impossible to pull off.

How long before team owner Eugene Melnyk goes with Option 3? The rumours certainly won’t be going away any time soon, thanks to another demoralizing defeat.

The disappointment was all over coach Craig Hartsburg’s face as he faced the media afterward.

“I thought it was an even game, we just couldn’t score,” he said. “We had our chances, couldn’t finish … it’s a tough game coming back after a long road trip and I thought our guys, we tried, we executed a lot of things, just maybe didn’t have that extra energy we needed.”


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

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