Kukla's Korner

Rangers Need Competition On Defense

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

If it were up to John Tortorella, the Rangers would go into next Friday’s season-opener in Pittsburgh with only six defensemen on the roster. At least that’s what the coach claimed prior to last night’s 3-2 Garden exhibition victory over the Capitals.

“I don’t like having extra bodies around,” Tortorella said. “If it were up to me alone I’d prefer six.”

It’s a good thing the decision isn’t going to belong exclusively to the coach, because opening with the minimum number on the blue line makes no sense whatsoever. General manager Glen Sather, who will make the final judgment, hopefully realizes that.

Because unless the Blueshirts, who got down to seven defensemen with yesterday’s demotion of Bobby Sanguinetti to the AHL Wolf Pack, are going to bite an extremely expensive bullet by dispatching either Wade Redden or Michal Rozsival to Hartford, cutting down to six all but certainly means sending Michael Del Zotto back to the OHL London Knights


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

Has Larger Salary Changed The Perception Of Chris Kelly?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,

The fact is, Kelly isn’t valued for his production, but for what general manager Bryan Murray refers to as his “glue” component. Kelly is a role player, character guy and a penalty killer.

He was the subject of finger pointing last season, not because he played so poorly, but because of the four-year, $8.5-million contract he signed in the summer of 2008.

When it comes to public perception of players, money really does change everything.

As long as Kelly was a good soldier playing for what passes for NHL chump change, he was a hero in the program. As soon as he signed that contract, Kelly became a target in a losing season. He agrees he hasn’t changed much from the popular guy of two years ago.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+kelly

Sabres Should Keep Tyler Myers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

Let’s hope money isn’t an issue. History suggests the Sabres are worried about starting the clock on his contract, which would get him get back to the bargaining table for dough a year sooner after his three-year rookie deal expires.

If their roster is overcrowded, make room even if it means waiving a veteran. Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder, headed toward unrestricted free agency and not part of the Sabres’ long-term future, are good candidates. The Sabres missed the playoffs with them, so they can certainly do the same without them.

No matter, the kid needs to stay. The Sabres would need to live with his mistakes knowing he’ll improve as he becomes more comfortable. His teammates believe he belongs. Ruff acknowledged that Myers is pushing them more than they’re pulling him.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tyler+myers

The Canucks $2.3M Locker Room

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,

This is not your father’s locker room.In the middle of the oval chamber is captain Roberto Luongo, although you expect to find captain James T. Kirk.

Sure, all the seats face inward and the muted palette—grey and walnut brown, cream and smoky blue, accented by bands of brushed steel—are unlike the jelly-bean colours that splashed across the Star Trek set. But from the moment you walk through the sliding entry doors and into the high-tech, rounded main room, there is a sense you’ve arrived not at the centre of a National Hockey League team but on the bridge of the USS Enterprise.

The Vancouver Canucks’ newest star is their 8,000 square-foot locker room complex. The team believes it is the best in the NHL, which is what the Canucks want to be, too.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Wing Looking Forward To Their Road Trip

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris McCosky of the Detroit News,

Tomas Holmstrom couldn’t watch NHL hockey games on TV when he was a kid growing up in Pieta, Sweden. The only hockey games shown in those days were Swedish National team games.

“Yeah,” said a chuckling Henrik Zetterberg, who grew up in Sundsvall, “but when Homer was growing up it was the ‘60s. I was able to watch NHL games on television.”

But Zetterberg, who is seven years younger than Holmstrom, admitted that only one or two NHL games were shown a week and they were on at 2 a.m.

“If it was a school day, you had no chance of staying up,” he said.

Jonathan Ericsson, from Norrkoping and four years younger than Zetterberg, made it a point to stay up late, even on school nights, if the televised game involved the Red Wings.

“I always wanted to see Nicklas play,” he said, referring to his locker room neighbor Nicklas Lidstrom. “Detroit wasn’t always playing, but whenever they were I made sure I was up in the middle of the night.”


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

Sens GM Finding It Hard To Move A Few Players

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Out with the old and in with the new isn’t working the way Senators GM Bryan Murray had hoped.

Murray has spent the past couple of days trying to deal some of the club’s extra players, but he hasn’t been able to find anybody willing to take on extra contracts as NHL teams try to get to the 23-man roster limit….

“I made a number of calls (Wednesday) and what’s happening is a lot of teams feel they have a fairly set lineup or they have extra players that they may be inclined to do something with,” Murray said yesterday. “We have to let it sort itself out here a little longer and maybe there will be some need (elsewhere) as we go forward.”

read on

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

Hard To Shake ‘Lemaire’ Mode

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

Against the Blues, (Todd) Richards found the Wild retreating and making stretch passes to the far blue line, a staple of previous coach Jacques Lemaire.

“It’s a little frustrating and a little disappointing,” Richards said.

Richards, making clear he wasn’t disrespecting Lemaire, said Thursday morning he was finding it hard deprogramming Lemaire’s methods.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Looking At Points

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

It isn’t just that youth is being served. Youth has come in and wrenched away control. Where teams in the past were reluctant to push teenagers into the NHL, nowadays it is almost a given that teams are ready to provide on-the-job training if a player has the skill set to make the leap from junior.

Last year, 109 players scored 50 points or more, but it took 75 points to crack the top 25 in scoring….

The following is our annual exercise in hockey pools for dummies, a projection of how the top 20 scorers in the NHL will unfold:

199. Marek Svatos, Colorado

200. Jussi Jokinen, Carolina


Filed in: NHL Teams, Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Coach Sutter On Fleury

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,

For Theoren Fleury and those fans praying for a fairy-tale ending to his tryout, they better hope it was a twitch yesterday when Flames head coach Brent Sutter was talking about the 41-year-old.

“I don’t want to comment or get too far ahead on anything because we’re still taking everything day to day. Let’s see how everything unfolds here,” Sutter said after suggesting he didn’t necessarily need to see Fleury in action in the final pre-season game tomorrow to make a decision on whether or not the 5-foot-6 winger fits with the franchise.

“He’s certainly done a good job—yet, there’s a lot of good players here.”

Then came the grimace, synchronized with words that may be as damning as any publicly offered about Fleury to date.

“And the pace of the game is gonna pick up 10-fold here starting next week, so let’s just see what happens.”

Fleury’s critics would say his biggest flaw is an inability to keep up with the play through the pre-season.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: theo+fleury

Gretzky Will Return

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Even the biggest names are all like moths to the flame, and for proof look no further than Gretzky’s long-time rival and close friend Mario Lemieux, who was so desperate to sell his interest in the Pittsburgh Penguins at one stage that he had a willing buyer named Jim Balsillie lined up to take the team off his hands.

In the end, Lemieux couldn’t do it. He kept the team instead.

Eventually the Penguins ended up with a new building and a new superstar in Sidney Crosby (who still lives chez Lemieux) and last year, Mario earned the Stanley Cup as an owner to go with the two he won as a player.

For Gretzky, it will likely unfold the same way. Somebody, somewhere down the road will want to hitch his wagon to Gretzky’s star, however tarnished it may be today, if not as a coach, then in some to be determined front-office role. That, too, is the nature of pro sport. It starts anew every year, providing opportunities for renewal and redemption.


Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: wayne+gretzky

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