Kukla's Korner

All Barnaby

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Amber at ESPN,

In this week’s “Facing Off,” the gloves are off as the Dallas Stars spark plug tells us how he racked up nearly 500 minutes of penalties in one season, why he has little love for fellow Dallas agitator Terrell Owens and why Mother’s Day will always hold special meaning for him.
Question from David Amber: I read that your mom made some huge sacrifices to help make your NHL dream come true. What kinds of things did she do?
Answer from Matt Barnaby: I grew up in a single-parent family, and having a mother that worked full time, it was tough to get the money necessary to play in the hockey tournaments and get me all the equipment. So, she put her needs aside so I could play hockey. It was a big sacrifice.

continued

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Let’s Be Frank

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News at the Globe and Mail,

One of the bigger necessary changes, as Bill alluded to, needs to come from the coaches. There are people around the league who have complained about entertainment-stifling game strategies for years, but it’s never been more apparent the guys behind the bench simply aren’t buying into the new program, on or off the ice….
In one sense, it’s hard to blame coaches for employing systems most likely to keep them employed. But where is the coaching fraternity’s Brendan Shanahan? Where’s the man willing to stand up and be brave enough to admit he and his colleagues haven’t and aren’t giving fans what they pay to see? Where’s the coach who asks how the dreaded trap can be outlawed, once and forever?

read on

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Chill Out

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Evan Grossman of NHL.com,

But some people are worried about the new jerseys. People are worried that the game will somehow be altered by the duds the players are wearing and my response to them is, in the words of Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything, “You must chill!”
So chill, people. It could always be worse.
For example, there would be a reason to freak if, say, Bill Belichick designed the new hockey uniforms. Then we’d have an entire league of players skating around in hooded sweatshirts with the sleeves cut off.

read on

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All Souray

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Montreal Canadiens,

To say that Sheldon Souray is having a career year would be an understatement. Just past the midway point of the season and well on pace to set personal bests across the board, the charismatic defenseman with the rocket shot, All-Star Game invitation in his pocket, took a few moments to answer our questions.

Do you ever worry about hitting a teammate with your slap shot? I don’t worry so much about hitting them in the legs or the pants or something like that because I think it’s a part of the game and if I start worrying about that it would take away from what we’re trying to do. Obviously, you’ve got to be careful about getting the pucks up too high. It would be pretty awful if I got someone in the chest or the face or something like that. Thankfully, I haven’t, knock on wood.
Is there any opposing player’s shot that you fear? [Zdeno] Chara.

continued

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Rangers Extend Straka

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The pull of returning home to the Czech Republic did not prove as strong as Martin Straka’s desire to continue his career on Broadway.
The Post has learned that the 34-year-old left winger whom Tom Renney two weeks ago cited as the epitome of what the Rangers want to be, has signed a one-year contract extension through 2007-08 worth $3.3 million. Straka is earning - and that is the operative word - $3.1 million this season.

continued

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Unnoticed Langkow

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

While no one in the Flames’ dressing room needs to be told of the role Langkow has played in the Flames resurgence, apparently the rest of the hockey world could use a crash course on his brilliance.
Considered a mere beneficiary of Jarome Iginla’s fine work, Langkow has quietly posted numbers worthy of all-star consideration while maintaining a defensive diligence few NHLers can match.

read on

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Ducks Reach A Grand

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,

The Ducks turned 1,000 regular-season games old Tuesday looking like a group of players 1,000 regular-season years old.
They were aged like beef and tenderized, grilled and sliced up the same way. They might as well have been corpses, and you can’t get any older than that.
A stride late and a shift short, the Ducks lost to less-than-average St. Louis, 6-2, in a game that traveled as one-way as the 405 South does. This one was so bad the NHL could ask the Ducks to play their first 999 games over again just to prove they belong.
A one-grand night produced one ghastly game.

continued

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Beware A Predator Scorned

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Climer of the Tennessean,

Instead of complaining about getting just one player in the NHL All-Star Game, maybe the Predators should be celebrating.
This virtual oversight (Kimmo Timonen is in, but where are the other Preds?) adds fuel to the motivational fire that feeds this team. There is a perception that the rest of the NHL looks down its nose at Nashville.
Beware a Predator scorned.
Never mind that Nashville has the most league wins so far this season. Elsewhere, the Preds are seen as a collection of good players who figured out a way to win close games.
It comes with the turf. When you’re in a non-traditional market and yet to get past the first round of the playoffs, respect is slow to arrive

continued

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Gaborik Working Hard

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, who only played Gaborik an average of 18:26 a game last season, which irked the native of Slovakia, is now playing him an average of 20:48 a game.
Lemaire didn’t trust Gaborik, who gets power-play time, to kill penalties last season. He does now.
But how good Gaborik becomes is all up to him, according to Lemaire, maybe one of the best two-way centres in NHL history—a guy who had to cover up the defensive sins of Guy Lafleur and fellow linemate Steve Shutt.
Lemaire loves Gaborik’s home-run ability. But, again, can he stay in one piece and will he ever be as good as, say, fellow Slovakian winger Marian Hossa?

more

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The Jersey Debate

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the BTM at NBC Sports,

Ask any Hollywood star who has worn a bad outfit to an awards show: it can take a long time to live down a fashion mistake. This week, the NHL will take a walk down the runway with its new collection, and if the early buzz is any indication, it will fall flat on its face….
The main complaint from players who have tried the new uniforms? They’re too constrictive, and don’t fit larger players well at all. Another gripe being voiced quietly is how different the new jerseys look—a radical departure from the traditional sweater, which has been largely unchanged over the years. In the NHL, where the “mirror test” matters for everything from helmets to skates, the new jerseys fail badly.

read on... Geez, can we just wait until we see them!

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