Kukla's Korner

Going Easy On The Sharks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Tawakami of Talking Points at the Mercury News,

The Sharks have it easy. On that point, there can be no dispute. Too easy, almost certainly. (I blame myself.)

And that might explain some of their annual softness in the playoffs, if you ask me…

Even after dropping the first two games of the playoffs at home to the Ducks, the Sharks still pretty much live in a little crysalis of no-crisis, generally speaking, when compared to what any other NHL team (except the Kings or, weirdly, the Ducks) ever experience after shaky postseason performances.

Patrick Marleau is the Sharks captain, and he skipped the optional skate before Game 2. (Jeremy Roenick skipped it, too.)

My thought: Isn’t that like Tom Brady skipping an optional meeting before the AFC title game? Or Paul Pierce skipping a shoot-around, with permission, before Game 7 at Cleveland? I think it is… At least show up. Show up for your teammates. You’re the captain, show up.

read on

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

Playoff Fever Hits Columbus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,

Hockey fever has officially arrived in downtown Columbus at Nationwide Arena in anticipation of the first Stanley Cup Playoff contest in team history on Tuesday night.

“I don’t think anybody considers you a legitimate franchise in the NHL until you’ve played in the playoffs,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We’re in there now and we’re a young team that has a lot of talented players, who, in my eyes are just going to get better. But you still have to be playing this time of the year to be considered legitimate and we’re here.”

continued

Update 4:45pm ET: From Puck Daddy

How much of a boost will playing the first postseason home game in franchise history have on the Jackets? We looked back as some other “expansion era” playoff home debuts for comparison—including two against the Red Wings.

Game 1 (April 16, 1997): Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 4, Phoenix Coyotes 2

more

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

‘Rock Happy’ Hudler

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,

Jiri Hudler is happy, almost always. Well, except when he’s rushing to get ready for practice and pops on his helmet without noticing someone loaded it with shaving cream. Or when he sticks his hands in his gloves and is greeted by a poof of baby powder. Or when his dress pants go missing and he has to leave the arena in his hockey Under Armours.

“There’s a couple guys, I won’t mention their names, but they got me really good the last few months,” Hudler said, smiling. “But this is the playoffs now. No more pranks.”

He said it like he meant it, sort of, with a tell-tale grin, not a tattle-tale grin. And then he laughed, which is something Hudler does often, which is why some call him “Happy Hudler,” which doesn’t make him particularly happy.

“Why not something tougher?” he said. “You should call me the Rock or something.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jiri+hudler

Wild Surgeries

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

The Minnesota Wilds Derek Boogaard has just undergone surgery. From TSN:

Minnesota Wild left wing Derek Boogaard has undergone surgery on his right shoulder.

The team said Tuesday the six-foot-eight enforcer is on the road to recovery and will begin rehabilitation Wednesday.

And Niklas Backstrom is up next. From John Shipley at the Pioneer Press:

Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom is scheduled to have surgery to repair his left hip Friday in Vail, Colo.

The procedure will be done by orthopedic specialist Dr. Marc Philippon, who performed surgeries on the hips of Wild winger Marian Gaborik, most recently on Jan. 5.

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

The Voice Of The Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Neil Best of Newsday,

Sam Rosen was sitting on a battered couch in a cluttered hallway deep inside Madison Square Garden last night, awaiting the start of yet another in a quarter-century-long parade of Rangers games.

If there had been a photographer around, it might have made a poignant portrait of an aging TV voice, preparing for the red light to go on so he could tell one more version of an old, tired story.

But then Rosen opened his mouth, and the facts that he is 61 and has been the Rangers’ voice for 25 years - the longest active term for a play-by-play man with a New York-area team - were beside the point.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sam+rosen

Settle In For Some Playoff Hockey Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Grigg of The Hockey News,

Five, count ’em, five games on the docket Tuesday. Three should be great, one OK and one just a last gasp. I’ll let you figure out which is which.

If Game 4 of the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia series is anything like Game 3, players are in for a rough ride and viewers a real treat.

There is little in hockey better than the Pennsylvania rivalry that has re-emerged over the past few seasons and there may be nothing better than a Flyers-Pens game in Philadelphia. Emotional isn’t enough to describe it. Crazed is closer.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Habs Season Coming To An End

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,

Hard to believe it was just last fall that owner George Gillett and president Pierre Boivin arrived in Toronto for a press conference at the Royal York Hotel all full of bounce and optimism for the club as it entered its 100th anniversary season. Gillett certainly gave no hint his ownership of the storied franchise was in any sense in doubt, while Boivin seemed to suggest the Habs were beyond the point when they would be anything but successful on the ice.

“Today, if you recruit and operate well, are well-managed and well-coached, and have strong fan support, there’s no reason you can’t have a team that’s going to contend . . . forever,” said Boivin.

Those words sure sound a little haunting now, don’t they?

In fact, you could argue that the Florida Panthers, or even the bedraggled Maple Leafs, would have put up a better battle in the first round against Boston than the Habs have.

read on

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

Covering The Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Strader at PhoenixCoyotes.com,

Hello again from on the road covering the Stanley Cup Playoffs for Versus.

This trip has been a true case of Planes, Trains and Automobiles for me. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I drove my car from Glendale, Ariz., to Troy, Mich., before the playoffs began. After three flights to three different cities and several taxi cabs, I’m now on the train from New York City to Philadelphia for Game 4 between the Penguins and Flyers.

Last night at Madison Square Garden was a great playoff atmosphere. As I mentioned on our telecast, there are so many great venues and fans around the NHL, but there is something unique about MSG

more of this very entertaining story…

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dave+strader

Capitals Owner On Game 3 Victory Over The Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ted Leonsis at Ted’s Take,

I thought we played the way we needed to play last night. While aggressive, we weren’t focused on hits for the sake of hitting. We were more focused on scoring and playing tight, frustrating defense. Our penalty kill was very effective and we buried our chances scoring 4 goals. We are a bigger and faster team and if we control the pace of play, we are difficult to shut down for long periods of time. I think our goaltender’s stats are now better than their goaltender’s stats too. Who would have thought that was possible?

more

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

Risebrough Moving On

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Shipley of the Pioneer Press,

It was exactly a week ago that team owner Craig Leipold told Risebrough he would not renew his contract after nine years and eight seasons spent building Minnesota’s second NHL expansion franchise.

“Yes, I was in shock, because there was no discussion about it,” Risebrough said at press gathering in St. Paul. “There was no discussion that day, or about my extension. And that’s OK.

“I totally appreciate the situation; a guy like myself makes decisions, and sometimes they’re difficult. For somebody who has made a decision like Craig has, I respect that he’s come to that decision, and he’ll have to live with that decision.

“There wasn’t a lot of discussion about it, which I was fine with. I’m moving on, and he’s going to find a new GM.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: doug+risebrough

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