Kukla's Korner

The Code Still Exists

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

“The unique thing about our sport is that we play with hockey sticks that potentially can be used as weapons. This is a game that is very emotional and guys are only human. Fighting gives them an outlet to release (energy and frustrations) instead of slashing, cross checking and high sticking.
“You almost never see a tough guy grab a small skilled guy and start (punching) either. There is still a code.”
Gretzky said his stance has softened a bit with time.

read on

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The Shot Blocker

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Farber at Sports Illustrated,

Once reserved for the penalty kill, the playoffs or critical moments of meaningful regular-season games, shot blocking has shifted from last resort to first option. It is now a communal responsibility, a nightly chore from which no one is excused. “It’s a fact of life,” Tampa Bay Lightning center Brad Richards says. “On our team, if you don’t block shots, you don’t play.” To the detriment of hockey—and the players who have been injured by truly taking one for the team—the shot block, not the two-line stretch pass, has become the most common, and effective, tool in the postlockout NHL.

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Stuff Flies Around

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

“The rumors, the speculation grow more prominent each and every year,” said Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe. “How they come about is simply somebody somewhere looking at a situation and saying, ‘Well, the Oilers have lost four of their last six games and this guy hasn’t scored and that guy has a poor plus-minus, so these would be the players the Oilers would like move.’
“They look for a similar type of situation on, say, a team out east, and there they have it: the Oilers will trade Player A, B and C out east for Player X, Y and Z. There’s no basis to it. It’s purely speculation. And in this day and age of bloggers, coupled the inability to track down sources, that stuff flies around.”

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Whither Forsberg?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Not real sure why I used the term “whither” in the headline.  Sounds all Shakespearian, so that’s cool.  Before we get into the second word used in that header, I thought I’d let you know about something I observed on the flight to San Antone yesterday.  I somehow got upgraded to first class.  Giddy up.  As a result I got to use the “executive head” in the front of the plane, not the coach stalls like the rest of you unwashed have to use when you fly.

Check this out.  On the mirror in the “executive head”  there’s a little sign that says something like, “for the convenience of your fellow travelers, please clean the wash basin before returning to your seat.”  I wasn’t into that.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever cleaned a basin, executive or otherwise.  But that’s not the interesting thing.  Written below the English version of that little suggestion was the same thing, I assume, in French.  I had a feeling. So I took a stroll back to the coach bathroom.

Continue Reading »

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Crunch Time

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the OC Register,

The Ducks are 5-10-2 since Dec.29, a stretch of 17 games that accounts for more than 20 percent of the NHL regular-season schedule….
“We’ve acknowledged that a lull is something that every team goes through,” defenseman Sean O’Donnell said Monday after a lengthy practice session at Big Bear Ice Arena. “Now let’s get the hell out of it.
“It’s getting down to crunch time. We’re barely hanging on to first place (in the Pacific Division). We’re eight points out of eighth place (in the Western Conference). For a while, you could go ‘We built ourselves a nice cushion - we’ll turn it around.’ Well now that cushion is gone.”

read on

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Toughness?  Winners Are Tough

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Dateline: San Antonio. 
Subj: Toughness

72 and sunny here on the River Walk.  Well, I haven’t actually been to the River Walk but I hear it’s cool.  The Alamo? Now that’s a sight to behold.  Well, I haven’t had a chance to visit it, but I’ll bet it’s, you know, historic.

Brooke Army Medical Center?  Never heard of it?  You should have.  I spent an hour there yesterday and met a few heroes.  This isn’t the forum for it, but I’ll say it anyway:  you have servicemembers all over this nation recovering in hospitals just like Brooke.  Every single one of them I met yesterday, no matter how badly injured they are, have only one wish.

Continue Reading »

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Unlike His Father

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Democrat & Chronicle,

As a father and son should, Sergei Kharin and his oldest child, RIT freshman hockey player Anton Kharin, share a number of characteristics.
Naturally, there is a facial resemblance; both stand 5 feet, 11 inches tall; and while Sergei is a little stockier these days than he was during a nearly two-decade professional playing career, his weight when he was Anton’s age (21) was right around the 175 pounds Anton carries.
But then the two men speak, and after a double take you think to yourself, “These two are as likely to be father and son as Gordie Howe and Alexander Ovechkin.”
“Yeah, I was born in Russia, but I’m American or I’m Canadian; I don’t know what I am,” a smiling Anton said in perfect English minus any hint of a Russian accent.

continued

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The Lingering Result

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jody Vance at Slam,

This is about fighting in the NHL.
Watching Kris Newbury get his grey matter rocked on Saturday night had big impact on this student of the game.
The late game fisticuffs between Newbury and Pittsburgh’s Ronald Petrovicky shook me.
It wasn’t so much the fight itself but rather the result that haunts me today. The fight ended quickly. The visual of Newbury lying on the ice bloodied and unconscious lingers.

read on

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Where’s Zherdev

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Columbus Dispatch,

A message was sent barely 10 minutes into practice yesterday when Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock kicked right winger Nikolai Zherdev off the ice.
After practice, Hitchcock wouldn’t address the issue other than to confirm it. Zherdev was nowhere to be seen.

continued

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NBC Doing It Right

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Schrader of the Detroit Free Press,

OK, we’re like a lot of hockey fans who responded to the Sunday Free Press poll: It’s tough getting over the NHL being on Versus instead of ESPN. It’s like, if a sport isn’t on ESPN, is it really big league?
But cable aside, getting on NBC was a great thing for the NHL. NBC is doing hockey right and constantly trying to improve the product.
Some things we pondered while watching Sunday’s Dallas-Colorado game on NBC and taking down our Hockey Day decorations:
• Are they listening to us? As suggested a couple of weeks ago, NBC subbed in Pierre McGuire for Ferraro as Hull’s debate partner. And it was better.

read on

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