Kukla's Korner

Predators Concerned About Their Penalty-Kill Unit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Glennon of the Tennessean,

Only three times in 10 seasons have the Predators finished below the league midpoint in penalty-kill success rate. Nashville posted the league’s third-best success rate in both 2006-07 and 2007-08, and the Predators were 10th-best in the NHL last season.

But they will face some challenges in maintaining a strong penalty kill this season, after losing defensemen Greg Zanon and Greg de Vries, as well as forwards Vern Fiddler and Scott Nichol.

Zanon led the team in penalty-kill time and finished with the third-most shot blocks in the league, while Fiddler and Nichol finished third and fourth, respectively, on the team in average penalty-kill time.

“They are all significant losses because we were a pretty tight unit for two years,’’ Predators associate coach Brent Peterson said. “Guys are just going to have to step up and learn how to do it. We’ve got some good candidates. It’s no different than the situations we’ve been in before — we have to develop other guys to do it.’‘


Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Leafs Make A Move That Gives Them Offer Sheet Material

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

The Toronto Maple Leafs today re-acquired their own much-travelled 2010 second-round pick from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Toronto’s third-round pick in 2011 and a 2011 second-round pick that was previously acquired by Toronto from Calgary.

Why would the Leafs effectively pay a net price of a third-round pick to get a second-round pick in the 2010 draft instead of the 2011 draft?

Well, the move now gives Toronto their own first, second and third-round picks in the next NHL entry draft, which is the prerequisite for any team that would want to submit an offer sheet on a top restricted free agent player this summer.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

All Manny Malhotra

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of Puck-Rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,

Q: You’re still without a contract, an unrestricted free agent. What’s the outlook for you heading into 2009-10?

A: I’m like a lot of guys around the league, waiting for that right opportunity. It’s frustrating, obviously. We’d like to be settled. We’d like to know where we’re going to be at this point, but there’s no sense rushing into situations.

Q: Do you have offers on the table right now?

A: There’s a lot of things that have to take place. Other moves that have to go down before they open up.

Q: Any regrets about not signing here when the Blue Jackets were talking to you in late June, before free agency?

A: We stressed over and over the fact that we wanted to be here. There were a lot of issues: that we were part of the community, that we had friends outside the game, that I knew my role in the dressing room and on the ice. Those things ... I don’t know how many times I said I wanted to be here. That part about it is frustrating….

more including some NHLPA talk…

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: manny+malhotra

Luongo Will Earn His Pay

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

Every time Luongo would have a game in which he wasn’t miraculous, out would come the usual charges that he’s never won anything, never committed to any organization, didn’t or might not like the city, wants to be dealt to Montreal or isn’t good enough.

Further, there is the Ken Holland strategy always lurking in the background whereby because Detroit has had the mainstay of their resources tied up in defenceman Nick Lidstrom, who is utterly dominant at his position, that a team might not be able to win with a goaltender being highly paid and the dominant player on a roster.

We’ll see how the Wings and this view of the world make out when Lidstrom retires.

And every time one of these skeletons would come out, it had to bother Luongo, who is sufficiently passionate about playing the game that he was named captain of the Canucks even though it was somewhat inconvenient for the team to do it.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: roberto+luongo

Women’s Canada Cup Prelims

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The women’s Canada Cup hockey tournament is underway.  It is being played in Vancouver.  Four teams are playing: Canada, Finland, Sweden and USA.  The preliminary round is now over.  Here are the results:

1. Canada 2 wins 1 loss 19 goals for 6 against.  Canada easily beat Finland and Sweden with 10-2 and 7-0 scores respectively and then lost to the Americans in 4-2 game.  Canada’s balanced attack featured strong performances from Rebecca Johnston, Haley Irwin, Hayley Wickenheiser and Caroline Ouellette.  In goal they used Kim St Pierre and Shannon Szabados, who were not tested much until the USA game.

2. USA 2 wins 1 loss 13 goals for 6 against.  USA managed to defeat Canada, but they had lost earlier to Finland.  The US attack was led by Hillary Knight with five points and Caitlin Cahow and Natalie Darwitz who each added four.  Molly Schaus took over the US nets after the Finland loss and has played very well.

3. Finland 1 win 2 losses 6 goals for 15 against.  Finland’s success was their opening day 3-2 upset against USA.  They have not won since.  Their offence has been led by Saara Tuominen and Michelle Karvinen, each have 3 points.  Noora Ratty has been their top goalie.  She stole the game against USA, while being outshot 51-23.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

The Art Of Shot Blocking

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John McGourty of NHL.com,

Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Michalek, 26, led the NHL last season with 271 blocked shots, yet he played in all 82 games. In four seasons, he’s missed only seven games, all at the start of the 2007-08 season, with a broken hand. Michalek also is the average ice-time leader among the top 10 shotblockers with 22:46 minutes per game.

“I think that most of the players in the NHL play through bumps and bruises, it’s part of the game,” Michalek said. “I’ve been hurt and played through injuries. That’s the life of a hockey player.”

Michalek said shotblocking is instinctive and reactive, opportunities develop quickly and don’t lend themselves to analysis and preparation.

“Actually, it’s not too bad,” Michalek said. “I was lucky last season, nothing really hurt me and I didn’t break any bones. Of course, it hurts to get hit in a bad spot, but that’s part of hockey, a physical game. I’m guessing that I place my pads really well. I don’t know why for certain, but it may come from when I was young and my older brother and I played street hockey. I was the goalie and he was shooting at me.”

read on and a list of the top shot blockers in the game today…

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zbynek+michalek

Twice The Vomit

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

I’m not sure what makes me want to throw up in my mouth more, the absolute guarantee I’m making right now that UM is going to lose to Western…or this,


Veteran goaltender Dan Cloutier, out of hockey last season, will attend the Detroit Red Wings’ training camp (Sept. 13-15) on a tryout.
Cloutier, 33, who contacted the club and asked for the tryout…

So…of all the teams Cloutier could have contacted, he chose the Wings?  Or did his agent, if he still has one, do a mass fax saying his boy was on the hunt for a team?


Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Sugden Still Trying To Reach His Goal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun,

This is the story of Brandon “Sugar” Sugden and his dad, Travis.

You may recall last year how the 6-foot-4, 233-pound tough guy tried out for the New York Islanders. He didn’t make it but still went to the AHL and played for the Hartford Wolfpack.

Spoke to his dad last night, who told me the former St. Mike’s Buzzer is leaving next week to try out for the Washington Capitals—and has signed with their AHL team, the Hershey Bears.

“He’s 31 years old and still trying to get there,” says a proud Travis, who’s also battling his terminal cancer to hang around to see their mutual dream of seeing Brandon play at least one regular-season NHL game.


Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brandon+sugden

Wild May Make An Offer To Sykora

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michale Russo of Russo’s Rants,

As I guessed last weekend here, the Wild is considering making a contract offer to free-agent winger Petr Sykora, multiple sources tell me.

GM Chuck Fletcher, who knows Sykora better than most because he had him in Anaheim and Pittsburgh when he was assistant GM in both cities, is weighing the pros and cons of making an offer.


Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: petr+sykora

Dan Cloutier Attending Wings Camp

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Veteran goaltender Dan Cloutier, out of hockey last season, will attend the Detroit Red Wings’ training camp (Sept. 13-15) on a tryout.

Cloutier, 33, who contacted the club and asked for the tryout, hasn’t played since appearing in nine games with the Los Angeles Kings in 2007-08. He has been bothered by a series of ailments, including a season-ending hip injury midway through 2006-07.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+cloutier

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