Kukla's Korner

Who To Blame In Toronto

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Spector at Fox Sports,

The stumbling start of the Toronto Maple Leafs has Toronto fans and media whipped up into a near-panic over the club’s performance and lamenting the few options available for management to improve the situation.

Most pundits appear to have absolved Leafs general manager Brian Burke for his club’s struggles but their apparent willingness to give Burke a pass has drawn criticism from one of their one.

Author and former Toronto Globe and Mail columnist William Houston has in his retirement started up a new blog called “Truth & Rumours”. In his inaugural post Houston not only blames Burke for what he considers poor decisions on the part of the Leafs general manager but also scolds the Toronto sports media for their unwillingness to criticize Burke after spending months praising him.

continued

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

Hasek’s Goal - Vancouver 2010

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,

Returning to hockey after a one-year “retirement,” Hasek is currently ranked seventh among Czech League goaltenders with a .916 save percentage. He boasted eight wins through 12 games and a 2.52 goals-against average. But statistics aside, perhaps his most important asset is intimidation.

Hasek’s gold medal performance at the Nagano Olympics was so transcendental, an opera was created in the Czech Republic to celebrate he and his teammates’ stunning victory. A 2-1 shootout win over Canada in the semifinal was followed by a 1-0 shutout of old nemesis Russia to clinch gold – and both efforts have given Hasek a lot of cred with his peers.

“I heard he’s playing pretty well back in the Czech League,” said Colorado’s Milan Hejduk, a teammate of Hasek’s on that 1998 gold medal squad. “He’s always been an excellent goaltender. Maybe it’s going to be a big (Olympic) comeback. Even at his age, he’s still kicking it.”

more

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dominik+hasek

Why Didn’t Fleury Talk Earlier?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,

Theoren Fleury is getting lots of credit, lots of sympathy and, presumably, lots of money for baring his soul with his sordid tale of sexual abuse at the hands of his former coach Graham James.

But Fleury would have commanded a lot more respect if he stepped forward in 1996 when former teammate Sheldon Kennedy was the first player to blow the whistle on James’s predatory behaviour.

If he had come forward then, Fleury might not have seen his career dissolve in a haze of alcohol, drugs and other destructive behaviour.

continued

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

FTW: JJ From Kansas

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

And we didn’t even have to use any of the tie-breakers.  Of the nearly 100 entries, JJ was the only KK member to predict that Brian Rafalski would score the season’s 19th goal.  For that, he’s won two free passes to the Legends Game in Toronto.

Email me and we’ll determine means of delivery.

Great effort last night.  I have exactly zero doubt that the Wings performance was tied directly to our choice of Live Blog featured artist.  More to follow.

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Extensive Knee Surgery Ahead For Mike Van Ryn

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

In a season already filled with bad news, the Toronto Maple Leafs received another helping on Friday.

Defenceman Mike Van Ryn is expected to announce that he has decided to undergo extensive knee surgery which could potentially spell the end of the 30-year old’s NHL career.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+van+ryn

Key Goalies Off To Slow Starts

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Goaltending is the most important position in the NHL.  Top goaltending can make an average team look like a contender.  Bad goaltending can make a good team look like an also ran.  In the early days of the season, the two goalies who were expected to lead the league are off to poor stars.  Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins is sporting a 4.00 GAA and a .868 saves percentage.  As a result his Boston Bruins are 2-3.  Probable Canadian Olympic Team starter Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks has a 3.33 GAA and a .879 saves percentage.  Vancouver is also off to a 2-3 start.  These are numbers that might have lesser goalies at risk of losing their starting jobs.

Neither team should be worried at this point, but if they cannot get top performances from their All Star goalies, they will not do as well as expected this season.  Both Vancouver and Boston rely on goaltending for success and will need to get it to compete for the top positions in their conferences as many predicted.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Hitchcock At Home In Columbus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

At 4-1, Columbus is off to the best start in franchise history. Except for a four-minute lapse against the San Jose Sharks that resulted in a 6-3 loss, they have been relentlessly consistent thus far this season.

“We all have these ideas about how a team is going to play and how you want to play, but then you find out, you gotta drag one guy in at a time,” explained coach Ken Hitchcock in an interview. “As much as you want your team to play committed and everything, it’s like you pull in one guy one day and one guy the next day and that’s what we’re doing. We’re trying to get to the level, where every player feels committed to compete for every puck every day on every shift.”

Hitchcock is in his fourth season with Columbus, joining them in November, 2006, after he’d been dismissed by the Philadelphia Flyers. Accordingly, he has been in place long enough that his message is familiar to the players that matter -beginning with team captain Rick Nash - and they’re on board with what he’s trying to sell.

read on plus many additional hockey topics duscussed…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ken+hitchcock

Top 10 Plays Of The 2nd Week In The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

TSN style…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Bettman Talks Canada

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

“I’m sure there are people in Quebec City who would say if a team is moving to Canada, why should it be southern Ontario? Why shouldn’t we get a team back?” Bettman says. “I’m sure there are people in Winnipeg who are saying the same thing. If the Coyotes move, I’m sure they say, “Why aren’t the Coyotes coming back here now that we have a new arena?” And so, there will always be a debate as to where the right fit is.

“But to the extent people think I have this master list hanging on my office wall in terms of where we are going next, that is not the case.

“If the opportunity presents itself, then we will look at all the situations and try to make the best judgment.

“You can confirm for yourself ... there is no list on my wall. Search away, You can look in all the drawers also.”

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Another Example Why Lidstrom Is The ‘Perfect Human’

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Craig Custance of the Sporting News,

I was talking to Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown before the game, and asked him about the Calgary Flames defense, one that I consider the best in the league (or at least I did until that Chicago meltdown). Brown made an interesting comment.

“For me, Calgary’s defense - I don’t mind as much as a Nick Lidstrom,” Brown told SportingNews.com. “A physical confrontation is okay, if I have to chase the puck all night, that’s when it gets frustrating.”

It’s not as flashy is a big Dion Phaneuf hit, but Lidstrom can drive opponents crazy by making them chase the puck all night.

“He can,” Brown said. “He’s good with his stick. He’s incredibly smart on the ice and that’s tough to play against.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nick+lidstrom

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