Kukla's Korner

Gallant Gone- Now What

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Word that coach Gerard Gallant had been fired began spreading among Blue Jackets players around 5 p.m. yesterday. They weren’t pleasant conversations. "Not one player is happy about it," left winger Jody Shelley said. "Gerard deserved a lot more wins than we gave him. He deserved a lot better fate, that’s for sure. "I’ve got a sick feeling about it, I really do, because I love that guy."
continued from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
Gerard Gallant has been fired, and the cold, cruel NHL world is again safe for our beleaguered Blue Jackets. It is the coach’s fault, right? Sure, it is. Dumb as it is, that has always been the pro sports mentality. As they say, you can’t fire the players, so you fire the coach. The underlying hope is that maybe this will temporarily quell the uprising of disgusted season-ticket holders threatening to turn Nationwide Arena into a good place to stretch out and do some quiet reading.
read on

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What’s Next For The Senators

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Spin, the blog of Damien Cox,

If a body is to be tossed overboard in Gallant-like fashion, the prime candidates are GM John Muckler, head coach Bryan Murray and captain Daniel Alfredsson, not necessarily in that order. Muckler is in the trickiest position, having chosen to keep Redden ahead of Zdeno Chara in the off-season and failed to convincingly address the team's goaltending needs. Without Martin Gerber struggling in the nets and without Redden or Chara in the lineup, the Sens are a very vulnerable squad at this moment. During the off-season, Muckler declined to deal Alfredsson, the goat on the season-ending shorthanded goal by Buffalo's Jason Pominville in last spring's playoffs. That now appears to be the last major card Muckler has to play, and it's a tough one.
more

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It Was Like You Were There

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Shawn Roarke, an NHL.com writer, did something a little different the last few days. Shawn blogged (at NHL Connect) about all of the action surrounding the Hockey Hall of Fame inductions. A great job by Shawn and hopefully a sign of things to come.

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Game Day Preview: Wings at Canucks

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Well, well. How times have changed and the bandwagon has filled since the last foray into the CONUS and provincial West. If you don't recall, the Wings flew left October 15th with a reasonable 2-1-1 record, only to head back six days later on the heels of three straight spankings. They beat LA, but slid downhill fast after that getting outscored 12-3 in consecutive losses to Anaheim, San Jose and Edmonton. But, by all accounts, that may have been the trip that turned this early season around. Since that loss at Rexall, Detroit has won 8 straight allowing an average of 1.25 goals/game.

Continue Reading »

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Luc Joins LA Front Office

Blog: KK Hockey By IwoCPO

Another former player turns exec. Via TSN,

Robitaille, hired as the Kings' alternate governor, will focus primarily on the Kings business operations and community relations. "The game of hockey has been extremely good to me and my family, and I have always considered the Kings to be my second family," Robitaille said in a statement. "Even though I'm not on the ice anymore, my goal remains the same - to bring the cup to Los Angeles."
More

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Too Many Shootouts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Daily News,

Shootouts have been great for hockey. It's the right way to end a game in the regular season when regulation and overtime can't decide a winner. It sure beats those boring ties that had become all too common place in the sport. But have shootouts become too much the norm in today's hockey world? I say yes, and it's time to do something about it. Going into last night's action in the National Hockey League, 33 games were decided by a shootout. Average that out, and more than 90 per cent of NHL nights have had at least one game end in a shootout.
continued

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Holmqvist Leads Bolts Charge

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Peterburg Times,

The leg pads, as Johan Holmqvist recalled, came up to about his waist. They were the big, old-fashioned leather kind that got heavier and heavier as they got wet. Holmqvist said he was about 8 when the older boys on his street in his hometown of Tierp, Sweden, decided he would play in net. "They were 15 years old and they would fire tennis balls and rubber pucks at me," he said. "They said I was pretty good and I should try it on the ice." If they only knew. The Lightning goaltender is one of the NHL's hottest with four straight victories, a .917 save percentage in that stretch and a 2.22 goals-against average. He has earned playing time at the expense of struggling No. 1 Marc Denis and, for the short term, removed the backup label with which he started the season.
continued

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Next HOF Candidates?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Interesting little diddy in the Hamilton Spectator this morning, taking a look at each team and speculating which players will be Hall-worthy. Just to pick a couple out of the hat, let's see what they say about, oh...just randomly selecting two....Joe Nieuwendyk and Nicklas Lidstrom.

Joe Nieuwendyk, with three Stanley Cups on three different teams and a sparkling international resume for Canada, should be a lock.
Ok, I don't argue he's a likely and deserving selection. I could live with Nieuwendyk in the Hall. But the mild recommendation for Nick Lidstrom has me a little baffled.
Nicklas Lidstrom will be a candidate for steady, seamless service.
Sounds like a citation for a military Good Conduct Award. Umm, how about 4 (can you argue with 5?) Norris Trophies, 3 Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe and a captaincy? If Nieuwendyk "should be a lock", the frigging Hall should be named after Lidstrom. Is my bias showing again? Sorry about that.

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Mirtle On The West

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

James Mirtle writes this morning that the days of the Wild West are long gone, pointing out the conference lays claim to the seven stingiest defensive teams; along with a playoff race that will turn out to be anything but exciting.

What does that mean? For one thing, if you want the high-flying, high-scoring NHL where anything can happen and anyone will win, tune into the East where even the top teams have seen 60+ goals end up in their net. That's where the playoff-race drama will come — and we're seeing evidence of it already with unlikely teams like Washington and Pittsburgh in postseason positions. The West? It's been a low-scoring, predictable, and almost humdrum season so far. Teams that were high-flying in the past — namely Vancouver, Colorado and Edmonton — have packed up the offence and are struggling to adjust.
I can't believe I'm doing this but...man, what a dork...if the playoffs started today (I really can't help but laugh at myself for typing that on Nov. 14th...if I was a chick I'd insert "LOL" in there)...I'm sorry, I can't do it. Look, my point is that the top eight teams right now are: Anaheim, Detroit, Minnesota, San Jose, Dallas, Bubba, Edmonton and Vancouver. There will be some shifting (Calgary's going to get in. Either Vancouver or Edmonton won't), but that's it folks. Those are your playoff teams and it's not even Thanksgiving. Oh, and Pierre LaCroissant and whoever his puppet GM is can wheel and deal all they want. Bring in Floppa. Whatever. No playoffs for you fat boy.

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

World Cup ‘08? Discussions Today On NHL Participation

Blog: KK Hockey By IwoCPO

Via Scott Burnside at ESPN,

Representatives from the NHL and the Players' Association were scheduled to meet with IIHF president Rene Fasel on Tuesday to discuss the agreement that runs out at the end of the season. But the most pressing need for the NHL and its players is to decide how to proceed with the World Cup of Hockey, the Little Orphan Annie of international competitions.
More

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