Kukla's Korner

Burke’s Priorities

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

Burke would rather deal with the reality of his position than anyone else’s supposition. He isn’t shy about listing his priorities of the next five weeks, which represent his first real opportunity to put his fingerprints all over the Maple Leafs.

Priority 1 is getting an answer from Swedish free agent goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. “We really like him,” Burke said. “If we can’t get him, we’ll have to trade for a backup goalie or sign one in free agency.”

In other words, see you later, Justin Pogge.

Priority 2 is the NHL entry draft on June 26 and 27. The Leafs have the seventh pick but Burke already has been on the record saying he would like to move up and select John Tavares. That’s his public stance. Fat chance. Privately, others insist he wants a top 4 pick—which would get him one of Tavares, Victor Hedman Matt Duchene or Luke Schenn’s brother, Brayden.

more

Update 7:12pm ET: From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail:

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke and his Tampa Bay Lightning counterpart, Brian Lawton, were seen this week deep in discussion in the dining room at the hotel where the NHL was holding its annual prospects combine.

But Burke hasn’t made headway in his desire to move up in the 2009 NHL entry draft. The Leafs have the seventh overall selection. The Lightning has the second pick.

“I’ve knocked on a lot of doors and talked to a lot of other teams, but I’m not optimistic at this point. I hope it will heat up, but right now I haven’t had much success,” said Burke, who said that deals to move up in the draft usually don’t occur until draft day.

“You have to remember that I’ve been able to move up twice in the draft and both times it was done on the draft floor,” Burke added.

continued…

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

This & That

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I will be around most of the day today and tonight I will be attending a welcome reception for the media.

Saturday & Sunday, I will be updating until 3:00pm then head to the Joe for games 1 & 2.  Alanah will posting any updates in my absence.

Don’t forget about the giveaway Tony from The Confluence is having.  A change to win a Blu-ray version of ‘Miracle’ is at stake!

Filed in: KK Website Business, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Wings Fans Talk The Rematch

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Seven Game Series

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler of Game On,

People ask me who I like in the Stanley Cup Finals: Detroit or Pittsburgh?

At the start of the season, I figured the Red Wings would make the Finals and win The Cup. No, this was not based on any complicated scientific analysis, but rather a simple theory: never bet against The Champs.

But that was then and this is now….

The Pretenders have everything in their favor, from a sizzling Sid Crosby-Ev Malkin duet right down to the mature goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury, who’s fronted by a surprisingly solid defense.

Nevertheless, The Maven picks Detroit in seven games.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

SCF - Part 2

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,

Five random things which haven’t changed from last year’s Stanley Cup final:

Detroit’s Depth. Few teams have anything approaching the organization depth the Red Wings have. Players like Darren Helm (above) and Ville Leino could be second-liners on most NHL teams. With Detroit, they’re AHLers. The Red Wings were without players like Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom in the Western Conference final but still managed to dispatch Chicago in five games.

Osgood really that good? A common complaint about Chris Osgood is that he’s just the product of a good defensive system. We’ve made it and we believe it. If you stuck Osgood on the Penguins, they probably don’t get out of the first round. But he doesn’t play on the Penguins. He plays on the Red Wings. And he’s gotten them to the Stanley Cup final for the second consecutive season. Who care’s if he’s part of a system? Especially if it’s a really successful system.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Osgood vs. Fleury

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

When the Stanley Cup final starts tomorrow night in Detroit, though, Osgood and Fleury will be the last two goaltenders standing. And they are tied for first place in the most important category of this year’s playoffs at 12 wins each.

This is the second consecutive showdown in the Cup final for them, with Osgood and the Wings handily winning the best-of-seven series in five games a year ago to win his third Stanley Cup ring. However, Osgood, 36, is regarded as a veteran who has had the good fortune to play for a great team for most of his career while Fleury, 24, is considered another of the great young talents on the star-studded Penguins roster.

“With Chris Osgood, if you look at history, when he’s played on teams that are not so good [St. Louis Blues, New York Islanders], he’s been not so good,” said Mitch Korn, the goaltending coach of the Nashville Predators. “But there is something about playing for the Detroit Red Wings, like playing for the New York Yankees, that makes players elevate their games in response to everyone else.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+osgood, marc-andre+fleury

Bylsma Living A Dream

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press,

Retired high school golf coach Cornie Vantol isn’t surprised that Dan Bylsma has led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup finals in his first season as a head coach.

Vantol remembers Bylsma, who’s from Grand Haven, making an impact in his freshman year on the Muskegon Western Michigan Christian varsity golf team. Scott Bylsma, one of Dan’s older brothers, won the Class D individual state championship in 1980 with a score of 78. Dan took home the individual title four years later with a 72.

“I can understand that he’s a great coach,” said Vantol, who was the golf coach at WMC from 1984 to 2002. “He was a bright student. He knew the golf game very well. He didn’t need much coaching.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+bylsma

Perfect Matchup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

There has been plenty of talk this spring about a widespread conspiracy in the NHL. Word in Philadelphia, Washington and Raleigh, N.C., is that the league wanted the Penguins to get to the Stanley Cup final and did everything it could to make it happen, going so far as to give beneficial calls by the referees to the sport’s poster boy, Sidney Crosby. Well, I’m here this morning to dispute that vigorously. I don’t think the NHL officials are nearly that smart.

They’re just lucky, that’s all.

Lucky to have the incomparable Crosby and Evgeni Malkin under the bright spotlight on hockey’s grandest stage for what figures to be a marvelous two-week run.

And lucky to have the defending champion Detroit Red Wings as the opponents in a blockbuster sequel to last year’s entertaining Cup final.

continued

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

You can make an argument that any one of five current NHL players can stake a claim to being the best player on the planet.

Three – Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk – are finalists for the Hart Trophy as regular-season MVP.

One, Henrik Zetterberg, was named Conn Smythe Trophy winner last spring as the best player in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

One, Sidney Crosby, is the current favourite to win the Conn Smythe this spring.

Four of these players – Malkin, Crosby, Datsyuk and Zetterberg – are participants in this year’s Stanley Cup final, the NHL’s greatest showcase, which begins tomorrow night in Detroit.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Who Stays, Who Goes In San Jose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News via the Monterey Herald,

My conversation with (Doug) Wilson took place earlier this week before we both appeared on a Comcast SportsNet Bay Area television show, the one which features sportswriters of all ages and sizes, proving definitively that none of us are as smooth or smart as host Greg Papa.

For example, on the show in question, Papa was pressing exactly the right issue with Wilson — whether Shark scoring leader Joe Thornton needs to amp up his attitude in the playoffs — when the general manager inadvertently let it slip that Thornton isn’t going anywhere.

Some had wondered if he might be on the trade market.

“I know one thing,” Wilson said. “It bothers Joe every day right now, that we’re still not playing. That’s the kind of guy we want to be in the foxhole with going forward.”

Okay, that’s one guy who’ll definitely be back for 2009-10. What about the rest? What about captain Patrick Marleau? Or goalie Evgeni Nabokov? Any others?

more

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

NHL Talking Global TV Rights

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sports Business International,

The National Hockey League is looking to be the first US league to offer a global rights offering, according to its Chief Operating Officer John Collins.

The NHL drew record crowds, greater television viewers and new sponsors this season through marketing strategies borrowed from the National Football League. The league’s current focus is to attract sponsors that will ultimately lead to more television money, says Collins.

“If we grow our share of the sports advertising marketplace, I think somebody will step up,” Collins said as quoted on Bloomberg. “We can be the first domestic league that looks at a global rights offering.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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