Kukla's Korner

Is Vokoun A Proven Goaltender?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jay Feaster at The Hockey News,

Shortly after the 2006-07 season ended in another first-round playoff exit for the Tampa Bay Lightning, I began receiving calls from Predators GM David Poile offering to solve our goaltending problem by trading Tomas Vokoun to us.

Poile had been told to slash payroll and was looking to move high-dollar contracts. He suggested that our cross-state rival, the Florida Panthers, might also be in the hunt for a No. 1 goalie and if we didn’t make the move we could find ourselves facing Vokoun six or eight times a year in our division.

While we had goaltending problems in Tampa at the time, we were not interested in Vokoun. Our pro scouts were not sold on Vokoun’s ability to win a championship and thrive under big-game pressure and his contract was too rich for us, both in real dollars and available cap space.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tomas+vokoun

Nashville Signs Ryan Ellis

Blog: Hockey News Wire By Paul

Nashville, Tenn. (October 19, 2009) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed defenseman Ryan Ellis, the club’s first choice (11th overall) in the 2009 Entry Draft, to a three-year entry-level contract.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | Hockey News Wire | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+ellis

First Look At The AHL

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Like the NHL season, the AHL season is also underway.  The AHL is a high quality league that often produces depth players (and sometimes stars) for the NHL.  It is a high level hockey league and is important to watch to see the next wave of NHL players before they arrive in the NHL.  The early season leader in the AHL is the San Antonio Rampage.  They are the farm club of the Phoenix Coyotes.  They have a 6-1-1 record (one overtime loss) which puts them in first place in the AHL.  They have been the highest scoring team in the league.  Four of the top twelve scorers in the AHL are San Antonio players.  Sean Sullivan leads the way with 10 points.  He is 25 and looks like he may be ready for his NHL debut.  He is a Boston University graduate, who has been rapidly improving in his AHL tenure.  One point behind is Kyle Turris.  Turris is a highly regarded prospect who was the third overall pick in 2007.  He spent last year in the NHL, but did not appear ready for that level of competition.  He may be a future NHL star and is learning to play at a high level against adult competition.  Kevin Porter is the third highest scorer in San Antonio.  He spent last year shuttling between the AHL and NHL and may soon be ready to grad an NHL job permanently.  The final of the four top scorers from San Antonio is Brett MacLean.  He was the Coyotes 2nd round pick in 2007 and has a good chance at a significant NHL career. 

The Phoenix Coyotes have a good pipeline of young players in their system.  This makes their AHL affiliate in San Antonio a top team.  This makes their future look promising, assuming competent ownership takes over the team.  The Coyotes have the talent that they could be a good team for years into the future, but uncertainty in ownership could derail it all before it begins.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“You really can’t control it. If you’re competing against other NHL teams, it’s one thing. If you’re competing against another country paying whatever—you can’t.  If his decision is to go play in Russia, I don’t think we can do anything. There’s only so much money you can pay.”

-Thrashers GM Don Waddell on the possibility of Kovalchuk signing with a team in Russia.  More from Custance on this topic.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: don+waddell, ilya+kovalchuk

Flames Have Time To Tweak Their Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,

The Flames are in the early stages of a stretch with five games—all at home—in 20 days.

That means a golden chance for new head coach Brent Sutter to work on all the details he’s looking for within the system he’s trying to implement.

In fact, it’s like a second training camp, with a twist.

“With the schedule so condensed and so many things going on, to have five (games) in 20 days, where we can practice, it’s valuable,” said centre Craig Conroy. “It’s not so much changing things, it’s getting things down. ‘This is where you’re gonna be. This is what we’re gonna do. This is how we go.’ We’re always learning and that’s the big thing. We’re learning, but it’s starting to become second nature.

“The first eight games, we’ve had a chance to see it. But now it’s going to be more engrained and move forward. This is a great time for us.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Honoring Dan Snyder

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,

Graham Snyder stood inside the arena named after his son and watched the players skate by. The Atlanta Thrashers had made the two-hour bus ride from Buffalo to practice on a sheet of ice Graham worked hard to help build. And he was soaking in the scene.

“It really is an emotional day and a happy day,” Snyder said, watching the Thrashers along with 1,500 fans who packed into the stands to see an NHL practice.

“It’s probably something pretty unique. Not too many teams, I don’t think, would go to these lengths to make sure they are here.”

But the Thrashers never would have missed this.

continued & watch a video of the practice below…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+snyder

How Will Heatley Respond?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Let’s see how San Jose Sharks left winger Dany Heatley handles this delicious new career challenge. With the Sharks’ power play stuck in an early season slump, coach Todd McLellan bumped Heatley down to the No.2 unit for last Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders.

Predictably, the move to reunite last year’s top unit of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Devin Setoguchi paid immediate dividends as the Sharks went an efficient 2-for-3 with the man advantage, with Thornton turning in a virtuoso performance. Heatley, remember, demanded a trade of out Ottawa last season after his role was “diminished” by Senators’ coach Cory Clouston, in part because he was shifted to the second power-play unit.

Since pouting in his new NHL home is not a viable option, Heatley’s patience – and the ability to bite his tongue – will be put to its first test of the new season, as the Sharks’ six-game trip continues tonight in Manhattan, against the streaking New York Rangers.

continue for a few more nhl bits…

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dany+heatley

Shanahan Should Be A Leaf

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

If the Maple Leafs are smart, they might want to get to Brendan Shanahan before the NHL Players’ Association does.

Could Shanahan fix all that ails the Leafs? No, not even close, unless he’s got a mask and some pads lying around his garage that he knows how to use.

But even after 21 seasons, with a lot of miles on his chassis, Shanahan surely could add something as an early-season pickup.

Can’t believe a lot of fans wouldn’t like seeing a boy from Mimico take his last meaningful strides with the team of his boyhood daydreams. It’d be a lot better than organizing tributes for ex-Leafs skating for other teams.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brendan+shanahan

Lucic On LTIR

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Neil Keefe of NESN,

Milan Lucic will have to wait a little longer to make good on the three-year contract extension he recently signed. The Bruins placed Lucic on long-term injured reserve with a broken finger on Sunday and recalled forwards Guillaume Lefebvre, Brad Marchand and Vladimir Sobotka from the Providence Bruins.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: milan+lucic

Kovalchuk Concentrating On Hockey, Not Contract

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

While the Thrashers captain and his team were here Sunday practicing at the Dan Snyder Memorial Arena in honor of their fallen teammate, Kovalchuk’s contract talks were brought up after the skate.

When asked about how the Thrashers were cautiously optimistic he would soon sign a contract extension, the superstar winger answered: “Hopefully. I like it here. And I think they did a lot of good things during the offseason to sign some guys and I feel it’s the best team we’ve ever had. They took some good steps. So we’ll see. My agent is talking to them. I just want to focus on hockey.”...

I asked Kovalchuk about the rumors coming out of Russia, where a few KHL teams are believed to be interested. He essentially dodged the question.

“We’ll see ... I like it here, and hopefully we’ll figure out something,” he said.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+kovalchuck

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