Kukla's Korner

Questions For Edmonton

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Robin Brownlee of the Edmonton Sun,

First, is Petr Sykora, who went 3-8 in the face-off circles in Saturday's 2-1 loss to Calgary and is 7-15 on the dot overall in his two games, best used at centre? Second, will MacTavish employ five forwards on his first power play, as he has at times during pre-season, or will that leave the back end vulnerable when facing real NHL rosters? Third, where does right winger Joffrey Lupul fit, and with whom, in a group of offensive-minded forwards who are almost interchangeable in the one through nine spots? From where I sit, the answers, in order, are: yes, probably and on the first line with Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff. All, of course, are subject to the right of review and second thought ... Coach?
more

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The Other Lundqvist

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Star-Telegram,

Rookie center Joel Lundqvist should find his way onto the Stars' roster at some point. But whether Lundqvist is able to win a job in training camp or during the season, he'd love to do it by Dec. 14. That's the date when Dallas hosts the New York Rangers and goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Joel's twin brother. Henrik, a phenomenal rookie last season, also led Sweden to the Olympic gold medal this year and became a media sensation in New York. By contrast, Joel is relatively unknown outside of his native country, where he spent the past six seasons with Frölunda of the Swedish Elite League. Henrik is among People magazine's "100 Most Beautiful People." Joel, his identical twin, is nowhere to be found in the issue.
continued

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Building On The Momentum

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside at ESPN,

A year later, the anticipation returns, but with a little more angst. What does the league do for an encore? How does it maintain the unexpected traction of last season and move forward in a year that might be more important than last? The buzzword for the coming season is upkeep. It comes from executives and players, coaches and GMs. "You don't get in shape and just stop working out," explained New Jersey netminder Martin Brodeur, a member of the NHL's competition committee. "You have to keep at it." Players have to keep learning what is permissible, coaches have to impose schemes that allow their teams to be successful within the new economic and on-ice parameters and referees have to keep the game clean.
read on

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Lamoriello’s Cap Plea Serves As Litmus Test

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the New York Post,

Nothing else quite matters in Devils camp until Lou Lamoriello gets his cap sorted out. If he doesn't win an unlikely victory, allowing him to cross off the $7.1 million Alexander Mogilny-Vladimir Malakhov cap liability crippling him, he'll have to gut his team. Soon. Already, there is spontaneous consideration in Jersey's "limited-trade contract" contingent of which destinations would be acceptable if Lamoriello loses his case. "If the league does it for one team, it will have to do if for everybody," Flyer GM Bobby Clarke said of the expected Devils request to be forgiven $3.5 million in cap liability because of Mogilny's chronic hip ailment.
read on (reg. req.)

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Is He Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I normally do not post game recaps of individual games, but at times I do reference something that happened in the game... from the AP via TSN,

Bill Guerin scored his first four goals of the pre-season and added an assist to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Atlanta Thrashers 5-3 on Sunday night. "Just one of those nights when things went in,'' Guerin said. ''If you watch the game I don't do much of the puck-handling, I just try to get open and go to the net."
If Guerin can recapture his scoring touch, what a huge lift that would be for the Blues.

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Fantasy- Hidden Gems

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Cullen at TSN,

While the early round picks are the glamourous names, often the difference-makers in your draft will come from the players that have breakout seasons. Not only that, but being ahead of the curve on these players makes it all the more rewarding when they turn into major components of your team. There are three separate categories we'll cover as we look for candidates to break on through to the other side.
continued

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Top 50 Prospects

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Evgeni Malkin tops Hockey’s Future’s Fall 2006 Top 50 prospects list: 8. Alexander Semin, LW – Washington Capitals Due to a playing dispute resulting from military obligations to his home country and the NHL lockout, Alexander Semin spent the last two seasons playing in the Russian Super League after an impressive rookie season with the Washington Capitals in 2003-04. His pure offensive talents from the left wing position make him an extremely valuable commodity to any NHL organization. With Ovechkin already holding down the left side on the first line, the presence of Semin on the second line provides immediate scoring depth for the organization. Returning to North America from Russia may require a slight adjustment from Semin, but it is only a matter of time before he, Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Eric Fehr anchor the offense for a new and young Capitals team.
more

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Just In Case You Wanted To Know

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Winnipeg Sun,

Over the last 100 or so years, this province has produced more than its fair share of hockey stars. In fact, there are 18 people in the Hockey Hall of Fame who were born in Manitoba, and there are others who are on their way. So whittling it down to a top-10 list was no easy task, but a challenge we were willing to undertake. 5. Andy Bathgate, C, Winnipeg Won the Hart Trophy in 1959 with the New York Rangers and had 973 career points on 349 goals and 624 assists while playing with Toronto, Detroit, the Rangers and Pittsburgh. He also won one Stanley Cup with Toronto in 1964 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978.
read on...some are old school, some names you may be familiar with...

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The New Blues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The Blues haven't broken the bank, gone all Daniel Snyder and everything. But new owner Dave Checketts has put some checks back in the CheckettsDome, so to speak. New president John Davidson didn't go pre-fab; he purchased concrete and laid footing. He collected respected pieces such as Bill Guerin, Martin Rucinsky, Radek Dvorak, Dan Hinote, Jay McKee and Manny Legace. This is still a no-frills, Blues-collar team. But it is one with substantially more street credit. In places where it was uncertain and untested, it is professional and recognizable. In places it was painfully thin, it is now creditable and deep. The Blues don't look like a Stanley Cup contender, but they look like a playoff-caliber club and Davidson and general manager Larry Pleau engineered the makeover without raiding the pantry.
more

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Visors Need To Be Mandatory

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Petersburg Times,

Considering how scary it looked when Nikita Alexeev took a stick blade to his right eye Friday in Detroit, the outcome could not have been much better. The Lightning right wing has an abrasion of the cornea, general manager Jay Feaster said Saturday, and is expected to be out just seven to 10 days. "It is not believed to be serious," Feaster said.... It is about time the use of visors became mandatory, Feaster said, and the NHL and players association should have made it part of the new collective bargaining agreement. "Every guy in the NHL should be wearing one," Feaster said. "I think it is a serious omission in this collective bargaining agreement. It seems to me this was the perfect opportunity as a league to say that players coming into the league, starting with the new CBA, will have to wear them."
read on

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