Kukla's Korner

The Latest On Trades & Free Agents

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Spector’s Hockey,

Updates on Sergei Zubov, Anton Babchuk, Tuomo Ruutu and Antero Niittymaki, and the latest on the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Javier Serna reports Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford hopes to re-sign RFA forward Tuomto Ruutu to a two-or-three year contract, which could be announced as early as today, but he’s less hopeful of re-signing Anton Babchuk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babchuk doesn’t have arbitration rights so if Rutherford cannot get Babchuk under contract in the coming weeks the blueliner may very well be dealt, provided he doesn’t head to the KHL for more money.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

What’s Going On With Marty Biron?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,

We’ve hardly been kind to Martin Biron in this forum.

We’ve allowed our bitterness towards his former team wipe out any objectivity we might display in our little corner of the Internet.

But despite our bias against the Flyers, we have to admit, he’s an above average goaltender. We’ll even say he’s a good goaltender.

He’s not someone who will help you win a Stanley Cup. The past two seasons have established that. But he’s definitely good enough to get you to the playoffs and he can even win a round or two. You could do far worse than having Martin Biron in between the pipes.

That’s what makes his continued unemployment a little bit startling to us.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marty+biron

Watch The Sakic Press Conference

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club has scheduled a press conference, which will take place on Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. MT.

At this time, Avalanche captain Joe Sakic will make a special announcement regarding his hockey career.

ColoradoAvalanche.com will provide a live video stream of the press conference, so be sure to check back on Thursday.

added 2:05pm, The NHL Network will also be broadcasting the press conference.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joe+sakic

Play Hockey In Sault Ste. Marie & Get Married Too

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ben Leeson of the Sault Star,

Mark Matier is one of only nine players to skate for the Soo Greyhounds throughout an incredible run that included Ontario Hockey League championships in 1991 and 1992 and a Memorial Cup in 1993.

But he’s one of many players who found much more more than success in Sault Ste. Marie.

He also found love, marrying Sault native Stacey Fleming….

Craig Hartsburg, a Stratford, Ont. native and a Greyhounds defenceman from 1975 to 1978, went on to a play 10 seasons in the NHL. But Hartsburg, who married Sault native Peggy Hill, maintains a home in nearby Echo Bay, has twice served as head coach for the Hounds and has a minority stake in the major junior club.

Detroit-born goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, a Hound from 1980 to 1983, also returned to the Sault following his 17-year NHL career, as part owner and head coach of the Hounds during the 2002-03 season.

Later, several Mark’s contemporaries, including Kevin Hodson (born in Winnipeg), Aaron Gavey (Sudbury), Jeff Toms (Swift Current, Sask.), Denny Lambert (Wawa) and Jeremy Stevenson (San Bernardino, Calif.), married Sault women and adopted the city as their home.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Erik Johnson Returning To Form

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,

Playing before an overflow crowd of more than 1,000 at St. Louis Mills on Wednesday at the team’s pro orientation camp, (Erik) Johnson gave fans a sneak preview of what they can look forward to in 2009-10.

He’s bigger and stronger, having added 10 pounds onto his 6-foot-4 frame. So now he’s back on the ice with rookies, prospects and tryout hopefuls trying to regain the form that made him the first overall pick in the 2006 draft.

“It’s part of my journey I guess, to hopefully becoming an elite NHL player and an elite NHL defenseman,” Johnson said. “I’m having a lot of fun. Not that I can say I expected to be back here, but I feel fortunate to be back here, being a leader and a mentor to some of the younger guys and also getting some quality ice time for myself.”

He also had no negatives to report on his surgically repaired right knee following Wednesday’s practice session.


Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: erik+johnson

Burks Always On

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,

He will hang up the “Gone Fishing” sign and head for a remote part of B.C. next week with some of his hockey pals, but if you know Brian Burke, you can bet he is never completely closed for business.

It’s been an active and productive week for the Maple Leafs general manager and, by anyone’s measure, no team has done more to re-tool its roster.

By virtue of their stoutly bolstered defence, the Leafs are already a markedly different team in both style and substance. Add the acquisition of free-agent goaltender Jonas Gustavsson this week and the Leafs shouldn’t be anywhere near the liability they were in their own end this past season.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+burke

Tavares Now The Islanders Focal Point

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Martin of the NY Post,

John Tavares said all the right things yesterday.

When asked if he could do for the Islanders what Sidney Crosby did for the Penguins, the Islanders’ recent first-overall pick said: “I want to be part of the team. It’s not just about me.”

He’s got a point, but the fact is, the Islanders got more than 10,000 fans to show up at the Nassau Coliseum to watch him get drafted—on TV—and had several hundred more come yesterday to his introductory press conference.

Tavares, who turns 19 in September, will skate for the first time with his new team tomorrow during minicamp and will be the focal point from the first game of the season on.

“We’ve got guys around him who will help him,” general manager Garth Snow said. “Whether it’s on the ice or off the ice.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+tavares

Another Bidder For Phoenix

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Paul Waldie of the Globe and Mail,

The NHL has been approached by another potential bidder for the Phoenix Coyotes who wants to keep the club in Arizona.

The NHL disclosed the new bid in a court filing yesterday but did not provide any details.

“The League has been informed that this bidder will submit an application for transfer of ownership, but does not know whether the prospective purchaser will submit a definitive bid by July 24,” the NHL said in the filing in the Arizona bankruptcy court.


Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Future Hall Of Famer Joe Sakic To Retire

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

I like to write a career perspective when future Hall of Famers retire.  Today Joe Sakic is expected to announce his retirement in a press conference in Denver. This retirement is one that I feel close to because I grew up near Joe Sakic and first met him (though I doubt he would remember) when I was a four or five year old child and Sakic was a slightly older child starring in Burnaby Minor Hockey.

Joe Sakic was born on July 7, 1969 in Burnaby, British Columbia.  He grew up playing in the Burnaby Minor Hockey Program.  He was first noticed by scouts in 1985/86 playing for the Burnaby Selects of the BC Amateur Hockey Association when he scored 156 points in 80 games.  This was good enough to get him a three game tryout with the Lethbridge Broncos of the WHL.  Lethbridge moved to Swift Current the next season and this is where Sakic became a junior star.  In his first full junior season, Sakic scored 133 points in 72 games and was named to the WHL East Second Team All Star, WHL East Rookie of the Year and WHL East Player of the Year.  This was good enough to get him selected by the Quebec Nordiques 15th overall in the 1987 entry draft.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Iginla Talks Flames

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Peter Zuubrier of CalgaryFlames.com,

“It’s very exciting to get Jay (Bouwmeester) to join us… that’s a great defence group that we have, it’s definitely the strength of our club,” said Iginla.

“They’re guys that can play all different ways, move the puck, skate, play defensively, chip in and help out offensively; they’re very well rounded… If you look at our team we have very good defensemen, but they’ll also contribute offensively. You look at some of the top offensive teams in the league and the defence is a big part of it

The bitter taste leftover from the ending of last season seemed to linger briefly for Iginla, who took responsibility as team captain for the coaching turnover.

“It’s always hard as players when there’s a coaching change. We didn’t achieve the results we were hoping for (last season) and the responsibility is definitely on us… We can improve, we need to improve, and we will improve,” said Iginla who is nonetheless anxious to play for his new coaches.

“It’s very exciting. As a player (Brent Sutter) was very successful and coaching at every level he’s been very successful… I’ve talked to Brent and he’s definitely talked about the defensive side of the puck. Starting there and working out… That can be a strength of our team, we want it to be, and we need to get back there, but we also know it can’t end there and we need to do better on both sides.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jarome+iginla

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