Kukla's Korner

Power Struggle

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

Maple Leafs GM John Ferguson and coach Pat Quinn reportedly spent the first day of their off-season locked in a political power struggle for the hearts and minds of the board of directors of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Sources have said that Quinn, whose future as coach of the team is the subject of considerable speculation, has gone on the offensive and is rallying to keep his job
continued

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Another Dear Gary

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

This time Bill from A2Y sends a letter to Bettman.

Memorandum From: Abel to Yzerman To: Gary Bettman Subj: PROMOTING THE NHL PLAYOFFS Gary, we’re close and you know how much I respect everything you’ve done for the league; the good will you’ve fostered, the lockout you allowed to fester, the shootout, the unbalanced schedule, the insistence that certain teams bred for the Eastern Conference remain in the West and get continually shafted by time zone changes that would render you fetal. So, when I make this recommendation understand I do so from one pal to another. You want to promote your game, your postseason…bring it into the psyche of the American sports fan, steal a few fence sitters away from roundy, roundy, left turn, left turn?
continued

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Exit Stage Left

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

At the moment when they expected to need him most, at the time when he was supposed to be a looming, guiding, confidence-instilling presence for a young team, he never seemed so far away as he did yesterday, sent off the ice, put out of sight, when the real work began. "He skated early, he stayed for (practice) for a little bit and I told him I preferred if we just had the two goaltenders out there for the core of the practice," said Murray, "so after he had a few shots, he left the ice." When pressed, Murray said not to read too much into the situation. This was not a gesture borne out of frustration with Hasek's lingering injury problem, just one of pragmatism. There is no time left now for leisurely tours of the ice.
read on

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Carpe Diem

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Buffalo News,

The Sabres have four rookies on their roster, and they all play important roles. As the Sabres prepare for their first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers, the veterans who have been waiting on the postseason sidelines are making sure to tell the new guys not to take a time like this for granted. "There's 30 teams that want the same thing, and every year half those teams aren't in the playoffs," Sabres defenseman Jay McKee said. "It's not an easy road. It's not cut and dry that you're going to be there every year."
more

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Babcock On The Other Side Now

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

Mike Babcock knows. "Nobody knows better than me,'' he said. "I coached a seventh seed to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.'' Now the skate is on the other foot for the Detroit Red Wings coach. Babcock not only took the Anaheim Ducks to Game 7 of the final in 2003, the team he beat in the first round was the Detroit Red Wings. Swept the series.
continued

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Conference Quarterfinal Coverage

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

In case you missed it, NHL.com has a great breakdown on every series. Very well done with tons of facts, quotes and predictions.

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Amonte Starting Fresh

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Calgary Sun,

It's a fresh sheet of ice. The playoffs are another chance for Tony Amonte to finally become a Stanley Cup champion. This year, they're also a shot at redemption. They're a chance to wipe away the most disappointing offensive season of his career. "Absolutely, I feel that way," the Calgary Flames forward said. "Everything that happened in the regular season is washed out when the playoff starts.
continued

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Everyone Is Writing Us Off

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Times,

The Rangers finished the regular season with a team meeting Tuesday night and started postseason preparations with another meeting Wednesday. Playoff veterans took the floor and shared success stories with playoff rookies. The Rangers, who in one night fell from first to third place in the division, and from third to sixth place in the Eastern Conference, are trying to convince themselves that they fit best in this position. "We were underdogs from the beginning and we are again," forward Jed Ortmeyer said. "Everyone is writing us off already."
more added 8:56am, from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
An even bigger concern, however, is the shrinkage in penalty calls away from the puck the last couple of weeks. Hooking the puck-carrier remains forbidden, but interference, grabbing and the pounding of players without the puck has returned to the landscape. The Rangers were built for the new-age NHL and, as revealed in the latter stages of the season, need unobstructed lanes in which to weave magic in their puck-possession game. They are not a team that does well without the puck or battling for it. They are not a team that does well playing a traditional north-south, go-to-the-net game. Unfortunately for Broadway's team, teams that cannot emerge from the trenches tend to suffer painful (albeit quick) deaths in the tournament. It is too late for the Rangers to reinvent themselves. They must dance with who brought them.
more (reg. req.)

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Stanley Arrives In London

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

The hefty cylinder of battle-worn silver, familiar to any Canadian old enough to wear a pair of skates, was hoisted atop a pillar across the Thames from Big Ben at one point yesterday, to give the guy carrying it a bit of a rest. "What in heavens is going on?" one older Englishman, visiting from the north for the day, asked as a number of TV cameras and a scrum of hangers-on formed to gaze at the bottom-heavy cup. "It's Antiques Road Show," his wife was quick to answer. "They do this sort of thing all the time."
continued

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Vyborny Agrees To Contract

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Vyborny, the team’s leading scorer this season and the first player in Blue Jackets history to register three consecutive 20-goal seasons, has agreed to terms on a new contract, he said last night. "I’m happy," Vyborny said. "It’s what I wanted — to stay here — and it’s good we finally got it done." Vyborny, 31, was a potential unrestricted free agent. Although terms were not disclosed, the contract is for two years and believed to be worth $2 million to $2.4 million per season. He made $1.14 million in 2005-06.
read on

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