Kukla's Korner

Western Conference Top 8 Complete

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Western Conference playoff teams are now known. Vancouver needed at least one point last night but lost in regulation and the LA Kings needed two points to keep their slim hopes alive, but both failed. Some jockeying for positioning between the 5-8 spots will be an interesting scenario to follow during the next few days. I imagine Detroit fans will soon be watching a few highlights from years past on VCOE but don't rub it in to the folks there, they have to be feeling quite low knowing the Canucks will not make it to playoffs for the first time since 1999. The East still has a race, with four teams stil trying to lock up the final two spots. This race could go down to the last game of the season, and I can only hope it doesn't go down to a shootout to decide it- the pressure will be directed on a individual instead of it being on the whole team, something I don't like. update 2:51pm, Next Tuesday, April 18th, VCOE will pay off the bet. I am sure many Vancouver hockey fans will enjoy watching Cheli taking a victory skate across the Vancouver ice and will be thrilled at Lidstrom's goal from Center Ice too. image image as of Friday morning, 4/14

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Thornton Has No Chance At MVP

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Mercury News,

Anyone who knows his ice from a hole in the ground knows I'm right. This season, Joe Thornton has been the best team player in hockey, a team sport where team players must think faster and be tougher than in any other team sport. By all rights, that should make Thornton a lock to claim the NHL's most valuable player award, the Hart Memorial Trophy. But the man has no chance. None. Zero. Nada. And while you're at it, you can throw in whatever the Canadian expression is for "zilch."
continued

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A Few Wings May Sign Soon

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mlive,

Andreas Lilja and Chris Chelios were pleasant surprises for a Detroit Red Wings defense beset with injury and illness this season. So it's no surprise that both will more than likely return next season. Wings general manager Ken Holland said Thursday he's "pretty close" to signing Lilja, and Chelios said he also hopes to have a new contract in place before the playoffs. Holland said he's had conversations with Chelios, who signed a one-year deal for $850,000 in July, but has no further meetings planned. "That doesn't mean we can't talk between now and the middle of next week," Holland said. ...Lidstrom has elected to wait until the summer to negotiate a new deal. The club's other unrestricted free agents are Shanahan, Steve Yzerman, Manny Legace, Chris Osgood, Jason Woolley, Cory Cross and Mark Mowers.
read on

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Burke Likes Ducks’ Chances

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Orange County Register,

"I like our chances in the playoffs," Burke said. "That's provided the league continues to be consistent about calling the obstruction penalties. We've got good playoff experience in places, we're a little thin in other places, but I think the style of play that we have will help us." "Randy's an ass-kicker," Burke said approvingly. "Every coach I ever have is going to be one. With the money we pay these guys, I don't think it's too much to ask to challenge them. What I was most impressed with is that even when we were losing, Randy still had this team in the palm of his hand. He's demanded that they work hard. And give them credit, because they have responded."
read on

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AO Hits Five-O

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the AP,

Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin became only the second rookie in NHL history with 50 goals and 100 points when he scored against the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night. Ovechkin scored his 50th goal at 13:01 of the first period with a shot from the top of the left circle. Atlanta goalie Mike Dunham appeared to be screened in front by defenseman Garnet Exelby. Ovechkin picked up his 52nd assist in the second period, setting up a power-play goal for Dainius Zubrus with a perfect cross-ice pass. With his 101st and 102nd points, Ovechkin broke a fifth-place tie with Mario Lemeiux on the rookie list and pulled even with four-place Joe Juneau, who scored 102 in 1992-93. The only rookies to score more points were Selanne, Peter Stastny (109 in 1980-81) and Dale Hawerchuk (103 in 1981-82).

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The Party Has Stopped

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

Calgary — Remember the Red Mile? Well, Calgary police want you to forget it. Forget the post-game revelry during 2004 NHL Stanley Cup playoff run that drew up to 55,000 Calgary Flames hockey fans to the Red Mile, the official unofficial name for 17th Avenue. Forget the stumbling drunks with libations in hand. Forget the breasts being flashed to an ogling crowd. Forget the late night honking and hollering team spirit.
continued image

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Russians Invade Pittsburgh

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Penguins,

Evgeni Mihkeyev and Yaroslav Tretiakov made the long trip from Russia to the United States to watch three Penguins games this week. The two Moscow residents are part of the Penguins Support Crew, which gathers regularly at a sports bar to watch the handful of Penguins games broadcast live on television in Russia every season. “It’s just a sports bar, but our company of people goes there to watch every live Penguins game. There are not so many of them that are broadcast live. There are maybe five, 10 or 15 a year. It depends,” Mihkeyev said. “Right now, we can see a lot of Philadelphia Flyers games, but we don’t like them.”
more

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Wings Dressing 18 For Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Yzerman, Chelios, Lang, Schneider, Datsyuk and Williams all out with lower or upper body injuries. Cap doesn't allow for any more call-ups so, Wings play with 18 tonight. added 3:35pm, Yzerman and Chelios are more of a resting mode, Williams a few bumps and bruises and Lang and Schneider hope to play on Saturday, maybe Datsyuk too. added 3:45pm, Same information from the Detroit News...

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Disappointed In Atlanta

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Barry Melrose of ESPN,

A few months ago, we thought Thrashers GM Don Waddell was nuts, pulling a Knute Rockne and predicting that Atlanta would make the playoffs. The Thrashers went on to play themselves into a postseason spot, but then, they hit a wall. Now, they have dropped out of the playoff picture. The only way Waddell's prediction will come true is if the team wins its four games and gets a few favors from the teams above them in the standings. I don't know why this happened to the Thrashers. Everyone was competing, players like Marc Savard and Kovalchuk were storming up the scoring list and the team overcame huge goaltending woes. Now, for all intents and purposes, they are out of the playoffs. There's no reason for it. They proved they were a good team. It's one of my big disappointments over the past few weeks.
more...inlcuding the "good" Yzerman & the "ugly" Nashville...

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Playing The Percentages With Foppa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Delaware County Times,

Peter Forsberg will play for the Flyers in the playoffs, even if it takes 11 yards of adhesive tape, all-night whirlpools, prescriptions, pills and prayers. If he is 100 percent healthy, he’ll play. If he is 90 percent healthy, he’ll play. Eighty? Seventy? Sixty? Half-and-half? He’ll play. "If he’s 40 percent," Ken Hitchcock bid Wednesday, after an optional Flyers workout at the Skate Zone, "he’ll play." So Flyers fans have 40. Do they hear 39?
contiued

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