Kukla's Korner

“Old School”- Dear Jean

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Montreal Gazette,

There are hundreds of them, in frames, drawers, scrapbooks and shoeboxes across Canada and far beyond, cherished almost as family heirlooms. They are the cards, letters and autographed photos from the pen of Jean Beliveau, who has answered every piece of fan mail - every one - since his first game for the Canadiens, a 19-year-old junior in 1950, who had nine shots on goal and was selected first star in his National Hockey League debut. The mail keeps coming today, even 35 years after hockey's grandest ambassador played his final NHL game. It arrives at the Bell Centre from maybe a dozen countries, and unfailingly, it is pulled from the satchel of Beliveau's Longueuil mailman, who must have the best job security at Canada Post.
continued

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Will The NHL Ever Return To Winnipeg

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ted Wyman at the Winnipeg Sun,

We can safely say that our downtown hockey arena is good enough to house an NHL team. No less of authorities than Wayne Gretzky, Cliff Fletcher, Shane Doan and Jeremy Roenick said so last week. Those four hockey luminaries also like the odds of Winnipeg someday getting a team to replace the dear, departed Jets. The key word is someday. It is simply too soon to say if and when NHL hockey will ever return to River City, although there is clearly consumer interest to go along with a more-than-adequate facility and new and improved economics in the league.
continued

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The Perfect Backup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,

Brent Johnson doesn't recall exactly what turned his game around last season, but it's easy to pinpoint when the transformation occurred. Johnson, the Washington Capitals' backup goaltender, went 4-9 with a 4.16 goals against average and a .876 save percentage before the Olympic break. He was 5-3-1 with a 2.40 goals against and .940 percentage after the two-week hiatus. "We talked in February, right after the Olympics," Capitals goaltending coach Dave Prior said Friday. "Brent recognized he was at a critical point in his career. He knew it was time to get it done, or he would be in the same boat again in the offseason, trying to convince some team that he could be a number two goalie."
continued (reg. req.)...and this note too...
Left wing Alex Ovechkin returned to practice Friday after missing Thursday's skate with an undisclosed minor injury. He did play against the Penguins.

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Oduya Impresses Devils

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Post,

The Devils have done it again, unearthing just what they need from nowhere for nothing. This time, they've found a rare longshot - unsung Johnny Oduya, a black Swede. They're desperate for defensemen, and Stockholm native Oduya has impressed everyone with his skating agility, poise and sensible shooting. Coach Claude Julien has been impressed. "He's played well since Day 1," Julien said. "He skates so well, carries the puck out, has such mobility. These are the types of players who seem to excel now." Oduya is getting his chance on the skill he's demonstrating, not because the NHL's diversity program will be interested in his story. "My dad's from Kenya and came to Sweden and met my mom in the '70s," said Oduya, who will turn 25 Oct. 1.
more (reg. req.)

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Tuomo Ruutu Suffers Knee Injury

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Chicago Blackhawks,

Blackhawks winger Tuomo Ruutu injured his left knee after taking a hit from Blue Jackets defenseman Rostislav Klesla midway through the 3rd period of Chicago's 5-2 win Friday night in Columbus. Blackhawks coach Trent Yawney could not specifiy the extent of Ruutu's injury until the club's medical staff examines him Saturday morning in Chicago. "It was a real questionable hit that I'm sure the league will review, and I've got my fingers crossed everything will be OK," Yawney told chicagoblackhawks.com after the game. Klesla was called for clipping and given a 5 minute major plus another 5 minute major for fighting when Hawk defenseman Duncan Keith jumped in to deliver some blows in defense of his teammate. Keith was ejected from the game after being slapped with a 2 minute instigator penalty, plus 2 minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, 5 minutes for fighting and a 10 minute game misconduct.
continued update 5:04pm, via TSN,
Chicago Blackhawks forward Tuomo Ruutu will be sidelined at least four weeks after suffering a grade II sprain of his left knee Friday night against Columbus.

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Everything New Is Old Again

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from NHL.com's Oilers preview:

Chris Pronger is gone, so is Mike Peca, Jaroslav Spacek, Sergei Samsonov, Georges Laraque, Ty Conklin, Radek Dvorak, Dick Tarnstrom and Rem Murray. So, the Edmonton Oilers will fall back into the pack the season after contesting the 2006 Stanley Cup Final? A lot of hockey savants think so, but Oilers GM Kevin Lowe isn't one of them. "I don't think this summer has been much different than previous years," Lowe said. "You always have to target the guys that you expect will defend, the ones who will score, the ones that provide toughness and the ones that provide leadership and experience. You factor all those things in and then you seek to fill needs. "I don't know if that has changed much as a result of last year's new collective-bargaining agreement with its emphasis on cost certainty. There may be more turnover in rosters now, but if you look at the Oilers of the 1980s, there was always a fair amount of turnover and that was a team that won fairly regularly. I don't see much difference in terms of the new world vs. the old world."
continued

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Key To Success

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Detroit Free Press,

Hasek, who backstopped the Wings to the Cup in 2002, had a good debut, like the Wings expected. His ability to tend the net -- especially in the playoffs -- is a given. It's his readiness to do so that is of concern because groin injuries have prevented Hasek, 41, from finishing his last two NHL seasons. That's why the theme of the season is to keep Hasek healthy. He has a few ideas. "I want to be here 75 minutes before every practice, do my stretches, do massage, do everything that is important," Hasek said. "Do stretches after the game. If I need I can leave the ice early, not too much skating after practice. I think these are small things, which I didn't do in the past. I think this should help keep me healthy."
more on Hasek and a game recap...

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Follow The Leader

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the San Antonio Express,

As his Phoenix Coyotes teammates boarded a nearby elevator after an autograph session earlier this week, Jeremy Roenick stopped to take photographs with straggling fans. A nine-time All-Star in the NHL, Roenick is used to the attention. But this time, the fans weren't the only ones watching. Many of his younger teammates — some of whom will play for the Rampage this season — have wisely taken notice of the veteran center's habits, especially off the ice.
continued

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Broken Foot For Corvo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the CP,

The Ottawa Senators won't have defenceman Joe Corvo in the lineup to start the NHL season after the free-agent acquisition suffered a fractured right foot Friday night against the Buffalo Sabres. Corvo was hit on the skate by a shot from Sabres right-winger Ales Kotalik in the final minutes of the Senators' 4-3 exhibition defeat. He skated to the bench under his own power while play continued and limped off to the dressing room. After the game, the Senators announced the 29-year-old native of Oak Park, Ill., was out indefinitely. It's a big blow for Ottawa, which signed him in the off-season to help replace the void left by the departure of Zdeno Chara to the Boston Bruins.

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Markov Tweaks Knee

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from MLive:

Defenseman Danny Markov, in his first preseason game with the Wings, sustained what the club called a slightly sprained left medial collateral ligament late in the first period of Friday's 5-4 win over Tampa Bay. Markov will have an MRI today, but the team said it doesn't appear to be a serious injury. The rugged defenseman has been injury-prone during his career.
Sprains are better than tears, and Schneider (rotator cuff) and Howard (groin) are nursing injuries already. Markov and Hasek have something in common--every little tweak will be blamed on their propensity for sustaining injuries. continued

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