Kukla's Korner

Weekend (lack of) Planning

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Back to a semi-regular rate of posting tomorrow. For now, I'm mystified. I get it. I know the Wings are taking it slowly, that keeping Hasek out of back-to-back games was the plan and they're sticking to it. I know that, and I see it. But playing Hasek against St. Louis last Friday, sitting him against Bubba; then playing him against Minnesota, and sitting against the Sharks? Am I the only one who can't wrap his head around this? I guess I'm slow, or overly critical. The difference between the Wild and Sharks isn't as great as that between St. Louis and Bubba, but a little advance scouting would have told us Minnesota was more likely to get off only 20 shots, while San Jose has an offense a bit tougher to contain. Also, playing the second game in two nights...doesn't it make sense to have your number 1 going to offset tired legs from the rest of the team? Yes, the Hasek situation is a touchy one; best approached with caution. I'm not going to argue with Mike Babcock's refusal, at this point, to use him relatively sparingly. But, it seems to me that in a span of one week the Wings played arguably the two best teams in the West hamstrung from the opening faceoffs.

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Lewis Works On Kessel’s Complete Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Well, what is Dave Lewis doing with Phil "The Thrill" Kessel? Other than, you know, cutting back his ice time in lockstep with Metro Boston real estate prices? Kessel arrived in September looking like a quick-build McMansion with a huge spoked-B painted on the front door. Nowadays, he's a basement-level studio condo, microwave tastefully mounted in the bathroom, with a one-window view up to the sidewalk. Tricky sell, that. "I want him to be a complete player," Lewis explained Thursday night, after Kessel jumped off the bench for the shootout against the Lightning and spiked the winner to the top right corner on Marc Denis, "in all areas of the arena."
more (reg. req.)...plus much talk on the NHL...

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Too Close

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Daily Southtown,

Two millimeters. That's how close a skate blade came to the carotid artery of Blackhawks forward Rene Bourque when his neck was cut during a game Nov. 12. That may have been the difference between life and death for the native of Alberta, who turns 25 next Sunday. "I thought I was done for a couple minutes," Bourque said this week.
continued

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Big Game In Red Square

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

Making a hockey rink in a football stadium was a huge undertaking here, but how about ice in Red Square? That's the grandiose plan for next Saturday, having a group of retired NHLers -- Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri, Peter Stastny, Billy Smith, Mats Naslund -- and the winningest coach of all-time, Scotty Bowman, behind their bench, playing an array of former Russian greats, and reportedly some like Alex Mogilny, who's on long-term disability in New Jersey with a bad hip.
continued

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Players Adjusting To Hitchcock Style

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

Columbus centre Sergei Fedorov has played for Scotty Bowman in Detroit and now for Hitchcock. He likes what he sees so far. "Scotty was more mental and Hitch is more about details. He shows you how he wants you to play. That's the biggest difference," said Fedorov. "For me, it's very easy communicating with Hitch. What he preaches is what I've already gone through (in Detroit)."
more on Hitchcock...

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Tallon Under Fire

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Greg Couch of the Chicago Sun-Times,

...If Savard fits Tallon's philosophy now, then why didn't he fit it as well as Yawney did in July 2005? Anyway, let's do a rundown: Tallon has acknowledged he brought in the wrong players last season and now apparently is saying he hired the wrong coach, too. The team this season, he said, is more talented than the record shows. So if Savard can't coach them to the playoffs, then will it be because he had the wrong philosophy or because the players did? It'll be interesting to watch, if only we could. One more thing: If you think I'm calling for Tallon to be fired, which would seem logical, know that such an idea scares me to death. Why? Brachiosaurus Bob still is hovering. If he takes over again, things could get really messed up.
more

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All Numbers & Facts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Elias Sports Bureau at ESPN,

Fredrik Norrena stopped all 21 Edmonton shots on goal to record his first NHL shutout as the Blue Jackets beat the Oilers 4-0. Norrena, who turned 33 years old on Wednesday, was playing in only his eighth NHL game, having spent his entire pro career in Europe prior to this season. No goaltender in Norrena's lifetime has recorded his first shutout at age 33 (or older). The last to do so was the Bruins' Ross Brooks (35) on Feb. 11, 1973.
more of these types of facts from last night's action...

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Jagr Avoiding Shootouts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

"I have to be honest with myself and with Tom [Renney] and admit that my shot just isn't where it needs to be for me to think I give my team the best chance in a shootout," Jagr told The Post yesterday. "It's not just the shot, either; the power is not there in my shoulder for me to be able to stickhandle and make a strong move without losing the puck. "The goalies in this league are just too good to try and beat without being able to deke. Even if I'm healthy, though, maybe breakaways aren't the best part of my game."
more

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Some Teams Are Beginning To Get It

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,

Watching highlights of TSN's new initiative to get closer to the action, one can't help but think the NHL and its franchises -- some of them, anyway -- are finally starting to get it. They understand the fans want to be let in: More access, more interviews, more insight, more personality. Watching play-by-play broadcaster Chris Cuthbert interview Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff Friday from between the benches, where Cuthbert was allowed to call a game for the first time, was spectacularly similar to the sideline talks NFL followers have enjoyed for years.
read on

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Bad Ice- In One End

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

Not only are the hockey gods conspiring against the Toronto Maple Leafs these days, but so are the Zamboni drivers. According to Leafs coach Paul Maurice, his club was at a disadvantage after the Zambonis scraped the Bell Centre ice prior to the shootout in the Montreal Canadiens' 4-3 victory on Saturday evening.... "The ice wasn't great and it was nice of them to leave a little bit more on our shooting end than on their shooting end in the shootout — for the second time," said Maurice, meaning that the scrape in the Toronto zone was wider and better for the Montreal shooters.
read on

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