Kukla's Korner

Eastern Coaches Square Off

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Lindy Ruff and Peter Laviolette held a conference call today to answer a few questions about their team and the upcoming series.

Q. The first couple rounds, the Sabres may have been believed to be or been playing the underdog role. Going in against the Hurricanes, I know you did finish with fewer points, albeit maybe two points. Do you think that underdog role has now been shed from the team? LINDY RUFF: I think it has. I think when you get down to the final four, and you've won two series, you've got two teams that both deserve to be there. I don't believe that you could call either one an underdog. I believe one team is going to get the job done now and one isn't. Q. Have your boys made you go out and get the white bathrobes, the shower sandals that are all the rage in the Triangle now? PETER LAVIOLETTE: It's pretty big here. The hair is God-given. The bathrobe, you get to pick the gifts for Christmas from the team. There was a barbecue set, the 'Canes cooler, 'Canes luggage. He saw the bathrobe, ordered it up. Had the 'Canes logo. The staff went out and sewed No. 22 on it. All of a sudden it's the hit of the Triangle, even getting bigger than that. You know what, he's a terrific person, liked by everybody on the team. He's just got a great personality.
Read the rest in the comment section of this post. It is long but I am sure fans of both teams want as much information as they can get from their head coach.

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Looking Towards Early July

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Random and idle thoughts as the National Hockey League post-mortem season shifts into high gear: Wade Redden's comment that he may or may not be back with the Ottawa Senators flies against the conventional wisdom as it relates to this summer's impressive unrestricted free-agent crop. The thinking, from people both sides of the negotiating fence — agents and general managers — is that the most attractive of the free agents are also the least likely to move elsewhere. That has long been the case in the NHL, where proven stars often give their current teams a home-town discount, simply because they are settled where they are and given their druthers, would rather not pick up house and home to chase the biggest dollars somewhere else in the league.
continued...more free agents mentioned...

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No Longer ‘Weight’ing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via MSNBC,

Doug Weight essentially had his pick of teams. With unrestricted free agency looming at the end of the season and the St. Louis Blues mired at the bottom of the NHL, he was one of the hottest commodities in the league. "It was a huge lift for us, in terms of credibility,'' Carolina center Kevyn Adams said Tuesday. "We seemed to be under the radar to some extent, so when Doug Weight, with the career he's had, looks at every team in the league and picks here, it really says something.'' Weight's decision looks even better now, with the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference final. The opener of the best-of-seven series against the Buffalo Sabres is Saturday. This is the first time in his 15-year career that Weight has reached the third round of the playoffs.
read on

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Delayed Live Blogging

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Buccigross of ESPN,

OLN has been showing some late-night feeds from the CBC, which has been a real treat this postseason. Is there a better play-by-play man than Jim Hughson right now? However, on Sunday, OLN has its own broadcast team from San Jose for Game 5 between the Sharks and Oilers. I'm microwaving a chicken pot pie as the first period is about to begin. If I would give one health tip, and I've called in sick once in my 17 years in the television business, it would be to shove as much saturated fat into your mouth as possible as close to bed time as possible. It has worked for me. First Period Opening faceoff: Joe Thornton against Ryan Smyth. Thornton wins the faceoff. He's 3-for-98 on faceoffs in the series. At least, it seems that way. Before this series, we gave Edmonton a chance because of its success with faceoffs.
continued

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Ducks Fit In

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Johnson, special to ESPN,

Gotta admit, there's something ingratiating about those Ducks. Something fun and fresh and improbable that actually fits into this My NHL propaganda the suits on Fifth Avenue have been spewing since the game emerged from the dark abyss of its yearlong civil war.
continued

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Snider & Clarke Probably Have Had Enough

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Philadelphia Flyers,

Flyers goaltender Antero Niittymaki suffered a left groin strain while playing for Team Finland at the World Championships in Latvia on Monday. Below is an update on his condition by Flyers Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach, Jim McCrossin on Tuesday morning. Q: How is Antero Niittymaki? McCrossin: “I spoke with Antero this morning. He had an MRI done on his left groin and we received the report from the Finnish physician. The report shows that Niitty has a four-centimeter tear of his abductor longus muscle, a left groin strain.
continued

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Oilers Ready To Advance

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Cp via Sportnet,

"The fourth win is always the hardest. We have to come prepared," said Oilers defenceman Chris Pronger. "They are going to bring their best game. They battled back hard. There's no quit in that team. We've got to make sure we're focused and prepared. It's going to be a battle in Game 6." ...Sharks defenceman Kyle McLaren said they need to get their mojo back. "For some reason, we can't build any momentum after we score a goal or make a penalty kill," he said. "We have to talk about what went wrong and what went right. We have to be confident, be ready to play, block the distractions." The Sharks are an anemic 2-for-27 with the man advantage. "They are pressuring us up the ice and we're coasting back for pucks," said Sharks coach Ron Wilson.
more

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Hasek Wants To Return

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Two days after the Senators were eliminated from the playoffs, Hasek actually stood before the media at Scotiabank Place and indicated he'd like to return to Ottawa next season. And, yes, he was serious. While Hasek said he would consult with his family and captain Daniel Alfredsson before making a decision on what he'll do next season, all the 41-year-old goalie really needs to do is talk to coach Bryan Murray, who will tell Hasek his time in Ottawa is up. "I don't know what was said (by Hasek) because I haven't heard it, but I think it's time to move on (from Hasek)," Murray said at his wrap-up news conference yesterday.
more...let the Dom returns to Detroit talk begin...

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Your Worst Nightmare

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the London Free Press,

Here's the scenario: It's overtime in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final and the defensive faceoff man's hockey stick snaps. The attacking team gains possession of the puck, spots a scoring chance around the stickless opponent and scores to win it all. Not as the result of strategic brilliance. Not through exceptional individual effort. Mainly as the result of a broken stick.
continued

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Local Ratings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Some local ratings for Sharks, Ducks and Avs. I found this today at Inside Bay Area...

Last week, Game 2 of the Sharks-Oilers could be seen only on OLN in the Bay Area on Monday, and it drew a 2.1 rating. On Wednesday, Game 3 (the triple-overtime game) was also an OLN exclusive, and the rating improved to 3.0. That's much better than in the Los Angeles market, where Game 3 of Anaheim Mighty Ducks' sweep over Colorado on OLN got a dismal 0.3 — compared to 5.7 in Denver and 0.9 in the Bay Area. As Larry Stewart wrote in the Los Angeles Times: "The NHL, still reeling from last season's lockout, should be concerned with exposure above all else. To award OLN so much exclusivity during the playoffs has proven to be a big mistake."

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