Kukla's Korner

Belfour Looking For Answers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Palm Beach Post,

Although Saturday night's meltdown was a team effort, a large share of the blame had to fall to Belfour, who set the stage for the collapse when he gave up a pair of soft first-period goals. He was pulled early in the second after giving up four goals on nine shots. A team source said last week that the plan was to start Belfour tonight against the Leafs, for whom he played the past three seasons, but that may no longer be the case. "I don't think it gets any easier as you get older," he said Saturday before declining to address the media after Sunday's hourlong workout at Ricoh Coliseum. "You're still angry and disappointed. (You) just try to learn from it, try to take something from it." If things don't improve, there's a chance Belfour could reach the conclusion that former All-Stars such as Brett Hull and Ron Francis reached just about this time last year: that he just doesn't have it anymore.
read on

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Pittsburgh City Officials Can Control Pens Destiny

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Isle of Capri is the best plan for Balsillie and the Penguins. The money all comes from the licensee. But there is more than one way for things to work, and it's up to local politicians to ensure that. What the sale of the team really means is that the owner no longer has any sentimental ties to Pittsburgh. Balsillie didn't become a billionaire businessman by being a bleeding heart. If he doens't get his building, make no mistake, unlike Mario Lemieux -- who was left waiting hat in hand well beyond his promised deadline -- Balsillie will leave town. The ball has been dropped on this issue too many times. Somebody needs to pick it up and run with it before Balsillie does the same thing with the hockey team.
more

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Wings Back Tigers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the blog of Shawn P. Roarke at NHL.com,

Babcock said Saturday morning that he had put a call out to Jim Leyland, the Tiger manager. Babcock has never met the larger-than-life Tiger skipper, but wanted to wish him well. "No, I've never met (Leyland), I just left him a message," Babcock said. "I called him. He's done a heckuva job there. (Tigers GM) Dave Dombroski, too. Mr Ilitch has gotta be proud as hell." The Red Wings flew home after Saturday's game and knew they would find a mob scene downtown as the city eagerly embraces the renaissance of the Tigers. To a man, they were looking forward to the still-rollicking celebrations in the city Saturday night, as well as the tense games to come as the postseason drags deeper into October in Detroit -- a most unlikely scenario at the start of this season. For the Red Wings, like the rest of the city, will be happy to suffer Tigers fever for another three weeks.
more

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Streaming Confusion

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Yahoo has been streaming some NHL games this year, but the problem is you don't know what game(s) they decide to stream until the puck drops. Today, on their NHL homepage, you see the banner below. Confusing with the NHL/Versus logo, since the game is not on Vs. tonight. Is Yahoo streaming the game? If anyone has any information on the schedule for Yahoo, feel free to comment. I will try to get more information on this on Monday. image

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No Trainers- Now What

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Weiner of NHL.com,

"One went down with a bad back caused by carting along the extra bags and the other went down with a cut hand that took him out of the action," Kingston remembered. "The players stepped right in, sharpened the skates, did the things that needed to be done to keep the show on the road. The players were great." Some NHL teams have taken long training camp road trips with the hopes of having players bond quickly. That wasn't a problem for Kingston and his group. The coach didn't have to tell the players to help out until replacements came along. They volunteered to assume the trainer's duties and Kingston thought that brought his team together. "They saw the only way it was going to happen is that everybody had to pitch in and help and the players were excellent at helping out," Kingston said.
read on

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All Alone

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Gallagher of the Province via Canada.com,

The world has essentially crumbled around the best player B.C. has ever produced, the magnificent star entering his 18th season in the NHL surrounded by youngsters brought in by the Avs to get under the cap. Realizing that it's bad for his own morale as well as that of the team -- to say nothing about the colossal kick in the jollies it is to the league's most loyal fans -- Sakic says he's fine with it. But whereas the goal used to be the Stanley Cup every year, now it's a playoff spot. When once he centred one of the top lines in the game no matter whom he played with, Saturday he found himself between Andrew Brunette and Ian Laperriere at the Avs practice facility.
more

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More Defensive

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

"Every coach in this league does his homework," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "There are 14 teams that are disappointed when they don't get [to the playoffs]. They want to know why." Not to worry, the game should remain plenty exciting. It might even be faster because so much emphasis has been placed on speed. But teams that spent half the season last year trying to figure out what worked should be more prepared defensively, which could decrease the number of scoring chances and, thus, the number of goals.
more

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Fascinating Athletes Who Play This Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Jason Reitman, the man who directed the NHL ads for this season, spoke recently with In the Zone...

"My wife Michele is the biggest hockey fan I know. She introduced me to the NHL when we first met and let me know that I'd be an unfit husband unless I started watching and playing hockey. I now subscribe to the season package on satellite and play left wing ... albeit very poorly. I couldn't be more excited to lend whatever I can to the upcoming season in terms of storytelling. I think there is an enormous opportunity to expose fans and non-fans alike to the fascinating athletes who play this sport. My dream would be to introduce this great game to others as it was introduced to me."

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Interesting Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via PhillyBurbs,

-Captain Peter Forsberg caused a bit of a stir by opting out of the initial three shooters in the shootout. He didn't go until sixth. “I didn't have any sticks left,'' Forsberg explained. “They were broken, all bad. I said there were several guys better than me. “I used a broken one,'' he added. “I was lacking confidence going in, too. I've been struggling to score goals.''
-Alexander Ovechkin had 15 shots on goal last night with two goals. The other Alexander (Semin) had his first hat trick. On a side note, I drafted Semin in both fantasy leagues I am involved in, too bad I had him on the bench for one of them. from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
-The bad news is Rick DiPietro got pulled in his first start of the season, allowing six goals against in two periods for the Islanders. The good news is, he's got 14 years and 80 games to get it right
much more from Steve... from Erin Nicks at the Ottawa Sun,
-Have you seen Scott Niedermayer lately? His hair is three different shades of grey, but his face appears remarkably smooth on television. He is playing in Southern California now - perhaps receiving Botox injections is the new version of "taking the needle" in Cali.
Erin also discusses the Battle of Ontario and Simon Gagne's hair...

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Old School- We’ll Buy Our Own Ring

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Gross of the Toronto Sun,

The proudest possession of a National Hockey League player is a Stanley Cup ring, usually awarded to a player who was part of a team's Stanley Cup triumph. What is not known is that, for all his efforts as a defenceman for the Red Wings and centre for the Leafs, Red Kelly has only two Stanley Cup rings. "I was on four Stanley Cup-winning teams with Detroit and four with the Maple Leafs," Kelly said. "In Detroit (under the late manager Jolly Jack Adams) they didn't hand the players Stanley Cup rings. So, George Gee and another 5-6 players decided to buy the rings themselves...."
read on

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