Kukla's Korner

OLN Will Become Versus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Multichannel News,

From Outdoor Life Network to OLN to … Versus. The new moniker -- to be introduced on-air to consumers at the end of the service’s coverage of the National Hockey League playoffs in early June -- is the culmination of a two-year evolution at the Comcast Corp.-owned channel, once known principally for hunting and fishing fare, then for Tour de France coverage and bull riding and, more recently, for NHL action.

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Buzz Building In San Jose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Mercury News,

Gabriel Silva wore his ``In Like Fin'' T-shirt and Sharks logo cap. A replica jersey hung on the back of his chair. But something was missing from his usual game-day look: teal hair. ``Well, it's 10 in the morning,'' the San Jose resident said. So maybe there was a little less hair-dyeing and face-painting than usual for Sunday morning's Sharks game. But the early wake-up call didn't stop Silva and other die-hard hockey fans from heading to sports bars around San Jose to cheer on their team against the Nashville Predators.
continued

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Don’t Expect Too Much Offense

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The Ducks didn't get much going offensively – halfway through the game, they'd mustered only five shots on goal – but three in a row eluded Kiprusoff, and no one could remember when that had happened before, if ever. Against Calgary, a three-goal lead halfway through the match is usually enough to put away the lowest-scoring team in the NHL playoffs. Instead, Giguere gave up two quick ones – and suddenly, it was a game again. It was a sloppy game, a tentative game and a whistle-happy game, but it was a game again - and it wasn't decided until Sami Pahlsson rifled home a third-period insurance goal for the Ducks that stood up as the winner after Flames' rookie defenceman Dion Phaneuf scored for Calgary late on the power play. From there, the Ducks turned to their No. 1 defence pair of Scott Niedermayer and Francois Beauchemin to shut the door on Calgary. The two are as unlikely a pair as there is in today's NHL, coming as they do from opposite sides of the fence.
more

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The Official Tracker

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Hockey Refs will be tracking the number of games the officlals have worked in the playoffs. This should give us an indication who is in and who is out as the playoffs progress.

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Let Them Play

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Richmond Times Dispatch,

Seen, heard, not always believed: With the playoffs upon us, was it too much to expect the over-officiated National Hockey League would become watchable again? Evidently it was. Referees have been known to swallow their whistles in postseason play, but apparently they've been told to maintain the parade to the penalty box -- or else. Saturday's offering on NBC between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils was one long power play, which isn't what hockey was meant to be. Touch someone with your stick, and you're off for hooking. It's a joke, that's what it is, except no one is laughing other than the handful of really skilled players who know they're being protected.
continued

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On The Edge Of Your Seats

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Morning Call,

No matter what anyone says about the NHL, if you're not watching the playoffs, you're missing out on the best thing going in sports. Saturday night in Buffalo, the Philadelphia Flyers and the hometown Sabres played a two-overtime affair that left everyone inside HSBC Arena, including the players, sitting on the edge of their seats, gripping, hoping, holding their breath for 1,651 straight seconds of sudden death, unable to relax for even a moment because the game-winner could come at any time. Hockey doesn't pause between pitches, doesn't allow time for coaches to draw up a last-second play, doesn't have a quarterback spiking the ball to stop the clock so the kicker can run onto the field. When Buffalo's Daniel Briere scored 7:31 into the second overtime to beat the Flyers, it came just seconds after Philadelphia had the puck in the Sabres' zone. And that's just it — hockey is a virtual tug-of-war, bouncing back and forth like a tennis rally. But unlike in tennis, hockey takes just one winner to end an overtime game, not four.
more

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Ugly Trap

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mlive,

The Wings were not caught off-guard. In preparation for this series, the Oilers played the trap in their final regular-season game and had practiced the system in the days leading up to Game 1. Still, Wings forward Brendan Shanahan was asked if he ever envisioned the Oilers playing the trap? "With Edmonton? With the Oilers? No, but it's been working for them,'' Shanahan said. "It's not pretty hockey; that's what makes the trap successful, you're are able to clog it up.''
read on

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Bettman In The Building- Call Everything

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Tennessean,

One day before the start of the playoffs, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman let it be known that referees who put away their whistles in the postseason would be put away themselves. The referees clearly received the message. The Predators, judging by the way they played in yesterday's 3-0 playoff loss to San Jose, did not. Nashville spent the majority of the first two periods high-sticking, hooking and holding an aggressive San Jose Sharks team. And with Bettman intently watching matters from a Gaylord Entertainment Center suite, referees Bill McCreary and Kelly Sutherland whistled everything that moved. "We knew that San Jose had complained a lot about the refereeing (from Game 1), and we also knew that Gary Bettman was in the building,'' Predators Coach Barry Trotz said. "We knew a little about what would happen because if (the referees) don't call the penalties, they won't be doing games. We knew all that, but I didn't like how we responded to it.''
more

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Hardwood Ice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Selma Times-Journal,

Yes, I like hockey. Shocking, isn't it? In the process, I had a thought: What would the best NBA players be like as hockey players? At first I shrugged the notion off. But then my mind did what my mind usually does. Find out which hoopsters make the grade on skates when we go down "The List." -Ben Wallace - Think of him as the prototype defenseman. Anyone disagree? I didn't think so. -haquille O'Neal - Ask yourself this: If a guy that size put on a goalie mask covered in war paint, would you be prone to go near his end of the ice?
more

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No Panic Yet In Detroit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press (Monday edition),

First of all, no more 1 o'clock games on Sunday, OK? Both teams looked half asleep when it started. There's a reason they call it "Hockey Night" in Canada, not "Hockey Brunch." You don't play the game with a bagel and a Sunday paper. Secondly, no more talk about the "new" NHL. So far in this Red Wings-Oilers series, it's the NHL playoffs as it always has been the NHL playoffs: funny-looking goals, trap defenses and a goalie you barely heard of suddenly becoming the story.
continued

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