Kukla's Korner

The Model Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sportsnet,

The Flyers are a typical NHL team, circa 2006, in that they suffer from short-term, if not terminal, streakiness. There was a lot of that going around the league this year, and you can see the results of it in the playoffs - four short series in the opening round - as teams get cold or hot for a few days and whammo; out....or in. The Sabres are the better team and for the sake of the NHL's hopes for a permanent new style of play, it would be better if they won. Plus, nobody needs a winner more than the burghers of Buffalo, whose only real winners - the Bills AFC dynasty of the early '90s - are remembered as "Wide-Right" losers.... But, in the long-run Buffalo is the model (as Edmonton, which is a slight hybrid of the two approaches, is in the west), and it would be some kind of cosmic justice if the Sabres prevailed in this series of contrasting styles.
more

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NHL Stance On Russians

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sportsnet,

So, the Penguins will not be "buying" Evgeny Malkin out of his Russian contract with Magnitogorsk Metallurg. "Neither the League, nor the Cubs, intend to negotiate outside the framework of our usaual Player Transfer Agreement. The Russian team officials are talking to themslves -- not us", Daly concluded.
added 10:49am, from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Malkin expressed a strong desire to play in Pittsburgh in an interview with Russia’s Sport-Express Daily. “I would like to start playing in the NHL. I was planning to play in the NHL last season, but after I talked to my agent and my parents, I decided to stay here one more season,” he said. “Now I believe I can play not just like a regular player, but I can be one of the leaders.”
more

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Buzz Around The Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Hockey News,

Rather than dismissing conspiracy talk by its fans, the league ought to play into it. For instance, when on-ice officials attempt to verify a goal by going upstairs to the video replay crew, dim the lights in the booth so the replay men appear as silhouettes, a la The Banker from Deal or No Deal. Next, they should borrow some of the James Bond Lite background suspense music from 24, and play it while the video crew decides. In other words, have some fun with it.
much more...numerous topics discussed...

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Legace Feels The Heat

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

This story was written before last night's game. After game 6 Manny was quoted as saying, " I feel like going home and hanging myself". from the Windsor Star,

In a town that devours goalies, Manny Legace can sense Detroit Red Wings fans cueing up the theme music from Jaws. The Wings' goaltending position is a lightning rod for criticism because no matter the failures of the players in front of him, and they have been many in this series, the lasting image for many is Legace bathed in the red glow of the goal light. "They're tough on their goalies here," Legace said. "They've chased a few out of town. "It comes with the job here. You can't dwell on it or else you'd go crazy."
continued

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Finding The Right Button

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Philadelphia Daily News,

Hitch seems out of buttons to push. And here's how you know. Yesterday, after expanding on the need for a faster, "frantic" pace in tonight's Game 6 against the Sabres, he asked for someone else to press a few buttons. "We need someone to put up the wrong score on the board at the start of the game," he said. "Then we'll be fine." Yep, that's how messed up things are as the Flyers face elimination at home tonight. That's how goofy this season has been. Hitch likes the way his team plays when a goal behind. More accurately, he has disliked the way they have played at the start of these games. "We've got to match the frantic pace at the start without making errors," he said. "They seem to be able to set the pace quicker than we do in their building. And we end up reacting to it. We've got to set the tempo better at the start of the game."
more

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One More Crack At It

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

If the Ducks defeat the Flames, the top 4 seeds in the West would have lost in the 1st round. Who would have predicted that! from Helene Elliot of the LA Times,

The Mighty Ducks beat the Calgary Flames at the game the Canadian team prides itself on having mastered, a blend of grit and muscle and, when nothing else works, the sheer will to prevail. And because they did, the Ducks earned the right to try and do it again Wednesday and part the sea of red at Calgary's Pengrowth Saddledome. The Ducks face the prospect of raising their game to this level or higher. Neither team has won two straight games in this series, and the Flames will be able to draw upon the energy of a roaring crowd. Asked whether the Ducks' performance Monday had been their best game of the series, Niedermayer refused to be caught up in the euphoria of the moment or resort to superlatives. "I think we played well. We had to," he said. "We had no choice. "And now, we have to do it again. All we got is another crack at it."
read on (reg. req.)

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Will The Devils Cool Down

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Inactivity could be the only force on the horizon that cools down the sizzling New Jersey Devils. Positively machine-like in winning their last 11 regular-season games and even more brutally methodical in sweeping the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs, the Devils now face a new and formidable enemy. Their series against the Rangers finished on Saturday. They may not play again until Friday. Or Saturday. Or later.
continued

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The Handshake

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

The handshake is a hang-over from the day when the league was 100% Canadian. In eight years, the ratio of Canadians in the NHL has fallen 8% to 53%, but the tradition still reigns. Maybe the handshake still works because the winners have nothing to lose, and the winners have nothing left for which to fight. Victor and vanquished meet one more time to say good luck.
read on

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What Went Wrong

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mlive,

A new, more demanding coaching staff and new rules cracking down on obstruction were supposed to make a big difference for the Detroit Red Wings in the playoffs. But a familiar script unfolded Monday as the Wings were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs after a 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 6 at Rexall Place. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2002, the Wings have lost three of four playoff series. Their postseason record over the last three seasons, during which they've averaged 114 points, is 8-14.
more

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Hasek Talks Groin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

"Of course, there are some days I feel more frustrated and there are some days I'm smiling more," Hasek said. "I still come every day and do what I'm supposed to do ... work on my groin. Not only on the groin ... I have to keep in shape, my whole body. "I try to have fun. Sometimes I have more fun, sometimes I have less fun. "But overall I still believe that this team can do it without me and when I'll be ready, I'll be ready."
more

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