Kukla's Korner

Clarke Living In The Past

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Phillyburbs, Dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago. Then the ice age came, so some of them started playing hockey with a certain gap-toothed center. Finally, all of the dinosaurs died and went away. All but one, that is. Our man Clarkie. The last dinosaur. The guy who thinks it's still 1975. As in, we can win a Stanley Cup now the same way we did in 1975. continued

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The Best Avs Coach

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Denver Post,

This is the fun, unexpected tale of how the mighty Avalanche learned to become the underdog and love every doggone minute of a difficult season that would have kicked the tail of most teams. This is a franchise, long envied and loathed throughout the NHL, that discovered how to patch together wins with bailing wire, hockey tape and three spare bolts from a Zamboni. The man who taught the Avs how to do all this wonderful stuff is Joel Quenneville, by far the best coach this team has had since it moved to Denver in 1995.
continued

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The Strain Of The Olympics

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

New York Rangers head coach Tom Renney has said having nine participants in the Winter Olympics three months ago affected the club's "mental state," while Philadelphia GM Bob Clarke said yesterday having eight Flyers in Olympic competition hurt his eliminated club. The problem with the theory, however, is the Detroit Red Wings. Still, if you subscribe to the theory that Olympic participation is bad for teams wanting to win the Cup, you'll have to like the chances of Anaheim or Edmonton at least getting to the final. Those two teams all had four players each in Turin, the least of any of the eight remaining playoff clubs.
read on

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Regier Deserves Credit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

During the time Darcy Regier has been general manager of the Buffalo Sabres and Lindy Ruff has been his coach, the Florida Panthers have employed five different general managers and six different coaches. Over the same nine years, the Leafs have had three general managers and are about to hire their third head coach. "Change, more often than not, destabilizes your franchise rather than stabilizes it," said Regier, the general manager nobody knows or at least notices. "I think if you miss the playoffs three years in a row and blow everything up, you're more likely to miss the playoffs seven years in a row. We got lucky here. We didn't get fired. The team was sold. We could have been fired. Ownership gave us a chance." And here they are, in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs in a playoff matchup that is almost unfair. It's too early for either the Sabres or the Ottawa Senators to lose. Not the way they play the game.
continued

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Be Wary

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Citizen,

The Senators open their Eastern Conference semifinal at home tonight to the Buffalo Sabres, another team built on speed, skill and quickness. You like getting your medicine over the counter? These teams administer medicine through the counter: the counter-attack, pouncing on the most innocent turnover to create a scoring chance or draw a penalty. The Sabres aren't as deep as Ottawa, and they weren't as deadly on the power play in their first-round victory against the Philadelphia Flyers as the Senators were against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Still, as Senators head coach Bryan Murray said yesterday, teams that aren't wary aren't breathing, for long. "You better not take anything for granted in this league, or in a career," Murray said, a message he has surely delivered to his own players in person. "Careers go by fast," Murray said. "Calgary thought it was their turn to rise up, and they lose in the first round. There are no guarantees.
read on

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The New NHL Goalie

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Maybe we'll need to adopt the baseball term and assess their performances in terms of a quality start. Grant Fuhr made it to the Hockey Hall Of Fame with a career GAA of 3.38. During the NHL's dead-puck era, a 3.38 GAA would have earned most goaltenders a one-way ticket to Lowell or Hershey or Rochester or wherever a club's farm team happened to be based. According to Brodeur, in the new NHL, the increase in power plays becomes a "tiring" factor for goaltenders because of improved puck control in the larger offensive zones. The solution may be as simple as altering expectations in the new NHL, so that they return to the level they were at during Fuhr's era, where the stats weren't as important as the ability of a goaltender to come up with a big save with the game on the line.
more

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Talking Goalies

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The goalies from the Eastern Conference Semi-Conference teams were involved in a teleconference yesterday. You can read the transcript of their conversation.

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Stat Report For April ‘06

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

KK showed a steady growth for April. Yoo can compare the stats to March and also get an understanding what each graph represents. image Sessions image Pageviews image Hits

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Sabres Owner Feels The Spirit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John McGourty of NHL.com,

"This was my first playoff series and it is very, very exciting," Golisano said. "They told me about the intensity and I didn't believe it could be this intense. It is. The team performed extremely well. They're a young team and they're fast. They really looked like they enjoyed themselves in the last two games. We're quite happy in Buffalo." There's a good chance those players might be wearing different uniforms and representing a different city, were it not for Golisano. The founder of the Rochester, N.Y.-based Paychex, Inc., purchased the Sabres on March 14, 2003, after its previous owners fell into non-hockey-related legal and financial trouble.
read on

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Is Yzerman Having 2nd Thoughts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AP via the Globe and Mail,

Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman said Thursday that he wants to make a decision relatively quickly — maybe as early as next week — on whether to retire from hockey. "I'm going to do the best thing for me and the best thing for the team," Yzerman said after posing for the annual team picture at Joe Louis Arena, only a few days after Detroit was eliminated from the first round of the playoffs with a Game 6 loss at Edmonton. The future Hall of Famer said he and his wife have been discussing the issue and have been going back and forth on whether he should come back to Hockeytown for one more shot at a fourth Stanley Cup.
more Thanks to a KK reader for the heads-up. added 3:30pm, Detroit radio now playing audio cuts of Yzerman today. The story says it all, but he says he will take the next couple of days to really decide. We don't hear "I have made up my mind" like he was talking before. If he wants to play, who's going to stop him? He also reflected, along with Shanny, that losing in the playoffs reminds him of what the Wings went thru in the mid-90's. Also mentioned Dats had blood drained from his charleyhorse and would not have played if it was the regular season. Stevie also mentioned that the goaltender did the best that he could in the playoffs. Not a ringing endorsement for Manny. added 5:33pm, Holland was on the radio and basically went through the whole lineup. The core of the team will not change. Was asked about Luongo and he stated he doesn't think Luongo will be traded. On Shanahan, he wants him back, of course depending on payroll. Will sitdown in the next 2-3 weeks and discuss goaltending. On Jimmy Howard, said he could play in the NHL but would go through growing pains and Holland feels Wings can still compete. Holland mentioned many Wings went played in the firs playoffs this year- Samuelsson, Franzen, Kronwall, Lilja (6 games), etc and players like Datsyuk and Williams were considered part of the solution this year instead of spare parts. He said there will be changes, wants to get more grit up front, and also mentioned the loss of Fischer really hurt. added 6:07pm, Shanahan now on radio. Will play for Canada in the WC. Shanny loves Detroit, has taken less money to play for the Wings, just wants to make sure it is the right fit. At times he thinks it may be best both times move on, but he said he felt the same way two years ago after losing to Calgary. Brendan says the coaching stafff did a great job, the best the Wings have had in years. Gave the team the chance to win, losing falls on the players shoulders, not the coaches. The one question he will ask Holland when they meet is, "Will I be a real, true fit with the Wings?" Then he will sit down with family and decide his future. Brendan just mentioned a play-in round being discussed for the future playoffs. Teams 7-10 would play a 2 of 3 or 3 of 5 series, then the winners would play Teams 1 and 2 in the conference. That would give the top 2 teams a reward for finishing first and second in the conference, meaning they would get a short break before the playoffs started for them.

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