Kukla's Korner

Over The Glass

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Spin, the blog of the Toronto Star's Damien Cox,

Goalies, and former goalies, have had ample reason this season to believe NHL authorities are out to get them, or at the very least, don't have their best interests at heart. From smaller equipment to restrictions on playing the puck, the impact of the NHL goaltender has been reduced this season, and the numbers prove it. But if there was one area in which goalies got their way, it was, after many years of complaining loudly the were able to influence the league to stop treating them differently from skaters when it came to lifting the puck out of play, intentionally or otherwise.
more

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Preds Peaking

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Nashville City Paper,

The improved results on the current run have two primary contributing factors. First, a players-only gathering called by Greg Johnson after an embarrassing pair of periods in Edmonton on March 5 in which the Predators were outshot 32-6 during a 3-2 OT loss. Johnson’s attributes as a captain are often overlooked by fans because he is not an overly emotional player, but Coach Barry Trotz appreciated the timing of the meeting. “When you are struggling, you have to have your leadership group deliver the message for the coaches,” Trotz said. “Not only in hockey, but in any business, everybody has to be buying into the system, and the coaches can’t be the only ones harping on what needs to get done.”
more

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Quote Of The Day

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Scott Parker to the Contra Costa Times,

"I was trying to play hockey and you've got this little 4-foot-2 guy trying to do figure-eights around me," a reference to Tootoo, who is 5-foot-8. "I was like, 'Hey, this is my space. Get away from me.'"

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All Jack Johnson

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Inside College Hockey,

Perhaps no one in college hockey this year has been more polarizing than Jack Johnson, Michigan’s immensely gifted freshman defenseman. And that includes Senor Kessel out in Gopherland. Johnson is almost universally hated by opposing fans, tiny CCHA forwards and the entire nation of Canada for his brutally physical style of play. But because of that very physicality, he’s adored by his teammates, the Yost Arena faithful and the hundreds of pro scouts who have watched him play the past few years.
read on for the Q & A with Johnson...

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Early Season Trades Pay Off

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

So much is made of the Band-Aid solutions applied at the National Hockey League trade deadline that often the most meaningful deals of the season are forgotten in the crush of 11th-hour manoeuvrings. Not to be overlooked should be the swaps made before last week that changed the direction of teams that often faltered out of the starting gate.
continued

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The “Unlucky” Blackhawks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Chicago Tribune,

Attending the Blackhawks' 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center, Bettman saw thousands of empty seats. "There is no more passionate owner in sports than Bill Wirtz and the Wirtz family," Bettman said. "This is just going to be a question of getting back on track. They were a little unlucky, and they have acknowledged they made some mistakes."
read on

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Thornton Carrying The Load

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the San Francisco Chronicle,

San Jose's workhorse center, and the league's leading scorer, is logging major minutes as the Sharks continue to try to climb in the Western Conference playoff chase. Thornton, who is up to an average of 21:27 of ice time per game -- topped by only six other forwards in the NHL -- knows he won't have any complaints about playing time the rest of the way. "He's a horse. The more you play him, the better he gets," Wilson said. "If we were in first place, it would be a different story, but we're not. I'll do everything I can to get ourselves in position to make the playoffs and, according to how the game goes, manage his ice time that way."
more

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Gretzky Wants To Return- Jones Will Be Subpoenaed

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via TSN,

Despite all the hardships he has endured over the last few months, Wayne Gretzky intends to coach the Phoenix Coyotes again next season. "I'm inclined to return," he told the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday. "I enjoy the city. I enjoy the organization."
from the AP via Sports Illustrated,
Wayne Gretzky's wife will be subpoenaed to testify when a grand jury looks at charges in the case involving a betting ring allegedly run an NHL assistant coach, New Jersey's attorney general said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday.

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NYI Lose Zhitnik & Asham

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alan Hahn of Newsday,

The Islanders' playoff hopes took a major hit when it was revealed on Wednesday that the team's top defenseman, Alexei Zhitnik, will be out the rest of the season with a fracture to his left ankle. The team also lost another veteran, forward Arron Asham, for 4-to-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain.
more

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Tanguay Confident

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

"Even though we lost two big parts of our core to the new CBA, it was important for this group to keep the same attitude," said Tanguay. "We always felt, ever since I've been here, that we are a team with a chance to win the Stanley Cup and especially with Jose (Theodore) coming, we don't feel any different. We feel, first we have to get into the playoffs because everything's so much tighter this year with the parity, but we feel the same way - that we have a shot, so let's do our best and see who comes out on top at the end."
read on

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