Kukla's Korner

Semin May Be Headed To Washington

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

The Washington Capitals could get an unexpected addition this season. After almost two seasons of avoiding the Capitals, Russian forward Alexander Semin may have no choice but to play for the NHL team due to problems with his Russian Super League squad. The Washington Times reports Semin's club, Lada Togliatti, is experiencing financial difficulties which has already led to the firing of the team's general manager and some of its coaches. The purge is expected to continue with a number of high paid players the first to be targeted.

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Media Coverage Of The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I haven't closely followed the media coverage of the Islanders, but coverage of the Wings has been on par with what the coverage was before the lockout. How about coverage of your team; is it what you have expected? from the New York Islanders,

The NHL is back and thankfully, so are the fans. The early returns on the rule changes are positive, so here’s hoping television ratings will see a noticeable bump. But what about the media? Is the coverage better than it was before the lockout, the same, or quite possibly worse? For now – and I stress realistically and optimistically that it is extremely early – we appear to have taken a step back.

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Wanted:  Defensemen With Quick Feet And Mind

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun via Slam,

The true victims so far, caught in the collateral damage of the NHL's new unobstructed path to offensive nirvana are the defencemen. How is a player like Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov supposed to stop a guy like Montreal's Alexei Kovalev down low? The answer last night is he doesn't. The principal weapons of the NHL defenceman, the hook with the stick and the grab with the free hand, have been eliminated. If the rules continue to be called this way, the qualities scouts look for in defenceman will be re-ordered. "Already, it's changing what we look for in defencemen," said one NHL scout watching last night's game. "The two most important qualities now are quick feet," he said, and tapping his temple: "A quick mind."

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Habs Fans Ecstatic With Return Of Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Montreal Gazette,

My co-religionists will fast 24 hours to mark Yom Kippur. Devout Canadiens fans went 529 nights without real hockey. What were they atoning for? Bad labour relations? In the minutes before the Canadiens' entertaining home opener, a friend was saying his hockey-mad daughter gave up chocolate for the duration of the National Hockey League lockout. "And she stuck to it," he marvelled. "Wouldn't eat a candy bar after the tentative agreement was announced. She waited until the players ratified it. "I asked her why, if she felt so strongly, she didn't go on a complete hunger strike. She said: 'Gary Bettman would let me starve.'"

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Making The Game Better

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Mercury News,

• Get the players' personalities more out front. This goes completely against hockey's traditionally modest all-for-one ethos. But if the new rules open up the game and create more scorers, I guarantee you some marketing person can find a way to make those scorers into more familiar faces. Good gravy, they've done it with poker players. Why not power players? • Additionally, hire the NFL Films staff to produce a weekly highlight package to show between periods of the NHL's broadcasts on NBC, as well as on other shows. Nobody frames a sport in a more viciously romantic way than the NFL Films folks. • Give away the puck from every winning shootout at a home game to a randomly chosen fan. And invite him or her back to another game, along with three or four friends.

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Spezza Starting To Shine

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

Rules changes have given the NHL's creative players more time and space, and Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza is demonstrating how to best use the less-hostile environment. "No question he is taking advantage of it," Ottawa general manager John Muckler says. "Anyone with skill is having fun playing in the National Hockey League today because we are taking a page right out of the 1980s."

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Old Time Hockey Alert

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Anytime I can alert the readers of a story about "old time" hockey, I will always pass it on whenever possible. from the Detroit Free Press, More than a year after he last played in a regular-season hockey game, Steve Yzerman is expected to make his comeback Thursday night with the Red Wings. Ted Lindsay knows a little about how he feels. In Lindsay's day, NHL players held a second job in the off-season to make ends meet, and elliptical cross-training regimens were decades away from common use. Lindsay's comeback in 1964 was one of the most remarkable in sports. Most players back then retired in their early 30s, and Lindsay himself first retired at age 34. He hadn't played for the Red Wings for more than seven years.

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Could Lindros Be Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Daily Times,

Standing outside the Maple Leafs locker room, with a comfortable smile and a cup of coffee, the only things missing for Eric Lindros were the ruby slippers. That’s because in so many other words, Lindros said "there’s no place like home." The lockout came at just the right time for Lindros and could have saved his career. "I think it did," Lindros said. "(After) having the shoulder surgery, any time you have that much time between all the big bangs it adds to good healing. I feel good, I feel strong."

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New Rules Working

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Denver Post,

In the NHL of the recent past, stoppages in play seemed to occur every few seconds. A pass went across two lines, a puck was touched up for icing, a player didn't tag up on the blue line fast enough before a chip-in or any number of other things brought the game to a halt. Nearly a week into the season, frequent incidents stopping play are - surprise, surprise - goals.

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Slow Start Hurting Flyers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

The Philadelphia Flyers were supposed to be a powerhouse this season. And they may still be. They showed flashes of brilliance at times last night. But the rest of the night, the Maple Leafs were more than a match for them and came away with a 4-2 victory, handing the Flyers their second loss in three games. Once again, the Flyers got off to a sluggish start. Every game so far, they've fallen behind -- and played poorly in the process. "I think that's probably a fair assessment," Flyers captain Keith Primeau said. "And I wish I had an answer. We're just not finding any kind of rhythm right now early in the games.

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