Kukla's Korner

Filling In The Gap

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Just how good was the crop of NHL rookies this season? Well, New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist was named Thursday as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie, but he couldn't crack even the final three in the voting for rookie of the year. In other seasons, Phaneuf and Crosby would have been clear-cut Calder winners. But in this "year of the rookie," being a finalist is a mark of honor in itself given the performances of other first-year players Jussi Jokinen, Ryan Miller, Ray Emery, Petr Prucha and Brad Boyes. In a time that saw the end of the line for Scott Stevens, Mark Messier, Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull, Dave Andreychuk and, in all likelihood, Steve Yzerman, there is something to marvel at what might lie ahead for the next generation that appears more than capable of filling that void.
more

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Nothing Better To Do

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Philadelphia Daily News,

The Stanley Cup won't be coming to Philadelphia this year, but a bunch of the Flyers and the Cup are coming to Churchill Downs this weekend. Chris Therien owns a small chunk of Derby longshot Flashy Bull. He drove from his home yesterday morning and arrived in Louisville yesterday afternoon. Several of his teammates, including Robert Esche, Turner Stevenson, Mike Rathje and Derian Hatcher, were coming later in an RV. The Cup is coming late this morning. And if Flashy Bull wins, "the Cup is going to the winner's circle," Horan promised.

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The Playoff Look

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

If the Ducks continue to win, I wonder if goaltender Ilja Bryzgalov will end up on the most wanted list? image image image

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A Different Type Of Recap

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,

Wonder how Ottawa’s Anton Volchenkov slept last night. It was his horrible giveaway in the Senators zone that led to Chris Drury scoring the winning goal for the Sabres. File this one under Dumb and Dumber. With his team trailing 1-0 on an early goal, defenseman Zdeno Chara took a dumb penalty bumping a Sabre well after the whistle sounds to stop play. Fortunately for him, Buffalo’s Maxim Afinogenov took his dumb-dumb pill before the game and was sent off at the same time after knocking Chara down in retaliation.
read on...observations from the games last night...

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I’ll Take My Puck And Go Home

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Reuters via MSNBC,

Malkin, however, warned his prospective employees that he was not prepared to play second fiddle to Crosby, Pittsburgh's number one pick in the 2005 draft. "I'm not afraid of being compared to Crosby or anyone else for that matter," said the soft-spoken Russian, who has already been compared with Pittsburgh owner, the great Mario Lemieux, because of his size, talent and scoring ability. "Hopefully, next year in Pittsburgh we will both have an equal opportunity to show our skills," Malkin said of Crosby. "If he is better than me, then he deserves all the credit. But if I feel that he gets preferential treatment in any way, then I'll just rip up my contract with Penguins and go home."
more...I hope some of Malkin's words got lost in translation...

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Disbelief

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

The twist all of Calgary still can't comprehend is the NHL's sixth Battle of Alberta never came to pass. While conspiracy theorists and anyone who owns a red jersey have all spent the last two days trying to explain how the team could come up so lame at the worst time, the simple truth is the Flames couldn't -- and can't -- score. And as the club prepares to move forward this summer with or without Darryl Sutter behind the bench, it's clear Iginla's club must add finishers or expect to be finished this early every year. "I think we're going to need to be more offensive," admitted Iginla, whose team-leading 35 goals were 10 more than linemate Daymond Langkow.
read on

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Too Much Rubber

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

The goalie sat in his stall, talking in hushed tones, lamenting the rebounds that got away, how he had to be better for his team in the next game. And that was in the winning dressing room. Welcome to the new NHL, Ryan Miller. Thirteen pucks found their way into the spaces behind Miller in the Buffalo Sabres crease and fellow rookie goaltender Ray Emery in the Ottawa Senators net. "It was just one of those nights," said Emery, beaten seven times on just 23 shots, the 23rd coming just 18 seconds into overtime to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead in an incredible start to the Eastern Conference semi-final.
continued from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Both teams are understandable proud of their young goalies, but it seems very doubtful that either Ryan Miller or Ray Emery is capable of carrying a team to a Stanley Cup. A harsh, knee-jerk judgment after one game? Maybe. But the goaltending at both ends was that bad last night. Statistically, it was one of the worst combined efforts in NHL playoff history. So, if either team does emerge as the big winner when this tournament is over, it will be likely because they were successful at camouflaging their primary vulnerability.
more

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All Karmanos

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News & Observer, Q: What is the financial impact of making it to the second round? A: We're close to break-even, not counting interest. Q: If you advance to the next round? Or will you get above the break-even level in this round? A: We'll actually make money. I made [chief financial officer] Mike Amendola say that: "Mike, we're actually going to make some money?" It took him about 15 seconds. He went, "Yes. That's the first time in 18 years I can say that." Q: So there was more riding on that first-round series than just making it to the next round of the playoffs? A: You try not to think about that. See, that's what the position the pre-lockout Red Wings found themselves in. They were maxing out all their revenue streams throughout the year and they had to get to the final round of the playoffs to break even. It was the final round where they made any money at all. It was a swing for them of $20 million, $30 million." read on

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Avs Revenge Must Come In Goals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Daily Camera,

Marc Crawford is looking for work. The Vancouver Canucks are searching for answers. And Brad May isn't good enough to get on the ice anymore. Which means there probably won't be a bounty on Francois Beauchemin's head. Perhaps the Colorado Avalanche will at least fight back on the scoreboard. The sooner the better. How about Sunday at high noon (local time)? May's new teammates can't wait until they get back home to retaliate in cowardly Todd Bertuzzi fashion. And they need to score goals instead of throw sucker punches. Joe Sakic and Milan Hejduk need to pay Beauchemin back for his questionable hit Friday on first linemate Andrew Brunette by beating rookie goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov like a drum. There simply was no offensive counterpunch after the defenseman's game-changing hit.
continued

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Parlez Vous Francais

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via the Edmonton Sun,

Saku Koivu was challenged by a reporter yesterday for his inability to speak French after 10 years of playing in Montreal and seven seasons of serving as captain of the Canadiens. After being posed the question by the reporter from TVA, a leading French-language television network in Quebec, Koivu said it would be the "ideal situation" for the Canadiens to have a French-speaking captain. Then he admitted he has not put in enough effort to learn the predominant language of the province.
continued

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