Kukla's Korner

Crosby Goes Retro

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Penguins,

Steve Latin has seen it all in his 27 NHL seasons. Well, until this year. So why was the Penguins’ equipment manager, a veteran of more than 2,000 NHL games, surprised when he came into Pittsburgh’s equipment room at the start of training camp? Sidney Crosby uses a unique two-piece hockey stick with a blade that’s nearly straight. There’s no wicked curve on the blade – it bends only slightly near the toe. “To be honest with you, I can’t remember the last time I saw one of those,” said Latin, who is in his 18th season overseeing the Penguins’ gear. “It seems like every kid coming in the league either has the weirdest-looking hook on a stick you’ve ever seen like a John LeClair or the biggest hook you’ve ever seen like a Jaromir Jagr. This kid comes in – it’s almost like a Dave Keon stick it’s so straight.”

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Scheduling Quirk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Flyers played on Saturday and don't play again until this Saturday. With the condensed schedule, I am surprised to see this wide of a gap between games. Do any other teams have such a long break on their schedule?

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What’s Ailing The Devils

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Star-Ledger,

Right now the Devils aren't winning and Brodeur isn't playing very well. He was pulled from a regular-season game Saturday night for the first time since March 13, 2003, and his save percentage is .884. That's a far cry from the .917 percentage he posted in 2003-04. The Devils are off to a 2-3 start, which is why coach Larry Robinson had the team watch video yesterday at Codey Arena instead of enjoying a day off. The team did not practice. "We were looking at our mistakes and what we're doing wrong," Robinson said. "We've got to correct them. If it was just one thing it would be fine. We always pride ourselves on the way we play defense and play in the right position. Right now we're not doing that. The (new rules) should play into our system. The problem is, we're not playing our system. Everybody else is playing our system."

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Diving Must Be Stopped

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Philadelphia Daily News,

It is one thing when the media is whining about the number of penalties being called in the "New NHL." It's something else when the coaches start complaining, and it should be a hint to the league that it's time to start rethinking how the rules are being enforced. On Friday night, after an overtime win over the Penguins riddled with power plays, Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock flat-out accused Pittsburgh players of taking dives to get calls. That sounded like heat-of-thebattle stuff right after the game, but Hitchcock brought it up again yesterday morning in casual conversation, and it seems like he's really concerned. "I am really concerned about the integrity of the game with all these players falling down," he said. "Guys are just falling down; they know they are going to get the call. Every time you touch them they fall down, and it's comical at times. "It's not on our side; it's everyone. There is some really good stuff in those rules, but the players are taking advantage of some of the aspects with all these calls. You put a stick on a player and they fall down."

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Gagne Benefits From New Rules

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Delco Times,

Through the longest offseason, the one that threatened nothing but collapse, there was always the promise of something bigger, something better, something that, at last, would yield everything spectacular about professional hockey. To that, there has already been one jaw-dropping dividend, not only for the Flyers, but for any fan interested in the development and presentation of hockey greatness. To that, there has surfaced the new Simon Gagne.

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Hockey Fights Decreasing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Miami Herald,

It has been said the same folks who follow pro hockey for the fights are cut from the same cloth as those who watch NASCAR for the wrecks. Well the good ol' boys aren't going to stop trading paint anytime soon, but the days of pugilists dominating NHL highlights are fading fast. In case you haven't noticed, ice fights have been on the decline in recent years, thanks in part to new rules by the league discouraging such action.

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Dolan To Have Bypass Surgery

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the AP,

Cablevision Systems Corp. CEO James L. Dolan has been hospitalized and is expected to undergo heart surgery Monday, the company said. Dolan, 50, checked into a hospital Saturday to prepare for bypass surgery. "His physicians expect him to make a full and complete recovery," the company said Sunday in a statement. Dolan been CEO for 10 years of Cablevision, which owns Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks basketball and Rangers hockey teams.

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The Changing Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Weinrich via the St. Louis Blues,

Folks, do you remember back to the Edmonton dynasties and the Pittsburgh teams of the early ‘90s? Well, fast forward to 2005 and – Voila! – those days are back. Goal scoring is up 41 percent! That is a huge difference from the last five years. If you like lots of offense and lots of power plays, this is the game for you. If you are a fan of tight checking, hard-fought defensive battles, you might want to watch the Stanley Cup finals of 2003.

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Havlet Facing Possible Suspension

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

The long arm of NHL law is coming to Martin Havlat and the Ottawa Senators. Sources say the NHL is reviewing a kicking incident last night in the Ottawa-Boston game at the Corel Centre. Havlat, after being knocked into the back of the net, kicked Boston defenceman Hal Gill. A suspension is expected. Havlat was not penalized on the play, but the kick was duly noted by the NHL's hockey operations department. While no disciplinary hearing has been schedule, it is expected one will occur before the Senators play their next game on Friday at Tampa Bay.

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Shanahan Saved The Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Buffalo News,

Give him the credit he deserves. Anybody paying a little attention to the NHL can see the bungee cord is working, that the freefall has been aborted and the league is safely headed skyward. You can thank one person for having the vision, for putting his skate down and demanding change. Gary Bettman? Good heavens, no. Try Brendan Shanahan. The commissioner was where he belonged during the lockout, which is to say he was arguing over money and nowhere near hockey. If he and his cronies did their jobs, say, five years ago, the game wouldn't have fallen into such disrepair and lost its place on the national landscape. Thank Shanahan, who pulled this game from the ruins.

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