Kukla's Korner

Two Special People Meet

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

If the future of the NHL is a coin, one side bears the face of Sidney Crosby, the other bears the likeness of Alexander Ovechkin. And a shiny coin it is, tossed for the first time before the NHL world Tuesday night. That it came up Crosby as the Penguins edged Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals 5-4, will ultimately be more trivia fodder than defining moment for either player. But in terms of a taste of what lies ahead, the first NHL meeting between the rookie titans exceeded the considerable hype that preceded it. "It's exciting considering where we've been in the NHL," said Pittsburgh head coach Ed Olczyk, referring to last year's lockout. "It's something that was real special and a lot of people were talking about it."

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Nashville Builds Young

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Nashville City Paper,

Anyone who has ever doubted the Nashville Predators were sincere about building the team through the NHL Entry Draft needs only to look at the current roster. “It’s a sign that our scouts have done a good job of identifying people,” Predators Coach Barry Trotz said. “Our development process, from the conditioning camps to going to Milwaukee, to giving them roles in the NHL where they can succeed is working. It’s a process, and I think we have done a good job of explaining that process and culture with our players and all of our coaches. We believe in the people that we have here.”

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Changing On The Fly

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I cannot recall every reading a story quite like this, a good change of pace... from the Journal News,

The natural inclination, of course, is to watch the game, but sitting on a hockey bench often does not afford that luxury. Oh sure, players can glance at the action. But when they hear their line called, they must watch the position player they will soon replace on the ice. Substitutions without a stoppage in play — changing on the fly — make hockey unique among North America's major sports.

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Ref Shocked By Fischer Incident

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the London Free Press,

Don Van Massenhoven's career as a police officer did not prepare him for what he saw on the Detroit Red Wings bench Monday night. "It still shook me up because it was the last place you would expect to see something like that," the veteran NHL referee from Strathroy said yesterday from Fort Lauderdale, where he'll work tonight's game between the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils. "Tony Colucci came running down the corridor (to the bench) and had his jacket off. He already knew he was going to work. He didn't even hesitate. He knew what he had to do," said Van Massenhoven.
more via the Ottawa Sun, ex-Wing Aaron Ward on Fischer,
Fischer, then a rookie, lived at the home of Hurricanes D Aaron Ward when both were with the Wings. Ward was having a hard time believing a guy in such incredible shape could have health issues like Fischer has had. "I had to have the no-shirt rule in the house," said Ward yesterday. "He wasn't allowed to be shirtless in the house. The kid's built like a Greek god. I didn't want my wife seeing that. One day he was sitting at the computer with no shirt on and I'm like, 'Hey, Jiri, you know the rule!' "
from the Toronto Sun,
Jiri Fischer is one of the lucky ones. He may not necessarily feel that way, given that the future of his National Hockey League career is now in doubt, but the Detroit Red Wing defenceman definitely beat the odds. Depending upon whose statistics you believe, anywhere between 350,000 and 500,000 North Americans go into sudden cardiac arrest while not in hospital every year. About 5% of them survive.
read on update 9:10am, from the Buffalo News,
The near-death experience of Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer hit close to home for the Buffalo Sabres.
more update 10:51am, Lets Go Wings has put together a video library of the Fischer incident, check it out if you have not seen any of the videos.

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Same Old Wings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Denver Post,

In the new NHL, the free-market capitalists have turned socialist. When the revolution came, in the form of a new collective bargaining agreement that included a salary cap, free-spending teams such as the Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings were met with schadenfreude from much of the league. The thought those teams won't be able to buy a Stanley Cup anymore was accompanied by snickers. Nobody is laughing now. The Avalanche has been better than many people thought, and entering tonight's game with Colorado, no team in the league has more points than Detroit at 32. The rich, in Detroit's case, are still getting richer.

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Clear Up This Mess

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

While the NLRB has the power to subpoena union president Trevor Linden or anyone else it chooses to, a source familiar with the NLRB's plans said one of three players that it plans to call to testify about the alleged shenanigans at the union is Willie Mitchell, a five-year veteran who started his career with New Jersey before signing as a free agent with Minnesota. Mitchell said he's been frustrated in attempts to get answers from Saskin over the past two months. "I've sent Ted emails and he won't answer them; he just left me a message saying he'd talk to me at a players meeting in December") and added he looks forward to talking to the NLRB "because this is about my livelihood."

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I Can Smell The Ice Again

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Journal and Courier,

Down here in Indiana, I know the NHL lockout came and went and many of you took no notice. But for a lifelong Michigan girl like me, it was a year of painful longing. In the Great Lakes State, hockey is nearly a religion. So for our cathedrals to sit empty for months, for our idols to sit idle, for the Zambonis to collect dust, it was a travesty of almost unspeakable proportions. I can tell you when (1997 Stanley Cup finals, some time between games three and four) I fell hard and fast for hockey, but I have never been able to pinpoint exactly what it is that casts such a spell on me. It's the smell of the ice, the sound of glass rattling after a good, hard hit. It's the time I've spent with my father at hockey games. And, I must admit, it's getting to turn around and correct the know-it-all guy and his inaccurate hockey statements and watch the smirk fade from his face as he gets put in his place by a girl. Without my hockey, I felt lost.

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Shootouts and More

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin allen of USA TODAY,

Eliminating tie games through shootouts has turned out to be a winning proposition for the NHL. The league has had 28 shootouts, and goaltenders have had the advantage. Shooters have been successful on 32.4% of attempts. Under the shootout formula, three players from each team alternate taking shots and the team with the most goals wins. If the teams are tied after six tries, each team puts another shooter out until one team scores and the other doesn't.

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Penguins Hoping For Slots

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Sun,

For years, the Penguins have been unable to sway local lawmakers to help fund an arena. "The problem is nobody has any money," Penguins president Ken Sawyer told NHL.com in August. "The Steelers' and the Pirates' and the Eagles' and the Phillies' stadiums were all deals done in advance of 9-11. The economy was strong, the state had a surplus every year, it was a totally different world. The economy changed, so it's a really a question of money. And there's a general public opinion against money for stadiums. In lieu of public opinion, the Penguins are hoping Harrisburg lawmakers grant them a slot machine casino license in the near future. The casino would be built adjacent to a new arena as part of a master plan. Otherwise, the franchise could pull up stakes and move to Kansas City; Portland, Ore.; Houston; or maybe Las Vegas.

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Evaluating The Wings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bill Clement of NBC Sports,

The Red Wings lost only once in October. But six losses in their first ten games in November hinted that Detroit, the reigning President's Trophy winner (109 points), probably won't prove as strong in the regular season as it has in recent years. The Red Wings have some good young players, but overall they are not a young team. But since Detroit has no salary cap room to speak of, it must succeed as is, needing to avoid serious injuries, and looking for one more strong Stanley-Cup run from its veterans. After getting bounced from the playoffs in the first round in 2002-03, and in the second round in 2003-04, Detroit is hoping its strong nucleus fares much better under its new coach and under the new rules in the NHL.

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