Kukla's Korner

Chara Reaching New Heights

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,

There are no more growing pains for Zdeno Chara.

The 6-foot-9, 255-pound defenseman from Trencin, Slovakia, hasn’t had a major growth spurt since he was 17—shortly after he grew six inches in a two-year span. He no longer has to hear coaches tell him maybe he should try basketball or some other sport. He’s no longer a big joke to some teammates, who watched him clumsily skate around the rink and laughed behind his back.

No, when Chara turned 22, the rest of his body caught up with his height, a development for which the Boston Bruins are eternally grateful. Now,  equipment comes custom made for Chara. He no longer plays with skates held together by tape, glue and screws. Nor does he have trainers sew extra material from old sweaters onto the bottom of his jersey to cover his hockey pants.

“I wasn’t supposed to make it. I was too tall, too awkward, too everything,” Chara said. “I couldn’t make anyone in Slovakia believe I could play ... so I had to leave home.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zdeno+chara

Tough Goal To Give Up In A 2-1 Loss

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

On an innocent line change, Perron tossed the puck into the offensive zone, and the puck found its way to the back of the net.

“I thought someone else scored,” Perron said. “I had no idea what happened. I turned around and (Cam) Janssen was all over me.”

The crowd of 17,512 was just as surprised as Perron and the Blues. Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky shook his head in disbelief.

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: david+perron

If Canadiens Go Deep Into Playoffs, Lang Feels He Could Return

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,

Lang suggested that, if all continues to go well and the Canadiens hang around the playoffs for a spell, his season might not yet be finished.

“If everything’s perfect and the team plays long enough, then it’s possible, yes,” he said of a postseason return.

“If everything goes according to the rehab protocol, it could be 10 weeks, 12, maybe 14, who knows. I have no idea when I’ll be able to skate, but it is possible to come back and still help the team if we stay in the playoffs.

“Get to the playoffs and hey, anything can happen.”

Fourteen weeks from the date of surgery is May 11, one month after the Habs’ final regular-season game.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: robert+lang

Connolly Would Be A Fit In Columbus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

In terms of truth, I’d rather swallow whatever drivel A-Rod is selling than the garble generated near the NHL trade deadline. The only thing planted between an overage of gossip and a shortage of substance is an exaggeration of facts. But every now and again, a juicy hockey rumor actually makes sense.

That brings us to the latest “Tim Connolly is headed for [insert team]” chatter making the rounds in recent weeks. This one had the pending unrestricted free agent going to Columbus, where the Blue Jackets have been clamoring for a center of Connolly’s ilk.

And why not?

Connolly alongside Rick Nash would be frightening with the big winger manning the left side and the right-handed center wheeling and dealing the way he can when healthy.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tim+connolly

Top Rangers Will Get Their Ice Time

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

“I’m not a four-line guy,” the head coach of the Rangers said yesterday after conducting his first practice. “Your best players need to be your decision-makers.”

And so beginning here tonight against the Maple Leafs, it will be on Scott Gomez and Nik Zherdev, united at yesterday’s practice, to prove to Tortorella that they are horses worth riding, and not stallions. It will be on Chris Drury to prove that he can handle the ice time without diminishing returns, and on young buck Brandon Dubinsky to make a statement on left wing with Drury.

It will be on Wade Redden to provide evidence that he belongs on the power play, the specialty unit that Tortorella himself will handle while assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld takes on the penalty kill assignment.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

After 13 Years…Lemieux Is Still Garbage

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Make no mistake about it. Don’t let your foggy memory play tricks on you.  Kris Draper’s back was to the ice.  He was facing the boards.  Claude Lemieux took his time, selected his angle, moved a few steps forward and brought his hands up high enough to place both fists between Draper’s shoulder blades. 

Then he drove forward, smashing Draper’s face into the boards, almost at the edge of where the top of the bench ended.

Make no mistake about it.  Claude Lemieux knew what he was doing.  And let’s be real clear about something here.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Duncan Keith’s Breakout Season

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

If the NHL had an award for most improved player, Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks should be a strong candidate for it.  I doubt he would win it because players like him often fly beneath the radar of many fans.  Keith is not a top scorer in the league.  He is one of the best defenceman in the league. 

Keith is currently tied for the NHL’s lead in +/- (with Blake Wheeler and David Krejci of Boston) with a +31 rating.  The Boston players come from a team with a better +/-, so their standing is less impressive.  Keith is currently 20th in scoring among defencemen with 32 points and among the league leaders with over 25 minutes played per game.  Defensively Keith is one of the best players in the league.  If the season ended today, I would nominate him for the Norris Trophy ( an award Mike Green should win).

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Best Guess- Pronger Won’t Be Traded This Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding,

My best guess is that the Ducks won’t trade Pronger at the deadline, simply because if they do decide to trade him, they could get a better package this summer.

The Ducks’ issue seems to be that they are being handcuffed by their salary cap, and they need to move one of their major breadwinners to ease their pressure.

Two seasons ago, the Ducks paid more than $13 million for Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger and they won a Stanley Cup. Have they now decided they can’t afford both?

It doesn’t seem as if the Ducks know yet whether Niedermayer is coming back.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+pronger

Dater Talking Rumors

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

Lots of rumors flying around tonight. I don’t normally indulge in a lot of “Let’s make up a bunch and hope one of them sticks, then go around claiming we’re a good reporter, while ignoring the 99 we got wrong” type of stuff like many others do. But, hey, it’s getting near deadline time, so let’s trot out a couple I’ve been hearing tonight:

Rumor is the Avs are going to be involved a big, multi-player deal involving an eastern team real soon. Boston or Pittsburgh are the runaway favorite teams said to be likely to be involved. I still can’t get rid of my Chris Drury itch, either. I know that Francois Giguere loves him. But as much I love Drury, too, it’s probably not a great deal for a team like the Avs right now. And I doubt Drury would OK any deal out of New York. But I still rumor-monger about him a bit, I’ll admit.

Could Jordan Staal become an Av? Could be. Could Ryan Whitney? Could be. Could Manny Fernandez? Could be. Could a couple of first-round picks be coming Colorado’s way, along with any of the above players, for someone like Ryan Smyth and/or Jordan Leopold? Could be….

*Update:
Now, some of the folks who were hot on the above rumors are backing off them quite a bit. See how much fun this is, folks? Trying to figure out what hockey GMs will do - basically a giant guessing game.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Kopecky’s Turn To Sit

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Deep Digger Captain Ansar Khan(!) reports Chris Chelios will be a healthy scratch in favor of Brad Stuart tomorrow night, and that the rotation keeps spinning.  Tomas Kopecky will sit too as Kris Draper makes his return after a (misguided) one game absence.

Oh…and a certain scumbag chimed in as well.

The long-time Wings antagonist expects the typical reaction from the Joe Louis Arena crowd.

“No different than what it used to be,’’ Lemieux said. “Don’t expect to become a fan favorite in Detroit, but it’s not a worry of mine. I just worry about playing the game and helping the club as best I can.’‘

 

 

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

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