Kukla's Korner

The Feel Of An All-Star Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Boston Herald,

In this extravagant new era of the NHL, 5-on-5 play can be genuinely exciting, with teams racing up and down the ice to generate intense and nonstop offensive action – and no plodding defender slowing things down with a well-placed hook or hold. Unfortunately, in too many games 5-on-5 play is a sight as rare as either a standup goaltender or a good toe-to-toe fight. In creating its new on-ice product, the NHL rightly wanted to do a better job of showcasing the prodigious talents of its best players. At times, that certainly has happened. But too much of the time now, the talent showcase has almost the feel of an All-Star Game – hockey that is all about gaudy skills but lacking the physical intensity that always made NHL play special.

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Lower The Music

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Phildadelphia Inquirer,

It's a tune played for celebration, the "Chicken Dance." Weddings, birthday parties, multiple-goal hockey games. So it's been playing down at the Wachovia Center this year on a regular basis. Whenever the Flyers score four or more goals, the song blares on and the fans cheer. Free chicken sandwiches for everyone in the building. I'll bet the people at Chick-fil-A are rethinking that promotion. But back at league headquarters in New York, the song should be the stuff of elevator music.

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Chicago Acquires Hilbert

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Chicago Blackhawks,

General Manager Dale Tallon announced tonight that the Chicago Blackhawks acquired forward Andy Hilbert from the Boston Bruins in exchange for the Blackhawks’ 5th round pick in the 2006 entry draft. Hilbert, 24, is 5.11 and weighs in at 194 pounds. The Lansing, Michigan native was Boston’s 2nd round pick in the 2000 NHL entry draft out of the University of Michigan in the CCHA. Hilbert was a CCHA First Team All-Star in 2001 and was named to the NCAA West First All-American Team that same year.

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Tampa Must Get Better

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via NHL.com,

The defending Stanley Cup champions got an earful from head coach John Tortorella after playing one of their worst periods of the season in front of a national television audience. From all accounts, paint was nearly stripped off the wall in the visitor's dressing room Saturday night at Air Canada Centre after the Tampa Bay Lightning went down 2-0 to Toronto after the first period. "It wasn't pretty, and deservedly so," Lightning defenceman Dan Boyle said of Tortorella's rant. "We were pretty terrible."

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Power Failure

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Sunday is normally a slow day for posting and for the last 6 hours, it was a day of no posts. 130,000 homes in Metro Detroit were without power due to high winds, and I was one of them. The good thing about it, I didn't have to watch the Lions lose again and power is now back in time for the Wings game.

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Why No Brooks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from North Jersey,

The Hockey Hall of Fame will hold its annual inductions Monday in Toronto and it will again be an empty ceremony with Herb Brooks' contributions to the game still being ignored. This is to take nothing away from former Boston Bruins' star Cam Neely and the late Valeri Kharlamov, who will be entering in the players' category. And it's not that Murray Costello, the former president of Hockey Canada who helped the development of minor hockey in his home country, doesn't deserve recognition as a builder. t would be difficult to find a person who did more for hockey in the United States than Brooks, and the impact that he had on the NHL should not be overlooked either.

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Redefining The Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The conversation takes place in the corridors and press rooms of arenas across the country, and it takes place over the phone. But it is muted, and in public those whose constructive critics who wonder whether the league's Manhattan power-brokers have gone too far, wear gags, fearful now of being fined by a commissioner who thinks dissent is as harmful to the league as a tie game. We'd be far more patient with the administration and with the evolution of the game if we trusted the motives of the Blue Suits directing the agenda. If the people in charge were attempting to recreate the environment from, say, the late '80s or early '90s, when the NHL featured a blend of skill, speed and toughness that disappeared with the first lockout, we'd gladly hang in with the inevitable bumps of change. But they're not attempting to recreate an era during which hockey's popularity rose to a zenith. Instead, they're determined to invent a new game that will somehow appeal to consumers who have never had much interest at all in the sport. It's as if they're trying to invent a car that will appeal to people who don't have a driver's license.

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It All Makes Sense Now

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Doug Gilmour, special to the Toronto Sun,

This is a message for Jacques Demers, my former coach and a man who was much like a father figure to me early in my career. I had no idea. Never did I suspect you were illiterate. I never saw any evidence of such a handicap during my stint with the St. Louis Blues, a time when you were my first National Hockey League bench boss. It takes a big man to come out and publicly admit such a thing like you did. You know, as I look back, it all makes sense now.

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Waiting For The CBA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News & Observer,

Promoted to deputy commissioner in the days after the July 22 settlement, Daly has spent the past three months working with the NHL Players' Association to hammer out the final details and interpretations of the new labor agreement. Or, to answer fans' questions about when they might be able to see the new deal: not yet. "There are things that come up from time to time we discuss with the union," Daly said. "At some point, probably in the not-too-distant future, we'll make some minor modifications in writing and probably have the document formally printed.

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Watching The Bruins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Boston Globe,

It's the day after a big 2-1 home win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Boston Bruins are filtering into the Ristuccia Memorial Arena's parking lot in Wilmington for an 11 a.m. practice. Luxury SUVs are the overwhelming vehicle of choice, and the players stroll toward the entrance of their locker room, many clutching cups of coffee to shake away the fatigue from getting home late the night before. Each player is greeted by a handful of fans, who ask the players to pose for a picture or sign an autograph. Most of the players are eager to oblige, others do so somewhat grudgingly, but not a single player refuses a fan's request. The same scene plays out in the Ristuccia parking lot every time the Bruins practice there, in a give-and-take between athletes and fans that is rarely, if ever, seen in professional sports.

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