Kukla's Korner

Offensive Numbers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for, but the NHL's dream of more offence is reaching giddy heights. A return to the wide open Wayne Gretzky era it's not. But the hockey this season certainly is a notch above the whacking and grabbing style we had become subject to as the neutral-zone trap took hold. One month into the season, goals are up about 25% from the tedious 2003-04 season. Shots on goal are up almost 20%, while power-play goals have increased by more than 50% stemming from the crackdown on obstruction. The aim of the rule changes was to free up ice for the star players and certainly some have taken advantage.

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Columbus In Trouble

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

The Columbus Blue Jackets are in serious trouble without Rick Nash, who tied for the league lead in scoring in 2003-04. The Jackets have scored only 28 goals in 15 games, and in this era, if you can't average two goals a game, you're not going to win many. And the Blue Jackets haven't. In fact, they've won only four -- and three of those came during what general manager Doug MacLean called "the most important five-game home stand in the team's history." That was back when MacLean still had his sense of humour. It was the only five-game home stand in the team's history. These days, however, Mac-Lean isn't chuckling much.

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LeClair Suffers Facial Fractures

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

The Penguins suffered a major loss long before the opening faceoff of their game against Boston at the TD Banknorth Garden last night. Left winger John LeClair was struck near the right eye by a puck during the morning skate and will be out indefinitely. LeClair sustained multiple fractures in what team officials described as the "cheekbone region."

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Changes In the Maven’s Eyes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler of MSG Network,

-Slow Starts -One dimensional players -Little Guys -No lead is safe -Rookies

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Controversial Call

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Preds/Kings game goes to shootout today. Roenick is stopped by Vokoun with a left leg save as Vokoun is going back into the goal. Puck comes off his pad, J.R. gives it a little push and puck goes into the net. Refs review and award a goal, Kings win. My understanding is you can't score on a rebound n a shootout/penalty shot. Strange ruling to say the least. update 9:11pm, via the AP,

"I came down and went to my backhand, and then when I tried to bring it back to my forehand, I kind of lost an edge and tried to stuff it in," Roenick said. "As I did, his pad and the puck went in at the same time. I knew I was going down, but I still had enough to push it by him." A video review helped referees decide that Roenick hadn't put in his own rebound. "The question was whether Jeremy had played it a second time, a rebound," referee Dennis LaRue said. "I didn't see that on the ice, and it was apparently confirmed on the replay upstairs."

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Phoenix Looking Forward To Playing Wings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Phoenix Coyotes,

Every game is important and those against Western Conference opponents, even more so. But tonight’s contest in Detroit will be a little different than most road games. Tonight the Coyotes will make their first appearance at Joe Louis Arena of the season; and while the focus is on coming away with two points, there is no denying the traditions and atmosphere that comes with playing in the Motor City. “For me, I grew up a Gordie Howe fan and a Detroit red Wings fan,” said Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky, “so there is certainly a little extra excitement coming here.

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Alfredsson Wants To Improve

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Daniel Alfredsson has bad news for opponents in the Eastern Conference. He thinks he can be better. "I'm not quite happy with where everything is at right now," said Alfredsson yesterday. "I'm still working on a few things and I'm not completely happy with where my shot is at." Going into tonight's game against the Islanders, the Senators captain is having a standout season with 12 goals and 23 points in 12 games. If this continues, he could break the 50-goal mark.

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Bolts Need A Jolt

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

With the skill, speed and youth the Tampa Bay Lightning possess, the new NHL should be even more suited to them than the one over which they reigned as champions two years ago. But that hasn't been the case as the Lightning have stumbled a little out of the starting blocks with a 7-5-2 record. They're also carrying back-to-back losses into tonight's game against the Leafs, who have also been something less than inspiring this season. At this point in 2003-04, the Lightning were off to a torrid pace. They won their first six games, were undefeated in their first eight and after 14 games were 9-2-3. But Lightning coach John Tortorella, who was the architect of the team's rise from laughingstock to champion, notices things are much different this time. "We're going through a process of being the hunted," Tortorella said. "We've never been the hunted before. Let's face it, where we were before we were getting the snot kicked out of us. We're going through the process of learning how to compete in a whole different world."

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NHL Growing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Montreal Gazette,

The elite professional is of unprecedented size in 2005-06, based on the 710 active players and injured reserve on first-game rosters of the NHL's 30 clubs. This average player has grown two inches, added 20.4 pounds and aged two years since 1972-73, the first year the league tracked him, when he was 5-foot-11, 184.5 pounds and 26.4 years. He is 3/10ths of a pound heavier and one-half year older than in 2003-04, and is 6-foot-1 for the 11th consecutive season.

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All About Alex

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

"I miss my home, my city and my country," Ovechkin said. "But I want to be here because the NHL is the league I have always wanted to play in." Crosby has better players around him right now while the Capitals don't have a lot of depth, and if the losses pile up, they could take a toll on Ovechkin, despite the fact "it's my job to make this team get better." About the only area, Willsie said, where Ovechkin needs improvement is in his fashion sense. The youngster took quite a ribbing one day when he walked in wearing red pants, red shoes and a red hat. "Nobody understands my unique style," he said. "I like to be different."

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