Kukla's Korner

A View From Across The Pond

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the International Herald Tribune,

The National Hockey League's gain was Europe's loss as they finally dropped the puck on the ice again in 15 North American cities after a season wiped out by labor troubles and, above all, a failure by players to take their club owners and league commissioner Gary Bettman seriously. The players eventually got the message and the big pay cut, scrambling to accept a new agreement that instituted the salary cap they had vowed never to tolerate. The silver lining to the lockout was that many of them got to spend the season on the continent where they learned the game.

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Blogging Opening Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

A great blogging type story from around the NHL. Great job! from ESPN,

We're all here and we're ready … Opening Night in the NHL. Through the first round of games, we were blogging from throughout the continent. We'll start things off with a little stat hit: the odds for the Stanley Cup finals. According to the Glantz-Culver Line, Philly is a 5-1 favorite to win the Cup (are there separate odds for the slight chance Peter Forsberg gets hurt?). Ottawa is at 7-1, and Detroit is at 8-1. Calgary, Tampa Bay and Colorado are all at 10-1.

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Wrapping It Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

The new NHL has already left a sour taste in the mouths of Pat Quinn and the Maple Leafs, but it has surely arrived. With a bang. There was, of course, Ottawa's wild shootout victory last night over the Leafs, the first such result in the 88-year history of the league, and there were goals, goals, goals in cities around North America as the NHL staged a smorgasbord of opening-night action. Before Wayne Gretzky even officially began his coaching career in Vancouver, six teams had already scored five goals or more on the first night of hook-free, clutch-free NHL play. Remember the last time we watched hockey and the Calgary Flames and Tampa Bay Lightning played a seven-game Stanley Cup final without a single lead change? Well, last night the Dallas Stars fell behind the Los Angeles Kings 4-0 and roared back to triumph 5-4. The New York Rangers, expected to be dreadful this season, spotted the Philadelphia Flyers a two-goal lead and ended up on the right end of a 5-3 verdict. That kind of stuff almost never used to happen. And then there was the Leafs-Sens contest.

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Reason To Believe

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

There is a strong compulsion to dismiss the National Hockey League's latest vow to allow its stars to display their skills -- based on the ample evidence of the league's previous 436 crackdowns on hooking, holding and interference -- as simply marketing hokum from people desperate to sell themselves in the wake of a nuclear winter. But, as seen during the exhibition season and last night, when the 2005-06 regular season officially opened after an entire year of play was lost to a lockout, there is reason to believe, even for all of us cynics. The reason lies not so much in what the referees are calling but in what they are not.

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No Decision Yet

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the London Free Press

, Four goaltenders in old-style equipment cavorted on the sidewalk outside Joe Louis Arena last night, signalling either the repressed nuttiness of hockey fans long bereft of their fix or an omen that more than one goaltender per net will be needed to stem the onslaught of scoring in the new National Hockey League. The game resumed 521 days after the Detroit Red Wings' last meaningful game was played here and, like every other front in the full-tilt NHL opening night, the jury remains out.

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The NHL Is Back- But Different

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

The National Hockey League reopened for business Wednesday, ushering in its return from a 310-day lockout with the familiar sounds of sticks slapping pucks and blades crunching on ice in arenas from Vancouver to Boston. So much else surrounding the league and the game itself, however, was dramatically different: New faces. New rules. And a new concept: a salary cap. The new rules were intended to restore the speed and flow that had been obliterated by a decade-long descent into dreary defensive tactics. On first glance, they seem to have succeeded:

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Fans Get Their Fix

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the National Post,

"Hockey is like heroin," (Chris) Rock said. "Only drug addicts do heroin. It's not like a recreational drug ... Hockey is kind of the same way. Only hockey fans watch hockey." There will be plenty of talk in the coming weeks if there are enough in places like Anaheim and Florida and Carolina, and if the ones that were there two years ago have made their way back. But we were spared all of that for a few, precious hours last night, as our game fired up again after its blackest era. As if we weren't going to be watching.

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The NHL Returns- Good, Bad or Indifferent

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Overall, the opening night was a huge success if you are an NHL fan. Many of the games were well played and the action was fast and furious. The Wings/Blues game was played at a much higher pace than any of the exhibition games I had seen, and the hitting actually played a part of the game. Surfing through Center Ice, most games had the same feel. The Leafs/Sens game was the top game in my opinion. Never more than a one goal lead, and both goalies played an outstanding game. What was your opinion of what you saw? Are you satisfied after one night, disappointed or still unsure?

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Who Is Lebda

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Name doesn't sound familiar, does it? Hint: Paired with the oldest Red Wing last night on defense. Oh, another European draft choice by the Wings? Not a chance, he's American. from Mlive,

As a kid growing up in suburban Chicago, Brett Lebda cheered for the Blackhawks and idolized rugged defenseman Chris Chelios. Lebda never could have imagined that one day he'd make his NHL debut paired with Chelios on the Detroit Red Wings' blue line, as he did on Wednesday. He also couldn't have imagined that he'd score a goal in his NHL debut, as he did in Detroit's 5-1 season-opening victory over the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena. "It was unbelievable. It's just something you dream of as a kid," Lebda said. "I couldn't ask for more than to play my first NHL game, get a goal and the win. It's a great feeling all the way around."

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Tough Trivia

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

What face was behind this mask? update Friday 8:00am, The mask was worn by Jaques Plante in the early 70's. Plante was the first goalie to were a mask in the NHL, but this was not the original mask.

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