Kukla's Korner

Blue Jackets Read The Riot Act

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Columbus president/GM Doug MacLean has read the riot act to the Blue Jackets' players. Only five games into a season he promised owner John McConnell and the good fans of Columbus his club would challenge for a playoff spot, sources told the Sun that MacLean blew his top following a 4-3 loss Friday in Anaheim. After watching his club give a halfhearted effort against the Ducks for Columbus' fourth loss in five games, the word is MacLean went ballistic -- especially to winger Nikolai Zherdev -- during an expletive-filled session in the dressing room. Not only is the heat on MacLean -- who signed free-agent defenceman Adam Foote to a $4-million (all figures US) contract -- but there's talk Jackets coach Gerard Gallant is living on borrowed time.

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Carolina May Be Saved

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Rocky Mount Telegram,

The new NHL was not made for franchises like Detroit, Toronto or Philadelphia. There was never any doubt that the fans of the great tradition-filled franchises would return to the arenas after the year-long lockout. The new NHL, with its rules designed to open up play and increase scoring, was designed to help the struggling franchises, such as the Carolina Hurricanes. Sure the Hurricanes had gone to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002. The fans showed up in droves then, leading to the familiar rallying call of the “loudest fans in the NHL.” However, not much has gone right since then. There was the last-place finish in 2002-03 and the mildly better season the next. Moving or contracting the franchise, just eight years after moving from Hartford, Conn., was an option the talking heads discussed as a way to “fix the NHL” after the lockout.

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Hockey Being Played Again

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Sun,

Have you seen this new game on TV? It's called "hockey" and it's fast-paced and high-scoring and hard-hitting and tremendously fun to watch! And we can't believe that the NHL denied for so long that there was a problem with Canada's beloved national sport! It's only a couple of weeks into the start of the new season of the new National Hockey League, but the earlier reviews are overwhelmingly positive. We certainly can see why. We were skeptical that the NHL lockout would return anything to the ice other than the same old, boring, clutch-and-grab game - except paid by players earning less money than before. It turns out to be anything but the old game on the ice. And boy, are we glad. It seems that the really revolutionary change made during the league's one-year sabbatical from our lives was not the salary cap - although that's helping to make the Oilers a lot more competitive - but the comparatively minor tinkering of the rules. The two rule tweaks that seem to be doing the most to increase the speed and flow of the game are the two-line passes, as the centre red-line is ignored when it comes to passing the puck up the ice, and what the NHL terms "zero tolerance on interference, hooking and holding/obstruction."

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Is It The NHL Or NBA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

A lot of the games have been a lot more entertaining and that's good, there's no doubt about that. It's far more difficult, if not impossible, for teams to sit on leads for 30 or 40 minutes, and that's good, too; no doubt about that, either. But at the same time, a number of the games played through the first 10 days of the NHL's return from the dead haven't even resembled hockey, and that's bad. A number of the games have more or less resembled basketball, and that's bad, too, no doubt about that, either. Everyone's all for improving the game. But, after watching too many games in which too many players were permitted to skate freely without fear of being touched as they circled the perimeter while their teammates stood around watching them go one-on-one, we wonder whether Sixth Avenue's motive is to improve the game or whether Sixth Avenue's motive is to change the game entirely in order to try and sell it to consumers who wouldn't know Rocket Richard from Roger Clemens.

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Bettman- “We Had To Make The Right Deal”

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Palm Beach Post,

Commissioner Gary Bettman defended the NHL's decision to lose the entire 2004-05 season Saturday night as opposed to rushing into an agreement that might have saved part of the year but would failed to have fixed the game's most deep-rooted problems. "We knew we were at the stage where we had to make the right deal," Bettman said in a visit with the South Florida media before Saturday's Panthers-Sabres game at the BankAtlantic Center. "That's why it took as long as it did. ... Rushing to get in half or 40 percent of the season at the cost of not getting the right deal would not have been worth it.

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Video Of Hull Retirement Announcement

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via TSN (will open in wmp video), Hull announces his retirement from the NHL.

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Hull Retires

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Arizona Republic,

Brett Hull, the NHL’s third all-time leading goal scorer, has played his last game. Hull plans to announce his retirement today at 5 p.m. before the Coyotes play the Detroit Red Wings at Glendale Arena, according to multiple NHL sources. Hull, 41, played five games for the Coyotes this season, but his playing time has dwindled. Coach Wayne Gretzky used him on just 12 shifts Thursday night vs. Nashville. Hull scored 741 goals since joining the league in 1985-86.
update 5:10pm. OLN should put him in the studio, now!!! update 5:30pm, from Sportsnet,
The 41-year-old spoke with Coyotes' management following Thursday's game and said he felt it was time for him to hang up his blades. Phoenix general manager Mike Barnett asked Hull to take yesterday off to speak to his family before making a final decision. Hull did that and today announced to the team his intention to call it quits. Although Hull managed to get himself back into reasonable shape to play, he feels in his own mind, his skills have diminished. Furthermore, he wants to go out near the top of his game.
update 5:50pm, Brett Hull was always good for a quote or a one-liner, here are a few:
Anything that's signed by me on EBay is a forgery and not authentic. Baseball has all the money. Canadian hockey fans... They boo me every time I go anywhere. Because I play for Team USA. Do I catch flak because I'm so much smarter than everyone else? I don't know.
many more... update 8:32pm, The Coyotes will likely get some salary cap relief with his retirement. If Hull signs a Voluntarily Retired List league form - which means he can't return to the NHL for a year - then his salary, minus his the first paycheque which arrived Friday, is wiped off the books for Phoenix. A source indicated he would sign the form.

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Sutton Expecting Suspension Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

For all the verbal barbs exchanged, for all the mayhem on the ice, when all is said and done, the only player who will be suspended as a result of Friday night's game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Atlanta Thrashers is Atlanta defenceman Andy Sutton. TSN has learned the NHL had a disciplinary hearing with Sutton on the telephone this morning and will announce a suspension, probably this afternoon, of four games or less.
more update 4:18pm, The NHL suspended Atlanta Thrashers defenceman Andy Sutton for four games for delivering a blow to the head of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Darcy Tucker in a game. Sutton won't be paid for the games missed as a result of the suspension, which began Saturday night with Atlanta's game in New York against the Rangers. The $38,775.52 US that Sutton will forfeit goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

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“Oh My God, Puck, I Must Shoot”

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

That quote from Ovechkin is my favorite of the past week. Check out the rest of the best from Phil Coffey of NHL.com.

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Avery Is Now A Target

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Slam,

Many NHLers in the east already were snoozing in the wee hours yesterday morning when Kirk Maltby slammed his fist into the schnozz of NHL bad boy Sean Avery out in Los Angeles. Thank heaven for replays. You can bet there was a collective cheer later in the day from Maltby's peers around the league when they finally had the opportunity to watch the video of the roundhouse left hook that pancaked Avery's nose in the waning moments of the Red Wings' 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center. His schtick obviously having worn thin throughout the league, Avery has become the most targeted man in hockey.

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