Kukla's Korner

Stop The Diving

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun via Slam,

Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn backs Ottawa Senators coach Bryan Murray's call for the National Hockey League to be more lenient about physical play in front of the goal. "You should still have the battles around the net," Quinn said. "Not the holding, nobody wants that. But you should be able to block a guy off. You are entitled to your area."

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Fast Ice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

After six years of complaints about the slow, choppy ice in their home rink, the Maple Leafs hope to get a step ahead with modern science. Practice at the Air Canada Centre was halted yesterday to let building personnel tell the players and coach Pat Quinn about Fast Ice, a new system designed to improve one of the most difficult rinks to maintain in the National Hockey League. Basically, it's chemically treated water that is laid down in a mist as opposed to straight flooding. "It hardens quicker," said Bob Hunter, general manager of the ACC. "We think it's going to make a difference."

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Leafs Have Issues Up The Middle

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

With less than a week before the NHL season opens, the Leafs' grand plan to charge into battle with three behemoth centres — Mats Sundin, Jason Allison and Eric Lindros — is already running out of steam. Allison and Lindros are struggling to stay healthy, so the trio might not even be able to start the season. If they do, it's still not a sure bet they'll all play centre. "Not really," Leafs coach Pat Quinn said yesterday when asked if he's got any firm plans for the three giants. "You can make plans, but we don't know if they'll start the season. Right now they're not in the middle, they're nowhere ... they're in the stands." Allison (hip flexor) has appeared in one pre-season game while Lindros (oblique muscles) has three to his credit. The lack of participation, even though the games are meaningless, has compromised roster decisions and thrown a wrench into preparations for Wednesday's opener at home against Ottawa.

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Hatcher Not Happy With Penalty Calls

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News Journal,

Veteran defenseman Derian Hatcher has seen each of the Flyers' two home preseason games and admits he's as confused as anyone when it comes to deciphering what is a penalty and what is not. "Don't ask me what I think," Hatcher said after completing his second full practice since returning from a left knee sprain. "Some of the (calls) I personally think are ridiculous." He said he is in favor of ridding the sport of hold-ups in the neutral zone, but does not want the one-on-one battles completely eliminated from the game. "You can't battle now, give me a break," he said. "The NHL is trying to create the warrior-type image and yet they're taking a lot of that out of the game. I think it's ridiculous and I think most of the players in the league do, too."

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No Room For Racist Remarks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Sun,

You'd never hear anyone say most black players in the NHL play tough but then back down when someone challenges them. Comments as racist and offensive as that aren't aired in post-game interviews. And if they were, the player who made them would be fined and suspended into oblivion. They know better than to even think about spewing that kind of garbage. But when it comes to ripping Frenchmen, the lips get a whole lot looser. On Monday, Los Angeles Kings forward Sean Avery, upset with Denis Gauthier's open-ice hit on teammate Jeremy Roenick, said "it was typical of most French players in our league with a visor on, running around and playing tough and not backing anything up.''

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NO SI Jinx For Flames

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The Sports Illustrated jinx doesn't concern Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla -- or worry him or perturb him in any meaningful way. The magazine picked the Flames to win the 2006 Stanley Cup on Tuesday, cranking up the pressure on a team that isn't used to dealing with great expectations going into a new National Hockey League season. Such recognition from Sports Illustrated has sometimes been considered the kiss of death for athletes and teams. "Nobody in our dressing room is getting ahead of themselves," Iginla said.

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Don’t Turn Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the St. Petersburg Times,

Don't turn back now. That's the message Lightning coach John Tortorella is sending to everyone in and around the NHL, including fans and media. Over the weekend, Tortorella saw glimpses that the NHL might be easing off its crackdown of obstruction calls and hopes the NHL will stick with its new plan. "I already know in this league, people are complaining about it," Tortorella said. "And we can't complain about it. We have to allow this to happen. And I just hope we have some strong people to see this through." The only concern Tortorella has about the actual enforcement part of the rules is that the physical part of the game might go out with the cheating. "You can't take the physical part out," Tortorella said. "Everybody wants that physical part and that's something we got to find here because we can't lose that. You still have to call the cheap stuff, though."

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Could Boyton Get An Offer Sheet

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Milford Daily News,

There may well be one or more NHL general managers out there right now scheming about how they can steal unsigned free agent Nick Boynton away from the Bruins. Why in the world wouldn't they be? The opportunity is there for one of them to land a 26-year-old, solid, all-round defenseman who played in the last All-Star Game, without giving up anything more than a first-round draft choice and one or two lesser picks. If the Bruins sent out word they were willing to trade Boynton for that price, say a No. 1 and a No. 3 pick, there'd be 29 teams eager to make that deal.

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NHL Names

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Jes of Hockey Rants fame is having a few issues with the pronunciation of hockey player names. Jes also refers to the NHL Pronunciation Guide, which I never knew existed but I did find an old version from the year 2000 (the link appears broken but scroll down).

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Red Wings, Wake Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Someone want to send Ilitch a memo and inform him about the TV coverage? from Detroit Red Wings.com,

All 82 Detroit Red Wing regular-season games will be carried live on both radio and television. Fox Sports Net will broadcast a total of 69 regular-season games while five will be aired on WJBK Fox 2 Detroit. A total of 33 Red Wings games will be carried nationally in either the United States or Canada. ABC (WXYZ, Channel 7 in Detroit) will carry four games to a national television audience while another four games will be distributed nationally on ESPN. 15 other games will be carried nationally on ESPN2. In Canada, three games will be carried by CBC, and 12 will be shown on cable by TSN. Additional games may be added by each network as the season progresses.

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