Kukla's Korner

What A Thrill

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Citizen,

Here at the Bell Capital Cup, the Qiqihar Snow Leopards and two other Chinese teams, the Harbin Red Stars and the Sinoca Beijing Dragons, have been slotted into the least competitive division. They'll play against Canadian recreational house league teams. But in China, they're the top players of their age-class -- and they're being groomed for a future in which they may form an Olympic hockey team. "That is China's hope," said Chen Danian, vice-director of hockey for the Qiqihar club.
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Do Something Iggy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Calgary Sun,

The catcall from the crowd would seem unimaginable not that long ago. Late in the Calgary Flames Tuesday-night loss to Nashville, a voice rang out from the throng that filled the Saddledome. "Do something, Iggy!" was the plea. It wasn't just an appeal for the captain to turn the game around and pull a victory from the jaws of defeat. It was also a cajoling to be the $7-million star fans expect to see night after night.
continued

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Dingman On Waivers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Petersburg Times,

Lightning general manager Jay Feaster wants to make one thing clear: he isn't blaming forward Chris Dingman for the Lightning's inconsistent season. But he also made this clear: he isn't happy and changes could be coming. Actually, they already started. The Lightning parted ways Wednesday with Dingman, who played in 74 regular-season games and 23 more during the playoffs when the Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2003-04. Dingman was placed on waivers and likely will clear them today at noon.
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A Taxing Situation

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Jim Rutherford doesn't want to stand in the way of a golden opportunity. But the Carolina Hurricanes GM isn't thrilled with the idea of star centre Eric Staal going to Italy in February and not even getting a chance to practise or feel like he's part of Team Canada. "My belief is that if they're going to have these taxi squads, they should just be part of a 26-man roster so everybody is part of the team and they feel like they are part of the team," Rutherford said yesterday from his Raleigh, N.C., office.
continued

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The Difference Between 68 & 79

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

For last night at the Coliseum, in a game that Ranger leader Jaromir Jagr said, "was huge and we knew it," Stirling's Islanders came up as small as . . . well, as small as Alexei Yashin in losing 6-2 after holding a 2-0 lead in the match's eighth minute. Could there have been a greater contrast between the two New Yorks' two signature players? Could there have been a better illustration of the gulf in leadership between the Rangers' No. 68 and the Islanders' No. 79? It's not only Jagr's remarkable skill that has set him apart this surprising season; it's the passion and work ethic he has displayed on a consistent basis while assuming the league lead in scoring with 59 points (24-35). There's no doubt he's the straw who stirs the drink. Meanwhile, no such return for the Islanders on Yashin, whom they named team captain after excising Michael Peca from the program. But while you can transplant a "C" onto a man's chest, you can't do the same for what beats beneath it.
read on (reg. req.)

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Trade Benefits

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the LA Times,

The two players along with center Todd Marchant — another acquisition from the Blue Jackets — have had key roles in bringing the Ducks back into contention for a playoff spot. More surprisingly, the three have delivered more production with their new team than Fedorov — a six-time All-Star and former NHL most valuable player — has with the Blue Jackets. In doing so, the three new Ducks have quieted critics who said the deal was only about money. "You take one player out of a lineup and you bring in three new guys, you should see some kind of a change," Burke said. "It's not throwing rocks at Sergei. It's not throwing rocks at [Columbus General Manager] Doug MacLean. But they got one new player and we got three."
more (reg. req.)

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Over The Boards

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

-Sergei Samsonov, who missed two games earlier this month because of a nerve problem that caused tingling in his hands, had to return to Boston last night because of inflammation in his rib cage. He is expected to be evaluated by the team's medical personnel today.- Boston Globe -Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who has 11 victories in 31 starts, left the game after two periods with what team officials said was a "leg injury." . -Eight years after the Whalers left Hartford, a developer says he is considering bringing another National Hockey League team to the capital city that would play in a new $250 million arena he wants to build. “We've got our own money, we're willing to invest in an arena, and we're willing to buy a team,” said Lawrence R. Gottesdiener, head of Northland Investment Corp. “It would be an important entity and symbol of the city, the region and the state to provide a first-class venue for the residents.”- AP -Not since the days when Hardy Astrom manned the nets for the old Colorado Rockies have Denver hockey fans seen goaltending this bad. After the first-period showing by Budaj: Colorado's starting goalies have allowed four goals on five shots in the past two games. Quenneville has pulled his starting goalie in five of the past 23 games, four times this month. Colorado has allowed fewer than three goals in one of the past 10 games. Colorado is 6-11-2 against the teams with the 10 best records in the NHL, 13-5-1 versus the rest.- Denver Post

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Signs Of Growth

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Tennessean,

Predators Coach Barry Trotz calls it "backside pressure'' — the ability of organizational prospects to push their more tenured teammates for NHL roster spots. Veterans might describe backside pressure a little differently, more like the need to start watching their backsides because the prospects are gaining on them. While Nashville's big guns like Paul Kariya and Steve Sullivan have continued their point-per-game production, a number of players that began the season in Milwaukee — such as centers Vern Fiddler and Jerred Smithson, as well as forward Scottie Upshall and right wing Jordin Tootoo — have taken full advantage of opportunities afforded to them because of injury.
continued

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Ugly Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

Jacques Lemaire. Thanks for nothing. As in no points and two straight losses for the once mighty Edmonton Oilers, who were on a five-victory roll until coach Lemaire and his inaptly named Wild hit town for two of the dullest hockey games seen in the New NHL this season. In a year in which goals are way up, comebacks are plentiful, and flow is back in a game that once again sparkles with speed and skill, the Wild are a throwback to the grim, grid-locked, neutral-zone trap-infested past. This season has, indeed, been a renaissance for the NHL and you hoped the opportunity was there for Lemaire to demonstrate he could apply his genius to offence as well as stifling defence.
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Brashear Background

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Philly Burbs,

There's a lot about Donald Brashear's tumultuous upbringing we will never know, but this much we can ascertain. The Flyer forward hails from an illustrious family which has produced greatness in all different walks of life. To wit: Brashear's uncle, Carl, was the inspiration for the movie “Men of Honor.'' The movie brought to national attention Carl Brashear's story: While working on a salvage mission to recover a misplaced nuclear weapon in seas off the coast of Spain in 1966, he suffered a terrible injury to his left leg. Surgeons were forced to amputate the leg at the knee.
more

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