Kukla's Korner

Shields Likely To Start For Thrashers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (reg. req.),

For the last six games, Thrashers coach Bob Hartley has had nothing but kind words for his two rookie goalies, Adam Berkhoel and Michael Garnett. As he has done for the last few games, Hartley refused to name a starter until after tomorrow’s skate. Part of his reasoning for that is that his goalie is likely to be Steve Shields. The Thrashers have agreed in principle to a deal with Shields and while the contract needs to be approved by the league, he will likely start in net tomorrow against Pittsburgh.

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It Is Good To Be A Red Wing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Buccigross of ESPN,

The biggest thing I came away with from the Wings-Blue Jackets game was how impressive the Red Wings looked. You can put the Wings back among the Western Conference elite. In fact, from what I've seen and considering their experience, I put the Wings as the favorite in the West. Mike Babcock has really tightened this team defensively. Sprinkle in creators up front and the beautiful-to-watch Nicklas Lidstrom and Mathieu Schneider on the back end, and the Wings are flying. They will probably deal for another defenseman, but overall, I think the Wings could get to the Stanley Cup with Manny Legace or whoever else in net.

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Jagr Having Fun

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via Slam,

Jaromir Jagr is having fun again. The New York Rangers winger has 10 goals in the first 10 games of the NHL season and, after four years in which he appeared to be in decline, his 15 points put him in a tie for the league scoring lead with red-hot Toronto defenceman Bryan McCabe heading into Wednesday's games. Better still, he has led a Rangers team that many thought would finish at or near dead last in the Eastern Conference to a respectable 4-3-3 record.

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NHL Coaches Fined

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Finally, I have been calling for this since the season started. Follow the lead of the NFL on this one Bettman, you will be praised. from TSN,

Sources say at least a couple of NHL head coaches have recently been fined unspecified amounts by the league for making critical remarks about the game, the new rules and/or officiating. Some other club team personnel - coaches and general managers - have reportedly been given written warnings from the league and put on notice that they too could be fined if criticism continues. There is speculation that one of the coaches who has been initially targeted for a fine is Toronto's Pat Quinn, who was not thrilled with the new rules or their application, and bluntly said so, after Saturday's loss to Philadelphia.

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Beat Writers Feeling Stress

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

Want to know who should be most upset about the style of play in the new National Hockey League? How about the sportswriters who sit high above the ice with the unenviable task of writing game stories and columns on deadline? There was a time, not long ago, when covering NHL games on a nightly basis was a relatively stress-free job.

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Theo Happy In Belfast

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

My personal thoughts on Fleury is he wants another shot at the NHL. The new NHL would favor a player like Theo, but would a team agree to sign him? from George Johnson of ESPN,

Admittedly, Theo Fleury didn't know much about Belfast, Northern Ireland, before he arrived. "I knew the Titanic was built there,'' he said, "but I wasn't really worried since I was flying over and not taking a boat.'' He's certainly hit a few icebergs along the way, and at times seemed in peril of being sucked underneath the surface of the water by an icy current, never to be seen again. But move over Molly Brown, he's still afloat, still the Unsinkable Theo Fleury. "It's good. Everything's good,'' he said from his new house, still full of unpacked boxes, in Belfast. "Not so different from home. Except the TV. There is no TV. Not unless you're mesmerized by watching Tony Blair give speeches.''

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Brind’Amour Leading Hurricanes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News & Observer,

Expected to lead, Rod Brind'Amour has done that. Expected to log more ice time than any other player and take on the opposition's best players every night, Brind'Amour has done that. Expected to chip in here or there with a goal or two, Brind'Amour has done far more. At age 35, the Carolina Hurricanes' captain is enjoying an offensive resurgence as welcome as it was, perhaps, unexpected. After carving out a late-career role as a defensive specialist, he trails only Eric Staal among Canes scorers with five goals and four assists in eight games.

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Calling Divers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sports Illustrated,

There was no need for ice at Monday night's contest between the Senators and the Hurricanes -- many of the players involved acted as though they would rather have been doing swan dives into a pool. The league warned from the start that players would need to quickly adapt to the new rules or else -- and it's all too obvious that they have. Recognizing the pressure on-ice officials are under to enforce zero tolerance on interference, a number of players are doing everything they can to catch their attention and draw a call with dramatic embellishment.

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Over The Boards

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

-Monday's 5-4 overtime shootout victory for Toronto over Boston broke Rogers Sportsnet's record for a hockey broadcast with an average of 791,000 viewers. What's more amazing is that the previous record — 697,000 for a 2002 playoff game — was shown nationally while Monday's game was aired only in Ontario. TSN's three regional Leaf games have averaged 692,000 viewers, up 255 per cent over the same period in 2003. TSN's average for the entire 2003-04 season was 475,000. Hockey Night In Canada ratings for the early Saturday night games, all involving the Leafs, are up 43 per cent over the '03-04 season. The CBC is averaging 1,344,000 viewers for the early game. The late game average of 1,223,000 represents an 82 per cent increase. (toronto star) -The Colorado Avalanche announced today that the club has reassigned left wing Wojtek Wolski to his junior team, the Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League. “Wojtek has shown everyone tremendous skill since the beginning of our training camp,” Avalanche Director of Player Development Craig Billington said. “He has a great future ahead of him and will be playing in the NHL for many years to come. We feel he gained valuable experience but at this time, his development and long-term career is our main concern.” (colorado avalanche) -Jason Spezza, the Senators leading point scorer, was not on the ice for the team's practice Wednesday morning. -Steve Yzerman will return to the lineup when the Wings host the Blackhawks on Thursday. By the way, these two teams will face-off against each other in a home-away-home format for the Wings.

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LaBarbera Making A Name For Himself

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

Just because he's not his own team's number one goaltender does not mean that this season has been anything but a success so far for Los Angeles Kings netminder Jason LaBarbera. In June of 2004, the Kings decided to make a deal for their goaltender of the future, swapping Radek Bonk and Cristobal Huet to the Montreal Canadiens for Mathieu Garon, with an eye towards Garon, who had been backing up Jose Theodore, becoming the primary puckstopper in Los Angeles.
One suggestion for Jason, change the La to Hanna, then you would be a big hit in LaLa land, get it- HannaBarbera!

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