Kukla's Korner

Stanley Cup Or Bust

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Rocky Mount Telegram,

For the first time in a long time, perhaps the franchise's history, winning is not a throw-in after all the cold, hard cash has been collected. It's not the cherry on top. It's what is expected. An elite player stood up, waved his no-trade clause and said he would only go to the franchise with the best chance to carry Lord Stanley's Cup. He chose the Carolina Hurricanes. Nothing less than a trip to the Eastern Conference finals counts as a "great," or even "very good," season at this point. For the team unbelievably on top of the NHL points standings, it is Stanley Cup or bust.
read on

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Realignment Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun, It may take a while to get around to it, but realignment is coming to the National Hockey League. So although the new alignment has yet to be hammered out, the starting point for this week's discussions would be something like this: Pacific: San Jose, Vancouver, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Phoenix. Northwest: Colorado, Calgary, Edmonton, Chicago, St. Louis. Central: Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, Columbus, Dallas. more

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AO Shooting For Medals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Washington Post via MSNBC,

So when Alex Ovechkin takes to the Olympic ice in Turin, Italy, next week -- with the name of his home country, Russia, emblazoned on the front of his jersey -- he will do so not only as the Capitals' most recognizable star but as a son carrying on his mother's legacy. Or maybe outdoing it. "If she has two," he said, "maybe I should have three."
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New Blood In The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Dallas Morning News via the Monterey Herald,

It's difficult for most fans to grasp the Predators as a powerhouse. They are, after all, playing in just their seventh season. They are, after all, playing in a nontraditional market. They are, after all, a team not loaded with superstars. But that is the way of the salary-cap NHL. No longer can a team like Detroit or Dallas or Colorado simply double everyone else in payroll. No longer can a team hope to dominate a division the way those three teams have for years. And that's a good thing. The NHL needs new blood, it needs new fans and it needs new rivalries. And that's why it's good to see Nashville among the league leaders.
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Olympic Shine Fading

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

Enjoy seeing NHLers at the Olympics in Italy. It could be the beginning of the end. It just seems like the appeal of NHLers at the Winter Games is really starting to lose its golden glow. Players are opting out for personal reasons while others are faced with loyalty dilemmas (club or country?) when it comes to injuries. Taking a two-week break from the NHL schedule is not looking like the pain is worth the gain. Except for those years (rare) when the Games are in North America, the broadcast times of the hockey games are ridiculously early or late in the day.
read on update 7:02am, The idea of having hockey in the Summer Olympics adresses most of the problems it now faces- from the Mercury News,
Injuries are always going to be part of the equation, but with so many players having to weigh team loyalty and a shot at the Stanley Cup against national pride and a chance at an Olympic gold medal, maybe hockey would be better suited for the Summer Games. If basketball, which has the same season as the NHL, can be a summer event, why not hockey? This isn't like the Winter Olympics in the 1920s when they played hockey on outdoor rinks.
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Denis Deals With Rumors

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Columbus Dispatch,

On Wednesday, Denis stopped 36 shots in a 2-1 shootout win in Calgary. After the game, team president and general manager Doug MacLean pulled him aside to tell Denis that, despite swirling rumors in Canada in recent weeks, he would not be traded. "It’s nice to hear that from the general manager," Denis said. "Doug’s the one who’s got his finger on the trigger." And then, eight hours later, after the Blue Jackets had flown to Edmonton and Denis was sleeping in his hotel room, the phone rang. It was 6:30 a.m. mountain time, and a Montreal radio station was in hot pursuit of a rumor.
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Did Something Change

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

When I run across something like this, I don't evem read the article. If you are going to report on the NHL, at least try to get it right. image

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Ducks Decision Time Coming Soon

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the LA Times (reg. req.),

The next five games could be the season's defining point for the Mighty Ducks — and determine the future of two of the team's top defensemen. Keith Carney and Ruslan Salei are among the few remaining members of a Duck team that surprised the hockey world three years ago by advancing to the Stanley Cup finals. The two are also among the Ducks' highest-paid players and will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

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Flyers Need To Beat The Big Boys

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Philadelphia Inquirer,

The cold, hard facts tell of a troubling trend: The Flyers have won only six of 17 games against teams that are either first or second in their divisions. "Obviously, that's not a good stat, but I wouldn't make too much of it," captain Derian Hatcher said. "We've yet to play with everyone in the lineup." Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock, who held a meeting of team leaders before practice yesterday, thought differently. "Yeah, I make a lot of that," he said. "This is a playoff hunt, and that's something we have to get better at. We have to play better against the really good hockey clubs."
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Yzerman Still Valuable

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from bill Clement of MSNBC,

Although he is quite possibly playing the final season of his Hall of Fame career, Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings still has some magic left in his hockey stick. Not only is he a threat to help the team on the ice during the push for a 15th straight postseason berth; his leadership ability makes him an important cog in the dressing room too.
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