Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The Code Still Exists

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

“The unique thing about our sport is that we play with hockey sticks that potentially can be used as weapons. This is a game that is very emotional and guys are only human. Fighting gives them an outlet to release (energy and frustrations) instead of slashing, cross checking and high sticking.
“You almost never see a tough guy grab a small skilled guy and start (punching) either. There is still a code.”
Gretzky said his stance has softened a bit with time.

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The Shot Blocker

from Michael Farber at Sports Illustrated,

Once reserved for the penalty kill, the playoffs or critical moments of meaningful regular-season games, shot blocking has shifted from last resort to first option. It is now a communal responsibility, a nightly chore from which no one is excused. “It’s a fact of life,” Tampa Bay Lightning center Brad Richards says. “On our team, if you don’t block shots, you don’t play.” To the detriment of hockey—and the players who have been injured by truly taking one for the team—the shot block, not the two-line stretch pass, has become the most common, and effective, tool in the postlockout NHL.

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Stuff Flies Around

from the Edmonton Journal,

“The rumors, the speculation grow more prominent each and every year,” said Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe. “How they come about is simply somebody somewhere looking at a situation and saying, ‘Well, the Oilers have lost four of their last six games and this guy hasn’t scored and that guy has a poor plus-minus, so these would be the players the Oilers would like move.’
“They look for a similar type of situation on, say, a team out east, and there they have it: the Oilers will trade Player A, B and C out east for Player X, Y and Z. There’s no basis to it. It’s purely speculation. And in this day and age of bloggers, coupled the inability to track down sources, that stuff flies around.”

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Crunch Time

from the OC Register,

The Ducks are 5-10-2 since Dec.29, a stretch of 17 games that accounts for more than 20 percent of the NHL regular-season schedule….
“We’ve acknowledged that a lull is something that every team goes through,” defenseman Sean O’Donnell said Monday after a lengthy practice session at Big Bear Ice Arena. “Now let’s get the hell out of it.
“It’s getting down to crunch time. We’re barely hanging on to first place (in the Pacific Division). We’re eight points out of eighth place (in the Western Conference). For a while, you could go ‘We built ourselves a nice cushion - we’ll turn it around.’ Well now that cushion is gone.”

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Unlike His Father

from the Democrat & Chronicle,

As a father and son should, Sergei Kharin and his oldest child, RIT freshman hockey player Anton Kharin, share a number of characteristics.
Naturally, there is a facial resemblance; both stand 5 feet, 11 inches tall; and while Sergei is a little stockier these days than he was during a nearly two-decade professional playing career, his weight when he was Anton’s age (21) was right around the 175 pounds Anton carries.
But then the two men speak, and after a double take you think to yourself, “These two are as likely to be father and son as Gordie Howe and Alexander Ovechkin.”
“Yeah, I was born in Russia, but I’m American or I’m Canadian; I don’t know what I am,” a smiling Anton said in perfect English minus any hint of a Russian accent.

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The Lingering Result

from Jody Vance at Slam,

This is about fighting in the NHL.
Watching Kris Newbury get his grey matter rocked on Saturday night had big impact on this student of the game.
The late game fisticuffs between Newbury and Pittsburgh’s Ronald Petrovicky shook me.
It wasn’t so much the fight itself but rather the result that haunts me today. The fight ended quickly. The visual of Newbury lying on the ice bloodied and unconscious lingers.

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Where’s Zherdev

from the Columbus Dispatch,

A message was sent barely 10 minutes into practice yesterday when Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock kicked right winger Nikolai Zherdev off the ice.
After practice, Hitchcock wouldn’t address the issue other than to confirm it. Zherdev was nowhere to be seen.

continued

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NBC Doing It Right

from Steve Schrader of the Detroit Free Press,

OK, we’re like a lot of hockey fans who responded to the Sunday Free Press poll: It’s tough getting over the NHL being on Versus instead of ESPN. It’s like, if a sport isn’t on ESPN, is it really big league?
But cable aside, getting on NBC was a great thing for the NHL. NBC is doing hockey right and constantly trying to improve the product.
Some things we pondered while watching Sunday’s Dallas-Colorado game on NBC and taking down our Hockey Day decorations:
• Are they listening to us? As suggested a couple of weeks ago, NBC subbed in Pierre McGuire for Ferraro as Hull’s debate partner. And it was better.

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Dads Take Flight

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The Wings are scheduled to fly from Detroit to Dallas this afternoon, accompanied mostly by dads but also the occasional brother or mentor. The trip concludes with a three-day stay in Phoenix. After last year’s trip, which took the team around Florida, Zetterberg said his dad came away impressed with the hectic schedule of a trip—play a game and then immediately travel to the next city. Brett Lebda’s dad was blown away by something entirely different.
“He said he was surprised at how much we ate,” Lebda said. “He said we’re always eating—whenever we get on the plane, we eat; whenever we get home from pregame skate, we’re eating, or we’re eating breakfast. We’re always eating or sleeping or on the road, and I said, ‘That’s the way it goes.’ “

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Blake Changes His Tune

from Newsday,

Frustrated by a goal-scoring slump and worried about contract negotiations and his impending free-agent status, All-Star Jason Blake needed time to think. After taking a day to reflect on his recent comments about possibly leaving as a free agent if the Islanders don’t sign him by the Feb. 27 NHL trade deadline, Blake yesterday said he didn’t intend to distract from his team’s playoff push or to leave the impression he wants off Long Island.
“I know in my heart that I’m an Islander,” said Blake, who was last to leave Air Canada Centre after practice. “When we’re in a playoff push, I can’t think about the contract. I’ve just got to let Neil handle it.”

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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