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Women Will Be Watching Too

from Micah Toub of the Globe and Mail,

With the regular hockey season wrapping up, guys can look forward to having at least one butt cheek glued to a couch or barstool for the two-month televised marathon that is the NHL playoffs, beginning next Wednesday.

According to the TV commercial stereotype of guys watching sports, women are seen either in tight tank tops and serving beer, or as uninterested wives nagging their husbands about undone chores. But times have changed. Women represent a significant demographic among sports fans, so it’s almost as likely that they’ll be the ones worried about getting to the bar in time to see the first puck drop.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Frozen Four Starts Today

from David Albright of ESPN,

The 2009 Frozen Four finds itself in our nation’s capital this weekend as college hockey’s final weekend plays its last three games at the Verizon Center. And with that, you can add a new venue to the list of ones that have hosted this event.

If you’re keeping score, the Verizon Center will be the 30th different arena that has called college hockey’s final four home. Now the question is whether a new team will be added to the list of national champions.

Of the four teams left standing, only Boston University has previously won a title. If Bemidji State, Miami (OH) or Vermont skates around the ice with the championship plaque Saturday night, it will mark the 18th different school to claim the national title.

Here are five key questions (plus a bonus one) heading into Thursday’s national semifinals (ESPN2HD and ESPN360, 5 and 8:30 p.m. ET).

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, College Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Pick Your First Round Opponent

from Jeff Paterson of Straight.com,

For a league that has already hired a commissioner away from the National Basketball Association and placed franchises in cities far better suited for hoops than pucks, it’s time to borrow from basketball yet again. The NBA’s developmental league has come up with a novel twist on the playoffs that would be perfect for the National Hockey League: allowing teams to pick their postseason opponents.

Now, it’s not as radical as it sounds. The top finishers in each conference get to select from the lower-ranking qualifiers in the first round only. In the NHL’s case, let the three division winners in each conference pick from the teams that round out the playoff field.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL On Solid Ground

from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Remember all those dire predictions from the NHL lockout four years ago?

This is the last league that can afford a lengthy work stoppage, doomsayers said.

It will permanently alienate its fan base.

It will never attract new fans.

It will die a wretched death.

Well, lookie here: The NHL’s on fire. Partly by luck, partly by design, the league everyone loves to bash (often with good reason) is producing a consistently entertaining product that is attracting increased numbers of paying customers and television viewers.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

What Can The Lightning Do?

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

We’re on the brink of a huge offseason. Co-owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie and, more to the point, first-time general manager Brian Lawton have to clean up this mess, some of which they didn’t make, some of which they did.

You might be wondering if this is the worst it’s ever been on Channelside Drive, you know, what with worst in the league last season, second worst in the league this season. I’m here to tell you it’s been worse.

Then why is there such a funk over there?

This team plays hard most night and it has some very good pieces, like Vinny Lecavalier (for now) and braveheart Marty St. Louis, and Ryan Malone, and super rookie Steven Stamkos, and a seemingly No. 1 goaltender in Mike Smith, and a seemingly good head coach in Rick Tocchet.

But the franchise doesn’t seem any more stable than it did last offseason.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Another Tease

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

Other than a ceremony honoring winger Brad May for playing his 1,000th game, the evening had less electricity than an Amish barn. Toronto fans long ago became accustomed to watching their team lose, so it wasn’t as if the Sabres’ two quick goals in the third period in a 3-1 victory was a jolt to anyone in the Air Canada Centre.

Buffalo won the game and is still alive. That’s all that matters. So why does this feel like another tease?

There was a stronger sense that the Sabres were merely prolonging the agony, that fans would spend today generating whatever optimism they could muster only to have Flyers center Daniel Briere cough up the puck to Chris Drury tonight for the Rangers’ game-winner.

Yeah, I know, don’t go there. But it would be another reminder of how far the NHL’s one-time darlings have fallen in less than two years. May made you remember when the Sabres missed the playoffs with dignity, when they went down swinging. This group reminded you of the Sabres at their worst, underachievers who often looked uninterested in a big game against a 12th-place team.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Souray Speaks On Edmonton Season

from Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal,

“Some guys came in here this year thinking this is an easy game,” said defenceman Sheldon Souray, who shot straighter after practice on Wednesday than he has in the last 10 games.

” ‘The crowd loves me. I got points in junior, I got points in the minors, I got points here last year, I’m going to be great this year.’ Well, any professional will tell you, when people know about you, now there is expectation. Opponents know you and pay attention to you. The organization puts more expectation on you.

“Look, last year was a totally different situation. You hope that some of this experience lends itself to making you better next year.” If the sharpest of those accusations sound like a shot across the bow of the sophomore set, Souray said his focus was not that narrow. Young and old have to take responsibility for this debacle, he stressed, and he made it clear by missing only goalie Dwayne Roloson with the broad brush of blame.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sheldon+souray

No Mistake - Blue Jackets Are In The Playoffs

from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,

Blue Jackets fans, you’ve waited a long, long time for this. You’ve invested lots of time and lots of emotion to get to this point. You’ve thrown lots of pillows at the TV and stalked out of Nationwide Arena lots of times, either because of blowout losses or late-game collapses.

This night was for you. Now eight seasons in the league, the Blue Jackets have earned the right to compete for the NHL’s ultimate trophy. This night was for you, and it was for the biggest fan of them all—the man who plunked down the $80 million check to finance an expansion franchise, late owner John H. McConnell.

more

added 10:11am, from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,

Enjoy the playoffs, Blue Jackets fans. Your team is going to be a pain in the butt for someone.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Report- Hockey At Fenway

from Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa of the Boston Herald,

Don’t breathe a word of this. Because nobody’s supposed to know. But the Boston Bruins [team stats]  will host the NHL’s Winter Classic outdoor hockey game against an unnamed opponent Jan. 1 at Fenway Park!

Our spies on Lansdowne Street say the League has given its blessing to a 2010 New Year’s Day game in the Hub of Hockey, choosing Boston over New York and Philadelphia.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winter+classic

Disappointed In- Sundin Or Jokinen?

from TSN, Every week, the NHL on TSN panel voices its opinions on the hot topics of the day in the Wednesday Night Hockey Quiz.

Among the big late season acquisitions, who has been the biggest disappointment Mats Sundin or Olli Jokinen?

Bob McKenzie: I’ll go with Mats Sundin, only because his body of work with the Vancouver Canucks is larger than that of Olli Jokinen with the Calgary Flames.  Having said that, I believe that the prospect of Mats Sundin reversing what has happened in the regular season and making noise in the playoffs is far greater than Jokinen with the Flames.

Keith Jones: For me it is Olli Jokinen and for this reason: he shoots the puck a lot; therefore Mike Cammalleri has stopped scoring goals.  Since the trade deadline just three goals for Cammalleri due to the negative effect of Olli Jokinen.

more questions answered…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mats+sundin, olli+jokinen

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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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