Kukla's Korner

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Kovalchuk Breaks Out

from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,

Many people are going to jump to the conclusion that Ilya Kovalchuk’s amazing run of goal-scoring—nine in seven games—is a direct result of the Atlanta Thrashers removing head coach Bob Hartley after the team’s 0-6 start. Well, that assessment might be right for the wrong reasons.

You see, the coach and the prodigy co-existed for four-and-a-half seasons. Hartley brought needed structure and consistency to both a young franchise and a young player with star potential. But once it was clear that Kovalchuk had absorbed the lessons of accountability, his offensive verve wasn’t quite the same. His kinetic dashes down the left wing—once filled with the promise of brilliance—became tempered, or even worse, predictable.


Update 3:41pm ET
Transcript of Kovalchuk’s NHL press conference call today:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, ilya+kovalchuk

Ankle Bothering Forsberg

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

It looks as if the much-anticipated Peter Forsberg comeback has hit a bump in the road.

According to two independent Swedish ice hockey sources, Forsberg left the first day of practice for Sweden’s national team that will compete later this week in the Karjala Cup after about an hour, saying his problematic ankle wasn’t holding up.


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: peter+forsberg

Tortorella Safe

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

One day Feaster will have to fire Tortorella – eventually, every GM does it – but that day doesn’t look as though it will happen any time soon.

What’s more likely to happen is the Lightning looking for goaltending help. Johan Holmqvist’s play was problematic on Saturday night and the Lightning were out-goaled by Rick DiPietro on Long Island last week. Prior to that, in games against New Jersey and the New York Rangers, the Lightning looked lethargic and uninspired, which helped fuel some of that Tortorella talk.

read on

added 3:11pm, from Lightning Strikes on a trade for a goalie,

Never say never, but as it stands now, such a trade is very, very remote for several reasons. The Lightning already is about $2-million over its self-imposed $44-million salary cap, so any trade, unless ownership had a 180-degree change of heart regarding how much it is willing to pay, would have to include payroll going out. Who do you get rid of?

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+tortorella, tampa+bay+lightning

Touring the NHL

From Vincent M. Mallozzi at the NY Times,

“Putting the whole thing together was kind of Rubik’s Cube-ish,” [Steve] Williamson, 49, said last Monday from his seat at Madison Square Garden, where he watched the Rangers defeat the Lightning in the fourth game of his whirlwind tour. “But this is one of those rare N.H.L. seasons where everything on the schedule lined up perfectly for me.”

Williamson, the promotions manager for the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, spent 48 hours working on his itinerary, calling it “a travel agent’s worst nightmare.” He will enter and leave Canada three times before ending his monthlong vacation Nov. 24 in Tampa, Fla., where Tampa Bay is host to the Devils.


*Paul Kukla also interviewed Steve Williamson last week, in case you didn’t get a chance to hear it.

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Weak U.S. Dollar Affects Player Salaries

From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail,

Include NHL players in the group not happy with the soaring Canadian dollar and weakened U.S. dollar. For years, Canadian players were quite content about the lower Canadian dollar because their salaries were paid out in U.S. currency. The European players also found their bank accounts had more value when they returned home for the summer.

There was the odd player, who was paid in Canadian currency, but not after the most recent collective agreement that was put in place in August 2005.

11.17 of the current collective agreement reads: Currency. All standard player contracts must provide compensation in U.S. currency for NHL salaries and bonuses. Minor league compensation may be in the native currency of the NHL club.


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Colorful Theo Fleury

Theo Fleury will be joining the Calgary Flames broadcast crew doing the color commentary on tonight’s Pay-Per-View match against the Colorado Avalanche.

Which reminds me of this from Eric Duhatschek’s post on the Globe & Mail hockey blog just last week:

Asked if he had any plans to come of retirement, Fleury retorted: “Just for the shootout. I think I can still do that. I’m pretty good at it, in the basement, playing with the kids.”

Otherwise, Fleury says he’s through with hockey (“I hate it. I really do,” he said).

Love it or hate it, I guess he just can’t stay away from it.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: calgary+flames, media, theo+fleury

Jagr A Game-Time Decision

from On the Rangers Beat,

“If I felt good I would say it,” Jaromir Jagr said after testing his achy groin/hip flexor early in practice before leaving. Asked if he would play tonight, he said, “I’m not sure…It wasn’t the way I wanted.”

If Jagr—-who went on the ice again in a track suit against Stephen Valiquette—- doesn’t play against the Flyers, it would be the first time the big winger has missed a game in two years.


Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jaromir+jagr, new+york+rangers

Find Something Else To Complain About

from Jim Baumbach of Newsday,

But I have a hard time accepting the fact that Arbour gets credit for the game and the win when his presence was completely ceremonial. In baseball there is a rule that limits the number of coaches who are in uniform in the dugout during the game, but I skimmed through the NHL record books and I couldn’t find a similar rule….

There was nothing wrong with having an Al Arbour night and putting him behind the bench for the 1,500th time with the Islanders. Everyone there still would have had a blast. But let’s stop fooling ourselves. In my record books, I’m crediting Ted Nolan with the win.


Wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning Jim? 

This was not a PR stunt, but was actually suggested by Coach Nolan.  Hockey honors their past greats, and it will continue to do so, with or without your record book.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: al+arbour, new+york+islanders, ted+nolan

Theodore Has Been Solid

from the Denver Post,

Another solid performance tonight, and Jose Theodore could suddenly find himself as the Avalanche’s new No. 1 goalie.

Avs coach Joel Quenneville did not say as much Sunday, but he probably didn’t need to. What is fact, however, is that Quenneville will start Theodore against the Calgary Flames tonight at the Pepsi Center.

“Jose’s been solid,” Quenne- ville said. “He’s confident, he’s composed, he’s challenging (shooters) and controlling rebounds and fighting through to find pucks. You can just see the confidence in his overall game.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jose+theodore

Stars Of The Week

from NHL.com,

Atlanta Thrashers left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and Minnesota Wild right wing Marian Gaborik have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending November 4.


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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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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