Kukla's Korner

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#2 Now #1 Again

from Jessica Bliss of the Tennessean,

For at least a month prior to the NHL All-Star break, Predators goaltenders Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne were engaged in a fight for the team’s No. 1 netminder position.

Now, as the team heads into the most important stretch of the season, Rinne — the previously named backup — has won out. The rookie has started all four games since the All-Star break, and Coach Barry Trotz said as long as Rinne is performing at a high level he would get the nod in the net.

Sound like a familiar storyline? It should.

This is the third time in the last four seasons that the Predators have looked to their No. 2 goalie to lead them in the push to the post-season.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Senators Trade Options

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

There will be a plenty of interest in winger Chris Neil and defenceman Filip Kuba, who are both scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

While Neil’s rugged style will appeal to a number of teams, Kuba has been the Senators’ top blueliner.

Sun Media has confirmed that the 31-year-old Kuba would have to approve any deal because he has a no-trade clause that he waived to come to Ottawa from the Lightning….

Ottawa will also get calls about the availibility of winger Antoine Vermette and defenceman Christoph Schubert, who have both been inconsistent this season.

Murray said he will consider trades for prospects and draft picks at the deadline.

“I was looking at our draft (record) from the last four or five years and they haven’t been great, but I feel good about last year. We have a chance to get a player or two out of each draft and that’s about all,” said Murray.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Is Biron Done In Philadelphia?

from Jack McCaffery of the Delco Times,

Until there is a more fundamental reason to arm himself with padding and stand before rubber hockey bullets, Marty Biron will try to provide the Flyers with the only service a goaltender can: A last resort.

It wasn’t supposed to come to that already —- and it may not have reached that point yet. But it has been heading that way at slapshot speed for a 31-year-old goalie with dwindling chances that he will still be one of Flyers consequence come age 32.

Highly compensated now but with no contract beyond the end of this season, Biron slowly but clearly has been sliding from the Flyers’ long-term plans —- that despite his gymnastics last spring, which helped open access to the NHL’s Final Four.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marty+biron

Keenan Fine With Sutter Locker Room Visit

from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,

Those close to Mike Keenan are likely the only ones who know exactly how the Calgary Flames head coach felt when general manager Darryl Sutter stepped in to lean on his players after a second straight loss on the road this week.

Steaming mad is a pretty good bet.

After the media was shuffled out and the doors closed Tuesday night for the discussion, Keenan chose to leave without speaking.

Maybe he didn’t want to say anything that would land him in the same sort of hot water his team was in.

But a day after the 3-1 loss to the Stars in Dallas, Keenan suggested he welcomes the occasional locker-room visit from his boss.

“It’s not an issue,” said Keenan. “You know you’re getting an honest message from Darryl. I’ve worked with him for a long time. I embrace his input and the group learns from it. He brings a different voice and a different perspective—he’s watching the game from above as opposed to ice level….”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The ESPN Hockey Experts

Hradek, Melrose and Barnaby talk Panthers, Senators, Rangers and Penguins.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Cherry Hits 75

from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,

Age has not lessened his roar and turning 75 will not mellow Don Cherry.

The controversial and flamboyantly-dressed Hockey Night in Canada commentator hit the three-quarter century mark today and he is as animated as ever….

“If anything I have turned it up,” Cherry said. “I don’t feel any different now than I did 30, 40 years ago. I still get so excited on Saturday’s that I can hardly wait for Coach’s Corner to start. A lot of people tell me to ease off a little so I wouldn’t get in so much trouble. But trouble is my middle name and I say things the way I want to.

“When the day comes that CBC wants to go in a different direction, as they say, I will think to myself that I’ve had a good run and say toodle-oo.”


Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: don+cherry

Blue Jackets May Be In A Buying Mood

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

If the Blue Jackets are solidly among the Western Conference’s top eight clubs, and the No. 1 pick can be used to acquire a player whom Howson believes can carry them deep into the playoffs, he might budge.

“Those (first-round picks) are very difficult for me to give up,” Howson said. “But if the deal is right”

The Blue Jackets won’t take on any long term, big-money contracts such as Ottawa’s Jason Spezza, Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lacavalier or the New York Rangers’ Scott Gomez.

They’re willing to spend the money, Howson said, but they must keep payroll space available to keep their cadre of future stars. Steve Mason, Derick Brassard, Jake Voracek, Kris Russell, Nikita Filatov, etc., will need new contracts within the next few seasons.


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

Rangers Lacking Creativity

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The team is tight. Confidence is seeping out of the room in the manner of a balloon slowly leaking air. Frustration is mounting.

What’s more, there is a sense of widespread belief within the room that the team’s creativity is being stifled by a system whose tenants are becoming more conservative than Sean Hannity. The Rangers appear to be consumed with not making mistakes rather than attempting to force the opposition into making mistakes of its own. They seem obsessed with limiting scoring chances against, as opposed to generating chances themselves.

They seem, that is, to be following the game plan.

If Renney thought his players were inattentive during the first half hour of practice, the head coach had every right to put his team through the punishing bag skate. The Rangers would be better off, however, if Renney actually exerted his authority during games by enforcing accountability by benching repeat offenders.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Turco Has Found His Game

from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,

The 33-year-old is 6-1-0 in his last seven games with a 1.70 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage.

“I feel good right now, that I’ve come a long way,” he said. “My ability to stay on my feet longer to react to second plays or even third plays from a balanced position has been a great feeling for me lately.

“I have been fighting my body and my movements this year, and I’ve worked hard to get that back. I just want to be the guy they deserve back there.”

Turco has been the biggest reason for the Stars’ turnaround, providing key stops at critical times and also helping the defense with his ability to handle the puck.

“No matter what you do, your goaltending has to be good,” Tippett said. “It can do so much for the team’s confidence. It can allow players to overcome mistakes, it can change a game with a big stop early or late. Marty has done that for us lately.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marty+turco

Capitals Taking Advantage Of Home Ice

from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,

Winning consistently on home ice and making Verizon Center an unpleasant environment for opponents have long been among Boudreau’s priorities. In his postgame news conferences, he often makes mention of an arena’s “atmosphere” and how it played on the Capitals’ emotions—and ultimately affected the outcome of the game. After Tuesday’s 5-2 win in front of a sparse crowd in New Jersey, for example, Boudreau said the subdued mood at Prudential Center negatively affected both teams but that it mostly dragged down the Devils.

“It was a dead building,” he said. “When we played Florida [a 5-3 loss at Verizon Center on Dec. 2] it was very similar. It’s tough.”

“Dead” might be the last word anyone would use these days to describe the Capitals’ rink, which is gaining a reputation around the league as one of the loudest and most intimidating arenas in the NHL. The Capitals have hosted 14 capacity crowds this season—six more than all of last season—and 10 in the past 11 games.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | 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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