Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Goalies Appear Normal

from the New York Times,

Goalies no longer talk to their goalposts. Gone are most of the quirks, the bizarre rituals and the unwritten rule that goalies were not to be talked to or joked with. Their corner of the hockey world was considered a sort of mental-health quarantine. “Goalies are much more normal now,” said Darren Pang, a former goalie and now a broadcaster for the Phoenix Coyotes. “Where did all the crazy ones go?” Sanity has overtaken a generation. Today’s goalies have grown up in a sport that figured out that a great goaltender was a requirement for a championship team. Now, they are surrounded by specialized coaches and have access to instant video analysis. Most startling of all, they have actual relationships with their teammates.
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Jovo On Leaving Vancouver

from the CP via TSN,

Defenceman Ed Jovanovski says he had no choice but to leave Vancouver as an unrestricted free agent because the Canucks never made him a real offer. "At the end of the day I wish there had been a little more discussion," Jovanovski said Wednesday prior to the Phoenix Coyotes' game against the Canucks. "As a player you try to give everything to your teammates and your organization. I felt I did that with this team. I understand there is a ceiling in this game, it is a business. I just had to move on. "It was difficult. I had no choice."
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Andy Murray Fits The Role

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

...Murray is, above all else, an organized, demanding, details-oriented teacher, perfect in other words, for what ails the Blues in their current sad state. "From where we are and as we look forward, we're going to become an awfully young team," said Blues' president John Davidson. "I think Andy will set the foundation to develop the proper professional attitudes that you need for a young team. "Teaching is strength. He stressed that in our interview. He's a perfect fit for where we are going to be and where we're trying to get too."
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Grading Luongo

from George Johnson at ESPN,

In Florida, Luongo had been riddled by more bullets than Bonnie and Clyde's final getaway car. Now, shifted to a more stable situation in a hockey-mad market for the first time in his NHL career, the moment seemed to arrive for Luongo. So, how have the prodigy's reviews been after the opening two months? Good. Not great. One avid Canucks-watcher's report card for Luongo reads like this: a 9 out of 10 in October, a 5 in November and a 7 so far in December. Good marks, yes, but hardly otherworldly.
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No Shakeups- Just Firings

from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,

Losing teams talk all the time about making changes, about a major shakeup, but history shows it's little more than sabre rattling. The Philadelphia Flyers promised change earlier this season, they even demoted a few players that didn't matter, but in the end they made no moves of consequence and instead fired coach Ken Hitchcock. They made a show of partially rebuking general manager Bob Clarke with a poorly concocted "resignation" before bringing him back as a vice-president. The Columbus Blue Jackets did pretty much the same thing in firing Gerard Gallant and replacing him with Hitchcock; while the Chicago Blackhawks did the same when bagging Trent Yawney and replacing him with Denis Savard. No major player move beforehand, no big trades or real team "shake ups", just a lot of hustle and blather and then a quick execution of the old coach in favour of a new coach who will likely be fired down the road.
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Targeting The Leafs

from TBM at NBC Sports,

Like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown just as he's about to kick it, Toronto has specialized in teasing its fans, all the while selling out everything from season tickets to luxury boxes to condos next to the arena ("Welcome to Maple Leaf Condos, where you don't have to fight traffic in the spring"). Why do the fans keep buying? Because hope always springs eternal in Canada's largest city, even though the Leaf fortunes have usually taken a tumble before fall is over. The latest edition of the team is surrounded by question marks, starting with "does the General Manager have teeth?" An excellent question, since no one has seen John Ferguson open his mouth, much less smile, since he took the job.
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Fork Over The Cash

from Loose Change at the Hockey News,

It’s almost embarrassing to admit I actually subscribe to Leafs TV, but $2.99 a month is a small price to pay to impress and annoy friends who aren’t able to use such selectively frivolous items as business write-offs. For those of you unfamiliar (blissfully ignorant) with the whole concept of Leafs TV, it’s a team-owned television station that provides simply everything-Toronto Maple Leafs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week (stop laughing).
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18 Year-Old Stand-In

from the Durham Region News,

With the Washington Capitals new practice facility nearby, and netminder Olaf Kolzig granted a day off, Evason, an assistant coach with the Capitals, called Hewson to see if he would be interested in subbing in for a practice. Hence the disbelief for an 18-year-old, playing junior hockey, soundly asleep one morning, when an assistant coach of an NHL team calls to inquire about your availability to suit up for practice and be peppered with shots from the likes of Alexander Ovechkin. "I was really nervous on the way out, but as soon as I got there, the nerves went away," says Hewson of the drive to the Capitals Ice Center in Arlington, Virginia, which is situated on the eighth floor of a mall.
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Must See Hull-E

Sorry, I had to make it rhyme... from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

If you've ever heard Hull speak, this long-rumored hiring seems almost too good to be true. A man born with no internal censor, Hull's segments will be the closest thing to Must-See TV on the struggling network since the demise of Seinfeld. The soon-to-be Hall of Famer is smart, articulate, entertaining, and completely devoid of artifice. Best of all, there's no shtick to Hull. He's colorful, but he's no cartoon. He won't mimic the braying jackassery of Terry Bradshaw or catch- phrase lunacy of Dick Vitale. And a man who has repeatedly claimed Barry Manilow's Mandy as his favorite song clearly isn't worried what anyone thinks of him. He's a guy who always tells it straight. And if he has something to say that might offend someone, well, that's Brett.
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Welcome To LA

from Terry Frei at ESPN,

Kings center Anze Kopitar is acting as a tour guide this week. His mother, Mataja, and his 14-year-old brother, Gasper, have traveled from Slovenia to Southern California for their first trip to the United States, and will spend Christmas with Anze. Anze Kopitar has impressed his coaches and teammates with his wisdom-beyond-his-years attitude. Oh, and he can score, too. Over the weekend, before their arrival, Kopitar was already talking about what he would show them. "The beaches, Universal Studios, Disneyland," he said in the Kings' Staples Center dressing room, sounding a bit excited and -- just for a moment, and for once -- like a teenager.
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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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