Kukla's Korner

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Zajac Keeps An Even Keel

from the Winnipeg Free Press:

The transition from living in your parents’ house and sharing a room with your brother to big-time pro athlete with all the trappings can often happen overnight. Ask Travis Zajac, hot rookie with the New Jersey Devils.
The 21-year-old Zajac was worrying about homework and whether his well-used Buick Century would make it through another winter as a student athlete at the University of North Dakota at this time last year.
Now it’s chartered flights, days off in New York City and a bank account that most would covet. But don’t worry about Zajac getting a big head. He’s still an unassuming Winnipegger, his mom is still his biggest fan and he still treats reporters with respect. The latter usually wears off the quickest, but Zajac is one of those kids who realizes how lucky he is and has no sense of entitlement.
“It’s pretty surreal. Most nights I’m playing against one of my heroes. Guys I grew up watching on TV. Joe Sakic or Joe Thornton. It’s been said before, but I have to pinch myself sometimes to make sure it’s real,” laughed Zajac.

continued

 

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Locker Boxing

from Peter Cheney of the Globe and Mail,

The Age of YouTube has produced new, splintered brands of minor fame—and until last week, hockey coach Dave Gwyn had no idea that his own team was starring in an Internet clip that has put one of Toronto minor hockey’s violent secrets on the world stage.
The footage, tagged “Martone vs. Tric,” shows several members of Mr. Gwyn’s Triple-A team engaging in “locker boxing,” an activity that resembles a gladiatorial combat in hockey helmets and gloves.

continued

youtube link to the video and please note, the language may be considered vulgar…

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Preds Looking For Respect

from the Tennessean,

“I think, unfortunately, it has a little bit to do with our market,” Trotz said. “When you think of Nashville, hockey is not the first thing that comes to your mind. I know I get frustrated sometimes with the Canadian media that don’t give us a lot of respect. They can’t understand that there’s good hockey teams in Tampa and Nashville and Carolina and places like that. I am Canadian, so it does bother me.
” … To me (hockey is) one of the greatest games in the world to participate in and watch, and Canadians sometimes think we are getting the game taken away, but really what we are doing is showing the great game we do have to the rest of the world.
“So from that standpoint, it does bother me that we don’t get the respect, but at the same time you don’t get respect until you win and keep winning and keep proving to people that there is good hockey here, and we are a good hockey team.”

read on

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Plan B Flawed- Is There A Plan B1?

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Gov. Ed Rendell yesterday said the arena deal being offered the Penguins is better than others struck recently in the National Hockey League, but the team has balked at a proposal to share development rights and parking revenues with Pittsburgh casino backer Don Barden.
Another issue that has come up in the talks is $10 million the Penguins may owe Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., which lost to Mr. Barden in the bidding for the city’s casino license.
According to Mr. Rendell, the Penguins agreed to pay that amount if Isle of Capri failed to win the casino license but the team still secured a new arena in Pittsburgh.

more

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Searching For Forsberg

from the New York Daily News,

But the Rangers’ desperate search for a Shanny sidekick won’t stop there. Multiple NHL sources confirmed the Rangers are among nearly a dozen teams that have contacted the Philadelphia Flyers about the availability of all-world center Peter Forsberg.
And it is believed that while Forsberg is interested in remaining a Flyer, he would waive the no-trade clause in his expiring contract (worth $5.75 million this season) to come to New York for the stretch run and playoffs.

read on

from the Daily Times,

And while Holmgren wouldn’t go so far as to say the Flyers are shopping Forsberg, he did say the team would like to trade a group of players, which technically, Forsberg fits into….
Here’s the list: Forsberg, Kyle Calder, Mike York, Robert Esche, Sami Kapanen, Todd Fedoruk, Dmitry Afanasenkov as well as a couple guys on the Phantoms roster in the AHL.

more

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Ducks Slumping

from George Johnson of the Calgary Herald,

So, as the terminally dim Fred Willard asked memorably in A Mighty Wind: “Wha’ haaaapened?’‘
Well, a broken foot happened to Pronger.
A pulled groin happened to J.S. Giguere.
A lacerated spleen happened to Francois Beauchemin.
A case of the Cloutiers caught Ilya Bryzgalov, who went from the happy-go-lucky feel-good underdog to Napoleon Dynamite flailing at a tether ball.
And, presto-chango!, from God-like to dog-like. From closers to hosers. The Anaheim Ducks. A case study in recent disintegration.

read on

 

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Waking Up Zherdev

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Blue Jackets right winger Nikolai Zherdev was a healthy scratch last night against the Detroit Red Wings.
Coach Ken Hitchcock, a night after a closed-door meeting in Nashville, was sending a message to the 22-year-old.
“Accountability is accountability,” Hitchcock said. “I didn’t invent the game, but I know what I know as far as playing the game the right way. The key point here is to play the game the right way.”

continued

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Patrick Roy- Sports Hero

from the Montreal Gazette,

The first in a series of Jack Todd’s Top 10 Sports Heroes
PATRICK ROY
For a masked man, his face is as familiar as the CH: With Patrick Roy, we feel that we know every tic, every flick of the mask, every weird little ritual, every controversy.
You know you’re a legend when you are famous, at least in part, for gestures that would be forgotten in lesser mortals.
With Patrick Roy, it’s The Wink, The Tantrum and The Flip. With Roy, the statistics and the achievements are familiar and beyond argument.

continued

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Look To Crosby

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

As Michael Farber writes in the Jan. 22 edition of Sports Illustrated, Crosby isn’t just the Penguins’ franchise player. He’s the league’s franchise player.
There’s no question that next week’s all-star proceedings in Dallas are being conducted with Crosby front-and-centre. Indeed, when pictures of the new NHL uniforms started leaking out earlier this week, they were photos of Crosby in the supposedly “faster” garb.
Two books on the young man are currently in circulation. When NBC began its truncated broadcasting schedule of NHL games, it was with Crosby front-and-centre.
The fact that the pride of Cole Harbour, N.S., grabbed the NHL scoring lead before Christmas and hasn’t let go has elevated his reputation beyond that of talented youngster to dominant player.

more

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The Right Decision

from the Daily Telegraph,

Arsene Wenger was at a business conference one day when somebody asked him to explain what made Cesc Fabregas so good. The Arsenal manager recalled the time some ice hockey coaches studied Wayne Gretzky, the iconic National Hockey League player of the Seventies and Eighties.
The exercise was simple: pause a videotape of Gretzky with the puck at his feet. It could be in any given situation, anywhere on the ice. In an ideal world, what should the Canadian do? Which move would serve the team best?
And what do you know, once the tape was moved on, Gretzky usually did for real what the coaches had chosen. In other words, the secret of his success, what made him great, was basically down to sound decision-making.

continued...about soccer…

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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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