Kukla's Korner

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The Vezina Race

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

So what do the league’s GMs do (they decide on the award)? Well, if Columbus pushes its way into the playoffs (the Blue Jackets were among three teams tied for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference on Monday morning), the award has to go to rookie Steve Mason….

Who else? Evgeni Nabokov, a finalist last season, should get some love, but it’s almost as though the Sharks are so good his play will get overlooked. Miikka Kiprusoff plays every night and the Flames are back in as Cup contenders, with the goalie leading the league in wins.

read on and other topics discussed…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Stars Of The Week

NEW YORK (Feb. 16, 2009) —New Jersey Devils left wing Zach Parise, Calgary Flames center Matthew Lombardi and Atlanta Thrashers left wing Ilya Kovalchuk have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Feb. 15.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Bogosian Talks Armenian Heritage

from Ben Wright of Blueland Blog,

The LA Kings are holding a series of heritage nights throughout the season and tonight’s game against the Thrashers happens to be part of Armenian Heritage Night in LA. Why tonight? Because as far as anyone has been able to determine, Zach Bogosian is the first NHL player of Armenian heritage. To mark the occasion Zach decided to talk about his heritage in another blog post.

It’s pretty special for the Kings to have Armenian Heritage Night while I’m playing there. My grandparents are Armenian and that part of my background is really important to me, because even though I’m not from there it’s always good to go back to your roots and understand where you came from. Plus it’s special to my family so it’s special to me. I’m pretty proud to be Armenian, and there are a lot of them out in LA, so my grandfather is really excited about it. I think there’s something like 2 million of them in the LA area, which is crazy since there are only about three million people that actually live in Armenia.

continued and great job Zach!

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zach+bogosian

Getting Personal With The Canadiens

from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,

“When you win, no one cares if you’re running down Crescent in a thong.”

By now you have seen the photographs. They are making the Internet rounds, which means they have circled the globe a few million times by now.

These photos are part of our sneaky, peekaboo, gotcha culture. Of that whole silly world of YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and the cellphone camera. They feature several young Habs players in what you would have to call an unflattering light. Even Ivy Leaguer Christopher Higgins makes an appearance or two.

The player who crops up most often, however, is Carey Price. There are various photos of Price with a drink in his hand, in the company of various attractive young women. There is Price apparently chugging a beer. There he is smoking a cigarette.

Look, this is what healthy young men do. (Well, except for the smoking.) They drink, they carouse, they chase women. Unless they’re professional athletes, in which case they get chased by the kind of young women who have calculators where their eyes should be.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Countdown Begins

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

Ready or not, Toronto, here comes Mats.

In just five days, Mats Sundin returns to the Air Canada Centre, this time wearing a Vancouver Canucks jersey, not the familiar blue-and-white of the Maple Leafs.

And as the Saturday night tilt creeps closer, expect the type of pre-game hype usually reserved for a Super Bowl.

Know this: Sundin certainly won’t be sneaking into town—he comes back on Hockey Day in Canada.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mats+sundin

Looks Like Team Canada Settles On Hockey Sweater

from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail at CTV Olympics,

Hockey Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee are back to being one, big, happy family. The two sides have settled their months-old differences and come to an agreement on what jersey the men’s and women’s hockey teams should wear at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. While the COC had previously declined to support Hockey Canada’s traditional jersey, the one with a silhouetted player skating inside a red-and-black maple leaf, it agreed Saturday to submit a modified version to the International Olympic Committee.

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: team+canada

Ducks Talk After Loss To Atlanta

from Dan Wood of Ducks Blog at the OC Register,

“Everything that you don’t want to happen happened,” said Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer, who finished minus-4. “It’s a frustrating night to be a part of. I know I made my share of mistakes. Where it has to start is I have to be better, and we’ll go from there.”

Marchant and Pronger, whose name has been the subject of much potential-trade speculation, agreed that the pre-game, locker-room mood was seemingly no different than before recent games the Ducks have won. And yet …

“Now we’re back to the same old adage — up and down like a yo-yo with our inconsistent play,” Pronger said. “We have to be more desperate. We have to be a team that is more determined. We have to act like it’s do-or-die, and we’re just not doing that.”

And if the players had no rational explanation for the most ugly loss of the season at a most inopportune time, neither did Coach Randy Carlyle.

“You bang your head against the wall and try to figure out how we could perform to the level we performed,” he said.

more

added 8:45am, from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

The Ducks began this season thinking this core group had one more sustained playoff run left in it.

There’s little reason to believe that anymore. First, they’d have to make the playoffs—and at this rate, it’s not going to happen.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Penguins Have To Believe They Can Win

from Sam Kasan at PittsburghPenguins.com,

General manager Ray Shero tapped Bylsma to take over the Penguins, who are five points behind the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, and lead the club to a postseason berth.

“That’s our goal,” Shero said. “It’s been uphill battle. This is a resilient group. I’m looking for Dan to come in with the coaches here to rally the troops. We’re looking to make some progress here and make a push. “

“To have an opportunity to coach a team with this much talent and this much possibility is a great chance for me,” Bylsma said. “I look at the players and the roster and I look at a group that can win games right now. We need to do that starting (Monday) on the Island. We can do this but the players have to believe that we can do this. That’s the approach that we’ll take.”

read on

added 8:24am, from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

They have the 20th-ranked penalty-killing unit and are 21st in the NHL in goals against per game after being one of the top teams in the East defensively last season.

So Therrien was an easy mark.

He didn’t have enough chips in the bank. He wasn’t GM Ray Shero’s guy, having preceded Shero in Pittsburgh by half a season.

He was gruff and combustible and sometimes hard on people around him.

And you know what? He may have also saved this franchise.

more

added 8:29am, from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

That is why the finger of blame can swing toward Lemieux, the minority owner who has a huge say in running the team thanks to his status in Pittsburgh as a minor deity.

Almost one year ago, the Penguins were the most improved team in the NHL. But they had a couple of shortcomings that were making the ascension to champions less than a sure thing.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+bylsma

Mara Injury A Blow To The Rangers Defense

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

So it turns out yesterday’s 5-2 Garden loss to the Flyers was not the most damaging of the day for the Rangers.

Because the Blueshirts also lost Paul Mara, who for the bulk of the season has been the team’s best and most inspirational defenseman, when his right shoulder popped out as he tried to throw a punch while fighting with Aaron Asham, 6:14 into the third period.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: paul+mara

Is Renney Next?

from Steve Zipay of Blue Notes at Newsday,

When I asked about the chants of “Fire Renney” and “Fire Sather” and how much blame he needs to take for the unrest and slumping team, he said:

“I take full responsibility for where this team is right now. That’s incumbent with the position. My job is to correct this, get us winning, get us feeling better about ourselves. I look to be a solution. It’s as simple as that.”

Actually, it’s more complicated. I’m starting to get the feeling that some players—-not all—-have tuned Renney out, and as the old saying goes, you can’t get fire of all the players.

My growing suspicion is that if the Rangers don’t respond with wins Monday in St. Louis and at home against the Islanders on Wednesday, the successful coach of almost five years may not get a reprieve.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tom+renney

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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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