Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Lack Of Interest

from the Montreal Gazette,

For the Capitals, even a burgeoning superstar is not enough. After devoting not a single column inch to the Caps in its nine-page Wednesday sports section, the Post came back with a story yesterday on declining attendance at the Verizon Centre.
The Post’s story put the Capitals average attendance this season at 13,103 going into last night’s game against the Canadiens, down 800 fans a game from last season and 4,000 from what the Caps were drawing five years ago. And because the NHL counts tickets distributed, that number bares little or no resemblance to the actual count of fannies in the seats.
Night after night, Ovechkin is playing in front of a half-empty arena. It’s a terrible waste, like Vladimir Guerrero toiling in front of 6,000 fans at the Big O - but it doesn’t appear that anything short of a Stanley Cup is going to bring out the fans in Washington.

more

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Recognizing Briere

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Even though Briere, a 5-foot-10, 178-pound center, is a core player on an elite team, he is not one of hockey’s best-known personalities. That he has fared so well in the all-star voting suggests he isn’t entirely unknown, although it’s hardly out of the question that Sabres partisans are responsible for most of the support he has gotten.
Briere works in a modest-sized market and is part of a club that emphasizes collective accomplishments, even though its lineup is studded with big-time talents. Not that Briere frets much about any lack of public recognition he might have outside the Niagara Frontier.
“It’s not about myself, or anybody personally,” he said. “We’re a team, a team that relies a lot on everybody chipping in. I wouldn’t have it any other way….”

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Catching Up With Gary Thorne

from the Bangor Daily News,

It’s only the second time in the last 21 years that Gary Thorne has faced the prospect of going through an entire winter and spring without calling any NHL action.
His life as a professional broadcaster is no less hectic, but things have been unsettling for the Old Town native the last three months.
“I’ve got plenty of work to stay busy, but with something you were close to, it feels like there’s something missing,” said the 58-year-old Thorne. “When you’re around it for that long a period and that much out of each year, you have a personal stake in it. It’s a hole and it’s something you wish you could fill.”

continued

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Patrik Stefan’s Really Bad Night

The closing few seconds of the Dallas v Edmonton game Thursday night, and a very embarrassing moment for 1999’s first overall draft pick, Patrik Stefan. Said Dallas Stars defenceman Darryl Sydor afterwards:

“That was bizarre.  Seconds left with an empty net and then it’s down in our end and tie game. I’ve never seen any thing like that and you probably won’t see anything like that again for a long time.”

 

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Blues Tie NHL Record

From the AP via SLAM,

Goalie Manny Legace likes the way the St. Louis Blues have started games lately.
Lee Stempniak and Dennis Wideman scored goals to lead the Blues to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
St. Louis has not given up a goal in the first period since Andy Murray became coach 12 games ago. The streak matches the NHL record which was set in 1974 by the Los Angeles Kings. The Blues ended the Kings streak that season by scoring a first period goal in the 13th game.

Continued…

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Fight Night

Hockey Fights has a nice mix of the three fights from the December 30th game involving the Caps and Rangers.
Featured bouts were:
Brashear/Orr
Brashear/Shanahan
Morisonn/Orr

image

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Safer Dasher Boards

We normally don’t read about some of the products that help make the game safer…

Bone rattling board collisions are an inevitable part of life in the National Hockey League. This season, however, more NHL players will skate away without serious injuries thanks to a new product from Intek Plastics, a custom plastic extruder, and Athletica, a rink systems provider.
SoftCap is a flexible extruded plastic cover that sits on top of rink dasher boards. Its design uses hollow channels to absorb impact 96% better than the material previously used, according to NHL testing. The league expects SoftCap will reduce head, chin, elbow and other injuries and has approved the product for all team arenas. The New York Islanders was the first team to install the product and several more orders have followed.

more at Intek... kind of technical…

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Bell Pleads Not Guilty

via the Mercury News,

Sharks forward Mark Bell on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to felony hit-and-run charges stemming from a Sept. 4 crash in which prosecutors allege he was drunk behind the wheel of a car that rammed into a pickup truck at a Milpitas stop sign.

thanks to a KK reader for the heads-up.

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Johnson Staying At Michigan

via Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,

Leksand, Sweden — United States defenceman Jack Johnson is not leaving the University of Michigan to join the Los Angeles Kings.
There was a buzz at the 2007 world junior championship yesterday that Johnson, the third overall selection of the 2005 National Hockey League entry draft, had already packed his bags and was primed to make his debut with the Kings next week.
But Johnson’s father, Jack Johnson Sr., said Thursday night that the rumour was fictitious.
“He committed to [Michigan coach] Red Berenson for the entire season,” Johnson Sr. said. “He’s going back to school.”

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Top 10

from Mike Chen at Fox Sports,

From the Home Office (as in my home office where my fax machine and filing cabinet are, along with my two-foot tall Wayne Gretzky MacFarlane figure) in Palo Alto, Calif., here are the top 10 NHL lessons learned in 2006:
10. JR is Employee of the Month: When Jeremy Roenick says he has rededicated himself to the game of hockey, he means it. That is, if rededicating himself means finding the best place in Vancouver to have a beer and eat dinner while your teammates are working hard doing, you know, what they’re getting paid to do.

continued

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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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