Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Fixing Calgary

from the Calgary Sun,

* Sutter must hand over the coaching reins and concentrate on his GM duties. * Find a team -- any team -- to take 14-goal man Tony Amonte and his grossly over-inflated $1.85 million salary. * Ditto slooooooow Chris Simon and his $1.216-million deal. He doesn't score and he's too slow to be a consistent physical presence. Nice hairdo, though. * Make sure fourth-liners remain on the fourth line. That means the Flames need three of them, not nine.
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Anyone Care

from the Tirdent Online, the independent student newspaper at Washington & Lee University,

The NHL is still suffering from the strike last year. They have done some very smart things in making the league much higher scoring. However, one major thing holding them back is that ¾ of the country does not play ice hockey. With the exception of the northeast and the great northwest there are almost zero youth hockey leagues. Average attendance for NHL teams that were not one of the original eight is below that of Major League Soccer. The point is, the NHL is great for those diehard hockey fans, and its great to see the highlights on Sportscenter. The problem is no one really cares about who wins or losses outside of the hockey fanatic population in NHL cities. I'd be willing to bet, more people in Raliegh, NC are concerned about UNC and NC St. making the college baseball world series than the Hurricanes winning the Stanley Cup.

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Building The Canadiens

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,

As you know, only 10 players are under contract for next season - Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev and Mathieu Dandenault for three more years, and Steve Begin, Radek Bonk, Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec, Craig Rivet, Sheldon Souray and Richard Zednik for one year. Who goes? Who stays? Koivu, Kovalev, Markov, Rivet, Begin, Plekanec and Dandenault are certain to remain. You can add Souray to the group, although there were nights when the new and speedier My NHL was something of a mystery to him.
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Clarke Living In The Past

from the Phillyburbs, Dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago. Then the ice age came, so some of them started playing hockey with a certain gap-toothed center. Finally, all of the dinosaurs died and went away. All but one, that is. Our man Clarkie. The last dinosaur. The guy who thinks it's still 1975. As in, we can win a Stanley Cup now the same way we did in 1975. continued

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The Best Avs Coach

from the Denver Post,

This is the fun, unexpected tale of how the mighty Avalanche learned to become the underdog and love every doggone minute of a difficult season that would have kicked the tail of most teams. This is a franchise, long envied and loathed throughout the NHL, that discovered how to patch together wins with bailing wire, hockey tape and three spare bolts from a Zamboni. The man who taught the Avs how to do all this wonderful stuff is Joel Quenneville, by far the best coach this team has had since it moved to Denver in 1995.
continued

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The Strain Of The Olympics

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

New York Rangers head coach Tom Renney has said having nine participants in the Winter Olympics three months ago affected the club's "mental state," while Philadelphia GM Bob Clarke said yesterday having eight Flyers in Olympic competition hurt his eliminated club. The problem with the theory, however, is the Detroit Red Wings. Still, if you subscribe to the theory that Olympic participation is bad for teams wanting to win the Cup, you'll have to like the chances of Anaheim or Edmonton at least getting to the final. Those two teams all had four players each in Turin, the least of any of the eight remaining playoff clubs.
read on

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Regier Deserves Credit

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

During the time Darcy Regier has been general manager of the Buffalo Sabres and Lindy Ruff has been his coach, the Florida Panthers have employed five different general managers and six different coaches. Over the same nine years, the Leafs have had three general managers and are about to hire their third head coach. "Change, more often than not, destabilizes your franchise rather than stabilizes it," said Regier, the general manager nobody knows or at least notices. "I think if you miss the playoffs three years in a row and blow everything up, you're more likely to miss the playoffs seven years in a row. We got lucky here. We didn't get fired. The team was sold. We could have been fired. Ownership gave us a chance." And here they are, in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs in a playoff matchup that is almost unfair. It's too early for either the Sabres or the Ottawa Senators to lose. Not the way they play the game.
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Be Wary

from the Ottawa Citizen,

The Senators open their Eastern Conference semifinal at home tonight to the Buffalo Sabres, another team built on speed, skill and quickness. You like getting your medicine over the counter? These teams administer medicine through the counter: the counter-attack, pouncing on the most innocent turnover to create a scoring chance or draw a penalty. The Sabres aren't as deep as Ottawa, and they weren't as deadly on the power play in their first-round victory against the Philadelphia Flyers as the Senators were against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Still, as Senators head coach Bryan Murray said yesterday, teams that aren't wary aren't breathing, for long. "You better not take anything for granted in this league, or in a career," Murray said, a message he has surely delivered to his own players in person. "Careers go by fast," Murray said. "Calgary thought it was their turn to rise up, and they lose in the first round. There are no guarantees.
read on

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The New NHL Goalie

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Maybe we'll need to adopt the baseball term and assess their performances in terms of a quality start. Grant Fuhr made it to the Hockey Hall Of Fame with a career GAA of 3.38. During the NHL's dead-puck era, a 3.38 GAA would have earned most goaltenders a one-way ticket to Lowell or Hershey or Rochester or wherever a club's farm team happened to be based. According to Brodeur, in the new NHL, the increase in power plays becomes a "tiring" factor for goaltenders because of improved puck control in the larger offensive zones. The solution may be as simple as altering expectations in the new NHL, so that they return to the level they were at during Fuhr's era, where the stats weren't as important as the ability of a goaltender to come up with a big save with the game on the line.
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Talking Goalies

The goalies from the Eastern Conference Semi-Conference teams were involved in a teleconference yesterday. You can read the transcript of their conversation.

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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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