Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Columbus Now Competitive

from the Calgary Sun,

Don't call the Columbus Blue Jackets a pushover. At least not anymore. Since new head coach Ken Hitchcock was hired last week, the team has lost two one-goal games and defeated the Minnesota Wild 5-3 while competing at a much higher level than they did coming out of the gate with a 5-13-2 start under Gerard Gallant.

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Wanna Do It

from the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

About a week ago, Phoenix Coyotes enforcer Georges Laraque worried that the role of fighters is nearing extinction in the NHL. Well, based on his conduct Thursday night against Los Angeles, it can't come soon enough. While wearing a televison microphone for the game, Laraque inadvertently made a mockery of his chosen art and completely undermined the dogged efforts of those who maintain that fighting has an important part in the sport.

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Around The League

from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,

•Exactly what did Dan Cloutier accomplish in Vancouver that made Marc Crawford want him in L.A.? It's a question that should have been asked long before they offered Cloutier, who has a league-worst 3.67 GAA and .868 save percentage, that two-year, $6.2-million contract. •From the Life Isn't Fair File: Florida goalie Alex Auld lets in one goal in 125 minutes of regulation and OT over two games, and loses them both: 1-0 in regulation to Atlanta, 1-0 in a shootout to Montreal.
much more

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Whitney Steps Up

from the News & Observer,

Without Stillman, Whitney's role and production have increased in his second season with the Canes. He ranks second on the team, and 15th in the NHL, with 29 points (nine goals and 20 assists). "You could tell, given Cory's status, that Ray came in here with the thought that he was going to be the guy," Erik Cole said. "And he has been. He has been really good for us."

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Wait Until Next Year

from Phil Coffey's Ice Age at NHL.com,

Vancouver's Brendan Morrison is a Michigan man, so folks around the Canucks did a double-take this week when he wore an Ohio State hockey helmet in practice. To those not paying attention, Michigan and Ohio State are bitter college football rivals. So, why the change in garb? He lost a bet to teammate Ryan Kesler, a former Buckeye, on the outcome of the Michigan-Ohio State football game. “I’m a man of my word,” Morrison said. “I said I’d do an interview with an Ohio State football helmet on. We couldn’t find a (football) helmet, so we went with a hockey helmet. I look like a goof right now. I would love to get him in a Wolverines helmet and make him look like a goof.”
read more on the NHL from Phil...

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The Monthly Awards

NEW YORK (Dec. 1, 2006) -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin, who led all rookies in scoring with 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 14 games, has been named the NHL Rookie of the Month for November. Malkin edged Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (3-7--10 in 13 games), Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny (5-5--10 in 14 games) and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Shane O’Brien (1-7--8 in 15 games). NEW YORK (Dec. 1, 2006) -- Anaheim Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne, Atlanta Thrashers right wing Marian Hossa and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cristobal Huet have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for November.

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Van Massenhoven Out 4-6 Weeks

via the Globe and Mail,

Don’t tell Don Van Massenhoven that players are the only NHL participants who get injured in the line of duty. Just one week prior to the one-year anniversary of having facial reconstruction surgery, Van Massenhoven caught a rut in the ice at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Nov. 16 and is now on the shelf for four-to-six weeks after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. “I zagged when I should have zigged,” said the veteran referee. “There had previously been a lot of scar tissue in there.”

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Sideshow Bob No More

from Scott Burnside at ESPN,

We recall the day Darcy Tucker found out they were calling him Sideshow Bob. It was during the playoffs against New Jersey in the spring of 2000 and a group of reporters caught up with Tucker in the Leafs' hotel. Someone mentioned that a New Jersey writer had come up with a new moniker for the feisty Leafs forward. Now, when someone tells you that you're being referred to as Sideshow Bob, you can react two ways: you can laugh it off and move on or you can blow a gasket.

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Name Calling Battle

from the Edmonton Journal,

Ian Laperriere says Oilers coach Craig MacTavish called him a "loser" as the teams lined up for a faceoff after the Ryan Smyth check on Brad Richardson, but MacTavish denied disparaging the hard-nosed forward, who could play for the Oilers in a heartbeat. "Nobody likes to be called the "L" word, but I have a lot of respect for Craig. He's got four Stanley Cups. What am I supposed to do? It's just two emotional guys out there," said Laperriere.

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The Early Vote

Linda Cohn of ESPN takes a shot at some early hardware picks...

Vezina Trophy This was a tough call for me, being a former goalie and all. Most would go with Kiprusoff or Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Meanwhile, the Kipper's Flames are struggling at ninth in the West (there is only so much this guy can do). Giggy is having a strong season for the Anaheim Ducks, but it's still not enough for me. My early pick for the top goalie award is Montreal's Cristobal Huet. Hang in here with me.
read on

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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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