Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

A Challenge And A Reward

Up for grabs, a $25 gift certificate from IceJerseys.com. Let me tell you how to win it. You have to submit to me by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) the total number of goals the eventual Stanley Cup Winner will have. Beginning with the games starting tomorrow, just tell me how many goals your pick for the Stanley Cup will score during the next three series. For example, I pick San Jose to win the Cup, and they will scored 73 goals. Now for a tie-breaker, how many goals will they give up through the next three rounds. So submit the team name of the Stanley Cup, how many goals they will score and for tie-breaking only, how many they will give up. In order to be in the running for the gift certificate, you have to- 1. Pick the right team, 2. pick the correct amount of goals (or be the closest to the number, either above or below) and tell me how many goals your team will give up. Email to me must be timestamped by 5:00pm ET on Friday, May 5th and please put 'game" in the email subject. Please keep this fair, don't submit more than one email address. I will update the standings throughout the series but not on a daily basis. Any questions, please leave a comment but don't leave your picks in the comment section, you will be placing yourself at a disadvantage. In case of a tie even after the tie-breaker, a winner will be drawn randomly. This post will remain "sticky" until 5:00pm tomorrow.

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Underdog Or Laying In The Weeds

from the Buffalo News,

"If you look at it now," Ruff said, "we're definitely the underdog in this series." Then Ruff paused and looked into the audience, a sheepish look on his face, as if he didn't really believe what he was saying. Sure, Ottawa is the favorite. The Senators are the top seed in the East. They have superior talent. They won the season series from Buffalo and annihilated the Sabres on occasion in the regular season. Ruff wants the Senators to know they're favored, and he wants his players to remain wary and humble. After Tuesday night's clincher in Philadelphia, he told them to spend the morning celebrating and show up for practice at noon. No one complained. They showed up for work and started preparing for Ottawa.
read on

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Sign Hitchcock To An Extension

from the Philadelphia Daily News,

The most important thing Ed Snider and Bob Clarke need to do for the Flyers in the coming days has nothing to do with retooling their defense or adding speed to their lineup. This is not about the old NHL or the new NHL or any of that. Instead, this is about a crossroads moment for their franchise - a point at which they have an opportunity to announce to everyone, to fans and players alike, that things really are different now. This is about extending the contract of coach Ken Hitchcock, before it is too late.
continued

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Speed Against Speed

from the Ottawa Citizen,

Does the Ottawa Senators-Buffalo Sabres semifinal have the makings of a hostile rivalry? During the 2005-06 regular season, Ottawa won its eight-game series against Buffalo, 5-3. The Senators gave the Sabres three good drubbings, winning 5-0 on Oct. 8, 10-4 on Nov. 2 and 6-1 on Nov. 12. Two of the Senators' losses came in the last two games against Buffalo, one in overtime and the other in a shootout. The Senators earned 12 points to the Sabres' six. In need of more spice for this matchup? How about these two personalities: Dominik Hasek and John Muckler. Consider this twist: Hasek and Muckler were with the Sabres back then, and today they're working for Buffalo's next playoff enemy. Same positions, too. Muckler, general manager; Hasek, (ailing) goaltender.
read on

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Sharks Tough At Home

from the Contra Costa Times,

What follows is subjective. Ask 10 people to name the best sporting experience in the Bay Area, and they will come up with 10 different but equally plausible lists. As of May 4, 2006, here is mine: 1. Nobody would've predicted this 10 years ago, or even five, but when it comes to excitement and electricity produced for one event, when it comes to passion and that feeling of community that creates a shared experience, nothing right now beats a playoff hockey game at the Shark Tank. Forget about the ratings. Television doesn't do hockey justice. It never has and it never will. Go to the arena. That's where magic is found. You think about places such as Boston, Detroit and Montreal when you think about the best home-ice advantage in the NHL, but San Jose is widely recognized as one of the most difficult places for a visiting team to play.

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All Toskala

from Inside Bay Area,

Vesa Toskala, overnight sensation? That's a laughable notion both to the San Jose Sharks and to Toskala, considering that the relationship has lasted longer than many marriages. Sharks aficionados could tell you that their current No.1 goaltender has been in San Jose's system for a fair number of years. Fewer people may realize that the club has actually held Toskala's rights for 11 years, initially drafting him in the fourth round in 1995 as an 18-year-old prospect out of Tampere, Finland. Toskala is just two weeks shy of his 29th birthday, and only now is he living the dream he held as a teenager. He remained in Finland for five seasons of seasoning and then spent the next five apprenticing both in the minor leagues and with the Sharks, playing in just 40 NHL games prior to this year. Many days, he wondered if he'd ever get his big chance.
continued

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Blake Is Key To Avs Success

from the Gazette via the Mercury News,

If there was an endangered species list for NHL players, Colorado defenseman Rob Blake's name would have been added to it in the first few months of the 2005-06 season after the strike wiped out the previous season. But just when it looked as if Blake was going the way of the dinosaur, he raised the level of his play dramatically. In the last 41 games of the regular season, Blake compiled a plus-16 plus-minus ratio and helped Colorado fight its way into the postseason. And in Colorado's first-round series against the Dallas Stars, Blake's play was crucial in the Avalanche knocking out the Western Conference's No.2 seed, four games to one.
more

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Never In The Game

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

It wasn't just that the Flames lost. They were never in it at any point in the game. Meanwhile, the Flames' ace in the hole, goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, had a good series, but he wasn't lights-out good the way he was in their 2004 playoff run – or in the 82-game regular season for that matter. The Flames play disciplined, they work hard, they don't give up much, but their overall approach is old school – and eventually, they'll need to find somebody other than Jarome Iginla to put the puck in the net.
more

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B Of A Put On Hold

from the Edmonton Journal,

Roll up the Red Mile and keep your shirts on, Calgarians. Pack away those memories of 1980s provincial hockey dominance, Edmontonians. The hoped-for Battle of Alberta fizzled before a single cheap shot was tossed -- on or off the ice. Strangely, the Flames went with a whimper, not the kind of bang the hard-hitting, here-we-come team is noted for. "From our point of view, we're better than we played tonight. That's a tough way to end the season in front of our fans. It wasn't near good enough," said Jarome Iginla, the Flames' Edmonton-born-and-bred captain, who acknowledged that playing the Oilers would have been something. "You don't want to look ahead, but you read the paper like everyone else and you know who you have the opportunity to play. "It's disappointing for us to lose out, and disappointing for our fans. They wanted (the Flames) to play Edmonton more than anybody and we wanted to do that for them."
more

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What To Do With Ozolinsh

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

If Sandis Ozolinsh, who was placed back to the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse Program following his arrest on Tuesday morning in White Plains on DWI charges, remains under care through June 30, the Rangers will be unable to buy out the final season of the defenseman's two-year, $5.5M contract, for he will be considered an injured player. Despite reports on Monday in the 33-year-old defenseman's native Latvia that he had decided to retire from the NHL, Ozolinsh indicated nothing of the sort that day in his postseason meetings with GM Glen Sather and head coach Tom Renney. The Blueshirts could allow Ozolinsh to play in Europe next season once he clears waivers, again, without the contract counting against the cap.
more (reg. req.)...an option as pointed out by Larry is waivers...

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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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