Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Can’t Turn It Off & On

from the Star-Telegram,

Unfortunately, the Stars may be finally understanding that this journey actually started more like three weeks ago, when they realized that they could really go neither up nor down in the standings and decided to coast to the finish line. It didn't help matters that the player who set the ho-hum tone for those two weeks was team captain Mike Modano. "Those were tough games to get up for motivation-wise because of our situation; we couldn't go up or down," Modano said. "There was no way to approach those games against those teams." Modano and many of the Stars players thought they could just turn it on again when the playoffs arrived. They're realizing now how wrong they were. "There was a little bit of uneasiness going into the last couple of games because of our pattern of hockey," Modano admitted. "Everybody was hoping it wouldn't spill over into the playoffs. "There wasn't much to play for. Now there's a lot more to play for."
read on

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Looking For New Blood

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

What's interesting, however, is that several NHL clubs appear to be looking for brand new answers to the questions of the post-lockout era. Two prominent player agents, Pat Brisson of IMG and Brian Lawton of Octagon Sports, are believed to be in the running for general manager's jobs, while New York-based broadcaster and former NHL goalie John Davidson may be on his way to a prominent head office job. If there is a common denominator, it may be that teams are starting to look at the new business environment of the NHL and look for an edge, and they may believe that becoming "player friendly" may be the best way to proceed. The "player friendly" theory is that with all teams having identical payrolls to spend if they choose to spend it, teams have to position themselves as ideal landing spots for free agents, given that the money is likely to be equal between teams.
more

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Time For Fresh Legs

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Now, only 60 minutes of hockey away from four-game, first-round playoff elimination and, at the same time, nearly 10 weeks away from his team's last run of superior hockey, Renney must recognize his loyalty belongs to the logo, and painful as it might be, not necessarily to the guys in the room who did the heavy lifting throughout the season. It is Renney's obligation to put the lineup on the ice that has the best chance of beating the Devils tomorrow afternoon in a potential elimination Game 4 at the Garden, regardless of whether that might mean the inclusion of a handful of players who have spent little time - if any - with the club this season, at the expense of some who have been here since September.
read on (reg. req.)

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Cool It Edmonton

from the blog of Ansar Khan at Mlive,

You'd think Edmonton would be a little more hockey-savvy than some place like Phoenix or Nashville, but the celebratory reaction and the overreaction by some in the media and many fans to the Oilers' 2-1 series lead over the Red Wings was strange, if not ridiculously premature. After three games, many folks up here actually began setting their sights on a second-round matchup between the Oilers and Flames, rekindling their fierce rivalry from the '80s and early '90s. The Edmonton Sun ran a laughable editorial declaring Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson as a leading candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
continuedPremature

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What’s A Ref To Do

from Hockey Refs,

NHL referees are taking heavy criticism by some for their strict standards of enforcement in the early games of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. Following the Detroit Red Wings’ 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, Red Wings television analyst Mickey Redmond called the officiating “a disgrace to the National Hockey League.” “It was pretty bad,” he said on Fox Sports Net Detroit. “The guys (referees Dean Warren and Marc Joanette) won’t be doing many (more) games.”
continued

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Getting A Jump On Saturday’s NBC Games

Instead of waiting for the coverage map for the NBC games on Saturday, you can check MSNBC now and select either the Rangers/Devils or Wings/Oilers. The chart will point out if your location will receive the game of your choice.

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MacTavish Blames Team- Not The Refs

Craig MacTavish said in the post game interview that depending on who the refs are, he tries to adjust the teams thinking before the game starts. He put the blame on his players tonight and not the refs. He stated the Wings did a better job of adjusting to the calls tonight than his team did. MacTavish noted the refs tonight were going to make the questionable call and you just have to deal with it. Good move by MacTavish, keeps his team focused on the game and not blaming the refs. Now that the series is tied 2-2, his team can't be thinking the refs messed up, they need to concentrate on the Saturday afternoon game.

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Report- Osgood Hurt Today

Word spreading around Wings forums and blogs is Osgood tweaked a groin this morning in practice and Jimmy Howard has been recalled from Grand Rapids. I can verify Howard is not in goal for G.R. tonight against the Marlies. I must ask, what is the Detroit media doing today. Why haven't they reported this? Not one mention in print, web, radio or TV! added 8:47pm, CBC reporting Osgood hurt groin and they don't think he will be available tonite or for game 5. They said Holland was on the phone this morning, trying to get Howard into Edmonton by game time. update 9:04pm, FSN in Detroit on pre-game reporting Howard landed in Edmonton. Getting a police escort to arena. Osgood out for pre-game skate just in case Howard doesn't make it to the arena in time.

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Not Over Yet For Rangers

from Stan Fischler of MSG Network,

“We can’t think about winning four games,” says Jagr. “We have to go out on Saturday and get that one goal. We’re almost dead. We have nothing to lose.” As for New Jersey, Lamoriello expresses some degree of satisfaction. Analyzing his team’s third win, the Devils’ boss says, “I don’t think we have ever played perfect hockey. But I thought that Game Three was the best of our three.” Three out of three in the bag ain’t bad. But it’s the fourth one that really matters and that hasn’t happened yet. Stay tuned!
more

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Are Upsets Good For The NHL

from the Journal-Advocate,

While the league has done a decent job calling obstruction penalties and keeping the game moving during these playoffs, it still hasn't corrected one of the most understated, but fatal, flaws of the old system. Everyone loves an underdog, and for good reason. However, in the recent history of the NHL playoffs, upsets have been more common than flies at a junk yard. That is a critical problem. ...The hope was that the NHL would cure that inequity with rules tailored to showcase the talent of the league's stars. But after a regular season in which the most talented teams claimed the top seeds in each conference, the trap has come back into play and each No. 1 seed - Ottawa in the east and Detroit in the west - lost home ice advantage in the first two games of Round 1.
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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