Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Decision Day For Kasparaitis

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Darius Kasparaitis, whose conditioning assignment to Hartford expires today per the CBA, must either be recalled to the Rangers or placed on waivers. If the Blueshirts reinstate the 34-year-old veteran - whose swift descent from very valuable player to spare part has been mysterious, to say the least - it will be to give him a fair shot at reclaiming the job he lost during training camp. It's difficult to imagine the Rangers will recall Kasparaitis in order to have him sit and chew up chunks of cap space.

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Two Guys Walk Into A Bar…

from Mike Chen's Hockey Blog,

So, if they league ran the Sidney Crosby commercial every week during an NFL game, don't you think the name Sidney Crosby would become just a little bit more familiar to non-hockey fans? And a lot of the somewhat-knowledgeable sports fans would probably recognize the name from his mentions in SI and ESPN Magazine, thus putting face to name. You're getting an audience of millions of people who've shown they are dedicated to watching sports, so why the hell don't you throw your biggest, most marketable name in front of them every freakin' week?
make sure to check out the story line Mike has written (you'll understand the headline) for his proposed NHL commercial...

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Joe Makes Toast

from the San Jose Sharks,

Sharks forward Joe Thornton added to his acting resume in Los Angeles after the Sharks practice as he will become the latest feature player in the National Hockey League's advertising campaign. Thornton’s participation follows spots that aired earlier in the season, starring Jonathan Cheechoo, Philadelphia’s Peter Forsberg, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Dallas’ Marty Turco. This series of ads focuses on the fact that NHL players are just like every other normal person. The Hart Trophy winner’s spot shows Thornton caught in a frustrating attempt to make his morning breakfast. However, the only thing he accomplishes is to completely mangle his toast.
more on the Sharks, including Nabokov is feeling better and practiced with the team today...

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Remembering The Backhand

from the St. Petersburg Times,

“If you have a good backhand, you are dangerous from both sides,’’ said Keon, who played for Toronto from 1960-75. “You don’t always have to work to get the puck on your forehand, and you can catch the goalie by surprise.’’ That is because the shot can be gotten off quickly, and its speed rarely correlates with the follow-through of the stick. “It’s almost like facing an off-speed pitch,’’ Lightning goaltender Marc Denis said. “It’s like a catcher trying to catch a curveball or a batter trying to adjust to a changeup.’’ The NHL still has some great backhanders such as Lecavalier, Nashville’s Paul Kariya and Vancouver’s Brendan Morrison. And Esposito said mask or no mask, “Any goalie will tell you they hate backhands because they really don’t know where the hell the puck is going.’’

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NHL Players on the Bubble

By Debbie Elicksen over at NBCSports.com,

Being on the bubble isn't about the table-top boards being fought over in half of hockey fans' basements. It's not the Missouri 2007 national bubble hockey championships being hosted by the St. Louis Blues. Life on the bubble is the stark reality for about 80 percent of NHL players. It means you can be sent up or down to and from the minors at any given moment, no questions asked. You may not even know why. You make a mistake on the ice, you think, is this going to be my last shift in the game? On the team?
Continued. (Plus a rookie initiation story involving Eric Lindros, Fred Brathwaite, and running naked through an Oshawa shopping mall. Ahh... the good old days before the concussions.)

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Disability Doesn’t Stop Teen Goalie

from WCCO,

Most opponents never know that her right lower arm and hand never developed during childhood. Yet, on average, only one shot on goal gets past her every game." I don't even notice, I just don't I am just used to it," she said. Despite all of her obvious talent, none of this would have been possible without a specially designed goalie glove with a built in prostheses -- probably the only one of its kind in the world.
more... with video... image

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Could Get Ugly

The Blue Jackets play the Blackhawks in Chicago tonight. The Chicago Bears take on the NY Giants about an hour later at the Meadowlands. Anyone else think this game should have been moved to an earlier start time? We may see an all-time low in attendance tonight.

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Roy Glad He Didn’t Have To Choose

Via the Buffalo News,

Players don't enter hockey's Hall tethered to a particular team, the way they do in baseball. The Dominator will waltz in the way he would prefer, by himself, assuming he'll someday follow through with his retirement plans. Good thing Patrick Roy wasn't forced to pick a sweater before entering the Hall this week. He wouldn't know which to choose, the Montreal Canadiens or the Colorado Avalanche.
Much more news from around the league.

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Shopping With Chiarelli

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Chiarelli has been busy the last couple of weeks. Not the kind of busy he would prefer. His club in the midst of an early-season belly flop in the Eastern Conference pool , he has been on the phone, chatting with other GMs, trying to find a fix. What's the fix? Chiarelli's not saying. "I have a sense now of what I'd like to do," he said "I'm talking to people. I'm calling other GMs. Other GMs are calling me. But it's not like I'm talking to everyone -- it's a selective process." That's about as specific as Peter The Patient will get on the subject. But based on chatter around the league, he is in hot pursuit of a goalie, and the list of available suspects is shorter than Darren Pang's catching glove. ...Coach Randy Carlyle yanked Bryzgalov in the second period of a 3-0 loss Friday night in Calgary, and after the game said he was yanked because the coach "didn't have confidence in him." Ducks GM Brian Burke, responding to an e-mail yesterday about Bryzgalov's availability after being yanked, wrote, "Not going anywhere."

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Rows Of Empty Seats In St. Louis

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

In the late 1990s, Blues defenseman Jamie Rivers was in his first stint with the Blues. His fondest memories are of the crowds that gathered to watch their beloved Bluenote. Nearly 21,000 fans packed the arena now known as Scottrade Center, and when they left, the buzz from the building continued to ring in their ears. "It was just crazy in there," said Rivers, who rejoined the Blues last summer. "You couldn't hear anything at times. Just the screaming alone, it's almost like it would mess up your thoughts." Those memories are in stark contrast to the cavernous feeling at Blues games this season. To find their seats, die-hard fans walk past rows and rows of empty chairs. Entire sections have their own personal beverage vendor. And the ultimate sinking feeling: being able to hear players chatter on the ice.
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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