Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The ‘Poster Child’ Team

from the San Bernardino Sun,

The Kings have picked up a big fan this season: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. In an interview this week, Bettman had high praise for the way the Kings conducted business before last season's lockout. In anticipation of a new economic system, the Kings maintained a mid-level payroll and mostly avoided expensive, long-term contracts, a strategy that didn't sit well with some fans. Now, with the Kings seemingly in good position for a playoff spot, that course of action seems to be paying off, as the Kings were able to add key players and still fit well under the league's new salary cap.
continued

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Expect The Unexpected

from the Delaware County Times,

On the "would you believe it?" radar are the New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings. Meanwhile, on the "what the heck happened to these guys?" list are the Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks. Here, at a juncture slightly past the mid-season point, is a capsulated look at how these 11 teams have gotten where they are:
more

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Rangers Need To Address Some Issues

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Look, even with a sub-standard effort coupled with one of Henrik Lundqvist's most ordinary games of the year, the Rangers still managed to lose to the Red Wings by only a goal on Saturday in Detroit. Still — there's always a "still," isn't there? — there are issues for the team to confront as it prepares for tonight's game in Columbus against the Blue Jackets, before two more later in the week at Pittsburgh and Boston. First, there's the absence in the lineup of even the slightest physical intimidation element, noticeable once again on Saturday when Chris Chelios ran around the ice smashing Rangers without the slightest fear of retaliation against him or his teammates. Second, there's Tom Renney's fluctuating standard of accountability...
more (reg. req.)

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Who Needs A Goalie

from the Toronto Sun,

Goaltenders are expected to dominate discussion heading toward the March 9 National Hockey League trade deadline. While it's true that the stringent salary cap makes it hard to shed or accommodate the big salaries that the best stoppers demand, it's the time of year when prices are lowest and clubs must decide to upgrade or roll the dice with incumbents in playoffs.
read on

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Weinrich Talks Hockey

from Eric Weinrich via the Kennebec Journal,

From what we hear, people are excited about the new NHL. One thing I would like to see is more about the players. Especially when the NBC broadcasts start. Let's see more about the players. Promote the players. The players are the league. The other leagues do it. Let the people put a face with a name. This is what the players would like as well. This is not criticism of the coverage, just something to enhance it.
Weinrich is right. During the NBC broadcast on Saturday, they ran a spot about the New NHL. Instead of seeing guys skating in red and black jerseys with very low lighting and the camera following a slow motion puck going into the net (my description of the newest My NHL commercial), it is time to feature real NHL players. Makes sure to check out Weinrich's column, he touches on many subjects.

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Do Wings Have Interest In Komisarek

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Sources say Gainey is also trying to create a market for D Mike Komisarek. The Red Wings want depth on the blueline and may be interested. It doesn't stop there ... the Habs are also believed to be talking to the Blackhawks about a dealing involving C Mike Ribiero for LW Kyle Calder
check out all of the rumors, including who wants Owen Nolan...

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Gretzky Leans On Barry Smith

from the Buffalo News,

Gretzky didn't need a friend. He needed a coach who could teach him how to coach. He needed someone who knew the X's and O's, someone who understood the new rules, someone familiar with most every player on every team. It's why he wasted little time scooping up Kenmore native Barry Smith. "I only knew him as a person and a player," Smith said last week. "It was cordial. We always said hello, but we never knew each other in depth. He checked on some things I had done. He brought me in and said, "You're the guy.' "
more

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Hitchcock Says Sakic Took A Dive

from Philly Burbs,

The Flyer coach was willing to put his money where his mouth was Saturday afternoon after a controversial call led to his team's 4-3 overtime defeat by the Colorado Avalanche at the Wachovia Center. Hitchcock was incensed because referee Don Koharski, stationed at center ice, whistled defenseman Mike Rathje for hooking Colorado's Joe Sakic deep in the Flyers' zone at 3:08 of the extra session, the Flyers' second penalty in the OT. That led to Alex Tanguay's power-play goal (off a glaring Kim Johnsson turnover) at 4:15 and ruined a late two-goal rally by the Flyers that had sent the game into overtime. "The second penalty in the overtime was a dive,'' Hitchcock fumed. "Everyone on the ice knew it, their bench knew it, our players knew it. It was a dive. He grabbed (the defenseman's) stick, hooked it under his body and went down. It was a dive.'' Later, Hitchcock and Sakic passed each other in the hallway. Sakic kiddingly said to the coach that he wasn't a diver and wanted an apology. Safe to say, none will be forthcoming.
read on Two ways to prevent this, don't bring your stick up into the waist, arm area, and start calling more diving penalties. The players are getting smart, if they feel a stick on them, they are beginning to grab the stick shaft or blade and then go down. Calling diving will put an end to that.

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The Games Will Be Great

from the Edmonton Journal,

There's a lot to like in the New NHL, but the best feature may well be upcoming in a month or so -- the break for the 2006 Winter Games in Turin. That's no backhanded slag at the regular season. But if tournament hockey has ever been played at a higher level than the 1998 Games in Nagano and the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, I haven't seen it.
continued

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Searching For A Leader

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

The largest void in the Bruins' game this morning, like all the other mornings, is leadership. Whose team is it? Right now, it looks like a bedraggled ensemble of orphans, with no one showing enough game, gumption, or guts to jump off the bench with the idea of even influencing, never mind changing, the outcome of a game. How sad. How uncharacteristic. So little fight.
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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