Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

One Long Road Trip

from the NY Times,

The past 15 years have been a peripatetic journey for Ozolinsh, with stops in Kansas City, Mo.; San Jose, Calif.; Colorado; North Carolina; Florida; Anaheim, Calif.; and New York. His puck-moving and point-collecting abilities have made him an All-Star seven times and carried him to the Stanley Cup finals. His drinking has dragged him to a place of last resort. But right now, Ozolinsh said, he is in a good place, though he cautioned: "It's still a short period of time. We'll see in the long run." ..."I just look at it like a long road trip right now," said Ozolinsh, who has a picture of his sons on his cellphone. He talks to them every day, and they send text messages back and forth. When he speaks about his family, he has pride in his voice and pain on his face. "I'm not made for the single life," Ozolinsh said with a doleful sigh.
read on

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Sens Fans Told To Relax

from the Ottawa Sun,

The Senators’ marketing department wants fans to “Paint The Town Red” and wear the team’s favourite bloody colour at home games to show their support in the playoffs. These days, though, it’s more like Ottawa is on red alert as fear of another early exit from the post-season tournament looms large. Yesterday, captain Daniel Alfredsson was asked for a message to send back to the fans. He replied with one word. “Relax,” said Alfredsson.
more

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Overload

from Newsday,

John Davidson was on the phone from Detroit, still two games and two nights from the regular-season finish line, and even the seemingly tireless voice of hockey on American TV sounded, well, tired. Asked yesterday how old he is, the NBC/OLN/MSG analyst said: "Fifty-three. After this season, I'll be 64." Davidson has spent the past seven months like a failed dieter on a bonbon binge, going from the barren, lockout winter of 2004-05 to this: Counting the Olympics, about 125 games - "or maybe it's 130, I've lost count" - even before the playoffs begin this weekend. "It's gone from complete hibernation to the verge of being over the line," he said. "But I'm not going to complain. This is a much better scenario than last season."
continued

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Remember This?

from the Star Phoenix,

Another National Hockey League season ends tonight, leaving behind a highlight roll of dubious achievers who brought attention to their respective teams with their actions on or off the ice. By no means is this supposed to be a complete list; it's just a collection of some of the most memorable deeds in 2005-06. Darcy Tucker obviously knows what a helmet is supposed to be used for when it isn't on the head of an opponent during a fight. You smash it over his head a couple of times as he did to New Jersey Devils winger Cam Janssen last December.
more

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Salei Adjusting

from the OC Register,

Ruslan Salei was 20 years old when he left Belarus. He wanted to make a hockey living in America. Instead, he landed in Las Vegas. "I thought that was what this whole country was all about," Salei said Monday morning. "I didn't know any better. It wasn't exactly Hockeytown. But when I came to Anaheim, it wasn't either." And when his ninth NHL season began, someone rearranged the furniture again. Salei was the typical heavy-handed, homebound defenseman. Now the new rules took his fingers and his stick away. His 114 minutes in penalties are a career high. "I know I couldn't have played under this system," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, a 17-year defenseman in the league and four-time All-Star. "It's the same old thing. Grab, hold and hook. It's survival time out there, and it was tough for someone like Rusty to adjust."
read on

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Just Think

from the Beaver County Times,

Think how many points Crosby may have scored on a team that wasn't tied for fewest points in the league. With Sergei Gonchar out of the lineup Monday, Crosby had the second-most career points than any of his teammates. Think how many points Crosby may have had had Lemieux not had a heart condition. Or how many points Crosby might have had if Ziggy Palffy had heart. What's been most impressive about Crosby's rookie season was that he did it on this dreadful team. Most people would have called it a good season had Crosby got 75 points. One-hundred on this team is nothing short of amazing. That's not to give high praise to the sorry '84-85 Penguins team that Lemieux carried.
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Ha$ek Ha$ Motivation

from the Globe and Mail,

"He didn't go down today, so he can't play in a game," Murray said after practice. "I'm just disappointed because I'd obviously hoped he'd get a game in and be ready for the playoffs." If Hasek can't play at all during the playoffs, he would miss out on a bonus potential of $2.66-million. He earned $1.5-million in the regular season. Asked to speculate at what point Hasek might be able to return, Murray declined to do so. "I'm not taking a guess at all," he said.
read on

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Who’s Your Goalie

from the Philadelphia News,

Robert Esche was back in his locker stall yesterday afternoon just a day after being pulled in a lopsided loss to the New Jersey Devils, and the way he was acting was, well, strange. Not strange bad, but strange good. I don't look to him for confidence anymore. I just decided that the only one I could control was myself. I don't really think about [the playoff job] anymore, I don't think about what he's going to do or who he's going to play. The only thing I think about is how I'm going to stop the puck. "He hasn't told me a thing. And I won't be surprised if he names Niittymaki; well, let me make that I won't be shocked. 'Niitty' has played well and he can get the job done. But I honestly don't care anymore. I can't control it. I only think about stopping the puck. I don't even look at the bench anymore."
more

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Evaluation Time

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

The combination of new rules and the shootout have produced not only high-quality hockey but great playoff races," said Mighty Duck General Manager Brian Burke, whose team is a prime beneficiary of the crackdown on hooking and holding. "When you go to the shootout, nobody leaves. Everybody stays. "Overall, the NHL gets an 'A.' " But — and you knew there had to be a "but" — it's unclear whether anyone has noticed beyond the small but passionate cluster of fans who cared before the lockout. Attendance has never been a huge headache for the NHL. It goes up some years in some places and down in others, but that's normal. The old problems plaguing the New NHL are its lack of a lucrative TV package, TV's inability to convey the game's speed and atmosphere to viewers, and the sport's enduring image as a regional pastime. Improving the product doesn't seem to have resolved those problems.
read on (reg. req. and an excellent read)

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Columbus Fans Want A Winner

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Only nine clubs, including the Blue Jackets, report a decline in crowd size. The Jackets draw 16,778 per game, 17 th in the NHL. It’s the first time they’ve been in the bottom half of the league. "We’re down for two reasons," president and general manager Doug MacLean said. "Our team performance early wasn’t good enough. "And the Olympic schedule (a 17-day break in February) was tough." MacLean said the seasonticket base, estimated at around 14,000, remains strong, and renewals for 2006-07 are at least as good as for previous seasons.
more

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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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