Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Carrying The Load

from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,

What’s the right number of games to give a starting goaltender?
It’s a question that NHL coaches are answering in all kinds of ways this season, whether it’s Ron Wilson’s two-man tandem in San Jose or Jim Playfair’s ride-him-till-he-drops strategy in Calgary. The netminder with the heaviest workload so far this season is — surprise, surprise — the New Jersey Devils’ Martin Brodeur…


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Trying To Sign Smyth

from Robin Brownlee of the Edmonton Sun,

It’ll also help if Smyth and the Oilers can hammer out a contract. Negotiations kick off in the next day or so, and how long they last is anyone’s guess.
“We’re imminently close to starting,” said general manager Kevin Lowe, who has no idea how long things will take, or if they’ll even get it done before the Feb. 27 trade deadline.
“He’ll be weighing his options, between committing here long term and seeing what’s out there in the summer.”
Conventional wisdom says that you don’t want to let an impending UFA get past the trade deadline unsigned because you risk losing him for nothing in the summer. Lowe doesn’t want to get into hypothetical what-ifs, but admitted yesterday that Feb. 27 will loom very, very large in all this.


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The Evolving Dman

from Mark Spector of the National Post via Canada.com,

It can’t be good news for a 37-year-old defenceman with a lot of miles under the hood, whose strengths are just not the priority they once were. The fact that Marchment was plus-8 in 37 games for Calgary last season—and plus-51 over the last five seasons—wasn’t enough to make his phone to ring this past fall. It seems the old Chicago Stadium break-out pass—off the glass and out—just isn’t worth what it was years ago….
It wasn’t so long ago that when a team found itself giving up too many goals, the GM went out looking for a solid, stay-at-home guy. A defenceman who could “settle things down back there.” Now the solution is to find a guy who can transport the puck out of the defensive zone—by pass or rush. It makes sense, assuming our little transporter can gain possession of the puck in the first place.


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Broken Toes Not A Problem

from the Vancouver Province,

“We all talk about it a lot and take a lot of pride in it,” said the feisty Canucks winger. “Every guy wants to block shots and in the shooting lane you’ve got to for sure. The guys all take responsibility for that.”
Even with broken toes, which Burrows suffered in a 3-2 win at Calgary on Jan. 2 where the Canucks were 7-for-7 on the penalty kill.
“In the first period, I went down and blocked a shot off the faceoff and fractured them,” recalled Burrows. “Every team has a different [power play] setup and we watch a lot of video on how to play or where our sticks should be.
“With Calgary, Dion Phaneuf has a big one-timer [slapshot] and we know how they like to move the pucks around.”

read on

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Renney Not Happy

from the New York Times,

“There’s no spell on us,” Renney said. “We were brutal. It’s us. We are awful against these guys. We have no concept of camaraderie, no concept of team play, no concept of circling the wagons to go play these guys intelligently. We beat ourselves.”
Renney’s anger stemmed from the fact that the Rangers not only should have learned something about playing the Islanders in three previous losses, but also that they had only recently pulled themselves out of a seven-game losing streak. That skid had been so long and bitter that Renney hoped its lessons would hold the team’s attention for a while.
“There’s a certain responsibility that goes along with being a winning team in this league,” Renney said. “Just because you run off four in a row after losing seven doesn’t mean that you’ve arrived anywhere.
“We were perfect for the New York Islanders today. We were exactly what they needed.”


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Derek Boogaard out with Concussion

Minnesota’s Derek Boogaard runs into a wall in Calgary’s Eric Godard tonight.  From HF’s Quick Hits:

Boogaard went to the penalty box, but didn’t spend much time there as he left and went to the lockerroom shortly after.  The inside word is Boogaard has suffered a concussion and will miss some time now.  Hopefully he recovers quickly.

more… including video

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The All Stars

from Shawn P. Roarke at NHL.com,

Six of the 12 starters, selected by fan voting in the recently concluded COLD-fX/NHL All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports, are making their inaugural All-star appearance and another two players are making their first start.



The final voting numbers…

Continue Reading »

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Pitkanen Out With The Flu

via the Philadelphia Flyers,

The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have recalled 6’0”, 200-pound defenseman Jussi Timonen (YU-see TEEM-oh-nehn) from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, according to General Manager Paul Holmgren.
Joni Pitkanen is out for tonight’s game with the flu.

Let the rumors begin!!!

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Mid-Season Rankings

from Pierre Lebrun of the CP via Canada.com,

The red-hot Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes scream up the standings. Our totally subjective and weekly ranking of the league’s 30 clubs:
1. Buffalo Sabres. First team in the NHL to reach the 30-win plateau.
2. Nashville Predators. Welcome back Tomas Vokoun. Keep an eye behind you on Chris Mason.
3. Anaheim Ducks. Trying to survive with key injuries.


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Gaborik And His Ball

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Gaborik, the Minnesota Wild’s star forward, is exactly one game into his comeback from a serious groin/stomach ailment that kept him out of the line-up for the previous 34 games — and he and that stability ball are going to become very well-acquainted in the foreseeable future.
“They already are,” said Doug Risebrough, the Wild’s general manager, with a laugh.
Risebrough, of course, is equally well-acquainted with the sort of ailment that Gaborik has been fighting throughout his career. A groin injury eventually ended Risebrough’s career in 1987 and even in the last few years that he did play, he devoted almost as much energy to preparing for games than he did playing them.


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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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