Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP via TSN,
The Los Angeles Kings weren't ranked very high by most hockey prognosticators this season, and while it's still early, they are proving their doubters wrong with a 10-5-0 start that has them atop the Pacific Division. "I think most of the pre-season predictions had us certainly as an outsider in the playoffs, anywhere from 11th to the bottom in our conference," said Kings head coach Andy Murray. But Murray is also quick to point out his team has benefited from playing 10 of its first 15 games at home. "Detroit came in here and beat us (5-2 on Oct. 13) and they're at the top of the conference right now," rookie Kings goalie Jason Labarbera said in a phone interview. "It's a big test for us, we want to measure ourselves against the best teams in the conference. To go into Detroit which is a tough place to play, I've never played there yet, so that'll be a good test."
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Mario Lemieux is something of an authority on the subject of goal-scoring, having done it 689 times in the NHL. So when he praises another player for his ability to put the puck in the net, it's worth it to listen. And when he singles out Atlanta left winger Ilya Kovalchuk as perhaps the finest pure goal-scorer in the game, it's an opinion that has to be taken seriously.
from the Calgary Sun,
Physical play is supposed to be on the way out in the NHL. Tell that to Robyn Regehr. The rugged Flames defenceman has a theory about how to play with the obstruction clampdown, having now skated in three games since returning from the knee injury that forced him to miss the first month of the season. "I think the best way to play it is as physical as you can and, if you're doing something wrong, the refs will talk to you. From there, you can tone it down if you have to," Regehr said.
from the Courier Post,
When he's not stopping pucks in games and practices, Flyers goaltender Robert Esche is getting his groove in an attempt to become a better netminder. For the past several days Esche and Patricia Knight of Precision Timing of Newtown, Pa., have turned a second-floor room at the SkateZone in Voorhees into an interactive metronome. What's an interactive metronome, you ask? From outside the glass-enclosed room, Esche looks like he's listening to a Kenny Chesney CD as he taps his feet, slaps his hips and does everything but swing an imaginary lasso over his head. He said he is actually listening to a variety of sounds while reacting to specific noises such as cowbells.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
What is truly encouraging for the Leaf Nation, meanwhile, is that for the first time in a long, long time the Leafs are very much a part of this transfer of influence to a new generation. Last night, fully one-quarter of the Toronto roster was populated by players 23 years of age or younger, a promising development under the shadows of a new economic system that has robbed the Original Six club of much of its former financial might.
from the Ottawa Citizen,
The new game, after a year to recuperate, train and prepare, has done wonders for some old legs. Some, like Brett Hull, Scott Stevens and Ron Francis, knew it was time to move on. Other veterans have been born again. 1. Paul Kariya, once the anchor of an Anaheim Mighty Ducks team that reached the Stanley Cup final in 2003, was written off by many when he was injured for much of '03-04 and scored just 36 points for the Colorado Avalanche. 2. Ditto for Kariya's former running mate in Anaheim, Teemu Selanne, who scored 32 points in 78 games for the same Avalanche. Hardly the sort of performance associated with the Finnish Flash of the Winnipeg Jets, a 76-goal scorer in 1992-93. 3. Brendan Shanahan of the Detroit Red Wings hated the style of play so much he formed a committee to help reshape the product. A two-time 50-goal scorer with the St. Louis Blues in the early 1990s, Shanahan muddled through '03-04 with 53 points in 82 games for the Detroit Red Wings.
from the NY Daily News via the County Times,
The battle for the Calder Trophy, the NHL's top rookie honor, is likely to come down to Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, who was the first overall draft pick during the summer, and Alexander Ovechkin, who was picked first overall by Washington in 2004. By the most accurate method available to determine the status of any person, place, or thing in North American culture, the Penguins' phenom can be declared the winner. Type in Crosby's name on the virtual marketplace's Web site and you get more than 1,000 hits. Ovechkin? Not so great. A paltry 190 items turned up on his search.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Is it possible that under the NHL's new accounting system, a team could record 100 points and actually miss the playoffs? One of the more curious byproducts of the new NHL is the illusion that with only a handful of exceptions, just about every team seems to be doing pretty well these days. The reason — or the culprit, if you will — is the latest tweak to the NHL standings, the inclusion of the shootout loss.
from the CP via Canada.com,
"I love the youthful exuberance he brings to this team," Caps coach Glen Hanlon said Tuesday before his team faced the Toronto Maple Leafs. "Whether it's a morning skate or a practice, he just loves to be here. "He just loves hockey." That love and enthusiasm was on full display Tuesday while the Capitals went through their morning skate at the Air Canada Centre. Ovechkin, wearing his now-familiar tinted visor and loose-fitting skates, was all over the ice. He practised shooting pucks from the slot into the top of the net - hitting the small area between the front and back crossbars more often than not - and spent time working on some shifty skating manoeuvres. It's preparation the Russian rookie knows he has to put in to become the league's best player. His hard work hasn't gone unnoticed by his coach.
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.
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