Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Building The Canadiens

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,

As you know, only 10 players are under contract for next season - Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev and Mathieu Dandenault for three more years, and Steve Begin, Radek Bonk, Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec, Craig Rivet, Sheldon Souray and Richard Zednik for one year. Who goes? Who stays? Koivu, Kovalev, Markov, Rivet, Begin, Plekanec and Dandenault are certain to remain. You can add Souray to the group, although there were nights when the new and speedier My NHL was something of a mystery to him.
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Clarke Living In The Past

from the Phillyburbs, Dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago. Then the ice age came, so some of them started playing hockey with a certain gap-toothed center. Finally, all of the dinosaurs died and went away. All but one, that is. Our man Clarkie. The last dinosaur. The guy who thinks it's still 1975. As in, we can win a Stanley Cup now the same way we did in 1975. continued

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The Best Avs Coach

from the Denver Post,

This is the fun, unexpected tale of how the mighty Avalanche learned to become the underdog and love every doggone minute of a difficult season that would have kicked the tail of most teams. This is a franchise, long envied and loathed throughout the NHL, that discovered how to patch together wins with bailing wire, hockey tape and three spare bolts from a Zamboni. The man who taught the Avs how to do all this wonderful stuff is Joel Quenneville, by far the best coach this team has had since it moved to Denver in 1995.
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The Strain Of The Olympics

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

New York Rangers head coach Tom Renney has said having nine participants in the Winter Olympics three months ago affected the club's "mental state," while Philadelphia GM Bob Clarke said yesterday having eight Flyers in Olympic competition hurt his eliminated club. The problem with the theory, however, is the Detroit Red Wings. Still, if you subscribe to the theory that Olympic participation is bad for teams wanting to win the Cup, you'll have to like the chances of Anaheim or Edmonton at least getting to the final. Those two teams all had four players each in Turin, the least of any of the eight remaining playoff clubs.
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Regier Deserves Credit

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

During the time Darcy Regier has been general manager of the Buffalo Sabres and Lindy Ruff has been his coach, the Florida Panthers have employed five different general managers and six different coaches. Over the same nine years, the Leafs have had three general managers and are about to hire their third head coach. "Change, more often than not, destabilizes your franchise rather than stabilizes it," said Regier, the general manager nobody knows or at least notices. "I think if you miss the playoffs three years in a row and blow everything up, you're more likely to miss the playoffs seven years in a row. We got lucky here. We didn't get fired. The team was sold. We could have been fired. Ownership gave us a chance." And here they are, in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs in a playoff matchup that is almost unfair. It's too early for either the Sabres or the Ottawa Senators to lose. Not the way they play the game.
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Be Wary

from the Ottawa Citizen,

The Senators open their Eastern Conference semifinal at home tonight to the Buffalo Sabres, another team built on speed, skill and quickness. You like getting your medicine over the counter? These teams administer medicine through the counter: the counter-attack, pouncing on the most innocent turnover to create a scoring chance or draw a penalty. The Sabres aren't as deep as Ottawa, and they weren't as deadly on the power play in their first-round victory against the Philadelphia Flyers as the Senators were against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Still, as Senators head coach Bryan Murray said yesterday, teams that aren't wary aren't breathing, for long. "You better not take anything for granted in this league, or in a career," Murray said, a message he has surely delivered to his own players in person. "Careers go by fast," Murray said. "Calgary thought it was their turn to rise up, and they lose in the first round. There are no guarantees.
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The New NHL Goalie

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Maybe we'll need to adopt the baseball term and assess their performances in terms of a quality start. Grant Fuhr made it to the Hockey Hall Of Fame with a career GAA of 3.38. During the NHL's dead-puck era, a 3.38 GAA would have earned most goaltenders a one-way ticket to Lowell or Hershey or Rochester or wherever a club's farm team happened to be based. According to Brodeur, in the new NHL, the increase in power plays becomes a "tiring" factor for goaltenders because of improved puck control in the larger offensive zones. The solution may be as simple as altering expectations in the new NHL, so that they return to the level they were at during Fuhr's era, where the stats weren't as important as the ability of a goaltender to come up with a big save with the game on the line.
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Talking Goalies

The goalies from the Eastern Conference Semi-Conference teams were involved in a teleconference yesterday. You can read the transcript of their conversation.

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Stat Report For April ‘06

KK showed a steady growth for April. Yoo can compare the stats to March and also get an understanding what each graph represents. image Sessions image Pageviews image Hits

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Sabres Owner Feels The Spirit

from John McGourty of NHL.com,

"This was my first playoff series and it is very, very exciting," Golisano said. "They told me about the intensity and I didn't believe it could be this intense. It is. The team performed extremely well. They're a young team and they're fast. They really looked like they enjoyed themselves in the last two games. We're quite happy in Buffalo." There's a good chance those players might be wearing different uniforms and representing a different city, were it not for Golisano. The founder of the Rochester, N.Y.-based Paychex, Inc., purchased the Sabres on March 14, 2003, after its previous owners fell into non-hockey-related legal and financial trouble.
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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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