Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Who Is Georges Laraque

from Black Athlete,

He began skating in his hometown of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, at age four. Like most Canadian kids, he loved and played hockey, and his idols growing up were hockey players, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzsky, who at that time played for the team that Georges plays for now, the Edmonton Oilers. Laraque not only played hockey, but football and soccer. His father was a soccer coach in Canada. At age 16, he decided to forget about football and soccer and concentrate on hockey. Unlike most players who grow the infamous beards during the playoffs, he doesn't. But let's get it straight. He doesn't wear dreadlocks.
continued update 4:28pm, The link appears to have been pulled. It was working earlier in the day. Sorry, not sure what happened. image

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Ted On His Way To Being Right

from the blog of Ted Leonsis,

Three years ago I predicted that the Southeast Division would be very competitive and could well be the best division in hockey. It was filled with great young players as well as star players that were hungry, hardworking, key members of well constructed teams. Tampa Bay went on to win the Stanley Cup in 2004 and now Carolina has a 2 to 0 lead in this years Finals. We could see back to back world championships for our division, and the teams are only getting stronger. Atlanta is on the cusp of playoff respectability, Florida is stocked with great young assets, and the Capitals are quickly rebuilding our team.
continued Ted also mentioned how strong the Southeast was in the interiview I did with him about 2 months ago.
He realizes the Southeast division is getting stronger with players like Staal, Luongo, Jokinen, Lecavalier and Kovalchuk and must get his team stronger to compete with them.
added 11:57am, I just discovered KK has been added to the Washington Capitals website along with the hockey blogs Off Wing Opinion, Japer's Rink and general sports blog DCSportsChick. The link is very much appreciated.

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Focus On The Positive

from Barry Melrose of ESPN,

I've said it before, but Oilers coach Craig MacTavish has to focus on the positives in this game. His team helped set a blistering pace to the game's first 10 minutes, they were hitting and taking the puck to the net. Now, they have to build on that. They've got two days off. Show them that Jussi Markkanen is capable of making that big save but showing some of his work in Game 2. Show them that they can be aggressive. The Oilers have been down 0-2 before (against San Jose) and now we're going to see what they're made of, if they can come back again.

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Talking Luongo & Jovo

from the Palm Beach Post,

The agent for goaltender Roberto Luongo has informed the Panthers his client will sign only a one-year deal this summer, not the long-term contract the team has been seeking. Gilles Lupien said Wednesday that his top priority is securing a no-trade clause in Luongo's contract. NHL rules prohibit no-trade clauses before the year in which a player becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency, which in Luongo's case is July 2007. "We don't want to sign long term and then be traded to somewhere like, say, Columbus, and be stuck there," Lupien said. A league source at the Stanley Cup Final said former Panther defenseman Ed Jovanovski "is very interested" in rejoining the team if he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1.
read on

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Quiet On Whyte

from the CP via the Globe and Mail,

Edmonton's often-jubilant Whyte Avenue took on the feel of a funeral procession Wednesday as despondent hockey fans began the long march home after the Oilers lost their second straight game in the Stanley Cup final. Most tried to sound optimistic, but their slow gait and the sombre looks on their faces told a different story. With Edmonton's 5-0 loss in Carolina Wednesday, the Oilers face a 2-0 deficit in their best-of-seven series and the outlook seems bleak. “It's definitely not impossible,” said David Christie, who had flown in from Inuvik, NWT, where he works, to watch the rest of the series with his hometown friends.

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Bizzaro World

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

The alternative explanation, of course, would be that the Canes were and are five goals better than the pride of Alberta and may well be poised to register the first sweep in the Cup final in eight years. After self-destructing in the final 23 minutes of the series opener, the Oilers fell apart in just about every important area in Game 2 en route to an embarrassing 5-0 defeat. Playing three goalies in the first two games of the Cup final can't be a good thing, and the Edmontonians have found all of Dwayne Roloson, Ty Conklin and Jussi Markkanen to be equally wanting. The terrible trio has combined for a .791 save percentage, just about as bad as you can get.
read on

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The NHL “Made” ESPN2

via the OC Register,

Action: Hockey fans complain they can't see Games1-2 of the Stanley Cup Finals because they can't get OLN. Reaction: Brian Burke, Mighty Ducks general manager, doesn't have it on his regular cable package in Yorba Linda and pays for an upgrade. "But I'm with the commissioner (Gary Bettman) on this," Burke said. "When the NHL signed up with The Deuce (ESPN2) everyone wanted to know why we were on this dinky network. The NHL wound up making The Deuce what it is. This is a good partner for us." A: Burke will meet with goalies Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Ilya Bryzgalov before he decides whether to trade one. R: If the Ducks' Stanley Cup hopes are real, it's hard to see them giving the keys to Bryzgalov. The complication is Giguere's contract. It expires after 2007.

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Now What

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

A tentative team waiting for bad things to happen to them. That's what the Edmonton Oilers were all season until the arrival of Dwayne Roloson. That's what they were again last night with injured Roloson looking on. And bad things did happen. Oh, how they happened. Again. And again. And again. And again. And again. In the end it was a sorry story as the Carolina Hurricanes humiliated the Oilers 5-0 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final after Edmonton gassed a 3-0 lead in Game 1.

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Thanks To People Like This

from Terry Frei of ESPN,

John C. Clark lives in Spring Hope, N.C., about 35 miles from Raleigh. "I'm not doing bad for an old guy," he said with a laugh this week. Spry and spunky at 85 years old, the retired farmer is one of those North Carolina residents who are getting caught up in the Stanley Cup finals without pretending to know the ins and outs of the sport. "I've been following the Hurricanes this year," Clark said. "It's been surprising how they've come up. They've got their heart in it!" Over the phone from Edmonton, Wally Strang, 80, admitted: "I don't want to say this, but I will. I think the Oilers have their hands full." So why John C. Clark, the ex-farmer, and Wally Strang, a one-time Vancouver police officer who went on to have a long career in newspapers, radio and advertising in western Canada? On the day this is being written, the June 6 off day between Games 1 and 2 of the Edmonton-Carolina series, the two men are symbols, representative of a generation's contributions.

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Time Running Out For Bob Cole

from the Toronto Star,

Darling calls Cole a legend. "He brings people to the edge of their seats unlike any other broadcaster in the country," Darling says. ``When you go to the arenas, you realize that he's so respected. He is a legend." I agree. But a real legend knows when it's time to step aside, or at least slow down. There are few things more painful than watching a great athlete, or great broadcaster, stumble around because there are too many miles on the odometer. For a man in his 70s, who has had health problems, Cole is calling too many games. With a reduced workload, he might even find a new life. If not, he can at least step aside before his status as a legend is forever tarnished.

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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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