Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The Rangers Improve

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The Post has learned that Sykora, who grew up in Martin Straka's hometown of Plzen in the Czech Republic and lists No. 82 as his idol in his Anaheim media-guide bio, phoned Sather on Dec. 10 (with Anaheim GM Brian Burke's permission) to inform the GM that he wanted to come to New York. That was the night assistant GM Don Maloney was dispatched to Montreal to watch Sykora against the Canadiens. The Rangers yesterday became much better and they became that much more dangerous in adding a legitimate top-six forward who not only bolsters their credibility on the attack, but allows Tom Renney to move Steve Rucchin into a more appropriate checking role.
more (reg. req.)

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Canadiens Not Making The Grade

from the Montreal Gazette,

If the goal is to make the playoffs, the Canadiens have reached the midway point in the National Hockey League season with a failing grade. There are any number of reasons that can be offered to explain the poor performance. Inconsistent goaltending, injuries and difficulty adjusting to the new rules have been cited as factors in the team's slide after the best start in the team's history. The bottom line is that the points the Canadiens squirreled away in the fall haven't been enough to keep the team in the top eight in the Eastern Conference.
read on

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Report- Sykora To Rangers

via Sportsnet,

The New York Rangers have acquired Petr Sykora from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks along with a fourth-round pick in exchange for defenceman Maxim Kondratiev, Sportsnet has learned.
update 3:30pm, Confirmed by the NY Rangers...

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Mascot Stunt Goes Bad

from the AP via the Chicago Tribune,

A man who plays the role of Puckhead, the unofficial mascot of the Johnstown (Pa.) Chiefs hockey team, was burned when his fake beard and jersey ignited during a fire-breathing stunt that went awry. John Robertson, who has played the role for several years, was entertaining the crowd before the start of a game Friday night against the Reading Royals when he was injured. According to witnesses, Robertson poured the flammable liquid into his mouth and tried to light it, but it didn't work. When he tried a second time, Robertson's fake beard and jersey caught fire.
read on

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They Love Ice “Hokey”

from the Edmonton Sun,

Like a wandering knight-errant of old, former Edmonton Oiler and 10-year NHL veteran Shjon Podein is roaming far from home in search of not-so-chivalrous adventure. A week before Christmas, the Ice Bucks were in Harbin, China, to take on the hometown Dragons. Hanging from the rafters were English-challenged banners proclaiming "Harbin Love Ice Hokey!" - a not-so-subtle reminder that credibility might still be a bit of a problem. But on the upside, there are no squabbles over salary caps or revenue sharing - just a genuine affinity for binq-cho, something most folks in the People's Republic have seen only in 30-second clips on TV sports highlight shows.
more

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Smoking Hawks

from the Chicago Tribune,

"It was just a different time," Mikita went on. "I'm not proud of it, but I smoked too. I haven't had a cigarette for 15 or so years, thank goodness. But I smoked as a kid growing up in Canada because I thought I was the Marlboro Man. And I smoked as a player. Smoked between periods. Five or six of us would go the washroom for a smoke."
read on

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Jacobs Knows Losing

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

The Bruins owner has never pretended to know hockey -- the playing of it -- from a tactical or strategic point of view. But, much like his team's fan base, he knows one part of the game inside and out. ''Let's be clear, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- subjective about the final score," said a chagrined Jacobs, reached by telephone late last week. ''It is very objective. It's a results business. Every time you lose, you lose, and that's it. I don't care about how artistic it is; the score tells you how you've done." ...Nonetheless, said Jacobs, the possibility of such significant changes is ''clearly out there," and at one point he said ''every player and every part of the organization" must be scrutinized within the framework of a very disappointing season. ''And now," said Jacobs, ''it's between Harry [Sinden, club president] and myself. We have to come up with the answers."
read on

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Defense Is Back

from Sherry Ross of the NY Daily News,

I hate to be the one to break this to the National Hockey League, but defense is back. I'll pause here while a minion fetches the smelling salts for Gary Bettman. Consider this: In the first 150 NHL games of the season - roughly three weeks - there were 12 shutouts league-wide. In the past six days going into this weekend's action - a total of 40 games - there have been seven shutouts.
more

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Who Will Coach The Devils

via the NY Post (reg. req.),

Lou Lamoriello insists he isn't afraid of upsetting his sudden winning-streak apple cart by replacing himself with a new coach. "It's still on track. As soon as I get someone, [I'll] make some decisions," Lamoriello said. While some figures claim Brent Sutter will be named coach, perhaps as early as Tuesday, others remain dubious that Sutter would leave his junior team in midseason, or that Lamoriello would hire someone without NHL head coaching experience. Usually ubiquitous Rick Dudley has been suddenly invisible in the press boxes, despite being on the seat assignment sheets. Dave Lewis and Walt Kyle remain possibles, while two new names were broached yesterday: former Flyers coach Terry Murray and Bruins ex-coach Terry O'Reilly. And wasn't Robbie Ftorek brought back to Albany exactly for this situation?

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They Said It

-Oilers enforcer Georges Laraque on younger players wanting to fight him: "Guys come up and ask you, so politely, `Georges, would you do me the honor? Could we go?' It's almost like they're asking for candy." -There won't be a lot of broken hearts around the league if Bryan Marchment of the Calgary Flames suffered a serious knee injury on Friday. As he has done so often, he was targeting someone else's knee.- Al Strachan -So how come Jeremy Jacobs, who has systematically reduced the once-great and all-powerful Bruins franchise to utter irrelevancy in his three Cup-less decades as owner, isn't all over the papers this year telling his stenographers in Boston how smart he is and how much he knows about hockey?- Larry Brooks -Their four-game homestand complete, the Sharks fly to Boston today for what's expected to be a 48-hour circus surrounding Joe Thornton's return to his NHL roots. "It's going to be nice to get there," Thornton said Saturday, "but I think after a couple days, it'll be nice to leave."

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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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