Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Gaborik Working Hard

from the Edmonton Journal,

Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, who only played Gaborik an average of 18:26 a game last season, which irked the native of Slovakia, is now playing him an average of 20:48 a game.
Lemaire didn’t trust Gaborik, who gets power-play time, to kill penalties last season. He does now.
But how good Gaborik becomes is all up to him, according to Lemaire, maybe one of the best two-way centres in NHL history—a guy who had to cover up the defensive sins of Guy Lafleur and fellow linemate Steve Shutt.
Lemaire loves Gaborik’s home-run ability. But, again, can he stay in one piece and will he ever be as good as, say, fellow Slovakian winger Marian Hossa?


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The Jersey Debate

from the BTM at NBC Sports,

Ask any Hollywood star who has worn a bad outfit to an awards show: it can take a long time to live down a fashion mistake. This week, the NHL will take a walk down the runway with its new collection, and if the early buzz is any indication, it will fall flat on its face….
The main complaint from players who have tried the new uniforms? They’re too constrictive, and don’t fit larger players well at all. Another gripe being voiced quietly is how different the new jerseys look—a radical departure from the traditional sweater, which has been largely unchanged over the years. In the NHL, where the “mirror test” matters for everything from helmets to skates, the new jerseys fail badly.

read on... Geez, can we just wait until we see them!

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Flyer Fans Respond

from the Philadelphia Daily News,

THE QUESTION: 1. A year and a half now since the strike, how has your attitude toward the Flyers and the NHL changed, if at all?
2. What’s your opinion on the current makeup of the schedule, which promotes rivalries and a lot of divisional games (I know how one member of my panel feels about this) and all but eliminates ever seeing half the league. The NHL has been studying the schedule and is expected to make announcement about it in mid-February. So I just want to get out ahead of things.

I don’t watch hockey anymore although I used to be a “huge” fan. It is not enjoyable to me now, but I think a good kernel for a story would be hockey as the first sport that has had to contract salaries, etc., when the fans go south. I wish the fans would go south for all sports and bring these pampered idiots back to reality, as you are well aware, but hockey is the first to experience the contractions, as i see it.

much more

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What Has Happened To The Habs

When the Wings beat the Canadiens the other day, I wondered what had happened to the team that was so hot about a month ago.
I watched parts of their 4-0 loss to Vancouver in Montreal last night and the boo birds are beginning to appear.
I thought of Spector and what he must be feeling.
from Spector’s blog at Fox Sports,

And given how crappy Samsonov and Rivet have played of late, why would any GM in his right mind wanna trade for them? Sammy’s been an overpaid underachiever all season, while Rivet (an impending UFA this summer)simply hasn’t played up to his usual steady, under-rated standards over the past month.
It remains to be seen if Carbo’s moves will stimulate his charges into playing more spirited hockey, or if this will only send them swooning further.
Yes, I’m harsh in my critiques of the Canadiens because they’re my favourite team, this is my blog and I’ll be as harsh with them as I please.


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Coaching Sid Thru The Years

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

They all coached Sid The Kid when he really was Sid The Kid.
Can you imagine being the man who agreed to coach the little guys, who are usually more adorable than talented as they take to the ice for the first time like baby turtles heading to the ocean, and one of the tykes is Sidney Crosby?
Paul Gallagher coached Crosby when he was five years old and wore No. 8 in Tim Bits hockey here. He coached Crosby again when he was in bantam.


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Two Goalies- One Theme

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

They wear masks, but that can’t camouflage the fact they also are the faces of their respective franchises. And when Martin Brodeur stared at the other crease 178 feet away from him at the Meadowlands last night, this is what he saw when he spied Henrik Lundqvist:
“With the way things were really tough for Ricky [Mike Richter] his last couple of years and then the way the Rangers changed goaltenders right and left for a time after that, when I see Lundqvist I see stability, and I see someone who has the chance to be a star in this league, and I think that’s great,”...


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Talking Ratings

from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,

U.S. regional audiences are down by about 25 per cent. National viewership on Versus, the U.S. cable channel, is up 3 per cent. But the average audience of 195,476 on Versus is about half of what ESPN2 used to pull in.
For the CBC, the numbers tell two stories: one grim, the other worrisome.
The Hockey Night in Canada audience for the first game of its telecast (1.285 million) has dropped 12 per cent from last year. For the second game (723,000), the decrease is 30 per cent.

read on

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A Coach’s Dream

from the Toronto Star,

“You would have to be with Brad Richards every day to understand what he does for our team,” Tortorella said.
“He works on the all the little things that win games. I look at him, and see everyone is all over him, he’s a bad player, he’s this, he’s that ... but he continues to do all those things that win games. He’s coming on too, and if he (scores more) in the second half, it’s only going to help our team.”
When his leadership and commitment to defence are factored in, he becomes a coach’s dream.


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Stay-At-Home Phillips?

from the inestimable Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun:

[Chris] Phillips can’t help but sometimes wonder what is going to happen next for him. Phillips, set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, is making $1.675 million US in the final year of his contract and there haven’t been any discussions on a new deal, although the NHL ban on teams speaking to their impending free agents was only lifted two weeks ago.

“Being here since I was drafted and putting on the jersey then, it would be tough to put on a different jersey.
In saying that, there aren’t a lot of guys that are staying with one team their whole career. If there’s a possibility of that happening (finishing his career with Ottawa), that would be great.”



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Ales Kotalik’s Negative Success

from the Associated Press:

Give Ales Kotalik bonus marks for effort — and semantics.
The Buffalo Sabres forward creatively categorized his team’s current rough patch as anything but what most — even his coach, Lindy Ruff — are referring to as a bona fide slump.
“You guys always like to call it a slump. It’s your job,” Kotalik said, referring to reporters after practice Tuesday. “I would call it a stretch of results we are not used to.”

Those of us who’re passionate about the English language would call that “brilliantly-crafted BS.”



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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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