Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Off Wing Opinion Goes To the Peacock

Eric McErlain will be writing a blog-like column at the NHL secton of NBCSports.com beginning Monday. Best of luck to Eric and kudos to NBC for asking a hockey blogger to get involved with their new website.

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Playoffs Not Good Enough

from the LA Times,

Pronger, however, had a different take on the Blues' run of 25 consecutive playoff seasons that ended last year when they had the NHL's worst record. "I don't know if you want 25 in a row," said the Ducks' defenseman. "We didn't win anything. That's the thing. You want to win. You want to get to the end at some point. "Just to the get to the playoffs is something I don't think we're looking for here. We're looking to win championships."
read on (reg. req.)

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Gretzky On Zherdev

via the Columbus Dispatch,

Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky was effusive in his praise of Zherdev, who had two goals last night. "I imagine (Gallant) feels the same way I do," Gretzky said. "When you have the puck, you can do whatever you want with it. "It’s when your team doesn’t have the puck — whether you’re Nikolai Zherdev or Mario Lemieux — that you have to be willing to conform to the team system. "When you’re young, you don’t always understand that. After you spend a few years in the league, that’s when you start to embrace that." Did coaches ever tell Gretzky to dump the puck? "They may have," Gretzky said. "But I didn’t hear them."

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Two Hot Goalies

from the Calgary Herald via the Star Phoenix,

Both are home-grown draft picks -- Nabokov, a ninth-rounder in 1994; Toskala, a fourth-rounder in 1995 (Miikka Kiprusoff, a fifth-rounder in 1995) -- and both remain Sharks property through the 2007-08 season. "Unbelievable. Probably the best tandem in hockey, you know," said winger Mark Smith. "No matter who's back there, we know they're going to get the job done. A great deal in having them as the last line of defence. They're out there stopping pucks, doing whatever they do. It's a beautiful thing." And as far as on-ice adjustments, depending on who's starting, it's apparently minimal. "One's Russian, one's Finnish," laughed McLaren. "That's about it."
read on

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Which Goalie In Montreal

from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,

Goaltender controversy? Not in the Canadiens dressing room, says David Aebischer, who appears to be the favourite to start tomorrow night when the Canadiens face the Flyers in Philadelphia. "Some people might want to talk about it, but it doesn't exist in this dressing room," Aebischer said when asked about the internal rivalry between himself and Cristobal Huet. "We're teammates and we're both working hard to play our best. At the end of the season, we'll be able to look back and see who plays the most."

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Sabres/Wild Final

from (the other) Jimmy D. of the Chronicle Herald,

...And since speed kills in this new NHL, Buffalo and Minnesota will be competing for Lord Stanley’s silly little mug in the spring. Think Jimmy is joking? The Sabres — their ugly, new horny slug logo notwithstanding — have speed and skill to burn and Ryan Miller backing up their mistakes. And in the Midwest, fans will be going wild when the Wild win the West. Sure they are 2-0, but it’s the balance through the lineup — the finesse, the grit, the skill — and the coaching of Jacques Lemaire that will lead Minny.
read on

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Just Get In

Kevin Allen of USA TODAY sat down with Kris Draper...

Parity seems to have engulfed the NHL. Do the Detroit players look around and tell themselves, this is a whole new salary cap world and we just have to get into the playoffs and give ourselves a chance? Draper: That's exactly what it is. I think last season when we watched how the playoffs were shaping up you knew that (regardless of who you played) you were going to play a team that had an opportunity to win a Stanley Cup. That's just how it was. It will be the same thing this year. There were a lot of changes in the offseason. You go out and play 82 games and win as many as you can, but you have to be ready to play your best hockey come playoff time. You have to try to get better and better, and try to get on that roll. Carolina got on it last year and Edmonton got on it.
read on...including the Wings altered their travel plans to catch the Oakland/Detroit ALCS matchup this Saturday...

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The Maven In Mid-Season Form

from Stan Fischler of MSG Network,

• If anyone has PLENTY to prove this year, it’s Keith Tkachuk, who – as a veritable fat guy -- was such a downer at this time last year. The good news is that KT is A-OK shape-wise. Of all John Davidson’s moves, our favorite quiet one is the acquisition of Dan Hinote. As Mike Kitchen so aptly notes, "He’s an energy player who knows only one way to play." • Pavol Demitra is one of a few NHL players who has retained a wooden stick. Ironically, Nike Bauer paints his sticks so that at a glance it appears to be a fancy composite one. "I’ve got no feeling for the puck if I don’t play with wood," explains Demitra. It’s a wonder that so few players use the wooden weapon.

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Anyone Watching

from Fox Sports,

In the end, professional ice hockey isn't a TV-friendly product, and the vast majority of its players represent a faceless lot. This is an impossible sell to an American public that will forever remain indebted to the boys of a distant Lake Placid winter, but won't let that sentiment get in the way of ignoring the NHL.
more thanks to KK member Tony for pointing to this in the KKF... added 9:35pm, Interesting vote taking place within the same article...Results as of 9:34pm... image

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Is Cost Certainty The Answer

from Spector at Fox Sports,

The current NHL collective bargaining agreement doesn't expire until 2011, but already some concerns are popping up that could become major points of contention in the next round of labor talks. Salary arbitration has already proven to be a headache for the teams, as arbitration awards are driving up player salaries faster than anticipated when the CBA was ratified in July 2005. Several pundits have already point out arbitration makes it extremely difficult for clubs to build and maintain rosters under the restrictions of the salary cap. Since arbitration hearings are traditionally set for late-July through early-August, it's hard for general managers to both sign free-agent players and at the same time prepare for potential arbitration awards.

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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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