Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

‘Free’ Ovechkin

from the Montreal Gazette,

Maybe it's time to start a "Free Alexander" movement. Ovech-kin is not only a whirlwind on the ice, for a guy speaking awkward English, he's a pretty good interview. Not for him that Crosby-style Gretzky-speak, the massaged sound bites that all sound as though they were scripted by agents and shoe companies. Instead, Ovechkin talks about seeing a hockey movie with "lots of fighting" with his father when he was a kid. His father pointed to the flick (which might have been Slapshot - Ovechkin doesn't recall) and said: "See, that's what you have to do."

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Strong Words From Babcock

via the Detroit News,

Babcock believes NHL referees will continue to call obstruction penalties in the playoffs, as they have all regular season. "It would be a fraud if it's not (called)," Babcock said. "If it's not, they've misled many, many franchises and it would be a huge mistake."

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JFJ Has Done Nothing

from the Toronto Sun,

Let's deal with some reality here for a moment: There is no vision for the Toronto Maple Leafs. There is no plan. There is nothing that general manager John Ferguson has done in three years on the job to demonstrate he has any of the capabilities necessary to build a winning team, let alone a championship team. He inherited a top-third NHL team when he was hired as a compromise and inexpensive candidate in 2003. He has built the club into a bottom-third team in less than two seasons.

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Where Is Bill Clement

Many people have emaled me asking why the absence of Bill Clement from the OLN studio lately. It appears he is involved with the Frozen Four broadcasts... from the Bangor Daily News,

...In the meantime, Thorne and analysts Bill Clement and Darren Pang will be gathering and reviewing a mountain of media guides, statistics, and team information while preparing for their Frozen Four broadcasts. Next week they'll be meeting with coaches and attending practices.

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Time To Start Playing Hasek

from the Ottawa Sun,

Hasek was on the ice in his stuff for all of about two minutes before calling it a day. And who knows for sure when he's going to go through the motion again. This is just getting ridiculous. Listen, I had never even heard of an adductor before Valentine's Day. And even then, I thought it was a car part. Obviously, I have no idea what a strained one feels like. It's probably painful. But surely, there comes a point where the guy has to give an injury a legitimate test, no? "Our medical staff decided that I'm not able to play. It's over," Hasek explained to reporters before leaving Turin a month and a half ago. "I don't want to get hurt for the rest of the NHL season."
read on Having experienced this exact same thing in Detroit with Hasek, Sens fans will soon start worrying about Hasek getting into game shape before the playoffs. With Hasek you just never know his next move, and expect the unexpected with him. update 2:36pm, via Sportsnet,
In Ottawa, the news regarding Dominik Hasek was not so good for the Sens. Hasek did skate, but not in full equipment. Hasek has been skating in full gear of late, but Friday's skate in a warm up suit is considered a step back.

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Just Observing

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

Last summer NHL players gave in on a salary cap for the first time in league history. And since that concession, this has been a season marked by people making difficult decisions. * If OLN's reach, profile and performance don't improve next season, the league must go, hat in hand, to ESPN and negotiate a deal to return to the network. The league is still in a position where it needs the brand association with ESPN. * Even though defensemen Nick Lidstrom and Zdeno Chara are both worth the $8 million they could get on the free agent marketplace next summer, each will probably have to accept less to stay with their existing clubs.
read on for many more good observations from Kevin Allen...

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Saskin Needs A Heart To Heart With The Players

from the Detroit Free Press (Friday edition) via the Mercury News,

Other Red Wings are joining defenseman Chris Chelios in questioning the leadership of NHL Players' Association executive director Ted Saskin. Mathieu Schneider, the player representative for the Wings, said he wants to know what each letter says. "We want to know exactly what's out there," Schneider said. "There's 30 letters, side letters, that haven't been released that, in effect, changed the CBA.
read on

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OLN News, Playoff Rounds 1 & 2

I have been in correspondence with someone with inside information regarding OLN. This person has been correct on everything so far during the season, therefore I have no reason to doubt. By the way, I tried to contact OLN and have yet to hear from them and after three phone calls and four emails, well, enough is enough. Regarding the first round of the playoffs, any game OLN picks up, the OLN feed will be blacked out in the local markets of the teams participating in the game. The game therefore will be shown on the local station, just like a regular season game. So that is good news for fans who don't get OLN and were worried about not getting the broadcast. In round 2 of the SC playoffs, OLN can air two games in the series of your local or favorite team and those games will be blacked out on your local carrier. If they show more than two games of the series, then your local can also broadcast the games. For example, OLN wants to show games 1,5 and 7 of the Detroit/Calgary series. Games 1 and 5 would only be available on OLN, game 7 would be available on your local carrier and OLN. Remember, CI will be available for the first two rounds and as I stated a few days ago, the price for CI is dropping to $49 beginning April 5th. If anything changes, I will let you know.

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Stop The Sideshow

from Terry Frei of ESPN,

But in terms of game-night presentation, the NHL too often is following the NBA's lead. As I've pointed out many times, I'm old enough to remember when the NHL's marketing strategy was turning on the beer taps. So, some of this is considerable improvement, but like many things in life, it has gone too far. ("Zamboni races! People love Zamboni races!") At some point, it's insulting to the product -- as well as the fans -- when those in charge of the game-night experience make it clear they believe the game can't stand on its own two skates.

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The Heat Is On The Devils

from Stan Fishcler of MSG Network,

The cushion is gone. Where once the Devils sat comfortably in a playoff position - - even looking up at catching the Flyers and Rangers - - they now have lost their protective pillow. They may also lose a playoff berth if they don’t immediately get their collective act together.

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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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