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Kukla's Korner Hockey

NHL Needs to Get Physical

from John Buccigross of ESPN,

Speed and scoring are back, the stickhandling skills of Peter Forsberg to Steve Sullivan have been on display and hope is alive in the NHL as comeback hockey is the early story of the 2005-06 NHL season. No longer will a litany of goaltenders dominate the headlines. And thankfully, a little coaching has been taken out of the game, and a game of chance, instinct and skill has returned. That being said, there is a passionate component missing, and I'm trying to figure out why:

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Kharlamov Remembered

Many younger hockey fans may not be familiar with the great Kharlamov. A must read for any hockey follower. from Reuters,

This small sleepy town, nestled beneath the Ural Mountains, would probably remain anonymous in the annals of sport if not for a Russian hockey hero who graced the local ice almost 40 years ago. Valery Kharlamov, arguably the greatest Russian hockey player of all time, dazzled audiences the world over in the 1970s, way before the next generation of Russians were allowed to leave for North America's National Hockey League (NHL). image He died in a car crash in August 1981, aged 33, when his car, driven by his wife, skidded off the rainsoaked Leningradsky motorway, 74 km north of Moscow, and crashed head-on into a truck. The couple, who were returning home from their country house, were killed instantly. On Monday, Kharlamov will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, becoming only the fourth Russian after coach Anatoly Tarasov, goaltender Vladislav Tretiak and defenseman Vyacheslav Fetisov to be granted the honor.

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Divers Being Watched

Taken from an article about coaches adjusting to the NHL rules... from the CP via Sportsnet,

As a way to adjust to the tight penalty calling, some players have taken to diving to draw penalties and get their team on the power play. It's worked in some cases. But Big Brother is watching. "We've been sending out warning letters, per the competition committee's direction," Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, said Tuesday. "The next step for a second dive is that player will be fined $1,000 and his name is put on a list and circulated around the 30 dressing rooms. "In my mind, the fact that his name will be circulated among the 30 dressing rooms is enough to hopefully bring the temperature down in the diving area." About 30 different players have been sent warning letters since the start of the season, including eight already this week. According to the collective bargaining agreement, a third diving incident results in a $2,000 fine and a fourth offence warrants a one-game suspension.

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Legace Awarded For Performance

The National Hockey League announced Detroit Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace, who established a League record for most victories by a goaltender in October (10-1-0) and posted a 1.81 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and two shutouts, has been named the NHL Defensive Player of the Month for October. Legace edged Nashville Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun (7-1-0, 2.51 goals-against average), Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Bryan McCabe (3 goals, 12 assists in 12 games) and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky (3-12--15 in 12 games) for the award. update 6:09 pm, Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal, who led all players with 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 11 games and lifted the Hurricanes (8-2-1) to the best start in franchise history and first place in the Southeast Division and Eastern Conference, has been named the NHL Offensive Player of the Month for October. Staal edged New York Rangers right wing Jaromir Jagr (12 goals, seven assists in 13 games) and Philadelphia Flyers center Peter Forsberg (2-17--19 in 10 games) for the award.

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Robitaille Out With Leg Fracture

from the AP,

Los Angeles Kings forward Luc Robitaille might miss two to four weeks with a fracture in his right leg. The 39-year-old Robitaille had been playing despite the injury. But he felt persistent soreness in the leg, and an MRI revealed the fracture, the Kings said.

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Luongo Keeps Rolling Along

from the CP via TSN,

The New NHL has been tough on goaltenders thus far, but Roberto Luongo keeps rolling along as usual. The Florida Panthers top goalie has been making saves with about the same regularity he did in the old clutch-and-grab NHL. And even with a redesigned ice surface and smaller goalie equipment, Luongo doesn't see how the job of stopping pucks has changed. "Not for me, it hasn't (changed) that much," he said Tuesday before the Panthers game against the Montreal Canadiens. "The game is more open than it was, but my game plan is always the same.

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Fischler Bits

The Maven returns with a trip around the NHL. from Stan Fischler of MSG Network,

-How do you explain Detroit’s delicious start? Red Wings’ exec Jim Devellano tells us: “Young fellows like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have become real good. Manny Legace has shown that he can play a lot of good games and Chris Osgood is a solid backup. Nicklas Lidstrom is still fine and Mat Schneider has turned into a top-notch defenseman. Plus, fellows like Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby are doing their jobs. But we’ll be judged on how we finish!” Just wondering: does anyone in the in the NHL out-hustle Draper? -Interesting comment from Scott Niedermayer on the New NHL: “The way the game is being played, there are expectations to make prettier plays,” says the Norris-winner. “Maybe there’s too much focus on that.” Could be!

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Eric Staal Interview

Eric Staal, the NHL's offensive player of the week, conducted a teleconference interview; quite entertaining... via NHL.com,

Q. To what do you attribute all the scoring for Carolina, a team that h as not been known for its offense in the past? ERIC STAAL: Yeah, I know. I think right now the guys are just feeling confident. We're never quitting no matter what the score is right now. I think with the new rules and everything and our speed, it really helps our team. It's been helping us so far. Q. What about that hat trick? That's a pretty good birthday present, isn't it? ERIC STAAL: Yeah, it was pretty awesome. I mean, the crowd, it was a full house playing Philly here. It was a lot of fun, up-and-down game. It's pretty fun. Nice to get the win with it, as well.

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Fans Flock To NHL Games

via NHL.com,

NHL sets October attendance record Average of 16,820 best in League history for October; rinks filled to 91.2% capacity. The National Hockey League set an all-time attendance record for the month of October, attracting an average of 16,820 fans and filling rinks to 91.2% capacity. Twenty-three of 30 clubs are even or ahead of their 2003-04 performance, with six of the top 10 gainers located in the 'Sun Belt.' The percentage increase leaders are Pittsburgh (+31%), Tampa Bay (+26%), Calgary (+23%), Carolina (+21%), Florida (+19%), Atlanta (+15%), Boston (+15%), Nashville (+14%), San Jose (+13%) and Chicago (+13%).

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Lightning Coming Alive

from Shawn P. Roarke of Fox Sports,

Suddenly, the Tampa Bay Lightning are finding their stride. The Lightning couldn't have been further from playing the brand of hockey earlier this seaon that delivered the team the Stanley Cup in 2004. Too many players were freelancing, straying from coach John Tortorella's tried-and-true system. Superstars, counted on to carry the scoring load in the new, wide-open, offense-happy league, were ordinary — at best. And, finally, the timely heroics from players up and down the lineup — a hallmark of the run to immortality two springs ago — was nowhere to be found.

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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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