Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Change The Culture In Pittsburgh

from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Many point to coach Eddie Olczyk as the main reason for the team's 7-14-6 start. That is too simplistic. That is settling for the lowest common denominator. It's not the coach. It's the culture, which produced the coach and has failed to support him. The culture - long ago fashioned by Mario Lemieux and Craig Patrick -- values individuality and creativity and an extremely loose locker-room atmosphere. It assumes players' professionalism. It undervalues structure, discipline and attention to detail. Lemieux is the captain. He also is the CEO, which means he controls the corporate climate. Does anyone have the nerve to tell him when it's time to turn up the heat on the GM?

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Dirty Little Secret

from the NY Times (Sunday edition),

Flyers right wing Mike Knuble said his linemate Simon Gagné was "kind of like a dirty little secret in Philadelphia" before the season. But before Gagné scored two goals last Tuesday to lead the Flyers to a 4-3 road victory over the Islanders, Knuble said Gagné was not such a secret anymore. With a league-leading 23 goals in 24 games before last night's game, Gagné could become the sixth N.H.L. player to score 50 goals in his team's first 50 games.
image read on

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Player Movement

-St. Louis Blues Senior Vice President & General Manager Larry Pleau today announced the club has claimed defenseman Kevin Dallman off waivers from the Boston Bruins. The Blues have also placed defenseman Christian Backman on the injured reserve list with a fractured left foot. He sustained the injury toward the end of the third period in Thursday ' s win over Columbus while blocking a shot and is expected to be out at least 3-4 weeks. -The Detroit Red Wings on Saturday called up Jiri Hudler from the team's American Hockey League Affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland said. The 21-year-old Hudler is a native of Czech Republic. The 5-foot-10-inch, 180-pound, left-handed forward leads the Griffins and is second in the AHL in scoring with 32 points in 21 games.

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Chara Looking At Suspension

via TSN,

Zdeno Chara's fight on Friday with Tim Gleason of the Los Angeles Kings will cost the Senators' defenceman a suspension and his coach Bryan Murray a fine. Chara was given an instigating penalty for the fight, which took place with less than four minutes remaining. A new rule added in the off-season says a player who gets an instigating penalty in the final five minutes will get a one-game suspension and the coach of that player will get a $10,000 fine. The NHL has the freedom to go back and review the situation - like they did with Shane Doan and Wayne Gretzky last week - but Chara and Murray's case is considered by the league to be a textbook example of why the rule was put in place.
If you look at the video in the post titled Sens battle Kings from earlier today, you will see Chara did challenge Gleason right from the face-off. update 12:24pm, via Sportsnet,
NHL sources told Sportsnet the automatic one-game suspension Ottawa's Zdeno Chara received for taking an instigator penalty with less than 5 minutes to play Friday night against the Kings stands, so Chara will sit out the Senators next game, while Ottawa coach Bryan Murray gets tagged with a $10,000 fine. It is the NHL's belief that Chara was clearly delivering a "payback" message when he manhandled Los Angeles forward Tim Gleason.

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Forsberg Still Out

from the Delaware County Times,

It’s a good thing it was "just a little groin pull," because the injury to Peter Forsberg is growing larger by the day. Forsberg skated for 30 minutes Thursday and afterward wasn’t too happy with how he felt. "I can’t say it’s not there because it still is," said Forsberg. "I honestly thought it would be better than it was (Thursday). That’s all I can say. It’s hard to say how long it’s going to be."

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Marleau Next

via the Toronto Star,

One well-connected NHL executive is convinced the Sharks will trade Marleau to the Calgary Flames, who picked up Kristian Huselius yesterday from the Florida Panthers. The deal would make sense for the Flames since they need a better No. 1 centre than Daymond Langkow and are loaded on defence with the likes of Dion Phaneuf, Roman Hamrlik, Andrew Ference, Robyn Regehr, Rhett Warrener, Jordan Leopold and Bryan Marchment.

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Sens Battle Kings

from Bruce Garrioch via the Edmonton Sun,

It's a good thing Senators coach Bryan Murray and Kings counterpart Andy Murray aren't related because punches might be thrown if they ever sat together at the dinner table. The two coaches fired verbal shots at each other after the Senators beat Los Angeles 5-1 in a penalty-filled game at the Corel Centre last night. "That's a typical Andy Murray game," a steaming Bryan Murray said after the teams combined for 119 penalty minutes. "That's what Andy does. He sends guys out to run people. It's every game with him.
more LA Kings TV guys, Bob Miller and Jim Fox call out (will open wmp video) Bryan Murray.

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NHL Numbers Don’t Add Up

from the Globe and Mail,

The league bragged that 3,346,812 fans attended 199 of its games in November. This broke down, the NHL claimed, to an average attendance of 16,818 a game, which was 91.2 per cent of the capacity of its arenas. Anyone who has attended NHL games south of the border this season and looked at all of the empty seats simply cannot believe this, not even management types. One veteran club executive just shook his head this week when the topic of attendance came up. "We're only doing well in Canada," he said. "In the United States, only a handful of markets are drawing -- Detroit, Philadelphia, New York [Rangers]."

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We Need To Get Smaller

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The list of little guys making a big impact crosses the National Hockey League's generational divide. From Camille Henry and Henri Richard to Denis Savard and Theo Fleury, there was always a smallish dervish that defied expectation and put up big scoring numbers, against all odds. Even the last year before the NHL lockout, the MVP and scoring leader was a 5-foot-9, 185-pound winger named Martin St. Louis. However, in the new NHL -- with its crackdown on obstruction and its emphasis on skill and speed over brawn and bulk -- it looks as though the trend toward smaller players is taking hold.
read on

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Home Ice Advantage Fading

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

When clubs venturing into the Forum in Montreal were intimidated by the sheer history of the place, and when the waves of noise generated by fans -- and amplified by the acoustics -- at Chicago Stadium overwhelmed opponents. When the Blackhawks, Bruins and Sabres tailored their lineups and styles to exploit the undersized ice surfaces in their buildings. Now, those were home-ice advantages. These days, though, NHL clubs seem to have no qualms about going almost anywhere. Going into last night's games, road teams were 162-179-41 and 14 clubs were above .500 in away games. The NHL's decision to have a winner determined in every game undoubtedly has helped to inflate those figures, but they also reflect the erosion of home-ice advantages around the league.

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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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