Kukla's Korner

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Stat, Stats & More Stats

from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,

When the Avs played in St. Paul, Minn., against the Minnesota Wild in the second game of its NHL season Oct. 5, a handful of statisticians employed by the league busily kept track of 18 separate sets of numbers that would, by game's end, appear on the game's official "final sheet" of statistics. In the management suite of the Wild, a 24-year-old former hockey and baseball sportswriter was keeping a different set of statistics. While the league employees were keeping track of things such as hits, time on ice per shift, turnovers and blocked shots, Wild director of hockey operations Chris Snow was tracking some of what he said will eventually be roughly 10 new statistics never previously compiled.
continued...and note to the Denver Post, time to change the NHL logo...

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Bruins Still The Same

Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe tours the NHL, including this about the Bruins,

Not that we dwell on the past around here (oh, noooooooooooo), but boy, the new-look Bruins spent sizable chunks of their first four games resembling the old-look Bruins. Spotty goaltending. Pitiful power play. Attacking without true determination. Defensive orientation disoriented. High on the alarm list: Their top three faceoff guys (Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron, and Wayne Primeau) were a combined 113 for 287 (39.4 percent) at the faceoff dot. Yielding the puck three of five times in a possession game is a prescription for disaster.
read on

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Commercial Breaks Too Long

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

It's only another 30 seconds three times a period, nine times a game. It's only an additional 90 seconds, in each of the intermissions. But by adding another half-minute to each television timeout then adding another minute-and-a-half to each break between periods, the NHL's attempt to make its product more television-friendly has made the product itself less appealing. It's all about flow, Gary Bettman used to say in discounting the importance of actual goal-scoring back in the pre-cap day when it benefited the league to keep the number of 50-goal-scorers at a minimum - better not to have to pay them, you know? - and the newly adopted extended breaks between play only have served to destroy the flow and natural rhythms of the sport.

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“No” To Wave In San Jose

from the Mercury News,

With about seven minutes left in the game, the whole arena started doing the wave during playing time! This was very inconsiderate, since it is often hard to see around the persons sitting in front of you. Now we had the whole section standing in front of me, blocking my view of the ice. The couple behind me were voicing their displeasure also. I have no doubt there were others who must have felt of same way.
read on

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Niittymaki’s Job To Lose

from Philly Burbs,

While Ken Hitchcock is trying to say all the politically correct things about having two competent goalies at his disposal, he's clearly giving Antero Niittymaki the keys to the car for this season. If the Finn can't keep it on the road, there's always Robert Esche as the fallback position. Those who follow the Flyers might have their own secret conspiracy theories. Like maybe Hitchcock is using this little streak of games simply as a motivating tool for Esche. Maybe deep down he has more faith in Esche and figures he can afford to play mind games in October.

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The Pads Problem

from the Vancouver Province,

It's not uncommon for goalies to flash new pads in games shortly after unwrapping them but when asked post-game if he got caught leaning on the Sharks second goal -- a bad angle shot on which he looked out of sorts -- Luongo responded: "I wasn't feeling too comfortable with the new pads, to be honest with you. I felt good in practice with them, but in the first it was not going great and I don't know if that had anything to do with that goal or not, but I switched back to the other ones." After donning his old, more-comfortable leg pads, Luongo didn't fare much better. The tone was set early for the superstar and it lasted a full 60 minutes. Luongo was clearly frustrated after the game that he wasn't able to make the huge save when it was needed most, notably on breakaways by third-line checkers Curtis Brown and Mike Grier

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Wave That Towel

from the NY Times,

Towel Man’s celebration routine after Blues goals has made him a linen legend in St. Louis. In the past 16 years, Towel Man has become as much a celebrity as Wayne Gretzky, MacInnis and Hull. “Towel Man has become my alter ego,” said Ron Baechle, 47, a commercial artist who lives with his wife, Mary, and three children in St. Louis. “I enjoy getting fellow fans and the players motivated, and as long as I’m having fun doing it, I’ll keep doing it.” After the Blues score, the Towel Man, who is perched high in Section 314 Row E Seat 13, begins frantically waving a towel bearing his likeness and making his way down a staircase, then stands on a railing.

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Letowski Knocked Unconscious

via the AP,

Carolina Hurricanes forward Trevor Letowski was carried off the ice on a stretcher after apparently being knocked unconscious by a hit from Pittsburgh's Colby Armstrong in the first period Saturday night. Letowski was skating up ice from the Hurricanes' end when he made a drop pass to teammate Eric Belanger between the circles. Moments after he made the pass, and skating with his head turned in the opposite direction, Letowski was checked hard by Armstrong. Armstrong's shoulder clipped Letowski in the head, causing Letowski to drop limply to the ice. The hit appeared to be clean and no penalty was called. Letowski landed face down on the ice at the top of the slot and lay motionless for several minutes. After being attended to by the team's medical staff, he raised his head slightly and a pool of blood could be seen on the ice. After he was lifted onto a backboard and then a stretcher, Letowski had his neck placed in a brace before he was taken to a nearby hospital.

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Inside Slap Shot

Danny Belisle on his part in Slap Shot from Evan Weiner of NHL.com,

The way the scene took place, the director, George Roy Hill, told the two teams and, of course, Paul Newman was on the opposing team. He just said, 'this is going to be the fight scene. Just pair off, you guys know what to do and the guys who don't sort of help one another.' Of course, we weren't assigned dancing partners and I knew if I could get to Paul Newman, I'd get my little nose in the movie. "So I outfoxed a few of the other players and I got to Paul Newman. The battle went on for about four and a half hours, it was that many takes. It seems like a 100 takes. We started off the fight with Paul Newman sitting on my chest. It was a long morning for me." Did Paul Newman know how to dance? The short answer according to Belisle was no. "No, not really," laughed Belisle. "I was never, ever any fighter and he knew less than me. He had to win, that was the sad part. Meanwhile, I got a few bruises, I had to take all the punches and that's the way it was set up."
much more

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Bonding Trips

from Camwest News Service via the Vancouver Sun,

A good teammate will help you move. A great teammate will help you move a body. With this (or perhaps something less heinous) in mind, National Hockey League coaches are employing more and more artificial means to ensure their players progress from good to great. These outings are broadly grouped together as "team-building" exercises and, quite frankly, far too much is made of them. For instance, San Jose's Ron Wilson took his team curling in Banff recently.

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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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