Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

A Big Mess In St. Louis

from the Edmonton Sun,

What a mess in St. Louis. They were in pretty much the same boat as Detroit, having to cut their payroll in half to come in under the salary cap, but while the Wings have flourished (winless Northwest road swing notwithstanding), St. Louis is a disaster area. Gross mismanagement in the past has left them saddled with contracts they can't get rid of, like the $11.4 million they have tied up in Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk (between the two of them, they've only made it to the second round of the playoffs six times in 25 seasons).

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Ovechkin For Hart Trophy

from the Toronto Star,

That Alexander Ovechkin has emerged from the first quarter of the season as a leading candidate for rookie of the year is a surprise to nobody. That he is already arguably the best player in the NHL, well, we didn't see that coming. But that's exactly what the Russian wunderkind has done with his remarkable start with the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin is the leading candidate for the Hart Trophy because he scores goals, big ones, and has gone from 26th place in the NHL's scoring list (through Thursday's games) to No. 1 in the Campbellnomics rankings.

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Cherry Likes Phaneuf For Calder

from the Calgary Sun,

The reaction proves there's still a bit of a kid in Dion Phaneuf. In his nationally syndicated radio show, Don Cherry yesterday picked the Flames blueliner as his early choice for rookie of the year. Phaneuf, when told of Cherry's praise, stopped in his tracks. "Sweet," he beamed. Cherry said he believes the Calder Trophy will go to either Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin -- but his endorsement of Phaneuf proves the Flames' first-year defenceman is being noticed outside of Southern Alberta

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The Dreaded Groin Injury

from the Edmonton Sun,

How's your groin? It's fast becoming one of the most frequently asked questions in the National Hockey League as more and more players are having to ice in places they're really rather not ice. Steve Sullivan, Scott Thornton, Vesa Toskala, Sergei Fedorov, Kari Lehtonen, Mike Dunham, Glen Wesley, Jon Klemm, Marian Gaborik, Jason Woolley, Robert Esche, Rod Brind'Amour, Dainus Zubrus, Ty Conklin, Jeff Friesen, Olaf Kolzig, Tyler Bouck, Sergei Gonchar and Brian Boucher are either out with groin injuries or came back from them in the last week. You can triple that list if you list all the guys who've missed time since early October.

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NHL Reaches Quarter Point

from the Delaware County Times,

The new NHL has reached the quarter pole and there have been plenty of surprises in the league, both positive and negative. Like where did the first-place New York Rangers come from? And the first-place Carolina Hurricanes? And how about the nearly unbeatable Nashville Predators? On the flip side, why are the Boston Bruins so bad? Why have the Atlanta Thrashers disappointed when they were the sexy pick to be an up-and-coming playoff team? And how about San Jose and Anaheim? Weren’t they supposed to battle for the Pacific Division crown instead of the cellar?

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How Shanny Sees It

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Detroit Red Wings veteran forward Brendan Shanahan was one of the architects of the relaunched National Hockey League, convening a summit in the darkest days of the player lockout to discuss product-related issues and then serving on the competition committee that emerged from those meetings to tweak and revamp the rulebook. As the NHL's 2005-06 season reaches the one-quarter mark with Saturday's Phoenix-San Jose game, here are 10 thoughts on the “new” NHL from Shanahan, one of its main architects: -On the criticism that there is no hitting any more: -On the waning influence of the neutral-zone trap: -On the inconsistency of the refereeing:
read on for Shanny's response and much more....

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The Game Is Back

from the Rocky Mountain News,

The NHL was in disarray a year ago, in lockout mode because of a financial dispute with the NHL Players' Association that eventually led to the entire 2004-05 season and Stanley Cup playoffs being canceled. It was an embarrassing experience for everyone involved. So even before the NHL and union finally came to grips with reality in July and reached a new six-year collective bargaining agreement with a salary cap that put the sport back on the ice, a committee of league officials and players were compiling a comprehensive package of rules-change recommendations designed to make the game more entertaining.

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Shh Line

from the Edmonton Sun,

The secret is out. The Edmonton Oilers have a No. 1 line. Word hasn't quite reached the far outposts of the NHL just yet, but if other teams are listening, they'll soon hear a buzz about the SHH Line. Of course, you might think head coach Craig MacTavish would want to keep his productive trio under wraps for as long as possible. But in reality, MacTavish is tickled pink to open up about the triumvirate of Ryan Smyth, Shawn Hor-coff and Ales Hemsky that combined for 11 points Thursday night against Detroit.

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Esposito Scores

from the Toronto Star,

It's as though Sidney Crosby walked out one door and Angelo Esposito came in another. Quebec junior hockey barely had the chance to lament the loss of Crosby, a brilliantly talented and lucrative drawing card, before welcoming Esposito, a 16-year-old just as telegenic, dedicated, articulate, bilingual and marvellously skilled as Sid the Kid. In some ways, he's even more accomplished. For instance, Esposito's actually trilingual, with French, English and Italian. In fact, his older sister, Josephine, could speak only Italian when she started school, a problem that had her parents, John and Gianna, summoned to meet the teacher. "They said she couldn't speak English," said John. "I said, `Well, why do you think I'm sending her to your school?'"

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Tanabe Traded To Boston For Scatchard

via the AP,

The Phoenix Coyotes traded defenseman David Tanabe to the Boston Bruins on Friday night for center Dave Scatchard. Scatchard has 111 goals, 121 assists and 861 penalty minutes in 542 regular-season games over eight NHL seasons with Vancouver, Boston and the New York Islanders. He had four goals and six assists in 16 games for the Bruins after signing a four-year deal this summer worth over $2 million per season. Tanabe had just four assists in 21 games for Phoenix this season. He joined the Coyotes in a June 2003 trade with the Carolina Hurricanes, who made Tanabe their first-round pick in the 1999 draft.

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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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