Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

“Le Gross Bill”

from the Toronto Star,

Jean Beliveau is patiently waiting and the woman assigned to clean his hotel room is nervously moving as quickly as she can. Sensing her anxiousness, Beliveau approaches her gently and says, "Don't worry. There is no rush. Take your time." Then he turns to the others in the room and says, "They work very hard." One of the classiest personalities ever to play the game, Beliveau remains a humble man, not nearly as impressed with his accomplishments as others are. That humility, cultivated in Victoriaville, Que., more than 70 years ago, served Beliveau well as a player, ambassador and spokesman for the game. Beliveau also happily answered all questions when Unplugged recently sat down with him. He was in Toronto promoting the revised version of his autobiography, Jean Beliveau: My Life in Hockey.

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Evolving NHL

from the Philadelphia Inquirer,

These days, Bettman's officials whistle everything, which makes the game choppy sometimes. Zero tolerance may someday be viewed as having saved the National Hockey League, or reinvented the game, depending upon your perspective. "I say this with a smile," said Gretzky, the player-turned-owner-turned-coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. "It's probably been better than they anticipated. The game itself is such a nicer game to watch and be part of. "I truly believe the finesse and smarts and intelligence of hockey players now, both offensively and defensively, is a factor. If you're not a good skater and you can't handle the puck and you're not a smart defenseman, you no longer can play in the NHL. That's the way it should be."

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The Least Division

from the Ottawa Sun,

When you remember how the new schedule has led to the increase of inter-conference play, Detroit's achievements seem less impressive. The Red Wings had 11 wins in October, but six came against teams that currently sit in the basement of the NHL standings -- Columbus, Chicago and St. Louis. Detroit, being placed within the Central Division, can use this new schedule to its advantage and may end up with an overall record that isn't as impressive as it seems.

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Offensive Numbers

from the Toronto Star,

Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for, but the NHL's dream of more offence is reaching giddy heights. A return to the wide open Wayne Gretzky era it's not. But the hockey this season certainly is a notch above the whacking and grabbing style we had become subject to as the neutral-zone trap took hold. One month into the season, goals are up about 25% from the tedious 2003-04 season. Shots on goal are up almost 20%, while power-play goals have increased by more than 50% stemming from the crackdown on obstruction. The aim of the rule changes was to free up ice for the star players and certainly some have taken advantage.

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Columbus In Trouble

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

The Columbus Blue Jackets are in serious trouble without Rick Nash, who tied for the league lead in scoring in 2003-04. The Jackets have scored only 28 goals in 15 games, and in this era, if you can't average two goals a game, you're not going to win many. And the Blue Jackets haven't. In fact, they've won only four -- and three of those came during what general manager Doug MacLean called "the most important five-game home stand in the team's history." That was back when MacLean still had his sense of humour. It was the only five-game home stand in the team's history. These days, however, Mac-Lean isn't chuckling much.

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LeClair Suffers Facial Fractures

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

The Penguins suffered a major loss long before the opening faceoff of their game against Boston at the TD Banknorth Garden last night. Left winger John LeClair was struck near the right eye by a puck during the morning skate and will be out indefinitely. LeClair sustained multiple fractures in what team officials described as the "cheekbone region."

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Changes In the Maven’s Eyes

from Stan Fischler of MSG Network,

-Slow Starts -One dimensional players -Little Guys -No lead is safe -Rookies

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Controversial Call

Preds/Kings game goes to shootout today. Roenick is stopped by Vokoun with a left leg save as Vokoun is going back into the goal. Puck comes off his pad, J.R. gives it a little push and puck goes into the net. Refs review and award a goal, Kings win. My understanding is you can't score on a rebound n a shootout/penalty shot. Strange ruling to say the least. update 9:11pm, via the AP,

"I came down and went to my backhand, and then when I tried to bring it back to my forehand, I kind of lost an edge and tried to stuff it in," Roenick said. "As I did, his pad and the puck went in at the same time. I knew I was going down, but I still had enough to push it by him." A video review helped referees decide that Roenick hadn't put in his own rebound. "The question was whether Jeremy had played it a second time, a rebound," referee Dennis LaRue said. "I didn't see that on the ice, and it was apparently confirmed on the replay upstairs."

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Phoenix Looking Forward To Playing Wings

from the Phoenix Coyotes,

Every game is important and those against Western Conference opponents, even more so. But tonight’s contest in Detroit will be a little different than most road games. Tonight the Coyotes will make their first appearance at Joe Louis Arena of the season; and while the focus is on coming away with two points, there is no denying the traditions and atmosphere that comes with playing in the Motor City. “For me, I grew up a Gordie Howe fan and a Detroit red Wings fan,” said Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky, “so there is certainly a little extra excitement coming here.

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Alfredsson Wants To Improve

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Daniel Alfredsson has bad news for opponents in the Eastern Conference. He thinks he can be better. "I'm not quite happy with where everything is at right now," said Alfredsson yesterday. "I'm still working on a few things and I'm not completely happy with where my shot is at." Going into tonight's game against the Islanders, the Senators captain is having a standout season with 12 goals and 23 points in 12 games. If this continues, he could break the 50-goal mark.

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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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