Kukla's Korner

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All John Davidson

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

Q: You called last season "a kick in the teeth." Now that you have had time to reflect, do you have a better understanding of what went wrong?

A: I think the biggest disappointing thing, and I think the players in talking to them will all agree, is that it was primarily the veteran players that didn’t have a good year, not all of them, but some of them. And that was disappointing. I don’t think I have to say that to them because they know it. For whatever reason it was just strange and at all at once. Just strange.

Q: Then why did you say earlier that last season was on you?

A: Because I am in charge. I’m in charge and winning is my department. I’ve talked to the players, I’ve talked to the coaches, I’ve talked to the general manager and we are all on the same page here right now. But we are not going to panic, even though it was real … it was hard. I think a lot of players here understand it and they don’t want to go through that again. What’s even more astonishing is everyone I talked to in the hockey world, including at the draft, says, “I can’t believe that happened to you guys."

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Glen Gulutzan Takes To The Ice As Calgary’s Head Coach

from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,

“Gully’s done a great job so far,” said Mark Giordano, getting a load of, unbelievably, his sixth head coach in Calgary. “He comes in, he’s been clear in what he wants us to do. But really, really positive … and really easy to approach and talk to.

“I don’t see that any player should feel intimidated.”

The on-ice portion of Gulutzan’s term began in the morning with the first of his three groups on the Saddledome sheet.

Nervous? Nah. This is a day he’d been looking forward to.

“I was anxious,” said Gulutzan. “I’m like, ‘I’m done looking at the computer, I’m done looking at schedules. I would like to get on the ice and see these players for myself for the first time.’ ”

Collar popped, hair perfect, the skipper glided out amongst his troops – name-bars, finally, on the backs of their practice jumpers – and demanded, and received, a brisk pace.

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Probably The Last Chance For Devin Setoguchi

from Kevin Baxter of the LA Times,

... Four days later Setoguchi took one final drink, then walked through the doors of a rehab center in Malibu. That was 19 months ago and Setoguchi says he hasn’t had a drink since, allowing him to reclaim both his life and his health.

Now he wants his career back too. And he took what he hopes will be a big step on that road Friday afternoon when he skated with the Kings on the first day of training camp in El Segundo, less than an hour’s drive from the rehab center that may have saved his life.

“I’ve been out of the league for a year. It’s not like I can go two years out of the league and have a chance to make it next year,” he said. “So yeah, this is a chance.

“Is it my last chance? Probably.”

The odds against him succeeding are long ones. Setoguchi, a right wing who once made $3 million a year, is in camp on a tryout contract, which means the Kings can cut him at any time. The same is not true of many of the players Setoguchi is competing against for a spot on a team with little salary-cap space.

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The Anaheim Ducks Still Feel The Pain From Last Year

from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,

“It’s hard to watch the playoffs,” the veteran defenseman said Friday. “You don’t want anybody to win. It feels like you get punched in the gut every time you watch a game.”

Punched in the gut … or some place even worse, the Ducks, for the fourth consecutive season, experiencing the stun-gun zap of being eliminated in Game 7 at Honda Center.

Such punches certainly can knock out your wind. But dropping the deciding, do-or-don’t game four straight times at home turns on its head the concept of breathtaking.

Being eliminated this way – and repeatedly so – can take away more than just your breath. Portions of your heart and soul can go, too.

“Without having much success last year in the playoffs, guys are a little bit snarlier,” Bieksa said. “Guys are little bit more (ticked) off, a little bit more focused, I think.”

That’s a good sign this early, on the opening day of training camp. It’s also a good sign that the Ducks have upped their level of snarly and Corey Perry isn’t even here yet.

read on

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World Cup Of Hockey Semifinals Attracting Interest On Secondary Ticket Market

By Tim Dolan,

After a thrilling first week of action, the World Cup of Hockey is one step closer to crowning a tournament champion. To date, the tournament games have been intense, highly competitive, and emotional for both sides -- and the excitement should only increase from here on out.

Continue Reading »

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Coming Soon: Boring Hockey

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

As soon as this World Cup ends, we’ll go right back to the low-scoring, tight-checking style of competition that dominated play last season and made the playoffs and the Cup final between Pittsburgh and San Jose (27 goals, six games) anything but memorable.

But in this World Cup, through Team North America, the league has shown once again what it actually has in great supply back in the warehouse but chooses not to make available to the public except for special occasions.

Not that all 30 teams could muster the talent to consistently play to that same level of the Young Guns, but quite clearly an emphasis on scoring and offence would produce a fundamentally different league rather than one that has allowed the 50-goal scorer to become as rare as a Cleveland Browns victory parade.

Back in the 1992-93 season, the Detroit Red Wings scored 369 goals and 14 other clubs scored more than 300 goals. It was a wonderful season, and a wonderful time to enjoy the game.

Last season, by comparison, Dallas led the league with 267 goals scored. Incredibly, for an 82-game season, four teams couldn’t even score 200 goals.

That’s an extraordinary amount of offence lost over a quarter-century, hundreds of ‘he shoots, he scores, ‘how-did-he-do-that?’ moments that never happened.

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A Four-Year Contract Extension For Alexander Steen

(Sept. 23, 2016) – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today that the Blues have signed forward Alexander Steen to a four-year contract extension worth $23 million.

“We are extremely excited to have Alexander signed for the next four seasons,” said Armstrong.  “He has developed into one of the league’s premier 200-foot players and is a key member of our leadership group.  He has shown tremendous loyalty to the Blues organization, its fans and the St. Louis community.

Steen, 32, is entering his ninth season in St. Louis after the Blues acquired him via trade from Toronto on Nov. 24, 2008.  In 2015-16, the 6’0, 205-pound forward dressed in 67 regular season games, ranking second on the Blues with 35 assists and 52 points, and fifth with 17 goals.  During the 2016 postseason, Steen led the Blues to their first trip to the Western Conference Final in 15 years, posting 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 20 appearances.

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  Tags: alexander+steen

Team USA must change after World Cup showing

It’s been a bad few days for ice-hockey in the US. A humiliation at the World Cup of Hockey has left the national team in need of a shake-up and a new start, according to many respected observers. Despite the NHL and some top players in the sport, the US fell to Team Europe and a 4-2 defeat to Team Canada that all but confirmed their exit from the competition.

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Darren Dreger On Team North America

from Darren Dreger of The Dreger Report at TSN,

If you weren't thoroughly entertained by Wednesday's exhibition of speed, skill and the fearless attack Team North America used to topple a powerful Team Sweden, we can't be friends.

Everyone from Wayne Gretzky to the most hardened hockey columnists acknowledged that this team of young guns, initially described as a gimmick, turned the World Cup of Hockey into world-class entertainment.

“Great hockey. The best game I've seen in a long time and one of the few games where the purpose was to put the puck in the other guys’ net,” said Hall of Famer Bob Clarke. “You're not supposed to try and check the other team to death...Who wants to watch that?”

continued plus USA Hockey talk...

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Hockey Greats Get Their Stamp In Canada

TORONTO – On the eve of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 semi-finals, and less than three weeks before the start of the 2016-17 NHL® Season, Canada Post today unveiled the fourth issue in its five-year NHL stamp series. 

The 2016 NHL® Great Canadian Forwards stamps highlight some of the greatest goal-scorers ever to play in the NHL: Phil Esposito (Boston Bruins), Guy Lafleur (Montreal Canadiens), Darryl Sittler (Toronto Maple Leafs), Mark Messier (Edmonton Oilers), Steve Yzerman (Detroit Red Wings), and Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins). 

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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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