Kukla's Korner

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Category: NHL-Teams

Goaltending Is Gold When The Playoffs Arrive

from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,

...exactly what role does goaltending play in deciding the Stanley Cup winner. Is too much importance placed on goaltending?

Well, if you ask the Vancouver Canucks, who are currently No. 1 in G.A.A. in the NHL, they’d probably say it is huge. That’s because with Cory Schneider emerging as a capable backup to Roberto Luongo, Canucks fans are breathing easier these days….

The Philadelphia Flyers have been thoroughly impressed with rookie Sergei Bobrovsky to the point that they sent last year’s playoff hero, Michael Leighton, to the minors. With a 10-5-2 record, veteran Brian Boucher has also been satisfactory as the team’s backup. The Flyers only rank 11th overall in G.A.A. but it’s unlikely that GM Paul Holmgren will be looking for an upgrade at the trade deadline.

After a slow start to the year, Marc-Andre Fleury is back to being the goalie who took the Pittsburgh Penguins to one Stanley Cup final and then won the Cup the following year. Brent Johnson showed he could carry the load early when Fleury struggled.

The injury-riddled Detroit Red Wings rank 18th in G.A.A., but when they get healthy, having Jimmy Howard as the starter and Chris Osgood as the backup heading into the playoffs will be palatable.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

A Look At The Central Division

Rory Boylen of The Hockey News does a mid-season report on the Central Division.

Instead of listing the team, I thought it would be fun for you to decide what team is associated with the stat.

Key stat: Last year’s No. 16-ranked power play recently overtook Vancouver as the most efficient this season at 24.4 percent.

Key stat: Have blocked the fewest amount of shots in the Western Conference (489)

Key stat: They had the lowest shots-against per game for a while and currently sit fifth in that category, which flies directly in the face of the fact their .688 winning percentage when being outshot is third-best in the league and tops in the Western Conference.

Key stat: The 26th-ranked power play (14.5 percent) is in direct contrast to an 86 percent penalty kill that is third in the league and best in the West, 1.3 percent higher than second-place Vancouver.

Key stat: Only Central team with a sub-.500 record against the division (3-6-1).

read on for the answer and also much more on each teas…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

No Interest In Souray

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

The San Jose Sharks need a defenceman to fire rockets from the point, but Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini hasn’t had any offers to deal disgruntled blue-liner Sheldon Souray.

San Jose GM Doug Wilson hasn’t asked about Souray, even though the Sharks lost Rob Blake to retirement after last season and Dan Boyle, their best blue-liner, isn’t a shooter.

No other team has inquired about the 34-year-old Souray, either.

“Sheldon has to get healthy,” said Tambellini.

Souray is out with a bad knee. He also broke his hand earlier in the season playing for the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.

Tambellini’s preference is, “to get an asset, a pick or a player” for Souray in a trade, hopefully before the Feb. 28 NHL trade deadline.

continued and more Oilers talk too…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sheldon+souray

Southeast Division Mid-Season Stats Pack

Just past the half-way point of the regular season, I thought it might be high time to take a statistical look at the Southeast Division. We did so as the season approached and will probably do it again once all is said and done, prior to the playoffs.

You get a look at stats by team and by the league as a whole, almost literally, everywhere else, so I always find it interesting to break things down a bit more specifically to just the division, particularly in the more obscure categories.

Here’s hoping you will too…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: leaders, nhl, southeast+division, statistics

Blue Jackets Have Extra Motivation To Beat Detroit

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

Early last season, after another loss to the Detroit Red Wings, former Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock made a passing comment, borne of frustration and meant partially in jest.

“The worst thing we ever did,” Hitchcock said, “was beat them 8-2.”

Since the Blue Jackets won 8-2 in Detroit on March 7, 2009, the Red Wings have taken to beating the Jackets - breaking their hearts in some cases - like an older brother bullies his younger brother to keep the house in order.

“The three years I’ve been here, we’ve had some pretty tight games with them,” Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason said. “But it always seems like they find a way to come out with two points. We have to change that. For us to be a good team, we have to figure out a way to beat them.”


from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

Rick Nash and R.J. Umberger routinely put “money on the board” in the Blue Jackets’ locker room before a game.

On Friday night, as the club attempts to end a five-game losing skid against Detroit, contributions are being pledged by Oxcamel, Uncle Playground and Captain Thunder Pants.

These aren’t nicknames of Jackets’ players, but Twitter handles of ordinary fans combining generosity with the desire to see their favorite team break a slump against a hated rival.

As of yesterday afternoon, nearly 40 Jackets fans had promised to pony up almost $1,400 to local charities and non-profit organizations for a victory. Some are even offering pints of blood.

continued and I donated some cash, if the Wings win…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Time For Some Of The Sharks To Watch From The Press Box

from David Pollak of Working the Corners,

This 5-2 loss to Edmonton is yet another one of those games that does seem to warrant a post-game posting, if only because of what Todd McLellan had to say afterward as he was talking about his own responsibility for the loss and the different buttons he might have to push to try and get his team better prepared.

Sandwiched between the more standard ideas about changing line combinations and using new approaches to practice was this one:

“Maybe some guys need to watch a few games.”

No, he didn’t say which guys and I don’t think it would have done me any good to ask for names. After the scrum, I did ask McLellan if he was seriously considering benching some of his regulars and got somewhat understandably snapped at: “I wouldn’t have said it if I wasn’t considering it.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Video- Brown Hit On Jovanovski - Head Shot Or Not

from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,

“You never want to see one of your players take a hit to the head, but I thought it was great for us,” said coach Dave Tippett, whose squad stormed out for the third period and scored four goals. “It revved us up in the game. We got people engaged in the game then instead of sleepwalking through it.”

No penalty was called for Brown’s hit on Jovanovski, and it’s debatable whether the NHL will assess punishment after examining it. Jovanovski was playing the puck when Brown came in with a blindside shoulder check that connected with Jovanovski’s head.

Jovanovski also suffered a lower-body injury on the play, according to the Coyotes. He will be evaluated tomorrow, but Tippett believes Jovanovski will be fine.


Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ed+jovanovski, mike+brown

Feaster Finding A Tough Trade Market

from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,

“You don’t have a conversation now with a manager that you don’t hear that it needs to be dollar for dollar,” said Feaster, who is strapped with a league-high 11 no-trade clauses and has 11 players who have cap hits of more than US$3 million.

“Some guys will be honest with you up front and say, forget dollar for dollar, I have to win the battle of the dollars. I want to send more out than I’m taking back.

“That’s the tough thing. Guys want to match up term, too. It’s difficult when you have contracts with term and big dollars.

“I had to laugh, I had one guy say to me it has to be a fair deal skill for skill, but it has to be even money, too.”

Fair is what Feaster is going for, and he says he’s maintained his previous relationships with the league’s GMs in spite of being slightly separated since stepping down in Tampa just after the 2008 draft.

“If you set out when you start the phone calls and you start the discussions that you’re going to be the one who’s gonna dominate the trade and you’re looking to screw the other guy, it’d be tough to put a deal together,” Feaster said with a laugh.

“At the end of the day, what you hope is the guy you get, the asset you get helps you. That’s what you want.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jay+feaster

Video- Impromptu Swedish Meeting

Mikael Samuelsson, Henrik Lundqvist and referee Marcus Vinnerborg share a Swedish moment.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: henrik+lundqvist, mikael+samuelsson

The disappointment of Lars Eller

Here’s a quiz for you: Lars Eller was drafted 13th overall in the 2007 NHL draft. Hyped as the “Danish Peter Forsberg,” Eller has thus far totaled 8 points in his young NHL career of 47 games. Another NHLer, drafted with much less fanfare, was picked nine spots later. This individual, who plays a quietly impressive, complete and gritty game, has 32 points in a 100 games over three seasons.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: lars+eller

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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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