Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Troy Crowder, Skate Man

from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,

“I’d watch these kids, all knock-kneed — they couldn’t get over their skates properly,” says Crowder. “So I’d grind up some plastic, get some Velcro, hook something onto their skates . . . and get these little improvements.”

Over a span of five years, he customized the gear of countless skaters.

“My brain’s always trying to figure out puzzles . . . it was kind of a game in my head, you know?” Crowder says. “People who know me — people back home — they always knew I was that kind of guy. Thinking outside the box. Looking at things differently.

“The average Joe would just think that I was a tough-guy goon, dragging my knuckles on the ground, right?”

Crowder, though, discovered a niche.

Not all players are created equally — “Someone’s got a thick shin, someone’s got a skinny ankle, someone’s got big bones, someone’s got big heels” — but a boot’s eyelets? Always in the same place.

Crowder’s solution was a skate attachment that permits a customized bend point. Patented as 55 Flex, skate companies and NHL teams quietly took note.

Last winter, he alleviated the lace-bite issues of a certain chap. Aaron Ekblad.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: troy+crowder

The Outlook For The 2014-15 Philadelphia Flyers

from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

They will have to huff and puff to make the playoffs, buying some time for their promising defensemen to gain some minor-league seasoning before likely being ready in two years - or perhaps in the second half of 2014-15.

The good news, from the Flyers' perspective, is that coach Craig Berube, who did a commendable job after replacing Peter Laviolette early last season, will have his first full training camp to reinforce his defense-first system.

And for the first time in ages, the Flyers will go into camp knowing they have a legitimate No. 1 goalie, Steve Mason. Former general manager Paul Holmgren signed some players to long-term deals that left Hextall with no cap flexibility, but Holmgren deserves credit for acquiring Mason in one of his best trades.

Speaking of bad contracts, the Flyers still are trying to trade Vinny Lecavalier, who signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal last season. Nashville and Ottawa are among the teams that have shown interest. Teams want the Flyers to pay a big part of his salary.

There also are reports that teams want the Flyers to include a prospect or a draft pick in any deal including Lecavalier.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Playing Within A Budget In Colorado

from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,

Trading Stastny at the deadline in a remarkable season would have been ripped as sending the "wrong" message. But I doubt Sakic and Roy will worry about that again.

Colorado is nudging up toward the NHL salary cap, which was inevitable when the extensions kicked in. But with attendance down, this team also has been operating on a "budget" the past few seasons. Ownership has accepted the increasing payroll, especially since the playoff flameout can't obscure the progress in the past year.

So, again, the issue here isn't just money. Sakic and Roy, among the best in the game as players, worked the system themselves. But they believe they are building something, including a culture that involves an acceptance of a generous but "fair" salary hierarchy within the cap system. In that sense, "structure" is synonymous with "culture."

Thanks to the Stastny Lesson, I'm convinced that from now on, it's going to be ...

You'll prove that you're with us.

Or we'll see that you're not.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Rewriting Twitter Rules For Live Games

from Dave Lozo at his Tumblr page,

Rule No. 3: Consider the importance of the game and how much you are tweeting about it

I’ve covered a few preseason hockey games. I’m usually there because I want to talk to a player afterward about something unrelated to the game, which is a preseason game, which is a fancy way of calling it a scrimmage, in that it is meaningless and really not worth watching.

Yet there are people who will hammer the in-game tweets down your throat for two-plus hours as if it is Game 82 and the winner goes to the playoffs and the loser goes home.

Maybe you’re saying, “Dave, there are people out there who follow me and want that information.” And I bet that’s true. But there are way more who don’t want it and the people who do want that information are probably watching the game anyway and don’t really need it.

If your backup argument is sometimes preseason games aren’t on television, well, that should tell you something about their importance.

more plus 4 more rules...

Filed in: NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Evening Line

“I’m really excited because it’s a fresh start for everyone and you want a team where everybody pushes each other to be better and compete for jobs. It’s going to be interesting. I want to show what I can do and log some good minutes and start having some good games.

“For me at this point of my career, it’s about winning games and getting to the playoffs. We’re in a tough division and a tough conference, but if we can stay healthy and have 20 guys buying into Willie’s game plan and get good goaltending, you can compete with the best teams in the West.”

-Alex Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks.  More on Burrows from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+burrows

Winning For Gordie

from Stan Fischler at The Hockey News,

The 1950 semifinal between Toronto and Detroit ranks among the most intense post-season series in NHL history. This was due to Gordie Howe’s near death after an alleged butt-end. “L’Affaire Howe” ignited one of the longest-running hates in the game: Detroit GM Jack Adams vs. Toronto captain Ted ‘Teeder’ Kennedy. The primary witness was Toronto defenseman Gus Mortson who was there when the blood feud started and there again eight years later when Adams bitterly reaffirmed it to Mortson who had by then become a Red Wing.

Adams’ hatred for the Maple Leafs was already deep rooted and understandable by the time the 1950 playoffs began. After all, Toronto had won the previous three Cups, including a sweep of Detroit in the 1949 final. But now it was a year after that debacle and, led by Howe, the Wings were stronger than ever. “We can do it this year,” Adams boasted prior to the opening game. “We’ve got the team this year.”

And so they did, primarily because Howe had blossomed into a star, patrolling right wing on Detroit’s Production Line with captain Sid Abel at center and Ted Lindsay on the left side. But when the Leafs went up 4-0 in the opener at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium few expected what Toronto author Jack Batten described as “one of the most infamous and controversial events” in NHL history.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL Talk, Old School, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Do You Consider The Carolina Hurricanes A Playoff Team?

from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer,

Peter Karmanos Jr. turned heads a few days ago when he said the Carolina Hurricanes were a “very good hockey team.”

Karmanos is the Canes’ owner, and a little hubris is to be expected. But the Canes have missed the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of the past five seasons. They were 13th last season in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. They had a woeful power play and were only a little better at home than on the road.

Karmanos’ belief is that a new coaching staff and new system, a healthier team and the continued development of younger players will translate into more wins next season. General manager Ron Francis is another believer, generally standing pat in free agency this past week while other Metropolitan Division rivals made significant signings....

“We didn’t think it was necessary to kind of blow everything up,” Francis said. “We still think we have a lot of good pieces. I know people are going to shake their heads a little bit when you say that. … When you don’t make the playoffs everybody wants to see change.”

Francis said he got a “fresh opinion” on the players from new coach Bill Peters. The management team weighed in. Karmanos, who writes the checks, had his say.

“At this point we felt we had a good enough team to compete and make the playoffs,” Francis said. “Now it’s up to us to get on the ice and start winning hockey games, and I think that’s the best way to convince anyone.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The West Gets Stronger

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

The Ducks made some noise. Anaheim general manager Bob Murray beat Chicago rival Stan Bowman for Ryan Kesler, the No. 2 center who wanted out of Vancouver.

Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf are a 1-2 pivot punch that will make opponents wary and weary.

The Ducks also added ex-Bruin Nate Thompson, Clayton Stoner, and Jason LaBarbera.

All of the league’s muscle resides in the West. Los Angeles and Chicago are the NHL’s gold standards. Odds are good they’ll meet again in the Western Conference finals for the privilege to roll the East’s championship entry.

St. Louis and Dallas made moves in the arms race to hang with LA and Chicago. Minnesota added Thomas Vanek.

continued plus addtional hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Some This And That

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- So let’s see if we have this straight. The Maple Leafs had David Bolland, Carl Gunnarsson, Nik Kulemin. Mason Raymond, Jay McClement, Paul Ranger and Tim Gleason when the season ended. And now they have Petri Kontiola, Roman Polak, Mike Santorelli, Leo Komarov, Stephane Robidas and Matt Frattin. And I wonder, is this a hockey club or a remake of The Producers?

- When Jim Nill took over the Dallas Stars, his centres were Mike Ribeiro and Steve Ott. One July later, his centres are Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza. The best free agent last summer: Jim Nill.

- Those who promote advanced stats in hockey must have cringed when Garth Snow signed Mikhail Grabovski. They want acceptance, but not necessarily from the Islanders general manager.

- Is there still time for the Washington Capitals to buy out Brooks Orpik?

a few more hockey notes, mostly Leafs related...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Sunday Short Notes

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

- Bizarre. Torey Krug is a restricted free agent in limbo (also known as “Boston”), eligible for neither salary arbitration nor a Group II offer sheet.

- So Josh Gorges, who had Toronto on his no-trade list, rejected a trade to Toronto, and he’s the bad guy and subject to ridicule? Nonsense.

- I know what you — like me, and everyone else — were thinking when the Sharks lost four straight to the Kings after taking a 3-0 lead in the first round of the playoffs: This wouldn’t have happened if John Scott had been in the San Jose lineup.

more topics including a look at Michael Del Zotto...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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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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