Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Thrashers Have Numerous Issues

from Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

The Thrashers aren’t merely the 28th-ranked team in a 30-team league. They are a mediocre, even if hard-working, bunch put together with the primary objective of losing as little money as possible. The roster screams it. The payroll confirms it. Nobody denies it.

A franchise can’t possibly send a worse message to an already dwindling fan base.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where we sit in salaries in the league,” general manager Don Waddell said before Friday’s loss to Carolina — and it should be noted here that while he didn’t shirk responsibility for the way this team has devolved, it always helps to spread the blame….

All of the problems obviously can’t be attributed to finances. Most of the problems can be traced back to year one. Waddell was here, the Spirit wasn’t. Even in budget-crunching times, a general manager can make things work to a degree if there’s a solid foundation. Waddell poured the foundation. It hasn’t been just about bad drafts or miscalculations in personnel. It’s mostly about never having a successful plan, a structure, an identity.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Lidstrom Out With Lower Body Injury

Nick Lidstrom did not appear after the first period in tonight’s game in Nashville. 

Word is he is out for the rest of the game with a lower body injury.

edit 9:54pm, Nick did play about a minute in the 2nd period, then went to the locker room.

added 11:05pm, SnapShots has all the details and in summary, nothing major, xrays were negative and Nick could play either tomorrow or the next game.

Seems Lidstrom took a shot to the foot and had discomfort in skating.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nick+lidstrom

Dater Dreaming Again

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

I’ve had a zillion dreams involving the Avs. They happen all the time. In many of them, I’ve been an actual player on the team. And it felt so real . I’m usually a fourth-liner, but I’m out there playing, hearing the crowd, talking with teammates on the bench. For about an hour every so often in my sleep, I’m an actual NHL player, literally and figuratively living the dream. It’s wonderful. It’s a major bummer when I wake up, therefore, and go back to being a 40-something newspaper hack with a bad back and an ambien habit.

So last night, here are scenes from the dream factory, and I’ll just tell them in the same scattershot manner in which they happened and that I have of them now: I’m at a game between the Avs and Red Wings - in Sweden. The Avs win 1-0 on a goal in the last couple minutes, but I missed it, because I’m trying to get online in the press room of a foreign country and things aren’t working right…

more

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

WJC TV Alert

Don’f forget about the NHL Network (US) televising games from the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship.: Germany vs. USA is on at 3:30pm ET today followed by Canada vs. Czech Republic at 7:30pm.

Check the full schedule of televised games at the NHL Network website.


from Gare Joyce at Sportsnet,

The WJC is different than, say, the Super Bowl. If you’ve seen one Super Bowl, you’ve seen them all—okay, maybe the games are different but the experience around the game is more or less the same. The same corporate tents, the same scalpers demanding five figures, maybe even six figures for seats, the same excessive halftime shows by some used-to-be-A-list performer, same monster stadiums. Not so the under-20s….

The Russians, particularly in Halifax, played fast and loose and the Canadian teams were as tight as frog skin. A lot of pundits are touting Sweden or even Russia to win this tournament and the U.S. figures to be stronger than usual (with a team that leans heavily on CHL talent). That might be an accurate read of the talent in this tournament ... and it might also take a bit of the weight of the Worlds of the Canadian teens’ shoulders.

more

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: world+junior+championship

Honda Knows Hockey

from Karl Greenberg of MediaPost News,

Honda, which this year became a marquee sponsor of the National Hockey League, is launching a campaign to support its backing of events like the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Chicago.

The campaign, via RPA, Santa Monica, Calif., launches Jan. 1 when NBC airs the Winter Classic.

“We shot in Winnipeg, featuring real kids who play hockey, shown in their real houses with their real parents. The spots feature the Pilot, Ridgeline and Odyssey and lets NHL fans know that Honda truly understands the game of hockey,” said Joe Baratelli, SVP, creative director at RPA, in a release. “We set out to capture the commitment of the parents and the harsh conditions families endure all over North America to communicate Honda’s reliability and trustworthiness.”

continued

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Game Of Basement Hockey

from Curtis Gillespie of the Globe and Mail,

For many years, our basement was unfinished save one corner where our father had created a compound of tiny connected bedrooms for us four older boys. It was a minimum-security prison, and the rest of the basement was a DMZ (DeMaternalized Zone).

There were few restrictive walls, so you could get a genuine game of hockey going. We only had one net in the basement, and the other net was the space between the dryer and the hot water tank (which posed no problem except for the knob sticking out at head height).

more...

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Nurturing Of Drew Doughty

from Chris Foster of the LA Times,

(Drew) Doughty, the second overall pick in June, walked out of the Ontario Hockey League in spring and into the Kings’ lineup in fall. He logs 25 minutes a game, showing sleight-of-hand skills handling the puck and a he-shoots-he-scores ability from the blue line.

Such a package needed to be handled with care. Where to store him away from the rink was easy. You can even set it to music.

The “I Love L.A.” life is handled by defenseman Matt Greene, who was asked to take in Doughty at his Hermosa Beach residence. The “On the Road Again” chore is handled by Dustin Brown, who rooms with Doughty on trips.

It’s a tag-team big brother setup that strays into parenting at times.

Said Brown: “He sleeps for hours. I have to make sure he gets out of bed and gets to the rink on time.”

Said Greene: “I have a five-second buffer that I employ with him. Just think before you talk.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: drew+doughty

Shakeup Woke-Up Panthers

from George Richards of the Miami Herald, .

..Florida lost that night, 4-2 to the red-hot Boston Bruins. The Panthers were 7-11-1.

‘‘We had hit a crossroads in the season,’’ DeBoer said.

As soon as the team got back, Martin put enforcer Wade Belak on waivers. Players were shocked.

Belak, who had signed a two-year deal to stay with the team in the offseason, cleared waivers and was welcomed back. Then he was traded to Nashville.

The Panthers haven’t been the same since.

‘‘I didn’t have a problem with Wade; he worked hard every day and did his job,’’ DeBoer said before Florida beat Belak’s Predators 3-0 on Tuesday. ``But at that point of the season, we needed to shake things up. He was a casualty of that. He’s gone on and done good things for Nashville.

``We’ve turned our season around, but it wasn’t because of Wade Belak or because of that trade. That would be simplifying it a bit. But everyone on our team needed to be put on notice, know that status quo wasn’t going to be good enough.’‘

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Play Prucha

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

It is unfathomable that Petr Prucha Petr Prucha cannot get a chance to play for this team.

If Tom Renney doesn’t believe that Prucha is a more viable option on either wing for Brandon Dubinsky Brandon Dubinsky than Aaron Voros or Fred Sjostrom, then Glen Sather must either give Prucha away in a trade (if he can) or put him on waivers once the holiday roster freeze lifts at midnight tomorrow.

The Rangers simply cannot afford to plant a $1.6 million player in the press box every night. Deleting Prucha from the roster - if he clears waivers and both parties are amenable, Prucha could play in the Czech league rather than in Hartford, and perhaps for Martin Straka’s club in Pilzen - will open approximately $886,000 of cap space. The team needs it.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: petr+prucha

Bruins Have Cap Issues Ahead

from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,

The B’s have about $43 million already locked up in 2009-10 contracts, leaving about $13 million open. It’s easy to see how the Thomas, Kessel, Krejci and Hunwick contracts will total, say, $14 million - which would leave no cash for other signings, like unrestricted free agent P.J. Axelsson.

Thomas declines comment on contract matters, but likely will be the first guy with a new deal. It will be interesting to see how high he aims. He has arguably been the Bruins’ MVP the last three seasons - while earning a total of just $3.3 million, which is the best bargain in the game. His age (35 next season) cuts his earning potential, but he should still command something like a three-year, $12 million pact.

The 21-year-old Kessel and 22-year-old Krejci are more difficult to peg.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | 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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