Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Will Boston Changes Help

from Fox Sports,

While the Bruins will be much better than last season, it's doubtful they will be able to climb out of the basement in the highly competitive Northeast. Boston will give the Maple Leafs a run for their money for the fourth spot in the division, but that's about as high as this team will go. Boston still has too many question marks on offense, defense and in goal to be able to challenge for a playoff spot. After their top six forwards of Savard, Murray, Kessel, Marco Sturm, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Boyes, it's a crap shoot for the Bruins. P.J. Axelsson has offensive skills, but how much can he contribute if he's not playing with the other skilled players from one of the top two lines? Where they'll finish Division: 5th Conference: 12th

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Offensive Minded Hockey Coach

via Tom Gage at the Detroit News,

On Monday, Matt Stairs will be home in Bangor, Maine, contemplating his next big challenge: coaching the boys' varsity hockey team at John Bapst Memorial High. "I'll become a full-time dad again, and getting ready for the hockey season," said Stairs, who's not eligible for the postseason. Stairs grew up in New Brunswick, Canada, and played much more hockey than baseball as a kid. He continued to play as a adult, before "I stopped about five years ago because of a bad Achilles (tendon)." What does he stress as a coach? "Straight offense," Stairs said before going 1-for-5 with an RBI in the Tigers' 9-7 loss to Kansas City. "To heck with defense, I want offense."

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Rink Rage

from the Toronto Star,

Desrocher did put Teskey in a hammerlock, squeezing to the point that the coach lost consciousness and dropped to the ground; he did close his hands around the victim's neck, yanking the poor man up and down in a choking motion; Teskey did, from all accounts, appear to stop breathing for a few seconds, couldn't get any air down his windpipe. All this, absurdly, was the result of one father's red-hot rage over the apparent benching of his 8-year-old son in a minor atom hockey game. I feel most sorry for the kid, who is reportedly back playing with his team. It can be no fun having an unhinged brawler — now felon — for a dad.
read on

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In The West- The Cap Changed Everything

from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,

The salary cap has returned free-spending franchises to the planet Earth, while natural evolution has taken care of the rest. All that's left is for the debate to rage. "I think the salary cap has definitely pushed things along," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla. "I mean, there were certain teams that would improve because they were developing their young guys and they were a strong organization. But the traditional powers have come back to the pack because they had to unload a lot of very good players. "I think it's exciting and I think it's enjoyable to watch as a fan and as a player," Iginla added. "There is a lot more balance in the conference. It's not the same teams winning and it's not the same teams loading up at the trade deadline."
read on

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Johnson Excited With Trade

from the LA Times (reg. req.),

Johnson is a skilled offensive defenseman, who was nurtured in the United States Development Program. He had 10 goals and 22 assists in 38 games with Michigan last season. "I think it's unbelievable to maybe get a chance to play with Rob Blake," Johnson said. "The guy is going to the Hall of Fame, and I could be in the same locker room with him. This is just an exciting day for me." An NHL source familiar with the situation said that Johnson would be willing to sign with the Kings after his college season. "We don't have a specific timetable, but we'll look closely at this in March depending on how he develops," Lombardi said.

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Casino Sponsors Florida Panthers

from the Miami Herald,

The Panthers were the first professional team in South Florida to have an entire season ''presented by'' a corporate sponsor. Now, they are the first to have a season financially linked to a casino. The team recently announced the Seminole Tribe of Florida and its Coconut Creek casino would sponsor its 2006-07 season. Even though the NHL has publicly stated its disdain for illegal gambling, it has allowed teams to align themselves with legal gaming facilities such as Indian casinos and parimutuel facilities. The Panthers also have a sponsorship agreement with Hollywood's Mardi Gras greyhound track. ''The only prohibition by the league is against sponsorship by casinos that operate sports books,'' said NHL spokesman Frank Brown, who added he couldn't recall another NHL team having its season sponsored by a gambling entity.
read on

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Clarke Calls Them Out

from the Daily Times,

...It was at that point that Clarke decided being vague wasn’t the appropriate tactic to get the message across to his players, so he decided to point fingers at specific groups of players. "If you ask me, on our defense our most competitive and best defenseman has been (Derian) Hatcher from day one," said Clarke. "But some of these guys should be competing a lot (gosh) darn harder than they have been in training camp and it might cost them at the start of the year. "(Nolan) Baumgartner is one of those guys that has to play better. He is what he is. He’s on the bubble. Just like (Denis) Gauthier and (Randy) Jones and (Freddy) Meyer. Jones and Meyer haven’t shown me very much for guys who should be fighting for a job. They haven’t shown the same fire that it’s going to take to be a regular on this club."

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Be Like Kipper

from the Edmonton Sun,

Sitting in his stall after the morning skate, Josh Green looks over at Roberto Luongo and immediately thinks of Miikka Kiprusoff. Green, who played for Calgary during the 2003-04 season, saw first-hand day-after-day how much Kiprusoff means to the Flames and their fortunes. The Vancouver forward sees the same in Luongo, the Canucks prized goaltender acquired this past summer via trade. "In my mind, he and Kipper are up there as the best," Green said yesterday. "I can't score on either of them in practice. I keep the pucks I score with on him."

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Ted Leonsis Says

from an interview in the Washington Post,

The team has been quick to embrace new media formats, such as podcasts and blogs. What advantages do you see in them? Three things: One, if you are writing a blog, and you are religious about it, and you are updating every day or every week, you are obviously a great fan, and we need to reward great fans. Two, the blogosphere is important because bloggers communicate with one another, and they show up very high in search engines. Third, the traditional media are having to cut expenses. Some of the big-city newspapers, thankfully not ours, aren't even allowing reporters to travel with the teams. Are there any blogs you recommend? Bleating From a Caps Nut, DCSportsChick, Off Wing Opinion, Japers' Rink. Those are good ones locally.
more (reg. req.) from Ted on the Caps...

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Minus 82

from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,

Every hockey season, he checks the newspaper or goes on-line to scan the player statistics from the night before. He is not looking for goals or assists. He has no use for penalty minutes. His category of choice is the plus-minus rating, the measure of a player's defensive worth. Even now, 32 years after laying claim to a record the National Hockey League doesn't acknowledge, Bill Mikkelson is drawn to the number that defines his career, a number so incomprehensible it reads like the temperature on Neptune. “How did you do it?” he is asked. “How did you end up at minus-82?”

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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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