Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Avoid The Sharks

from Terry Frei of ESPN,

The San Jose Sharks' climb back has been long and arduous, even after the benevolent Boston Bruins provided a huge shove of help from behind on Nov. 30. Only 8-12-4 at the time of the deal that brought Joe Thornton to San Jose, the Sharks finally seemed poised not only to secure a playoff spot but to be a bona fide threat to come out of the Western Conference. Actually, maybe it's something in the California water supply. The Sharks join the Mighty Ducks as the fast-closing West teams who fall under that time-honored heading: Teams You Want To Avoid In The First Round.
continued

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We Protect The Pitcher?

from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (reg. req.),

The Thrashers lost largely without the services of goalie Kari Lehtonen —- unbeaten in shootouts and owner of the NHL's best save percentage in tie-breaking sessions —- who was injured on a play that angered Thrashers coach Bob Hartley. Hartley called Tampa Bay's Chris Dingman "the worst three-minute player in the league" and accused him of purposely running into Lehtonen in the collision that happened with 3:28 left in the first period, leaving Lehtonen with a sprained ankle and knocking him from the game. "He slid — bang! —- two feet in front of the goal," Hartley said of Dingman. "You can't get away with this." "Geez, you can't drive the goalie like this," Hartley said. "We protect the quarterback, the pitcher, what are waiting for?"

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Semin Deal Expected Next Week

from Tarki El-Bashir of the Washington Post,

The Washington Capitals are expecting highly touted prospect Alexander Semin to rejoin the team next season as negotiations to end his nearly two-year hiatus from the NHL enter their final stages. A deal is expected to be announced next week, according to a source. A first-round draft pick by the Capitals in 2002, Semin, 22, likely is the second-most skilled player in the organization behind Alex Ovechkin, the favorite to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year.
continued (reg. req.) added 11:16am, TSN now has a story too.

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NHL Ratings

via the Philadelphia Inquirer,

According to Nielsen Media Research, ratings for the games of the new and improved NHL on NBC are down a whopping 21 percent from the numbers on ABC two years ago. Data from the league's OLN (One Lousy Network) telecasts will be available as soon as more than 17 people tune in to a game.
Don't blame me, I just report it... added 10:13am, via the NY Post (reg. req.),
Tuesday, during Flyers-Rangers, OLN kept posting a "We Believe In Hockey!" graphic. Considering that it appeared over the ice during play in a tight game, the message might have better read, "We Believe In Covering Hockey!" With :20 left in regulation, the score tied and play on, OLN put up a graphic giving Mike Knuble's game stats. Only when play stopped did OLN provide an unobstructed view of the ice.

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Rob Blake Not Thinking Contract

from the Denver Post,

Don't believe the Avalanche defenseman's recent surge in play has anything to do with the expiration of his contract in 10 days. Money is the last thing he is worried about, Blake says. Of course, money is important. Of course, his departure from the Kings had something to do with roughly 20 million extra dollars he could make with another team instead of the tight-fisted Kings. But Blake says his recent surge has nothing to do with his contract. "It's just not on my mind right now," said Blake, when asked about his contract status. "It's the same as when I came here. I could be a free agent that summer, too. When I came to Denver, it hit me real quick that the only thing anybody cared about around here was winning the Stanley Cup, and we did that.
more

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They All Want Their P-1

Something we rarely hear discussed, but many good points... from the News & Observer,

Vasicek, 23, is a major-leaguer, one of the best hockey players in the world. He gets a special pass, the P-1 visa, dedicated to the world's top athletes and entertainers. Foreign-born minor-leaguers -- whether they play hockey in a rural Northern town or baseball with the Durham Bulls -- get no such privileges. They stand in line for seasonal worker visas, competing for the same passes used by temporary workers in the hotel and restaurant industries. As the U.S. Senate continues its debate on new immigration policies for the nation, a senator from the hockey-loving state of Maine wants to change life for those minor-leaguers. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, has introduced an amendment that would expand P-1 visas to them.
read on

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Afinogenov Made The Right Decision

from the Buffalo News,

Nobody could blame him for having second thoughts. Maxim Afinogenov was coming off the most enjoyable season of his professional career. He played on a championship team in his hometown. He had his friends, his family, his language and his tennis star girlfriend, Elena Dementieva. Why not stay? Afinogenov wrestled with the decision during the lockout last year while playing for the Moscow Dynamo in the Russian Elite League. He's a two-time Olympian, a household name in Moscow. Russian owners are shelling out big money these days, so he could have easily signed a contract and settled into the comforts of home.
continued image

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Jack Adams Candidates

from the Globe and Mai,

There's a common thread that has linked the successful campaigns of four teams during the National Hockey League's return this season. It has to do with coaching skills and the difference that calculating bench bosses have made to the New York Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Buffalo Sabres. None of those teams was in the last National Hockey League playoffs, two years ago, before an entire season was lost to a labour dispute.
contnued

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Too Late For Oilers

from Terry Jones of the Edlmonton Sun,

Murphy, at mission control in Toronto, admitted to Oilers GM Kevin Lowe at the end of the second period that Minnesota video goal judge Sandercock and the league got it wrong. "We got screwed,'' said Lowe. "The video guy here was convinced it wasn't in. The league said 'Go with what you have.' Within seconds Toronto got another view,'' he said of the SportsNet feed. "Then they saw it. It was in the net.'' By that point, referee Don VanMassenhoven had dropped the puck. Once the puck is dropped, there's no reversing a decision.
more

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Praising Sather

from Spector's blog at Fox Sports,

Here we are in April, and the Rangers, for the first time in 9 years, are not only heading to the Stanley Cup playoffs, they're among the top teams in the East. There are plenty of reasons why, from Tom Renney’s coaching to the rebirth of Jaromir Jagr to the play of rookie sensation Henrik Lundqvist. But credit must go where it’s due, and that’s to GM Glen Sather. Prior to this season, Slats was lambasted by his critics (myself included) for the lousy job he’d done since taking over as the Blueshirts GM back in 2000.
read on

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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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