Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

They’re Blowing It

from the Calgary Sun,

More alarming, though, is how the Flames are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory now on a regular basis.
Losers of five of their last six outings (1-3-2), the Flames are facing a grim prospect of having blown leads in four of those defeats.
In three of those losses, they were leading in the third period.
If it happens once or twice, it’s easy to shrug off. Four times in a 10-day spell is a trend.

read on

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Tough Call For Canes

from the News & Observer,

While Erik Cole may play tonight at the Montreal Canadiens, Cory Stillman, Justin Williams and Bret Hedican are all out as the Canes cling to the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
“Do we make a move quickly to take care of our injured players or do we stay the course and try to win some games with the lineup we have and try to make a bigger deal that makes more sense not just now but for our future?” Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said Friday. “It’s a very tough call.”

more

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End The Visor Debate

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,

...Why would he place himself in a position of being only one shot away from losing an eye?
If players can’t think for themselves, it’s up to the NHL and the NHLPA to force them to wear a visor.

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Big Team & Small Results

from the Toronto Star,

According to numbers provided by the NHL, Washington’s players average 6-foot-2 1/2, and 212 pounds. This flies in the face of the image of the “new-NHL” which is assumed to once again be a haven for the undersized player.
All that beef does not have the Capitals trundling up the standings. They sit in 14th spot in the Eastern Conference, with the lowest ratio of points to cost of pre-game meals.

more numbers…

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The Last Of The Great Underdogs

from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail:

They have made movies of the life of Rocket Richard and of the 1972 Summit Series, but there may be no richer material for a hockey drama than what took place in Toronto and Montreal that improbable spring of 40 years ago.
It was Centennial Year, and the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens — the sole Canadian franchises in the National Hockey League — were playing the national game for the most revered Canadian trophy, the Stanley Cup.
The powerful Canadiens — two-time defending champions, the bleu, blanc et rouge of Jean Béliveau, Henri Richard, Yvan Cournoyer — were hoping to display the prized Cup at Expo 67, which had opened only five days earlier in Montreal.
The ‘67 Leafs — now all in their 60s, 70s and 80s — somehow denied Montreal that glory and, Saturday, will themselves be honoured at the Air Canada Centre as the ‘07 Leafs take on the Edmonton Oilers.

continued

 

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Gretzky Off The Stage

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Wayne Gretzky is one weary hockey saviour.
He sits quietly in the corner of Big City Bagels and Deli, partially hidden behind a large yellow garbage container, enjoying the bracing effects of a large cardboard cup of coffee less than 12 hours after he and his Phoenix Coyotes have absorbed another loss, their 33rd in 58 games.
Tough sledding, this is.
For the first time since the brief period between his retirement as a player and his re-emergence as a powerful figure in Canadian Olympic circles, Gretzky seems slightly off-stage this season, less associated with hockey glory.

read on

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Crackdown On Physicality

from the Edmonton Sun,

Goalies are tired of being treated like tackling dummies and D-men are tired of being handcuffed by nancy boy rules that won’t let them do anything about it.
“Guys are a lot braver now when it comes to standing in front of the net,” said Vancouver’s Rory Fitzpatrick.
“Before, you could get four good crosschecks in before the referee even gave you a warning. Now, with the new rules ...”
You can barely touch a guy. Some referees have taken the crackdown on obstruction to mean a crackdown on physicality, turning what used to be the toughest real estate in the rink into a picnic ground.

much more NHL stuff….

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Jovo Done?

from the Arizona Republic:

Coyotes General Manager Mike Barnett said Friday that the groin injury that is bothering defenseman Ed Jovanovski is similar to the abdominal muscle injury that center Patrick Fischer had surgically repaired on Wednesday.
Barnett said, however, the jury is still out on whether the team would shut down Jovanovski for the season.
“It’s going to require further discussion with our doctors and Ed himself, who has now brought his agent into the discussion,” Barnett said. “I can’t tell you we’ll have an answer immediately, but we should by the end of the weekend as to what action to take. . . . The goal isn’t for him to be ready for September. The goal is for him to be ready for July.”

continued

 

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What else can go wrong in Montreal?

From Robert Tychkowski via Winnipeg Sun,

5. Health Canada determines cigarettes, poutine and smoked meat sandwiches are bad for you.
4. Ken Dryden finds the other half of his number retirement speech.
3. Federal government quits sucking up.
2. They sign Sergei Samsonov to a two-year, $7 million deal. Oops, never mind.
1. Sean Avery learns French.

continued… plus a rant about the NHL’s Rent-a-Player system.

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The Future Of Nashville Is In Forsberg’s Hands

from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,

In so many ways, the Nashville Predators represent how the National Hockey League, in its cash-grab expansion phase, got it dead wrong.
When peddling franchises was the league’s real core business, the ruling conceit — which, to be fair, predates the Gary Bettman era — was that you could sell the game anywhere, just so long as you had the right demographics, the right arena deal. The pre-existence of a hockey culture was beside the point.
Just find an owner ready to pay whatever price the market would bear, by whatever financial means necessary. Let him in turn find compliant local politicians with an empty arena desperate for a tenant.

continued

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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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