Kukla's Korner

On the Team 1200 tonight

Just a quick note, I’ll be making the first of my regular appearances with the Late Crew over at Ottawa’s Team 1200. I’ll be on around 11 PM EST/8 PM PST, and you can tune in online here.

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  Tags: team+1200

The Evoluion of BlackArmor (TM)

Big news in Sharkland yesterday. No, not the crazy 7-6 shootout win against Philadelphia that featured countless turnovers and no defense from both teams. Nope, the even bigger news was the announcement of the Sharks 3rd jersey. And guess what, folks? They’ve given it a corporate sponsorship and a ridiculous name: BlackArmor (TM).

(I’m guessing it’s black. And that’s what the leaks out of Icethetics say too.)

So, what is BlackArmor (TM)? Is it a revolution in materials, kinda like how the whole RBK jersey was supposed to make sweat fly off a jersey rather than soak in? Maybe it’s voice commanded, like the way the Batmobile armor goes up when Batman says, “Shields up,” or when the Bionic Six say, “Bionics ON! (on on on on).

Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like BlackArmor is any of these things. It’s just a lame cross-promotion with a hard drive company. How Silicon Valley is that?

On the good side, I’ve come across some leaked documents that have the previous 3rd jersey ideas. Unfortunately, they didn’t have big money involved with them, so you’ll never actually get to see these anywhere but here.

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Mats Sundin vs. Axl Rose

Oh, that wacky Mats Sundin—will he ever make up his mind? According to his agent (courtesy of Spector), Mats might…wait for it…wait for it...return to the NHL sometime this year.

Wow, Mats, way to be uncommittal. But you know what’s scary? If Mats doesn’t sign somewhere by the end of November, another oft-delayed superstar will beat him to the punch when it comes to anticipated returns. Sundin fans who like to rock, you can no longer say, “At least Mats will sign before the new Guns N’ Roses album appears.”

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Filed in: Rumors, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: mats+sundin

The Oilers, Blogging, & The Sith

I’ve been asked about my thoughts on the whole Covered In Oil/Edmonton Oilers controversy and I’ve been trying to come up with the right way to express my feelings about it.

A quick look at Dave’s description shows how irrational and disrespectful the Oilers staff were to him. I mean, treat the guy with a little decency; if he’s breaking your standards and rules, let him know but don’t give him a metaphorical kick to the groin. That’s uncalled for.

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Filed in: Blog Stuff, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: blogging, edmonton+oilers

On 1220 AM’s ChompTalk Tonight

Just a quick reminder, I’ll be discussing the San Jose Sharks’ hot start as a part of tonight’s ChompTalk episode. For Bay Area fans, you can tune into KDOW 1220 AM around 9:15 PM tonight. Anyone else interested can listen online here.

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Tampa Bay’s Mild Electrical Zap

It wasn’t too long ago when those carefree kooks running the Tampa Bay Lightning were handing out big checks left and right to any mid-level free-agent forward they could find. Like a twisted episode of The Price Is Right, here was owner Oren Koules yelling, “Radim Vrbata, come on down! You’re the next recipient of a lot of money for not a lot production!”

And the majority of us in the hockey world thought that the Bolts would at least have a lightning-strong attack with absolutely zero defense. Well, one out of two ain’t bad. True, Tampa doesn’t have much defense (fortunately for Lightning fans, Mike Smith and Olaf Kolzig have taken the Double Dare Physical Challenge with this team).

That dynamic offense, though? Well, a lightning bolt is a bit of an exaggeration. It’s more of a static-electricity zap, the kind that you get when you rub your shoes on thick carpet, then touch a metal door handle. It’s mildly annoying and surprising but in the end it disappears just as quickly as you noticed it.

Let’s break down the bang—erm, zap—for the buck, shall we?

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning

Hot Starts And Ugly Finishes

“Last year was a little different. We had a bad start and I didn’t play well. This year we’ve had a good start and I’m kind of feeling comfortable and I’m playing better than last year.”

“I don’t think there’s any such thing,” said the coach. “Just play right, and that’s an attitude, a mental thing. Like the Montreal Canadiens in the mid-1970s, when they lost eight games all year. I think they peaked all year. They were the best players, that’s why they won, but if you’re the best players and you do things right, when do you peak? You always play good.”

“Confidence is very underrated. If you’ve got confidence in your ability, and the people you’re playing with, you’re going to succeed.”

Oh, those hot starts. It’s all about good habits and confidence and feeling good about team play. Are those quotes from the 4-0 San Jose Sharks?

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Filed in: San Jose Sharks, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: ottawa+senators, san+jose+sharks

When Do You Hit The Panic Button?

With the Blackhawks ditching Denis Savard just a handful of games into the season, it looks like teams are already freaking out about slow starts. There’s the old axiom that you can’t win the Stanley Cup in the first few weeks of the season but you sure can lose it.

I think that depends on your point of view and the context of the wins or losses. If you’re .500 a few weeks into the season but winning on lucky bounces and miraculous goaltending, there are reasons for worry. If you’re .500 because of injuries or bad breaks, it’s probably less of a concern.

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: brian+burke, dale+tallon, denis+savard, joen+quennville, randy+carlyle

On LCS Hockey Radio Tonight

For anyone that’s interested, I’ll be guesting on the LCS Hockey Radio Show tonight. I heard a rumor that in addition to puck talk, they’ll be trying to stump my geeky movie trivia knowledge with a resident expert of their own. The wackiness starts tonight at 9 PM EST/6 PM PST and you can tune in streaming audio here.

Update: The show is now available online.

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San Jose Sharks v4.0

With a victory over Columbus, the San Jose Sharks have gotten off to their best start ever and Todd McLellan’s short coaching record remains unblemished. It’s difficult to judge things this early in the season but anyone who’s seen a Sharks game so far can tell you that this team is far, far different from any previous Sharks team. There’s a swagger to the whole squad, a confidence that was never there under Ron Wilson.

Under Kevin Constantine (Sharks v1.0), the Sharks were a defense-goaltending squad that overachieved on the backs of miraculous Arturs Irbe saves and Sergei Makarov/Igor Larionov chemistry. The Darryl Sutter days (Sharks v2.0)  were about grit and power, almost to the point where skill was being squeezed out—ask Teemu Selanne about that. Even in 2003-04, when Ron Wilson (Sharks v3.0) transformed a bunch of speedy second-liners into Conference Finalists, that was more about system and synchronicity, the proverbial lightning in a bottle. The post-lockout Wilson squads were hit and miss but even at their best, everything seemed like a controlled affair. And these guys under Todd McLellan (Sharks v4.0—hey, the tech speak works, we are talking about a Silicon Valley team, after all)? There’s just a different shine to the whole package, a feeling like all the parts are finally working cohesively together.

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Filed in: San Jose Sharks, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: patrick+marleau, san+jose+sharks, todd+mclellan

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