Kukla's Korner

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

"It's never an easy decision, and it's not the only decision, but there was definitely a shake-up needed. Especially after being up 3-0 and then losing four straight to a team that we should have never lost to. You always look to your leaders and we certainly look to all our top players, not just Joe and not just Patrick, but all of our top players as a whole and when you have one goal, two assists and collectively a minus-29 in your final four games, you have to start looking to shake things up a little bit."

-San Jose Sharks associate coach Larry Robinson on removing the 'C' and 'A' from Thornton and Marleau.  Robinson appeared on TSN690 today in Montreal and Fear The Fin has more from Robinson.

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: larry+robinson

The Chicago Blackhawks Have The Best Logo According To The Hockey News

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,

When THN’s seven-person panel sat down to come up with our rankings of the 30 NHL logos, we were basically in full agreement which team would be No. 1.

We didn’t want history to influence our decisions. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens sit outside the top 10 for that reason. Ranking all the Original Six 1-6 is boring, predictable and doesn’t accomplish what we wanted to do here: reward the best logos, not the longest history.

Even still, the Chicago Blackhawks stood up to that measurement. The vibrant color combination and the respectful way it honors a WWI battalion and a Native American chief sets this logo apart from the rest. If we handed out the Three Stars of these logo rankings, the Blackhawks logo would be one, two and three.

continued

Check out the rest of the rankings...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL 15 Voice Work

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Treadway of Sports Illustrated,

For a sports video game to truly thrive, several factors need to come together. Gameplay and graphics tend to take center stage, but a factor that's often overlooked but can seriously enhance or hinder a game's effectiveness is the commentators....

 I spoke with Sean Ramjagsingh, a producer on NHL 15, which will be released on September 9 and boasts "The most realistic broadcast package in a video game to-date."...

And that process has worked well with NHL 15's new commentators, Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk?

Yeah, they just take a second, they pause, they visualize it  and then they rattle off ten different speech samples based off that situation we give them. It gives us Doc and Eddie being Doc and Eddie as opposed to Doc and Eddie reading a script that we wrote for them that might be written in a way that's not their style. We ad lib as much content as we can. We'll have Doc and Eddie together, so they play off each other. That's where you get the true synergy between the two commentators. The one piece that we still need to script a little bit is around the names. So we want sentences or expressions to start with a player's name. We have 5,000 players in our game. We get the names right, make sure we get everybody, make sure we get them with the right intonations. So that's the more scripted part. Everything else we try to leave unscripted as much as possible.

For top players, a guy like Patrick Kane for example, would you have Doc and Eddie specifically say 'Patrick Kane' in a bunch of different ways or even give a specific anecdote about him?

Well for every player we'll have different intonations, different levels -- different commentators sometimes have more levels than others and Doc is fantastic. 

more

Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Jeff O’Neill On The Carolina Hurricanes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Katie Strang of ESPN,

Though the Carolina Hurricanes made significant changes in their front office and behind the bench – Ron Francis took over as general manager while former Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Bill Peters replaced Kirk Mueller as head coach -- following the team’s 13th place finish last season, the personnel has not fluctuated much.

And considering that the roster remains largely intact, Carolina’s top players really have to step it up, according to former Hurricane Jeff O’Neill.

“When you have a lot of long-term [contracts], guys locked in to big money, there is a philosophy around the league that you are only as good as your bad contracts,” O’Neill told ESPN.com in a recent telephone conversation.

And that leaves at least a few players under some pretty intense scrutiny for the 2014-15 season. Chief among them, according to O’Neill, is goaltender Cam Ward. 

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jeff+o'neill

Video- Steve Yzerman Does The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Time certainly does not stand still, I still picture Steve Yzerman's daughters as children...

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steve+yzerman

Riley Sheahan On The Competition At Center

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Bob Duff of The Windsor Star,

Detroit’s first-round draft pick in 2010, the 6-2, 212-pound Sheahan will be among a group of centres that include veterans Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm and Joakim Andersson, fellow second-year NHLer Luke Glendening and Stephen Weiss, a veteran free-agent addition last season who missed all but 26 games due to sports hernia surgery. Minor leaguer Landon Ferraro, who saw action with Detroit in four games last season, was also signed to a new contract.

“There’s definitely going to be some intensity in camp,” Sheahan said. “Obviously every guy is working hard and they want to solidify their spot.

“Right now you just got to focus on what you can do to make yourself better, go into camp with a good work ethic and go from there.

“I think if I go into camp with the same mindset and try to take that spot I had last year . . . there’s obviously going to be other guys trying to do the same thing. It’s going to be a little bit of a challenge, but it’s going to be healthy.”

more

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Expect The Boston Bruins To Make A Trade Before The Season Starts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

The Bruins are in a jam. They have approximately $69 million committed toward 2014-15. This includes Marc Savard’s $4,027,143 annual cap hit and roughly $4.75 million in overage penalties (bonuses achieved last year by Jarome Iginla, Torey Krug, and Dougie Hamilton) they must apply toward their number.

By opening night, they will use the long-term injury exception on Savard to exceed the cap by his average annual value. But even when accounting for that deletion, the Bruins have little breathing room to re-sign Krug and Reilly Smith.

It would be possible to re-up Krug and Smith without moving salary; it would not be preferable. Management would have close to zero roster flexibility to trade or sign players or carry extra bodies.

A trade, therefore, is coming.

The Bruins have excess on defense. General manager Peter Chiarelli has repeatedly classified nine defensemen as contenders for jobs when training camp opens Sept. 18. David Warsofsky, one of the nine, can be assigned to Providence without clearing waivers. But that leaves eight still in varsity play, which is one more than the Bruins usually carry.

Locks to stay are Hamilton, Krug, and Zdeno Chara. The captain is one of the team’s three most important players. Hamilton is developing into a top-four fixture. Krug is the power-play specialist.

Dennis Seidenberg is coming off major knee surgery. He also has a no-trade clause.

The four remaining defensemen are Johnny Boychuk, Matt Bartkowski, Adam McQuaid, and Kevan Miller. McQuaid, who is entering the final year of his contract, is a known commodity as a nasty and experienced defensive defenseman. But he does not have a good health history.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Taylor Hall Healthy And Ready To Go

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,

By skipping out on the World Championship, Hall was able to add a month to his workout regimen this off-season.

“That was probably the main reason why I didn’t go to Worlds, I wanted to give myself a really good summer to train,” Hall said. “It seemed like every summer I either had surgery or World Championships or an ankle to heal, so this summer was good for me in that regard. I got some good training in, I got on the ice a little bit earlier than I usually do, and hopefully, that helps out. I’m feeling good, I’m feeling healthy, I’m ready to go and I can’t wait for camp to start.”

Playing for the same head coach for two consecutive years should also benefit Hall heading into the year. In his four previous seasons with the Oilers, Hall has played for three different coaches, all seemingly wanting different things from him. This year, Dallas Eakins will be back behind the Oilers bench.

“That’s a really nice way to go into a year,” Hall said. “There is no awkward handshake at the start of the season (with new coach), it’s a business-like attitude now. I think Dallas feels really comfortable that way and I think all of us players over the course of 82 games got to know what Dallas expects from us and now we can hit ground running at camp.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: taylor+hall

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

"I'll be a depth guy (with the Avs), hopefully they're looking at me as a role model-type, someone who takes care of himself off the ice."

"I'm still committed to doing the little things to keep me where I'm at, having a job in the best league in the world."

-Jesse Winchester of the Colorado Avalanche.  More on Winchester from Todd Hambleton of the Cornwall Standard Freeholder.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jesse+winchester

Have The Winnipeg Jets Improved?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,

Are the Winnipeg Jets better right now than they were at this time last year?

Although there’s still nearly a month to go before main training camp, it’s a question that is generating plenty of discussion these days, whether it be around water coolers or in dressing rooms all across Manitoba....

While realizing the game is played on the ice and not on paper, let’s take a closer look at how the Jets are shaping up right now, position by position.

Goalies

Returnee: Ondrej Pavelec

Candidate for promotion: Michael Hutchinson

The wild card: Connor Hellebuyck

Who’s out: Al Montoya (Florida Panthers)

The verdict: Worse

Given how well Montoya played as the backup last season and the fact Hutchinson has only three NHL games on his resume, it’s tough to argue the Jets aren’t in a worse position between the pipes. Granted, they’re expecting improvement from Pavelec, believe that Hutchinson is ready to make the jump to the NHL after an excellent season in the minors and the future looks bright for Hellebuyck, who is turning pro after a brilliant college career but needs some seasoning. Pavelec understands the importance of the upcoming season and it’s time for him to take the next step in his progression.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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