Kukla's Korner

23 Intently Staring Goalies

On the trading room floor

I was listening to the post-post game show on WGN radio this past Friday night, when a caller asked about trades. The show’s host Judd Sirott, said that everyone is looking to get a Center or a Defenseman.

Well, yeah, except when they’re looking for a goaltender. And as the trading deadline approaches we’ll start seeing teams trying to get that second goalie who can spell their star, or who will be looking for some fresh talent to try out in goal as the season slams head-first into the playoffs.

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  Tags: goalies, goaltenders, nhl, trades

Chicago goaltending is like leftover breakfast oatmeal: cold and lumpy

All across Canada this morning, children everywhere were clamoring for oatmeal with berries for their breakfast, after hearing about Sam Gagner’s morning meal.

Meanwhile, in the Chicagoland area, children were seriously reconsidering their breakfast options, especially if they’re playing goal.

Every NHL goalie has one game a season that comes under the moniker of “not a demo reel night”. The trick is keeping the blowouts and belly-ups down to a minimum, and the Chicago goaltending duo of Crawford and Emery are hovering dangerously close, if not already having crossed that line.


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  Tags: blackhawks, bowman, crawford, emery, quenneville

Taking one for the team, even when it’s not at a game

Well, who knew that a NHL goaltender could be so lacking in grace?

Everyone else is talking about l’affaire Tim Thomas, so I might as well get my two cents in.

First a confession:  I have a number of relatives who, while not career politicians, sure made an attempt at it. They did this in and around Chicago, and oddly enough on both sides of the political aisle.

What did this mean to me? I attended a lot of events where I wasn’t particularly happy to be there, and didn’t necessarily agree with the views of the people putting on the party.

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  Tags: goalie, goaltender, manners, tim+thomas

One More Season for Brodeur?

Marty Brodeur says he wants to play at least one more season.  At some level, this has to make Lou Lamoriello happier, because he doesn’t have to figure out who’s going to be in goal next year. On the other hand, New Jersey is going to be playing, if they stay with the current duo, with 40 and 39 year old goalies.

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  Tags: brodeur, goalies, goaltender

Bi-Coastal Goalie Woes

It’s the New Year—how’s your goalie situation?

The lucky teams have 2 (or 3!) healthy, happy goalies, and some nice spares in the AHL.

The not quite so lucky teams have 2 not so healthy, maybe not so happy goalies. The even less lucky ones might be able to scrape together a goalie from the three they are carrying, but don’t count on it.

Then we have the teams that are looking into the abyss, with injured and/or past their pulldate goalies, and nothing much of interest in the AHL cupboard.

And the teams with 3 happy, healthy goalies rap every piece of wood they can find, and wait for the phone calls.


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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, florida+panthers, goalies, iiro+tarkki

Chris Mason’s Hairy Problem

Chris Mason has a hairy problem. It was time to him to give his beard a trim, and he started winning. Four games later, he’s still winning, and the beard is still there.

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  Tags: beard, chris+mason, goalie, winnipeg+jets

Petr Mrazek—worth the price of admission!

If you’re not paying attention to the World Junior’s, start—now.  Selected games are on the NHL Network in the US and TSN in Canada.  And we have a hot goalie with, *gasp*, personality.

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  Tags: goalie, petr+mrazek, world+junior+championship

The Ryan Miller Mystery

I’m probably like a lot of people in Buffalo, wondering what exactly is going on inside Ryan Miller’s head. After this weekend’s performance, along with what the owner had to say, my predilection is to pull Ryan Miller immediately and put them through a couple more tests, specifically a guided EEG,  because I want to find out exactly what is going wrong, and whether it’s his brain or his mind—or both.

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, pegula, ryan+miller

Parent back for Alumni Game

A month ago, I was trying to come up with enough goaltenders to play the game, and had enough of a connection to either team that they made sense. If you start working through the lists of goalies who had significant careers with either team, there’s a lot of     "He still looks great, but he’s 80 years old!" or " hear that faint scream? That’s the orthopedic surgeon who put that goalie’s knees back together the last five times."

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Billy Smith, to the Angry Red Phone, Please!

Ryan Miller comes back, gets hit. Everyone had to see this one coming, especially with the Predators’ situational behavior-challenged Jordan Tootoo. It was right to put Tootoo in the box, and he should be expecting a call from Brendan Shanahan some time this week.  The overhead camera shows that Miller was on the magic blue ice, and Tootoo didn’t make an attempt to stop before he said hello.

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  Tags: goalie, ryan+miller, sabres

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About 23 Intently Staring Goalies

23 Intently Staring Goalies comes from the 23 close-up photos of goalies that used to line the walls of my office.

On the good side, it kept down interruptions, but it also made sure I had to leave my trash outside my door if I wanted it picked up.

I've been watching and analyzing goaltenders for going on 40 years. Some of that was spent drawing goalies on my grade 8 math homework. Then it was taking my card decks and printouts to Indianapolis Racer games. Luckily, the Internet took off, and by 1991 I was half of the duo that would ultimately become the Plaidworks hockey mailing lists. I wrote "Handicapping the Goalies' for the San Jose Sharks mailing list, and took a lot of photos of goalies in action. I have around 5000 slides of mostly goaltenders in action from 1989 through 2001 from the WHL, IHL and NHL. Since I've gone digital, I've added about 10,000 more images to the library. During summers and when the league went dark, I was reading through multiple SF By area news papers, tracking ice hockey from the 1917 recreational leagues up through the California Seals.

We'll be talking about goalies and goaltending. We'll talk about whats going on now, who's in the system, and when the doldrums hit, I'll haul something out of the big bag of history, or something from the photo archives. We'll talk about who's hot and why, and who's not and what they can do to get back on track. We'll take a look at the trends in scouting goalies, and why a style may work for one team but not another. I'll battle with my dictation software to get it to understand Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky.

It should be interesting--hope you want to come along for the ride!


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