Kukla's Korner

The Consequences of Cherepanov

It seems a little inconsequential to be discussing how the Alexei Cherepanov affects international hockey since the bottom line is that a kid just died, perhaps unnecessarily so. However, I know I’m not the only one who instantly wondered what was going through the minds of ex-NHLers who chose to go to the KHL or other NHLers who may have been contemplating that. Did it make them pause and wonder if they made the right choice?

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  Tags: alexei+cherepanov, khl

Yet Another Crosby/Ovechkin Article

From Versus.com:

Stick a microphone in front of them and this pattern continues. When introduced at a recent community function, the ever-exuberant Ovechkin announced himself by saying, “Heeeeeeeeeey, I score goals!” In contrast, Crosby has been known to break down his thought process for reporters, such as the time he explained how he once scored a on-one-knee sliding tap-in goal because he recognized that his teammate’s pass was going long and he’d have better reach if he simply kneeled down and lunged his stick out.

Who is this mystery writer and why is he so smart and good-looking?

Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin, sidney+crosby, versus

Defense Wins Championships? Not In Tampa

Matt Carle has the potential to be a great hockey player. But he’s not one right now. He’s an inconsistent but talented player that’s being thrown into the whirlwind mix of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” season. And generally, these types of situations either produce a superstar (rare, but possible) or shellshock career development (what happens most of the time). For better or worse (most likely worse), Carle epitomizes everything that’s wrong with the Tampa Bay Lightning in this young season.

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  Tags: matt+carle, tampa+bay+lightning

THN’s Top 50: A recap

Well, I wrote this huge post a few days ago recaping 1998’s The Hockey News Top 50 vs. 2008’s Top 50…and then my computer crashed. So, sorry about the slight delay in getting to this, but here is your list of today’s best players and the best players from a decade ago. If you look at the number of prominent young players in today’s list, it’s easy to see that this is now a young man’s game. Also, a few players have actually either maintained their position or gotten better (Nicklas Lidstrom, Scott Niedermayer, Daniel Alfredsson) while a few veterans are still hanging around after a decade (Joe Sakic, Martin Brodeur, Chris Pronger).

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  Tags: top+50+players

Buying Customized Jerseys: An Update

As many readers know, I’ve been trying to help people avoid the disasters of buying a customized replica jersey (RBK Premiere, not RBK EDGE) from NHL.com and their crappy iron-on lettering/numbering. I’ve received a little bit of feedback and have checked things out in the Bay Area, so here’s a little update.

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  Tags: jerseys

Keep Your Politics Out Of My Rink

A wise man once said that if you don’t bring up religion or politics, you can get along with anyone. I’m a pretty firm believer in that philosophy, and that’s why the whole notion of Sarah Palin dropping the puck at tonight’s Flyers/Rangers game as part of a “promotion” doesn’t sit right with me.

Sports, by and large, are supposed to bring us together. We go to our home teams to cheer together, regardless of age, race, religion, politics, or any other demographic denominator. You like Team A, I like Team A, we both hate Team B, then we can put everything else aside and high-five an awesome goal. I’m sure I don’t totally agree with the politics or philosophies of the people who sit around me at Sharks games, but I know when Jonathan Cheechoo makes the Anaheim Ducks look stupid, we can all cheer with each other.

Now, when you bring a politician into this world, you’re going to cause a divide—a divide that can be anywhere between uncomfortable to downright ugly. And it doesn’t help that Sarah Palin is currently one of the most polarizing figures in the United States.

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  Tags: philadelphia+flyers

The Morning of Opening Night

There are a few days in the year when I wake up with the feeling that nothing can ruin my day. The first day of the NHL season is one of those days. And sometimes, I get the feeling that fate’s out to test my little feel-good boast. Take, for example, this morning.

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  Tags: opening+night, superstitions

10 Years Ago: THN’s Top 50, #1

Well, we’ve made it to the end of our stroll down The Hockey News memory lane. As a quick refresher, here are the players selected from #5 to #2:

#5: Sergei Fedorov/Vincent Lecavalier
#4: Jaromir Jagr/Pavel Datsyuk
#3: Peter Forsberg/Henrik Zetterberg
#2: Paul Kariya/Alexander Ovechkin

You know you’re NHL gold when you show up on a commercial that isn’t sponsored by the league or its cable broadcasters. Presenting The Hockey News’ #1 player from the 1998-99 yearbook, Dominik Hasek.

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  Tags: dominik+hasek, sidney+crosby

10 Years Ago: THN’s Top 50, #2

We’re down to the penultimate pick in our review of the 1998-99 best players as listed in a decade-old The Hockey News Yearbook. Tomorrow, I’ll post #1, and then for Thursday’s opening-night post, I’ll have a complete list sans commentary of the 1998-99 Top 50 compared to the 2008-09 list. There’s definitely some eyebrow raisers in there. Of course, who knows how we’ll judge the 2008-09 list ten years from now.

Today, though, let’s look at a player that was one of the most dominant of the 1990s: Paul Kariya.

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin, paul+kariya

Who Will Win The West?

Regular season games have already taken place but for those watching the arms race in the Western Conference, the competition truly begins on Thursday night when Pacific Division heavyweights San Jose and Anaheim go at each other while Detroit showcases its might in a Cup-raising opener. These are strange times for many Western teams, when just about every team believes that it might have a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup. And for the most part, that’s probably true—squeak into the playoffs and there’s enough parity that you can do some damage. That’s how things go in the wild, unpredictable west.

Of course, the trick is to actually get a playoff spot. That’s a different story.

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: playoffs, western+conference

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