Kukla's Korner

Would You Sign This Guy?

It’s the end of September, which means that we’re subjected to the annual Peter Forsberg comeback rumors. (Everyone collectively roll their eyes right now.)

Been there. Done that. Excellent player when healthy. Still has great vision and hands. Fragile, capable of straining a groin while reaching in the cupboard for cereal. Has an alien-infested foot that can’t seem to fit in any skate.

Oh, but the temptation. Just imagine, if—this time, really!—Forsberg was healthy, wouldn’t he be a fantastic addition to a team? Sure, maybe not a #1 center (even the most desperate GM would be delusional if he counted on Foppa to be his top guy), but if you needed another playmaking forward, a fiery competitor, a veteran presence who knows how to win at the most crucial of moments…boy, that sounds inviting, doesn’t it?

Well Peter, what do you have to say for yourself? “But my foot felt better tonight, and it feels like it’s going in the right direction.”

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: peter+forsberg

Steven Patrick Morrissey vs. Patrick Marleau

(Hey, that’s two posts in a row that use something vs. something. Totally unintentional.)

If, while pondering the great mysteries of life, you’ve ever wondered how a Smiths song could possibly sum up an upcoming San Jose Sharks season, have faith in the universe—I’ve finally answered that burning question. Check out the 2009-10 San Jose Sharks preview over at Puck Daddy.

And now, musical awesomeness after the jump…

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

Versus vs. Common Sense

(Apologies for being MIA over the last little while. We’ve had a family medical situation, which causes priorities to shift quite a bit. Fortunately, things look much better this week. Don’t worry, I won’t go all Dwayne on you with soap-operaish details about my life other than that things are probably gonna be ok.)

The NHL season is two weeks away. I still don’t have Versus on my DirecTV, and it looks like I probably won’t have it anytime soon.

According to Puck Daddy, folks with Time Warner Cable may not be able to enjoy Center Ice at the season’s start

Great time to be a hockey fan with all this technology, right? Fortunately, there are other options, such as online streaming (both the official Center Ice Online and…uh…other not-so-official means, but you didn’t hear that from me).

Still, this whole mess just seems to be a game of chicken that doesn’t really need to be happening. While the collateral damage here is a bunch of big companies pissing off fans, Versus has the most to lose here. Sorry guys, but you’re just not important enough to most people to cause a seismic shift in how a broadcast provider measures its performers.

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: center+ice, espn, versus

Meet Dany (Through The Eyes Of A Sens Fan)

In the aftermath of the ginormous Senators/Sharks trade, Andrew the SENSHobo and I asked each other what we thought of our now ex-players. I spoke rather glowingly of Jonathan Cheechoo and cautiously optimistic of Milan Michalek. What does a Senators fan think of Dany Heatley? Well, there’s a lot less vitriol than you’d think. Unfortunately for Sharks fans, the whole notion that Heatley doesn’t backcheck or hustle…well…this only adds more weight to that idea. And it’s probably the main reason why I’m not totally sold on this deal yet.

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Filed in: San Jose Sharks, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: dany+heatley

Likely Sharks Lines

As an addendum to news about the Dany Heatley for Milan Michalek/Jonathan Cheechoo trade, here are the lines that Todd McLellan was originally using as Sharks training camp was opening:

Setoguchi/Mitchell (sitting out because of tendonitis)/McGinn

With Heatley in the mix, I’m guessing that McLellan will still want Marleau to stabilize/push Pavelski and Clowe into consistency while the top line becomes Heatley/Thornton/Setoguchi. The power play will likely be Heatley/Thornton/Marleau, with the option of throwing Marleau on the point (he’s done that from time to time) and Setoguchi up front.

I’m personally not a fan of what Heatley pulled this summer or his contract, but he had chemistry with Thornton in previous international stints.

Filed in: | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: dany+heatley, joe+thornton, san+jose+sharks

Maloney: “With a big season, we will make up for all the unrest…”

Last week, I interviewed Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney about a few different topics, such as where his young players stand, why Olli Jokinen didn’t work out, what he expects this year. You know, the usual things you’d ask a GM.

Oh, and that whole bankruptcy/auction thing.

While you wait for Friday’s court hearings result (and the inevitable continuation as A) nothing gets decided or B) someone appeals a decision), check out my Q&A with Maloney, along with my related article on Fox Sports (Update: Link is active as of 10 AM PST).

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Filed in: | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: don+maloney, phoenix+coyotes

Kessel Can’t Go To The Sharks (Directly)

Ok, so the Phil Kessel-to-San Jose rumors are flying about now thanks to the Sharks’ cap-clearing moves last week. However, a simple look at numbers shows that a trade between the two teams is pretty much impossible without a third party getting involved.

Please recall that the trading of Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich to the Vancouver Canucks opened up about $4 million of cap space. That’s why everyone thought the trades were a precursor to something else. However, the Sharks promptly signed Torrey Mitchell, Brad Staubitz, and Thomas Greiss, which took up about half of that $2 million cap space. As it stands right now, the Sharks are hovering around the $54 million mark. That leaves them with about $3 million in cap space.

The Bruins, on the other hand, have about $1.5 million to play with thanks to buyouts of Glen Murray, Peter Schaefer, and Patrick Eaves, along with the $3.3 million signing of Derek Morris. However, this is a best-case scenario as it doesn’t factor bonuses in there (bonuses count against the cap); if all bonuses are achieved, then the Bruins are technically around $1.5 million over the cap—and that’s even without Kessel’s new contract.

(For anyone interested, those bonuses are for Milan Lucic, Blake Wheeler, and Tuuka Rask. So you can be pretty sure that the first two will achieve their bonuses. The latter? Not so much.)

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: boston+bruins, phil+kessel, san+jose+sharks

Appropriate Use Of Hockey Terminology

Heard these terms lately?

Stoned: “Well, if you mean stopped a shot on goal, yes.”
Puck Bunny: “No. But I’ve met them.”

Who is this and what’s he describing? Here’s a hint—I think the world of the guy who was interviewed and I’ll still be sticking with the rival product in a few weeks.

Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink

Can’t You Remember?

With each passing day, I think I better understand just why Dany Heatley stayed silent for so long. It’s cause every time he opens his mouth, he appears worse and worse.

Today, he gave us this gem (hat tip to the Illegal Curve guys): “I love playing in Canada. I think there were some Canadian teams on the list that I gave the Senators earlier in the summer.”

Wait. You demanded a trade, you identified the teams you wanted to go to, and now you can’t remember them? You think there were some Canadian teams on the list? Maybe Jim Balsillie’s Make It Seven campaign made it confusing for you?

Ok, Dany, seriously, let’s do the math. There are the 30 teams in the leagues. Six of them are Canadian. You’re on one of them, so you can only go to five other ones. Reports suggest that you had a list of about a half-dozen teams.

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: dany+heatley

Bizarro Heatley, Bizarro Clouston Kiss and Make Up

Here’s what Dany Heatley’s saying about his situation to the media today:

“When I signed in Ottawa two years ago, I felt it was to be an integral part of the team,” Heatley said. “Over the last two years and more recently over the past year, I feel my role was diminished. This past season, it diminished a lot more.”

But in Bizarro world, things could played out much differently. Come trip with me across space-time thanks to a drop of red matter, and let’s peak in on a very respectful conversation between Bizarro Heatley, Bizarro Cory Clouston, and Bizarro Bryan Murray.

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Filed in: | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: cory+clouston, dany+heatley

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