Kukla's Korner

SI’s Dater profiles Red Wings GM Ken Holland

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

As we wait for Larry Lage’s placeholder for a feature on Nicklas Lidstrom to fill itself out with quotes and quips, SI’s Adrian Dater (of all people) provides a superb profile of Red Wings GM Ken Holland, who sounds like a man that goes to work every day with a smile on his face:

“I pinch myself a lot,” he says. “I can still remember just being a 14-, 15-year-old kid playing road hockey in the driveway with the neighbors and pretending I was an NHL player, and [I got] a little cup of coffee in the NHL. Then at the age of 29, I really thought I was done with hockey. I was just trying to find a life.”

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Lanny McDonald says NHL must better protect its players from concussions

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Former Calgary Flame and Toronto Maple Leaf Lanny McDonald spoke to the Regina Leader-Post’s Greg Harder about the NHL’s concussion epidemic, and McDonald believes that the NHL can and should do more to ensure that its players’ noodles don’t get scrambled so very regularly:

“There’s a couple things I think about and kind of worry about,” McDonald said Wednesday from Calgary. “Obviously everyone is talking about the concussion challenges. The players today are bigger, faster, stronger, in phenomenal shape, moreso than they were 15, 20 years ago. With the speed of the game and the size of the players and how quickly those gaps close out there, they need to take a long hard look at the equipment, even if they take a step backwards (with more padding).  Now, just a glancing blow with the new, lighter, harder-than-a-table-top equipment, you’ll end up with a concussion. That’s a big worry. And the respect factor and what we are demonstrating and trying to get across to our young people because they emulate everything that happens in the pros.”

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Bruins’ doctors to tell Savard whether his season’s over

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Via TSN and ESPN Boston’s Joe McDonald, Boston Bruins center Marc Savard’s imminent hockey future will be determined either today or on Friday, when the Bruins’ doctors reevaluate his neurological status:

The Bruins will wait until after he’s tested before making a decision of whether or not his season is over. It’s likely Savard will shut it down for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season.

“He’s due in today, but I don’t think we’re going to get an answer today,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “I think people are all waiting for an answer here.”

Julien made it a point to explain that the decision is completely up to the team’s medical staff.

“With concussions it could be a matter of saying we’re going to give it another week and see how you feel, or we don’t know when that answer is going to come so that’s where we are right now with Savvy,” said Julien.

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You were expecting ‘fair and balanced?’

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

The Red Wings caught a break during their 7-5 win over the Ottawa Senators thanks to a new twist on the “intent to blow” rule.  Kevin Pollock argued that Chris Neil did not score an apparent goal because Jimmy Howard was pushed into the net, marking the second time in a week that this rule’s been applied to Howard. Even more strangely, TSN’s new “That’s Hockey 2Nite” show offered former NHL referee Kerry Fraser an opportunity to explain and/or question the ruling after the game, and instead, he gushed about Pollock’s judgment call, as noted by Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski:

Fraser’s analysis is, alas, fuel for his critics. Go ahead, cite the rulebook, and ignore reality: Chris Neil(notes) lands on Jimmy Howard’s(notes) pad as the puck is already over the goal line. “It was under him and he was pushed into the goal” is fiction. It didn’t happen. If Kevin Pollock thought he saw the goalie being pushed into the net, then he blew the call.  Are we going to hear that level of honesty from Fraser in this segment? Of course not.

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

TSN, NHL.com dish trade talk

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The NHL’s trade deadline is only 25 days away, and as such, both TSN’s Darren Dreger and NHL.com of all places dish trade talk. Dreger suggests that the Columbus Blue Jackets may move Steve Mason or Jakub Voracek, and he says that unrestricted free agent goalie Ray Emery may find a home over the next day or two:

At least three NHL teams have expressed interest in goaltender Ray Emery.  Sources have confirmed both the Anaheim Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers are in the mix as two of the three teams, however neither team is at a point where they’re prepared to make an offer to sign the unrestricted free agent. Although, the expectation is teams will make their move on Emery within the next 48 hours.

Former Ottawa Senators goalie coach, Eli Wilson has been working with Emery, focusing on the technical side of his game following extensive hip surgery.  This morning, Wilson proclaimed his client is good to go, “he’s ready now!”

Emery fully expects to start his comeback in the American Hockey League which may be enticing for teams willing to take a chance, while looking to add goaltending depth to their organization.

NHL.cm’s Corey Masisak says that the Thrashers want to make a move or three, too:

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Malkin Back Friday vs. Buffalo, But Letestu out 4-6 Weeks for Surgery

Blog: The Confluence By Tony

According to HDCB, the Penguins will get Evgeni Malkin back for their home game Friday vs. Buffalo, but that news is tempered by Mark Letestu now being out of the lineup for 4-6 weeks after requiring knee surgery (assumption on the knee part).

In addition, HCDB stated that Arron Asham is considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury (believed to be shoulder).

No further updates on Sidney Crosby, other than he “continues his functional rehab and light exercises”.

Filed in: Pittsburgh Penguins, | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

Friedman: Golisano’s Scouting Cuts Hurt Buffalo’s Chances

Blog: KK Hockey By Jon Jordan

From Elliotte Friedman at CBC.ca:

While researching how different organizations approached scouting, several other teams ripped Buffalo’s approach. At the time, Golisano considered that self-serving, because those people stood to lose their jobs if “The Sabre Way” caught on. But, what interested me most was a common thread throughout many of those conversations. It went like this: “I’ll explain to you why video scouting is a bad idea. But, I’m not going to rip Darcy because he’s at the mercy of his owner.”

In the interview, Golisano didn’t exactly disprove that theory.

“These scouts are traveling all over the world. All these expenses, could they accomplish a lot more staying in one place with the use of video?” the owner said. “And they believe they can. If somebody interprets that as not being progressive and being regressive, that’s too bad. But we think we’re far more efficient and have a much better scouting organization than we did three years ago.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, NHL Entry Draft, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: darcy+regier, lindy+ruff, sabres+sale, tom+golisano

Listen Live To Pegula Presser

Blog: KK Hockey By @DaveDavisHockey

The press conference announcing the sale of the Sabres to Terry Pegula is scheduled for 12:00 pm EST at HSBC Arena.

Click here to listen live, courtesy of WGR-550 AM.

Tom Golisano, who is selling the team to Pegula for $189M, and minority owner Larry Quinn will be in attendance.  A long silence will be broken as this will in effect be the first time Sabres fans and media have heard from Golisano, with regards to the hockey team, in nearly 2 1/2 years.

Pegula will not be at today’s press conference and is expected to hold a separate session in the near future.

Update 12:00 pm:
You can also watch the presser live courtesy of WGRZ-TV.  Click “play video” on the right.

Update 12:12 pm:
Golisano just stated that he turned down a previous offer for $70M more than this one, because there was a stipulation that the Sabres could be moved.  Also, as previously had been reported, there is a clause in the contract of this agreement that Pegula is never allowed to relocate the club.

Update 12:29 pm:
Quinn says official closing should take place before the trading deadline.  There is a small list of players that are not allowed to be traded before the closing.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

This & That: On Smith, DiPietro vs. Johnson, Lightning Announcements, Caps’ Playoff Hopes and More

Blog: KK Hockey By Jon Jordan

Introducing This & That. a feature set aside for those days when my brain is incapable of any smooth transition from one thought to another. Instead, a random spattering of things I’m thinking, items I meant to include elsewhere but may have forgotten and miscellaneous ramblings that may otherwise have no defined category or forum for inclusion.

(Plus, this way, I never have to use the term “hodgepodge” again.)

Off we go:

—-“If Smitty gets claimed, it’s good for him. If he doesn’t, he goes down and plays for us down there. We want to get him playing.” – Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, on recently waived netminder Mike Smith.

To the first point, absolutely. As far back as late last season, I was wondering whether or not Smith might be better off with a fresh start. Amid flashes of brilliance, Smith has struggled consistently throughout his tenure in Tampa and had all kinds of promise stifled by injuries. This year, despite unsightly statistics, some in scouting circles have seen reason for optimism in his game, giving new life to the idea that he might somehow flourish in a new situation.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brent+johnson, cedrick+desjardins, dwayne+roloson, jeff+skinner, mike+smith, nhl+guardians, rick+dipietro, steve+yzerman

Even if the M11 helps prevent concussions, it’s hard to sell a ‘bucket helmet’

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Former NHL’er Mark Messier lent his name to long-time lacrosse helmet maker Cascade’s entry into the hockey market, now known as the “M11” helmet, for over two years now, but he and Cascade are finding a helmet which claims to help protect against concussions by reducing the force of acceleration (a.k.a. G’s) absorbed by the head when hit, thus reducing the concussive force absorbed by a brain that quite literally sustains bruises when it sloshes around and hits the inside of the human skull.  Messier is frustrated by the M11’s slow adoption by NHL players, as the CBC’s Tim Wharnsby notes:

“We hope that players wear this helmet before they get injured as a preventative measure,” Messier said.  “It’s like anything else in healthcare industry, it’s the preventative medicine or measures that are important. No helmet in the world will completely stop concussions 100 per cent, but the technology in our helmet reduces the risk of concussions.  We know it works. We have the empirical data from the lab that says it reduces the risk of concussion better than any other helmet in the market. That’s a given. Educating and convincing everybody that there is a helmet that actually does this is a challenge.”

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