Kukla's Korner

Leo Komarov Wants To Be A Leaf

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Johnston of the CP at the Globe and Mail,

It’s an intriguing scenario for the Leafs. Drafted in the sixth round in 2006 by former GM John Ferguson Jr., Komarov has taken major strides over the last few years and was a key member of the Dynamo Moscow team that recently won the KHL championship.

His Russian contract has one year remaining and reportedly includes an out clause that can be enacted after the world championship wraps up later this month. He won’t be able to sign with Toronto until that happens.

“I’ve got a year in Dynamo left so I don’t know if they will let me go,” said Komarov. “It’s my agent’s work.”

Naturally, the Leafs are taking a wait-and-see approach to the situation.

They own Komarov’s North American rights and will only have to give him an entry-level contract, which allows them to move him freely between the NHL and American Hockey League. Leafs GM Brian Burke believes Komarov can play in the NHL and scouts have the five-foot-10 winger projected as a checking-line player in the mould of Jarkko Ruutu.

read on

Check out a highlight video of Komarov below…

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: leo+komarov

Kings Getting Recognized In LA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Stephens of the OC Register,

History is at hand for the Kings, and Drew Doughty witnessed up close what the power of a potential Stanley Cup run does to a long-suffering fan base.

The bandwagon effect already has spread to Angel Stadium of all places, where Doughty and teammate Trevor Lewis watched Doughty’s favorite team, the Toronto Blue Jays, blank the Angels on Friday.

“That was the most I’ve ever got recognized,” Doughty said Saturday. “People coming up to me for autographs and pictures. That’s the most that’s ever happened in L.A. for me.

“They threw us on the Jumbotron. I’m sure still half the crowd didn’t know who we were or anything like that. (But) we’ve never had this kind of support in here. It’s great to see and it just makes us want to go even further and win even more.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Enjoy The Two Playoff Games Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

If you are like me and just woke up after a little too much partying last night and then went into a panic thinking a game starts within in hour, you can relax.

But I am not sure the St. Louis fans can relax, I think the get swept today ending their season on a low note.

Regarding the evening game tonight, my bones tell me the Devils will make the series 3-1.  Bryz with a bad game.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Red Wings at the Worlds, Sunday: Finns edge Slovakia; Datsyuk scores for Russia, Zetterberg OK

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 7x at 4:04 PM: Two of the Red Wings’ three Sunday-playing participants in the World Championships faced off this morning, and the result was…Less than scintillating. Valtteri Filppula and Finland defeated Tomas Tatar’s Slovaks 1-0, with the Finns executing their trapping style to perfection while nursing the hell out of Janne Pesonen’s goal scored all of 7:32 into the 1st period.

Tatar skated hard, hit everything in sight and elegantly deked and dangled when the puck was on his stick, he went scoreless and finished at a -1 with one shot in 12:24 of ice time; Filppula skated strongly as well, but looked a little lost on the big ice at times, finishing with no shots in 18:08 of ice time.

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Red Wings overnight report: Worlds, day 2 wrap-up, on Jurco and Sunday rumors (and ‘Gus’)

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated #2: Now Ericsson’s injury is being described as a “sore hip,” according to Aftonbladet’s Tomas Ros: After two very busy days at the World Championships (see last overnight report and Saturday post for news and, surprisingly enough, mysterious links to web streams that just might help the geo-blocked watch the Worlds…how did those get in there?) the Red Wings’ participants—which now number an even dozen players with Kyle Quincey joining Team Canada—will receive something of a “slow day” as the six-game slate only includes two Wings players participating in games in Valtteri Filppula (Finland) and Pavel Datsyuk (Russia).

From the schedule post, here are today’s games, with their starting times updated and translated to Eastern Daylight Time:

May 6: 9:15 a.m. – Finland vs. Slovakia; [10:15 AM] – Russia vs. Norway

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Radulov and Kostitsyn’s antics aren’t as ‘Goose Loonies’ rare as one miight think

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons tosses some rather obvious hints at the John Tortorellas and Brian Burkes of the hockey world, discusses the “Russian problem,” Marc Bergevin’s qualifications, surprising playoff performers and the utter unpredictability of the playoffs in his Sunday column, but something tells me you might be more interested in the main thrust of his discussion:

When Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn got caught out too late and were cast aside by the Nashville Predators, it had to have stirred bad memories for a group of former Maple Leafs who believe that their 2002 run at the Stanley Cup was sabotaged internally by inappropriate player behaviour.  While many former Leafs refuse to go on the record to talk about the divide of 10 years ago, there are those, including Alexander Mogilny — ironically a Russian considering the current circumstances — who hold teammates responsible for the defeat of the favoured Leafs, costing them what they believe would have been a rare shot at the Stanley Cup.

As the story goes, at least four Leafs chose to go on something of a drunken binge between games — it isn’t known if coach Pat Quinn was aware of the situation — and when the Leafs lost Game 2 in overtime, on a puck that deflected off Shayne Corson, the team was so divided that it had trouble getting back together to perform for the rest of the series. The Leafs ended up losing three overtime games in all, being bounced by the Hurricanes in six games.

As much as it can be told, the story has been kept quiet over the years but it has never stopped players on that team from talking about it among themselves. That season, at the Leafs wrapup party, at least one fist fight between players took place. The damaged feelings have never been repaired.

Continued

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The inevitable, ‘Goalies have gotten too big!’ column

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

In an era where, if we believe what we read, NHL teams now find it at least unpalatable, if not irrational, to draft any goalie under 6 feet tall, the Globe and Mail’s Roy MacGregor offers the once-every-playoff-run column about the concept that goalies have gotten “too big” (although MacGregor at least acknowledges that shot-blocking and defensively-oriented playing systems might aid their causes), and that “something” must be done to somehow shrink the silhouettes of the 6’4” and 6’5,” 220-pound netminders without compromising their safety when a 6’4,’ 230-pound power forward inevitably crashes into them:

There has been much talk in past years of either enlarging the net or reconfiguring the bars so that they ricochet more inward than outward, which would have given New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk that third-period game-decider Thursday night. Goaltending guru François Allaire proposed just such a change in 2003, and three years ago developed a prototype that was used in a Toronto Maple Leafs practice.

“I never heard from them since then,” Allaire says. “But I still believe that will be the best way to increase offence without compromising the security of the goalies.”

Another way – one favoured by Hall-of-Fame goaltender Ken Dryden – is to shrink the equipment, something that is possible with today’s materials, but something that, as Dryden says, would be difficult to convince goaltenders that they’d still be protected as well.

Continued, and while shrinking the size of blockers or catch gloves much more might yield even more broken fingers and wrists than we’re seeing today, and 10-inch-wide leg pads were deemed all but dangerous by the goalies that tested them after the lockout, and the same “revolutionary” foams that work for leg pads don’t yet adequately protect arms or shoulders, there’s something to be said for rounding off those big blocks of layered foam and hard plastic on goalie pants and chest protectors.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Matheson talks long-term deals and the dangers of the high ‘cap floor’

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Must be something in the water. The Sunday columns are chock-full of good stuff this morning, and the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson’s Hockey World column is no exception. He manages to explain why the Canadiens traded Ryan McDonaugh for Scott Gomez, dishes Oilers draft talk, discusses the impact instant digital video scouting has had on attempts to score goals with Cam Neely and says that Cristobal Huet might find his way back to the NHL next season, but it’s in adding an agent’s take on what Roberto Luongo might command in terms of compensation—and what long-term deals like Luongo’s really mean from the perspective of the gentlemen who try to negotiate said deals, that he takes the cake in terms of adding insight to the mix this morning:

“I’m sure they’ll have to take back somebody else’s misstep or mistake, but I don’t think he’ll get traded for (Rick) DiPietro,” one longtime agent said jokingly.

The days of giving staggering 10-, 11-, 12-year deals to players, so teams can keep the average annual cap hit down, likely won’t be in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, with the contract running out on Sept. 15.

“I’m pro player and I’m out there to do the best job I can for them, but who can predict the future 10 years down the road? You’re lucky if you can do it next season,” said the agent.

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Skipping the ‘on the Russian problem’ part and going for the Brooksian gusto

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

None other than one of the pioneers in breaking the “enigmatic Russian” stereotype*—which obviously still exists—in one Igor Larionov did a fine job of explaining why there’s a “Russian problem” in the NHL while speaking to the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek on Friday, so let’s just say that the thrust of the New York Post’s Larry Brooks’ Sunday notebook states the obvious about the fact that Petr Klima, Bob Probert and hockey players born in St. Petersburg, Florida instead of Russia can do just as fine a job of breaking curfew to have a few beers, playing half-assed hockey while not earning their ice time and/or “sacrificing” personal goals for the team’s betterment, etc…

And let’s stick to the rest of his gabba and rumors:

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Garrioch ‘finds a way’ to drop some off-season rumors

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch is still in “regular season and playoffs” mode after more or less shelving his rumor-based columns after the trade deadline, but he managed to squeeze a few snippets of supposed scuttlebutt into a column discussing Game 4 of the Capitals-Rangers series:

The coaching carousel is going to turn soon. Waiting to find out if Guy Boucher (Tampa), Alain Vigneault (Vancouver), Joel Quenneville (Chicago) and Todd McLellan (San Jose) are going to be back. If Boucher or Vigneault get fired, they will vault to the top of coaching list in Montreal. All five are having their positions reviewed and Quenneville is on the thinnest ice. GM Mike Gillis wants Vigneault back in Vancouver but needs clearance from ownership.

The suitors will line up for New Jersey C Zach Parise on July 1. Detroit is going to make a pitch along with Minnesota. Don’t be shocked if the Bruins try to find a way. They haven’t got much room under the salary cap but GM Peter Chiarelli has a history of shrewd moves.

Montreal GM Marc Bergevin has work cut out for him. He has to sign G Carey Price and talk is he’s seeking a contract similar to the seven-year, $49 million deal to Nashville gave G Pekka Rinne earlier this season. No column is complete without a little gossip.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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