Kukla's Korner

Jason Spezza Returns To Ottawa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,

Naturally, the 31-year-old centre was asked what kind of reception he expects from Ottawa fans known for their love-hate relationship with the former captain.

“Fans are passionate, so I hope I’m remembered for giving my all and having some success here, but I expect them to support their team, too,” Spezza said. “They’ve always supported the club, but hopefully they appreciate that I gave everything when I was here and did all I could to help us win.”

About that. If only the Senators had cashed in one of those years – in 2003, when Spezza was the kid on the rise, or 2006 when Dominik Hasek went down, or 2007 when Spezza-Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson were the NHL’s top offensive line.

“We were so close for a three, four-year period there (and we) had as good a team as anybody in the league,” Spezza said.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jason+spezza

Detroit Red Wings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning- Preview And Notes

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

via Brian Hunter of NHL.com,

Season series: Ryan Callahan assisted on two goals by Steven Stamkos in regulation and scored the only goal of the shootout when the Tampa Bay Lightning won their first game this season against the Detroit Red Wings. Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen each had a goal and an assist for Detroit. The Red Wings enter Thursday one point ahead of the Lightning for the Atlantic Division lead.

Red Wings team scope: Injured goaltenders Jimmy Howard (groin) and Jonas Gustavsson (shoulder) were on the ice Wednesday along with Detroit's two active goalies, Petr Mrazek and Tom McCollum. Forward Tomas Jurco (back), who hasn't played since Jan. 6, skated on the fourth line with Joakim Andersson and Drew Miller. Coach Mike Babcock said Jurco will play Thursday, according to MLive.com, which also reported defenseman Jakub Kindl (elbow) has been cleared to return. However, rookie Xavier Ouellet will remain in the lineup for now. The Red Wings expressed wariness going up against Stamkos and the Lightning. "They're a deep team, good goaltending," forward Henrik Zetterberg told the Tampa Bay Times. "Obviously Stamkos is probably the best sniper in the League. That helps."

Lightning team scope: An 0-for-3 showing on the power play in a 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday left Tampa Bay 1-for-15 with the man advantage in its past five games. "I think our biggest problem is we just don't have that shooter's mentality right now," coach Jon Cooper said in video posted by the team. The Lightning were 16th on the power play at 18.1 percent entering Wednesday; contrast that with the Red Wings, whose 25.3-percent success rate was second. "I'm worried about our power play, not so much theirs," Cooper said. Forward Brian Boyle scored shorthanded against the Hurricanes and has goals in consecutive games. Forward Jonathan Drouin is fourth among rookies with 17 assists and tied for sixth with 19 points.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Time For A Trade In Vancouver

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,

They aren’t fast enough. They aren’t young enough. They don’t have enough mobility or scoring from the blue-line. And they don’t have enough snipers or size up front.

What they are is remarkably ordinary.

The good news is, other than goaltending, they can target just about any area in a trade — this side of a another defensive centre, bottom-six winger or washed-up veteran — and improve.

Size? Scorer? Power-play quarterback? Promising prospect?

Bring it all on.

The bad news is they are stuck in an awkward phase of rebuilding-on-the-fly and can’t afford to give up a draft pick, or any prospect who may be worth a damn in two or three years.

As currently constructed, the Canucks are good enough to beat down the destitute. And sometimes, if all goes right and their so-called battle level is cresting, they can appear comfortable hanging with the upper class.

more (no specific names mentioned)

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

World Cup Of Hockey Broadcasting Rights Goes To Sportsnet

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

TSN believes it took another shot to the chin from the NHL after failing to win the broadcast rights to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

No one is saying much publicly, but broadcast sources say George Cope, chief executive officer of BCE Inc., the parent company of the TSN and CTV networks, is not happy. TSN executives worried about the bidding process because Rogers Communications Inc. is in the first year of a 12-year, $5.2-billion contract for the NHL’s Canadian national broadcast rights. But TSN expected the competition for the World Cup, which is being operated by both the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association, to be a blind auction with the winner being the highest bidder.

The auction was held about 10 days ago and TSN’s bid was between $28-million and $32-million for the two-week tournament, which will be held for the first time in 12 years. TSN executives were sure they had the highest bid but were informed by the NHL that Rogers was the winner.

“We were told the rights were being awarded to Rogers,” Phil King, president, CTV, sports and entertainment programming, said Wednesday. “As far as we can tell, they [Rogers] seem to have a quasi right to match.”


Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Morning Line- Terry Frei

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Sure, Ryan O'Reilly is one of the possibilities to be moved to try to land that D-man, but the truth is -- and this is true in baseball and basketball too -- if an executive isn't open to listening to any and all offers for everyone on the roster, he's a fool. Note, I said "listen." If I were running a team -- we will now pause for the laughter to die down -- my position would be that nobody is untouchable and we will consider doing anything if it improves the team. And that could be the automatic answer to every question and rumor, including in hockey, where let's just say standards for vetting rumors before tossing them out are laughably low.

-Terry Frei of the Denver Post where you can read more on the Avalanche in a Q & A session with Frei.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Chicago Blackhawks Are A Frustrated Team After Losing To The Los Angeles Kings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Arritt at ESPNChicago,

"It’s frustrating." Crawford said. "We played a good game, and [the Kings scored] two quick ones at the end. I guess everyone can pretty much tell how we feel about that one."

Crawford was clearly unhappy with some of the calls that were made -- or not made -- during the game but passed on making any comments regarding the officiating.

Patrick Kane wasn't so reserved, pointing to a slash in the final minutes that resulted in a broken stick but wasn't called. He also referred to a penalty earlier in the game on Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook for using his hand to pull the puck out from under his backside as he sat in the middle of the slot, something he claimed the Kings had done just prior to the penalty.

"There were a couple calls that could have been made," Kane said. "[The referees] were maybe playing catch-up after we had three power plays [in the first period] and evened the score a little bit." 


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

Rivalry In The Making With The Tampa Bay Lightning

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings' move to the Eastern Conference in 2013 rekindled historic rivalries with Toronto, Montreal and Boston.

The Red Wings share no history with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who've been around for only 22 seasons. But this matchup has the potential to develop into good rivalry.

Tampa Bay is a talented, young team that appears well-positioned to be good for many years. The Red Wings believe they have enough young talent to help them remain competitive for the foreseeable future....

"I think once you start playing them in the playoffs, that's when the rivalry starts," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "When you go six or seven games against them, that's when you really start playing against them tough. That's when you get the anger. It gets a little more heated."

In one sense, these teams have met in the playoffs - in the 2013 Calder Cup final, when the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit's AHL affiliate, defeated the Syracuse Crunch, Tampa Bay's top farm club.

read on with comments from both Jon Copper and Mike Babcock...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Video- Recap Of The Three NHL Games Last Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Just under three minutes of highlights...


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The San Jose Sharks Will Have Decisions To Make On Their UFAs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,

Whether Wilson decides he wants to add to the team or trade some pieces for future assets is unclear, and could depend on how the Sharks perform leading up to March 2. The Sharks have a number of pending unrestricted free agents, like Sheppard, Kennedy, Desjardins and Niemi that could draw some interest on the trade market.

What Wilson has made clear is that he won’t trade a young prospect or high draft pick for a veteran rental. There have been no indications he’ll waver from his plan of transitioning his team away from older veterans such as Joe Thornton – who is still performing at an elite level – and Marleau, who hasn’t been, although neither of those two franchise icons is expected to be dealt at this point.

If the Sharks are going to become a contender, they will likely have to achieve it with the players that are already here.

much more on the Sharks and their fight for a playoff spot...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

All Quiet On The Trade Front

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Johnston of the Buffalo News,

With the March 2 NHL trade deadline fast approaching, Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray says the market might not be as busy as people think.

“It’s been quiet, to be frank. It’s been very, very quiet. We’re fairly close to the deadline and I didn’t expect it,” Murray told Buffalo radio station WGR 550 Wednesday. “I don’t expect every team to be active, but there usually are a small amount of teams that don’t wait for the deadline, that like to get it done before the deadline…It has, to me, been surprisingly quiet. People aren’t even kicking tires.”

The Sabres are currently dead last in the NHL standings and are expected to be sellers at the deadline. A number of Buffalo players’ names have been out there in trade rumours this season, including forwards Chris Stewart and Torrey Mitchell, plus defenceman Tyler Myers and pending UFA goalies Michal Neuvirth and Jhonas Enroth.

Murray said nothing is immanent on the trade front and that deals are more difficult to complete than many people think.


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

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