Kukla's Korner

Sabres Could Use a Heist or Two

Blog: KK Hockey By @DaveDavisHockey

Rewind to three weeks ago:  The 2010-11 season is about to commence, and your friends over at Psychic Freaks Network get a few premonitions right for a change.  The crystal ball shows the Sabres completing their first 10-game segment with a winning road record, Derek Roy on pace for a 90-point season, and Tyler Ennis delivering pretty much as advertised and battling for the lead in rookie points.

If you’re a Sabres fan you’d be guessing first place on Halloween and hearing pundit predictions of a 40th franchise anniversary party with a happy ending, right?  After further review, you might want to throw that crystal ball in the trash along with the Brett Hull trading card your prankster friend got you for your birthday.

Given all of the above, plus the fact that Thomas Vanek, Tim Connolly and Drew Stafford are each on pace to exceed their respective goal totals from last season, how does this team find itself wallowing near the bottom of the pack at 3-6-1?

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, ryan+miller, thomas+vanek, tim+connolly, tyler+myers

GDT - Game #8: Red Wings host ‘Yotes (7:30)

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Jeff OKWingnut

Are you kidding me, we all know the 3 line is struggling.  Buckets (goal, assist), Hudler (two assists) and Modano (goal) have combined for five points in seven games, a little bit of a slow start to be sure.  But they are a combined minus-16, Hudler and Mo are each -6 in seven games - that is just obscene.  Compare the Serial Killers line (Mule, Wally and Bert) who have combined for nine goals, 12 assists, and a plus-13 rating.  Babcock is going with the usual suspects tonight (and Jimmah in net), but maybe not for long.  Gator is ready, but will be a healthy scratch.  Uncle Mike has put the 3 line on notice:  “My tendency is to put (in) a guy like Abby, who’s been injured, for a guy who’s not playing well,” Babcock said. “But I’m giving everybody one more kick at the can.”

Meanwhile, the Dogs are sucking wind, and hoping to avoid losing four in a row.  On Tuesday, PHX lost to OTT 5-2;  LaBarbera allowed two goals in a nine-second span before the game was six minutes old. Bryzgalov played the final two periods, stopping 14 of 16 shots,  He will likely start tonight, despite a record of 1-6-2 at the JLA.  Doan, returned from a three game suspension at OTT, and was held scoreless for the fourth time in five games.  Said Doan:  “As a group we haven’t been near good enough and it starts with myself. If you’re going to point a finger, you can point it at me directly,”  Yeah, well it certainly helps if you actually play the damn games instead of riding pine.

DET needs to avoid another trip to the Whiskey Bar, last game against PHX, DET were1-8 on the PP.  Of course DET’s 18.8% looks damn respectable compared to PHX 7.7%.  After five days off, I am hopeful DET can shake the rust off,  Game On, Bitches(!)

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Khabibulin Not So Great

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Staples at The Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,

Before he went out with a back injury last year, Khabibulin played so well that Oilers GM Steve Tambellini deemed his play to be MVP-calibre for the team, an overstatement perhaps. Nonetheless, Khabibulin certainly looked strong last year and put up decent enough numbers.

This year? Khabibulin started out well and his positioning has been as good as ever, but he and the team have been leaking goals against on the penalty kill. Not all of these goals against, or even many of them, have been Khabibulin’s fault, but he hasn’t always looked sharp. Especially troubling has been his propensity to be beaten on low shots through his legs. He’s not looking elastic enough to get down quickly, to cover off the bottom of the net, and to make those saves. Perhaps that will come, but there’s almost a year of rust on him, and one wonders if it’s just been painted over or truly repaired. 

The 2010-11 numbers don’t look good on him.

So far, Khabibulin has faced 231 shots and let in 23 goals, for a .900 save percentage.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nikolai+khabibulin

This Is Zherdev

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,

Early in the Flyers’ 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, Nik Zherdev casually retreated toward center ice as a Sabres defenseman snapped an outlet pass through him for an offensive rush.

One step behind the play, Zherdev reached out his stick in a half-hearted attempt to slow his opponent, then wheeled away as Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky kicked away the scoring chance.

A few shifts later, Zherdev pulled the puck away from the offensive left wall, cut to the middle of the ice, weaved his way past diving defenseman Chris Butler, and made world-class goaltender Ryan Miller look silly by unleashing a deadly wrist shot inside the left post.

This, the Flyers are learning, is what you get with Zherdev.

Sometimes he plays as if the puck is on a string, other times he tends to float.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nikolai+zherdev

JJ’s Three Cheers: 10/28/10

Blog: KK Hockey By Jon Jordan

Time again to a tip a few back, honoring the best of the best from last night’s NHL action:

***Cheers to Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis, whose highlight reel third period goal broke a 3-3 tie in Tampa and led the Lightning to a win over Pittsburgh by a final of 5-3. St. Louis also added an empty netter late to seal things and I’m fast becoming more and more convinced that the heart of the Bolts just keeps getting better all the time.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joe+thornton, martin+st.+louis, michal+neuvirth, semyon+varlamov

Leafs Better Win Tonight…

Blog: KK Members Blog By Shiv

Tyler Seguin (profanity) sucks. He is the worst (profanity) forward on the planet.

Tuuka Rask also (profanity) sucks. He is the worst (profanity) goalie on the planet.

Jared Knight sucks so (profanity) much that he couldn’t make a team that has Tyler Seguin on it.

Oh and even if we finish 29th-30th again this year, Adam Larsson and Sean Couturier are the worst (profanity) prospects in the history of the game.

I (profanity) hate the Boston Bruins.

Give us a win tonight boys.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: adam+larsson, jared+knight, sean+couturier, tuuka+rask, tyler+seguin

Uncle Mike’s Class Project

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

He’s got a midget addicted to Czech hookers, an angry Swede with a big ass and a huge chip on his shoulder, a backup goalie who still has Max Talbot nightmares, and a 40-year old pair of front teeth married to a Hollywood icon starring in a made-for-Versus mini-series about a cheerleading coach in the Midwest living under an assumed name while selling crock pots on QVC.

Oh, and his second-leading scorer is planning a tri-state killing spree over the All Star break.

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

San Jose Goaltending

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

This summer the San Jose Sharks starting goalie of the past several years Evgeni Nabokov jumped to the KHL.  This was a salary cap driven move, as Nabokov could get a bigger contract in the KHL than any NHL team in the current climate of the league would offer.  This forced San Jose to bring in a new goaltending pair.  They signed free agent goalies Antero Niittymaki from Tampa Bay and Stanley Cup winner Antti Niemi from Chicago.  Although neither is as good as Nabokov, I think this pair will be a success at least in the regular season.  San Jose has two goalies who are capable of playing well for stretches of a season Neither are stars who are likely to dominate for entire seasons, but as long as one is on his game most of the season, things will be fine.  San Jose has enough talent elsewhere to do well.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Various Paths to Tampa Bay’s Early Success

Blog: KK Hockey By Jon Jordan

It’s been said, time and again, that the truly great teams can beat their opponent on any given night with any particular style of play. While this year’s Tampa Bay Lightning shouldn’t be too quick to anoint themselves the NHL’s next great club - after nine games, that would just be silly - the results have been impressive to this point and wins are coming in a variety of ways.

Tonight’s triumph over visiting Pittsburgh was of the comeback sort, with the Lightning rebounding from a pair of first period shorthanded tallies by the Penguins, an early goaltending change with Dan Ellis replacing Mike Smith after three goals allowed on seven shots and a 3-1 deficit overall. While no team wants to get in the habit of having to battle back like that and, surely, it can drive a coach crazy, that the Lightning have already proven capable of doing so gives them immeasurable confidence and should pay dividends down the road.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+ellis, dana+tyrell, guy+boucher, martin+st.+louis, mike+smith, steven+stamkos, vincent+lecavalier

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I would say he’s working real hard but obviously I think he can play a lot better than what he’s shown so far.

“We talked about puck management, and there’s a player here who we expect to be solid at both ends of the rink,” Vigneault said. “Most of the times where Mikael has got himself in trouble or the team in trouble it’s exactly because of that - puck management.

“Not making the right plays, at the right time, in the right area.

“It’s hurting his game and it’s hurting the team.”

-Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault on the play of Mikael Samuelsson. Via Jason Botchford of The White Towel.

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

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