Kukla's Korner

Wild Finding Success

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,

From the moment Richards took over in June 2009, the talking points were up-tempo, high-flying hockey; activate the defense; play on your toes, not your heels.

Today, a quality forecheck still is the name of the game, but it’s the Wild’s commitment to being solid defensively that has created success.

This is not a return to Lemaire “defensively sound,” where the Wild trapped up the middle and waited for opponents’ mistakes.

This is about simplifying the defensive zone. It’s about quick retrievals and outlets. It’s about an in-your-face, box-out mentality. And it’s about players feeling comfortable chipping the puck out if they’re in trouble.

In turn, the Wild is spending less time in its own end, always the key to success in hockey.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Make A Deal Or Not

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,

And even if the suddenly-hot Jackets don’t need to make a deal - hey, they are 8-3-2 in their past 13 games - everybody wants them to make one. It’s human nature. Two weeks before the trade deadline, other teams in the Western Conference have started making deals - the Nashville Predators and the Anaheim Ducks, to be specific - and it’s only natural to assume that if the Jackets don’t do something to keep up with their neighbors, they risk being left behind.

My feelings are no different. I’d like to see the Jackets trade a third-round draft pick and a couple of spare parts for a perennial All-Star or two, but I guess I’m also a bit of a contrarian. Even if it sometimes seems as if general manager Scott Howson moves at the speed of a glacier - if you’re looking for him to give the Jackets a couple of upgrades on the blue line, check back here in 100,000 years - I find myself agreeing with him most of the time.

A bad deal is worse than no deal. Sure, it might be good if Howson could show his team he’s trying hard to help by swinging a trade for a player or two, but the idea of trading Jake Voracek or Steve Mason on a flier seems crazy unless he can truly get value in return.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

AUDIO: Last Night’s Guest Spot on NHL Home Ice’s Face Off

Blog: KK Hockey By Jon Jordan

I stopped by SiriusXM’s NHL Home Ice once again to chat with Jamie Shalley on Face Off last night. We previewed tonight’s Flyers/Lightning matchup, spoke of the last time these clubs met, considered the options for Tampa Bay headed toward the trade deadline, speculating on what type of additions, if any, Steve Yzerman might make to bolster his playoff-bound club and much more (before Shallz had to run me off the air after I ate up all of his time).

Here’s a direct link to the segment, or you can just click play after the jump:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, Center Ice, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Bad Day To Be An Avalanche Fan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

Listen, I’m not a kick-em-when-they’re-down kind of guy. I’ll take my shots as a reporter and be critical, as I think you all know about me by now. But there comes a point where you stop beating that dead horse and leave it alone. I don’t like piling on and being more sarcastic.

But obviously, today was just a disaster in Colorado Avalanche history. Peter Forsberg retires earlier in the day, and the Avs lose 9-1 to Calgary at night. The boos heaped on the team by the sparse crowd at the end were well deserved.

I know what you’re all wanting to ask right now: will tonight’s incredibly dismal performance and eight-game losing streak cost Joe Sacco his job? Tonight, I have no idea. Tomorrow? We’ll see.

I was supposed to have a nice off-day today, but Forsberg had other ideas, and I have just finished watching tonight’s performance. It was the worst game I ever saw the Avs play, no question about it. The nine goals were the most they’ve EVER allowed in a game.

continued

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

Red Wings’ alums say 2002 Cup-winning team would have lost to 1997 team

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

The Sporting News has opened up its list of the top ten NHL teams of all time to fan voting to re-shuffle the list, but it’s not including new teams in its rankings. Brendan Shanahan and Kirk Maltby wish the Sporting news’s star-studded panel of NHL experts had included the Red Wings’ 1997 Stanley Cup-winning team instead of its 2002 Cup-winning roster because they believe the 97 team was an entirely different animal:

[T]wo guys who played on that team say that wasn’t even the best version of the modern Red Wings, who won the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2007. “I would say 2002 was deeper, maybe had more talent,” says Shanahan. “But ’97 was just meaner, tougher, might have kicked the (expletive) out of ’02.”

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Burke Goes Shopping For Deals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Everyone happy now?

Of course not. The fact the Maple Leafs now own a 2011 first-round draft pick might please some, but others will moan that it’s not the right first-round pick.

It’s also not what Brian Burke really wanted.

Yes, Kris Versteeg did fetch a first and a third from a Philadelphia club eying the Stanley Cup, but Burke would rather have received a player than the first rounder.

It’s pretty clear he wanted lanky centre James Van Riemsdyk, but the Flyers wouldn’t do the deal. Weeks ago, Burke might have hoped he could pry pivot David Booth out of Florida for Versteeg, but the Panthers didn’t want to do that. So he settled for a low first, lower than what Ottawa got for Mike Fisher from Nashville, which makes sense given that Fisher is the better player.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kris+versteeg

Red Wings overnight report: injury updates, on Mike Modano’s return and power rankings

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note for your Tuesday morning perusal:

As mentioned on Monday night, the Wings received good news on the injury front on Monday. Defenseman Brad Stuart plans on returning on Thursday vs. Tampa Bay, assuming that the Wings’ doctors allow him to do so.  Stuart will continue to wear the bottom half of an Itech full face shield to protect his jaw, and he told the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness that we shouldn’t expect him to get up to full speed for at least another week or two (by which time Mike Modano and Valtteri Filppula should return):

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Former Red Wings VP Steve Yzerman says Wings-Bolts tilt isn’t about him

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

Former Red Wings player and VP Steve Yzerman took part in a conference call on Monday afternoon, and while many Wings fans are making a big deal out of Thursday night’s tango with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who sit in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 34-17-and-5 record, Yzerman offered the same commentary about the significance of Thursday night’s game that he would any game against a contending team—the Bolts are definitely facing a “measuring stick” game on Thursday, but, as he told the Free Press’s Helene St. James, the bottom line is that Yzerman’s neither a player nor a coach, so the Wings-Bolts game game simply isn’t about him:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Retire #30? Red Wings face numbers crunch as Cup-winners retire

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

The Detroit Red Wings simply don’t retire just anyone’s number, as evidenced by the fact that only Terry Sawchuk’s #1, Ted Lindsay’s #7, Gordie Howe’s #9, Alex Delvecchio’s #10 and Steve Yzerman’s #19 are the only Wings numbers to grace Joe Louis Arena’s rafters (Larry Aurie’s #6 and Vladimir Konstantinov’s #16 are also out of circulation). At this point, it appears that only Nicklas Lidstrom’s #5 will join them when the Wings’ captain eventually hangs up his skates.

As the protagonists of the Wings’ Stanley Cup wins in the 90’s and first decade of this century retire, however, the Wings face a dilemma: the team’s already decided to not retire Brendan Shanahan’s #14 or Chris Chelios’s #24 as neither player spent the majority of his career with the Red Wings, but do Darren McCarty, Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper deserve at least some sort of collective “Grind Line” banner? Is Tomas Holmstrom the kind of grinder whose hockey pants should be raised to the rafters, directly in front of a net with a shooter tutor?

More seriously, does the estranged Sergei Fedorov’s #91 merit retiring, and, as the Detroit News’s Terry Foster suggests, should the Wings recognize Chris Osgood’s 400-win, 3-Cup-winning career by retiring #30?

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Lemieux Statement Not Being Well Received

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

The NHL has no intention of fining Mario Lemieux for his critical public remarks on the league’s handling of disciplinary matters following the New York Islanders-Pittsburgh Penguins gong show on Friday night.

Lemieux is, however, losing big in the court of public opinion. He’s being called a hypocrite by those who feel Penguin forward Matt Cooke’s style of play, questionable at best and dirty at worst, should preclude Lemieux from condemning aberrant behaviour. Also, Lemieux implying he may have to re-think his involvement with the NHL because of this has many portraying Lemieux as a spoiled kid who’s thinking about taking his puck and going home because he doesn’t like how the game is going.

All that said, though, the Cooke issue and Lemieux’s specific criticisms are really apples and oranges.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mario+lemieux

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