Kukla's Korner

The Future Looks Bright

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,

This might be hard to hear, but here goes: Gary Bettman was right. The commissioner of the National Hockey League knew what he was doing as he weighed the risks and rewards during the lockout. In reality, the risks were never that great. The rewards already are.

Bettman made a calculated business decision. He sacrificed a few months and ticked off a lot of people, but he secured a better labor agreement for the owners and could count on the fans and sponsors to come back, based on history and cold, hard data.

By salvaging a 48-game regular season, Bettman set up the NHL to rebound immediately. The league returned for the time of year when it always draws the most attention and generates the most revenue, anyway, and it amped up the competition with a compressed, every-game-matters sprint to the playoffs.

For all the loud protests and dire predictions, the fans haven’t seemed angry or apathetic. They have seemed eager and engaged. Just 2-1/2 months after the NHL got back to business, business is booming, and the league is looking at ways to goose growth to record levels in the future.


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Pominville Trade Process

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chip Scoggins of the StarTribune,

Whatever the proper description, Leipold’s insatiable thirst for winning has compelled the Wild owner to execute some bold transactions, regardless of cost. His latest shrewd move happened last week when the Wild agreed to give up two prospects, a first-round draft pick and a second-round pick to acquire Buffalo captain Jason Pominville at the trade deadline.

That hefty pricetag might have caused other owners to stand pat. Leipold pushed his chips to the center of the table.

This guy is all-in in his quest to make a deep postseason run this spring.

“In order to get a really great asset,” he said, “you have to trade great assets.”

Leipold represents precisely what sports fans should covet in an owner: a big thinker who is willing to commit money and resources to give his team the best chance to succeed; someone who is passionate about his product and not paralyzed by the unknown or an overarching fear that a deal might backfire.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: craig+leipold, jason+pominville

Red Wings overnight report: Margin for error? We don’t need no stinkin’ margin for error!

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I'm sticking with Fox Sports Detroit's Ken Daniels on this one. The reason I lost my temper after the Wings-Blues game, and the reasons that Wings fans have been so frustrated while watching their favorite team continue to consistently drop "must-win games" down the stretch, all boil down to 55.

During an 82-game season, teams tend to earn playoff spots if they win 94-96 points on their own, and sometimes less if they receive "help" in the form of higher-ranked teams defeating their playoff-pack peers. By way of multiplying 95 by 48/82nds of a season, you get 55.609756 (with the 609756 repeating infinitely).

So the 39-15-and-5 Red Wings, who possess 42 points and sit in eighth place in the Western Conference (thanks in no small part to the Vancouver Canucks defeating 40-point-holding Phoenix and Anaheim defeating 39-point-holding Edmonton on Monday night), have 9 games remaining, and to reach that magic 55-point number and not need significant "help" from the Chicagos, Anaheims, Vancouvers and Minnesotas of the Western Conference, the Wings need to earn 13 points out of a possible 18.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Late Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“Some guys are more worried about their Vegas trip at the end of the season than playing the games, than playing every minute of the games. Quite frankly, I don’t care about your Vegas trip right now.”

- Jean-Sebastien Giguere, goaltender for the Colorado Avalanche after losing to Calgary 3-1 tonight.  Much more from Giguere by Adrian Dater of All Things Avs.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jean-sebastien+giguere

Top Defenceman

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Nearing the end of February I picked Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins as the Norris Trophy leader.  He took over from Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators who suffered an Achilles injury.  Letang too has fallen to injury.  He hasn't played in slightly over a week.  That leaves us in a situation where there isn't a clear front-runner for the Norris Trophy, yet somebody still must win it. 

A look at the top scorers among defencemen gives us PK Subban, Ryan Suter and Niklas Kronwall.  None of them is among the strongest defensive players in the league.  There is room for a strong defensive defenceman who is a little back of these guys as the Norris Trophy leader.  That is where I pick Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators.

Weber had a slow start offensively but he is making up for it now.  He is currently eighth among defencemen with 23 points.  His defence remains strong as always.  Weber is second in ice time in the NHL.  He stands 13 seconds behind Brian Campbell.  He plays against the toughest competition of any Nashville defenceman and has as good a +/- as any Nashville defenceman.  His +4 rating doesn't stand out because Nashville hasn't been a strong team this season.  They are well back of a playoff berth and have allowed more goals than they have scored.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Video- Maybe The Longest Own Goal You Will Ever See

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Dan Hamhuis gets credit for the goal.


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

Why Am I Up So Late?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

It's called scoreboard watching or in my case, actually watching the games.

Many of you know I am a Red Wings fan but don't touch on it much in the KK Hockey section since that area is for all things hockey.

But I am experiencing something quite different than in years past and that is being worried about the Wings making the playoffs.

To make this short, I am now in a position were I am hoping teams above the Wings in the standings beat the teams below Detroit in the standings, thereby giving the Wings some breathing room while they sit in the 8th spot in the Western Conference.

Tonight, both Phoenix and Edmonton lost in regulation which does give Detroit a little cushion but I am still not convinced Detroit will make the playoffs.

The key to me is how they do during a crucial road swing.  After playing San Jose in Detroit on Thursday, the Wings face this...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Best thing about Ovechkin scoring: we’re talking about him again, for all the right reasons. Hockey needs that. It’s no secret, he’s fallen behind Pavel Datsyuk and Kovalchuk as even the best Russian player over the last couple of years.

-Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal where you can read more on Alex Ovechkin.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin

Avoiding The Concussion Word

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Grange of Sportsnet,

Joffrey Lupul’s day was a short one.

The Toronto forward came out on the ice early for the Maple Leafs’ game-day skate at the Air Canada Centre, skated a few gentle laps, lined up for some shooting drills and that was it.

After about 15 minutes he glided over to the Leafs bench and disappeared up the tunnel. Lupul would miss his second straight game, Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle announced later without acknowledging it was because he had suffered a concussion.

Like all of us, Lupul is now officially day-to-day.

The question of course, is why?

Why so vague? Why so evasive? Why is one of the most visible pulpits in hockey — head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs — the place where an informed discussion of concussion and its significance for the sport falls on deaf ears?


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joffrey+lupul

Video- The Difference Between Legal And Illegal Hits

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The 8th in a series of educational videos designed to help players and fans better understand how specific incidents and infractions are viewed and evaluated.


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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