Kukla's Korner

Wow Factor Missing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

This year? Where there was once an adrenalin rush associated with so much of what was going on, there is now a sense of blah in many precincts around the league. Where there were once trades, there is now just managerial paralysis. Where there was once great uncertainty, there is now monotonous predictability.
Indeed, just about everything that was supposed to happen this season did — which may say something about the skill of the people making the predictions and establishing the betting lines, but it also does little to create the “wow” factor needed to sustain the gains the NHL made last year.

read on

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True Heroes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stacey Del Fabbro of the Cambridge Times,

I have new hockey heroes now. Some are four feet tall and skate fairly well, some are more than six feet tall and can hardly skate at all and one is five foot and holds his own out there, struggling to understand the dynamics of the game.
All of them are found on the Cambridge Ice Hounds team. The reason they are my heroes has nothing to do with hockey and everything to do with their collective heart.
Sadly, heroes aren’t always chosen for athletic ability or love of the game but for the fancy cars they drive, what they wear, or the movie stars they date.

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Sweater Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei at ESPN,

For NHL uniform traditionalists, whose views tend to be pretty uniform, the unveiling of the Apocalypse will come in Dallas at the All-Star Game later this month. That’s when CCM/Reebok and the league will show off next season’s style of uniforms, which will be more formfitting, tucked in and, most potentially objectionable, all but rule out the most traditional horizontal striping and design schemes.
During CCM/Reebok representatives’ tour through the league and dressing rooms, teams have worn plain prototypes of the sweaters/jerseys at practices, and unadorned, they don’t look that much different.

continued

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Talking Nutrition

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

“Somebody in the regular population is more concerned with keeping their weight down,” says Matt Nichol, the Leafs’ strength and conditioning co-ordinator. “I have a harder time with these guys trying to make sure they maintain their lean body mass during the season because they burn so many calories.
“If they’re losing lean body mass, it’s kind of like taking horsepower out of the car. As they lose lean body mass, they’re going to be a little slower, a little less powerful on the ice. They’re going to fatigue a little bit sooner.”
“If I’m working at Royal Bank and I don’t eat enough today or don’t have the right mix of foods in my diet, I’m going to be sluggish. I’m going to be lethargic, but maybe no one at work is going to notice,” says Nichol.
“But here, if you’re sluggish and lethargic, a red light is going to go on and people are going to boo and throw things at you.”

read on

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A Little On Ziggy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

There are occasional reports out of Slovakia that Palffy is working out and interested in returning to the NHL, and that’s his prerogative. Just as it’s the prerogative of the Penguins—who are free of their contractual obligations to him, but still own his NHL rights—to compel another club to overpay for those rights if it’s interested in bringing him back to North America.

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Iginla Hurt- Details Sketchy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Calgary Sun,

Chants of “Iggy, Iggy” that punctuated the fight gave way to a sombre buzz in the building when fans started noticing their leader had gone straight to the dressing room after serving his five minutes.
With team doctors tending to Iginla throughout the third period, Flames officials reported late in the evening Iginla had suffered a lower-body injury and wouldn’t return. That’s all they’d say. While press-time speculation swirled around a possible wrist injury, coach Jim Playfair would only say the injury didn’t occur during the scrap. Replays showed a pre-fight hit along the boards by Allen, suggesting Iginla’s left knee twist awkwardly.
Either injury is potentially devastating for one of the league’s top snipers.

read on

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World Junior Championships - Bronze, Silver & Gold

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

Game Schedule for today:

USA vs SWEDEN
10:00 a.m. ET

CANADA vs RUSSIA
1:30 p.m. ET

Center Ice is showing the Bronze Medal USA-Sweden game, but they do not have the Gold Medal game scheduled at this time. (What the heck?) If anyone knows anything about a US television broadcast of the match, please drop a comment here. 

TSN is showing both games in Canada, on television and online on broadband.

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Bertuzzi Slow To Recover

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Vancouver Province,

“I just miss actually playing the game so much. I guess it’s not surprising in that I don’t really have any hobbies and I’ve played most of my life. But seeing the guys out there and not being able to help is a terrible feeling.”
Bertuzzi is still haunted by “the incident” now almost three years ago but he’s obviously not at liberty to talk about anything pursuant to Steve Moore’s civil suit.
What he’s trying to focus on is getting hockey back into his life and resuming what was his life before this all happened.
“I’m really disappointed I’m not going to be able to come back to Vancouver to play but I really feel sorry for the fans here in Florida who thought they were getting a player to help.”

more

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Lack Of Interest

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Montreal Gazette,

For the Capitals, even a burgeoning superstar is not enough. After devoting not a single column inch to the Caps in its nine-page Wednesday sports section, the Post came back with a story yesterday on declining attendance at the Verizon Centre.
The Post’s story put the Capitals average attendance this season at 13,103 going into last night’s game against the Canadiens, down 800 fans a game from last season and 4,000 from what the Caps were drawing five years ago. And because the NHL counts tickets distributed, that number bares little or no resemblance to the actual count of fannies in the seats.
Night after night, Ovechkin is playing in front of a half-empty arena. It’s a terrible waste, like Vladimir Guerrero toiling in front of 6,000 fans at the Big O - but it doesn’t appear that anything short of a Stanley Cup is going to bring out the fans in Washington.

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Recognizing Briere

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Even though Briere, a 5-foot-10, 178-pound center, is a core player on an elite team, he is not one of hockey’s best-known personalities. That he has fared so well in the all-star voting suggests he isn’t entirely unknown, although it’s hardly out of the question that Sabres partisans are responsible for most of the support he has gotten.
Briere works in a modest-sized market and is part of a club that emphasizes collective accomplishments, even though its lineup is studded with big-time talents. Not that Briere frets much about any lack of public recognition he might have outside the Niagara Frontier.
“It’s not about myself, or anybody personally,” he said. “We’re a team, a team that relies a lot on everybody chipping in. I wouldn’t have it any other way….”

more

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