Kukla's Korner

Scouting Is Key

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Windsor Star,

“When I first started as a pro scout, the first season (1985-86) after coaching in Detroit, there were only two or three of us (in the entire league),’’ Polano said. “Now, every team has at least two or three pro scouts.”

Though their job may be undertaken in virtual anonymity beyond the realm of the National Hockey League’s inner circle, the task they perform is essential to a team’s success, both short- and long-term.

“Every scout, both pro and amateur, is valuable to his team,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said.

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Matter Of Concern

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector of the National Post via Canada.com,

Today, in the third season after the lockout that changed so many facets of the game, the NHL finds its popularity waning in three of its gold star American markets: Detroit, Dallas and Colorado. There just may be a price to be paid after all, the league is learning, for the salary cap that has put millions into league coffers over the last three years….

While interest has increased in small markets, where teams now compete on an even economic plane, it seems people in the large markets preferred it when their team had the ability to outspend opponents.

All of the big U.S. markets include competition from the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball. There is an inherent battle for headlines and talk-show time that is being lost by NHL clubs that simply aren’t making news the way they used to under the old collective bargaining agreement.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The NHL Hour

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,

But while Bettman’s performance won’t cause any talk-radio hosts to worry about job security, the NHL boss deserves credit for going where no sports commissioner has gone before.

On the other hand, the NHL Hour wasn’t exactly a baptism by fire. Though the first call must have given Bettman chills, John from Winnipeg wasted no time in telling the commissioner he wasn’t going to ask about the Jets returning to Manitoba.

Most of the callers, all but the aforementioned from the U.S., either lobbed softballs at the commissioner or praised him and the state of the game.

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

Oilers Expect Key Players Back Soon

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

The cavalry’s coming.

One of the Edmonton Oilers’ horses, Fernando Pisani, could be back playing within the week, maybe tugging on a jersey when the team is in California to play the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.

And captain Ethan Moreau may be riding to the rescue around Christmas. He’s been told he still has to wear a cast on his broken left foot for two more weeks.

Finally, some light at the end of the tunnel for the Oilers, who’ve been going without their valuable third-line veterans, who usually eat up 15 to 18 minutes a night.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: edmonton+oilers, ethan+moreau, fernando+pisani

Sharks Committed To Defense

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Media News via Inside Bay Area,

Sharks coach Ron Wilson knows that his name has been kicked around in the hockey media at various points this season as someone who needs to be worried about his job.

He routinely shrugs that off. And Tuesday, he used his team’s strong play in its own zone — second fewest goals allowed, second fewest shots allowed — to help explain why.

“If we were bad defensively, yeah, I’d be, ‘It’s me,’” Wilson said. “The only way you can play defense is if you have a team committed to doing something. If I’ve lost the whole team, why are we playing so well defensively?”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ron+wilson, san+jose+sharks

Two Blues Come Home

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Buffalo News,

There will be 18,690 waiting in HSBC Arena. The Buffalo Sabres host St. Louis tonight, and it’s a long-awaited outing for McKee and Blues teammate Lee Stempniak. McKee hasn’t played in Buffalo since Game Six of the 2006 Eastern Conference finals, while West Seneca’s Stempniak has never played professionally in his hometown.

“It’s special,” McKee said Tuesday. “I was very fortunate to grow not only as a player but as a person here in this town. To come back and play here is going to be a pretty neat feeling. The fans were great, stuck behind me over the 10 years I was here, and that doesn’t always happen with players. I felt very fortunate for that.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo, jay+mckee, lee+stempniak, st+louis+blues

It Can Get Worse

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bill Lankhof of the Toronto Sun,

Fire the coach! Draw and quarter the ##%%&&())$ general manager!

Trade Sundin! Bench McCabe! Andrew Raycroft is Judas reincarnate!

In the words of that great philosopher, Chicken Little, the sky is falling, which goes to prove only one thing: It must be hockey season in Toronto.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: toronto+maple+leafs

Keep Your Head Up Hudler

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Phaneuf put a big hit on Hudler last night in the 3rd period.  Hudler had been agitating Dion most of the night and you just had a feeling Phaneuf was looking for the right opportunity to pay him back.

Watch the video of the hit…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: calgary+flames, detroit+red+wings, dion+phaneuf, jiri+hudler

Havlat Back Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Chicago Daily Herald,

But the biggest story tonight is Havlat’s return. The all-star winger has battled injuries for much of his first two seasons with the Hawks, although when he has played he has been one of the most dynamic scorers in the NHL.

“It feels pretty good, but I guess we’ll find out now how it feels in a game,” Havlat said Tuesday. “It’s been great to watch the team win. I just want to come back and help.”

The concern is Havlat’s twice surgically repaired shoulder won’t last the season. The Hawks will be holding their breath on every hit, but Havlat won’t be.

“I have to do what I do best, and if I think about it then I’m not going to be able to play the way I can,” Havlat said.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, martin+havlat

MacLean Still On The Mind Of Columbus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Puck-rakers,

Now, it’s highly unlikely the deal in Tampa will go through. It’ll take a minor miracle for it all to get settled and go through before the end of the season. Thus, the Blue Jackets will have to keep on paying MacLean. The remainder they owe is about $450,000.

That money would come in handy right about now if general manager Scott Howson is eagerly working the trade market. Certainly, that would be some nice “play money” at the trade deadline.

A $450,000 chunk doesn’t sound like much. But if a $1.8 million player is acquired at the trade deadline, the salary he’s owed the rest of the season—about 1/4 of the way to go—is roughly $450,000. There are some pretty good $1.8M players out there.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, doug+maclean, scott+howson

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