Kukla's Korner

WJC: No Guarantee of NHL Success

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

Guest Submission by Joe Pelletier

Every year I await the World Junior Hockey Championships with great anticipation. I’ve been watching religiously since 1989, and over the years I have become enamoured with the next generation of Canadian superstars.

I remember Rob Cimetta’s 7 goals in 7 games back in 1989. Dan Ratushny captained the 1990 team to a gold medal, thanks to the scoring exploits of Dave Chyzowski, Mike Needham and Dwayne Norris. Who can forget John Slaney’s gold medal winning goal on Saskatoon ice. From 1993 through 1997, Canada won five consecutive gold medals, thanks to the heroics of players like Brent Tully (all star in 1993), Martin Gendron, Yanick Dube, Rick Girard (scoring leaders in 1994), Marty Murray, (scoring leader, Best Forward directorate award in 1995), Jason Botterill (3 gold medals – 1995, 1996, and 1997), Christian Dube and Cameron Mann (scoring leaders 1997).

Did you notice anything odd about that list of excellence?

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Hey 19…Big Night In Hockeytown

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

With Steve Yzerman it was never a matter of if, but when.

Not if he’d win a Cup, but when would it finally happen…and how many.

Not if he’d come back from whatever injury was ailing him, but when.

Obviously not if he’d retire, but under what conditions and when.  After an eye injury in Calgary, after a lockout, after another devastating early-round loss, after introspection, or just after he’d decided the body couldn’t go another year.

And most certainly not if 19 would head to the JLA rafters, but when.  Has there ever been a more natural ceremony in Detroit than the one that will occur this evening?  When did the certainty first start to seep in, that Yzerman would be the legend he became? 

Was it the OT goal, the hyperbaric chamber, the grimaces in ‘02, the gap-toothed celebration in ‘97, the handoff to Vladdie in ‘98?

My favorite moment?  Yzerman huffing up the right wing last year in a road loss against Carolina

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Just Shut Your Mouth & Play

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Calgary Herald via the Times-Colonist,

McCarty is forever indebted to his former captain.
“The one thing I learned from Stevie Yzerman,” he said, “is to just shut your mouth and don’t worry about what’s going on. Be the ultimate team guy. Don’t rock the boat because it’s not about you, it’s about everybody else. You’re going to go through some tough periods, but just put your head down and stick with it.
“I’ve been able to use that,” continued McCarty, whose problems have been well-chronicled. “It’s something I’m using right now.”

more

 

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Talking Yzerman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I will be on Hockey This Morning, XM Home Ice station 204 this morning around 8:45am ET.  The talk will surround the retirement of Steve Yzerman’s number.
If you have the chance, listen in.  If not, I will try to get an audio copy of the interview and post it later in the day.

added 9:17am, Thanks to the boys at Hockey This Morning, you can listen (mp3 file) to the interview, which is about 7 minutes long.

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E. Staal Slumping

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News & Observer,

Coming off a 100-point regular season and an NHL-best 28 points in 25 postseason games, Staal has struggled to find that level of dominance this time around. The 22-year-old goes into tonight’s game at the Pittsburgh Penguins without a goal in the past seven games. Staal was the Canes’ leading scorer by a whopping 24 points last year, yet he ranks fifth this season with 34 points, 11 behind Rod Brind’Amour.
“You have to go back to the basics—starting the play in your own zone and not pushing to score,” Stillman said. “It will happen. That’s the advice.
“His game’s getting better, but if you play well one game you might not notice. It’s going to take three or four games to get back to what he did, and when he gets there, and he’s come back and starting to take those steps, then he’s going to take off again.”

read on

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Blues Thinking Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The Blues (12-19-7) have played 10 games under Andy Murray, and their 5-2-3 record — including 5-0-3 in their last eight games — is the ninth-best mark in the NHL in that stretch of games. It’s not a huge climb, but in two weeks the club has made up five points on the last playoff team in the West.
“You almost didn’t want to look at the standings for a couple of years,” Blues forward Keith Tkachuk said. “But now, we’ve put ourselves in a position where we can get right back in the thick of things.”

read on

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Olilers Skid

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

There’s no understating the way the wheels have fallen off his hockey team.
The defence is running around in its own end with its head cut off and Dwayne Roloson is starting to look more like the Ty Conklin who replaced him in goal in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final than the guy who took the Oilers there last year. The Oilers are 1-7 in Roloson’s last eight games and Roli the Goalie has a 4.0 goals against average.
The Oilers need a big save right now as bad as Roloson needs to hose down the fire drill going on in front of him.

more

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Old School- Remembering Crozier

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,

The goaltenders in the road hockey games of my youth were Charlie Hodge or Gump Worsley, in make-believe. Was there a Montreal kid who didn’t want to be a Canadiens goalie of the time?
A few, come to think of it. But the misguided souls who dared pretend to be Toronto’s Johnny Bower or Terry Sawchuk had slashed shins to show for it.
But whenever someone made the truly spectacular, tennis ball-rejecting save - the bent-over-backward, crossbar-clutching, schoolyard-bragging, contortionist special - the goalie was only one NHLer, ever.
He was Roger Crozier.

continued

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Gretzky In D.C. To Watch…

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Washington Post (reg. req.),

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, presumably in town to watch his team beat the Washington Capitals yesterday, toasted the New Year at Morton’s steakhouse on Connecticut Avenue, the restaurant’s publicist Linda Roth tells us.
Gretzky, part owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, arrived at Morton’s around 9 p.m. with a party of 18. By the time they left—before midnight—he and his group had feasted on a variety of seafood, steak and three $675 bottles of Opus One.

Maybe someone should tell the Washington Post Wayne is also the coach!!!

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Vokoun Will Test Thumb

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Tennessean,

Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun will take the next step in his rehabilitation today, when he takes the ice to stop shots during an informal practice session at Gaylord Entertainment Center.
Vokoun, who suffered torn ligaments in his thumb Nov. 23, has been skating on his own. But today will mark the first time he’s tested the thumb against shooters.

continued

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