Kukla's Korner

The Fragile Blue Jackets

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Nobody would fire a coach at Christmas, right? Not even the Columbus Blue Jackets, whose bench boss, Ken Hitchcock , was feeling the heat thanks to a dismal December in which the NHL team went 1-7-3 to slip to the bottom of the Western Conference? What ailed the Blue Jackets from the start was goalie Steve Mason ‘s sophomore slump, in which he was consistently giving up goals early and often, putting his team behind the 8-ball.

More recently, the Jackets look like a fragile team, their confidence in shreds, skating as though on eggshells. Coaching changes don’t fix that – just ask the Philadelphia Flyers, who are struggling as badly under Peter Laviolette as they were under John Stevens.

continue for more hockey notes…

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

How About Jiri Fischer?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Everybody and his brother is producing a Top 10 list of the decade, but I have not run into one story (and I may be wrong) that included Jiri Fischer and the night many hockey fans will never forget.

Thank God Fischer is able to lead a somewhat normal life today, but just imagine the consequences if Fischer had not pulled through.

If he had passed away, I am sure it would have been a much bigger story, but as a fan of the game, I am so glad the results were of the positive kind.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jiri+fischer

The Canes Motivational Coach

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via WRAL,

Fans of the Carolina Hurricanes may know all about the players and coaches, but they probably haven’t heard about the woman who is an integral part of the all-male team.



Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink

WJC Starts Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK - NHL Network and USA Hockey announced NHL Network U.S. will again provide live coverage of all U.S. games at the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26 – Jan. 5 in Regina and Saskatoon, Sask.  NHL Network will also televise all medal-round games and six additional preliminary-round match-ups, bringing the total to 16 games – all in high definition.  It is the third consecutive year NHL Network U.S. is providing coverage of the IIHF World Junior Championship.

NHL Network schedule is highlighted by the United States’ final preliminary-round match-up against Canada at 8 p.m. EST on New Year’s Eve.  The full schedule is below.

Gary Thorne, Dave Starman and Fred Pletsch will make up the broadcast team for NHL Network’s coverage of Team USA’s games. All other contests aired on the NHL Network will utilize a feed from TSN.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Kings Goaltender Learns From Setbacks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

In his minor-league days, Jonathan Quick slept so deeply that his teammates would stumble off their bus after a trip and the equipment managers would unload the gear and think all was done only to find the goalie under a seat, slumbering.

That made for good jokes but bad mornings—especially when the Kings sent goaltending development guru Kim Dillabaugh to Manchester, N.H., to work with Quick. Only Quick was late, having overslept.

A good scare—a demotion to the ECHL during the 2007-08 season—and a good, loud alarm clock changed his habits.

“It was a teaching moment, so to speak,” Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonathan+quick

Lightning Need To Move Lecavalier In Order To Play Compete With The Elite Teams

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,

If Lawton wants to rebuild the team the right way, and some day join the Blackhawks, Penguins and Capitals at the top, captain Vinny Lecavalier has to go.

Right now, his contract is threatening to suffocate any legitimate chance at success for Lawton’s plan. It’s not necessarily the $7.7 million annual salary cap hit, although that’s a pretty hefty number. It’s the cash that he’s owed. Every year until 2016, Lecavalier gets $10 million. It’s way too much money for a franchise that’s already struggling financially.

Factor in his lack of offensive production, and he’s a luxury the Lightning can’t afford.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vinny+lecavalier

New Year Brings About Old Issues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Well, the family gathering is over so I may as well get a head start…

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Thanks to the recession and “the usual suspects,” as a banker of our acquaintance put it, Bettman can expect 2010 to be another year in which he makes like the fellow who keeps a dozen or so plates spinning on sticks. The only difference from 2009 is that the Phoenix Coyotes may not be the plate on centre stage.

Oh, the Coyotes will still be a Class A migraine, since they are losing a good $5-million (all currency U.S.) a month that will be billed to the NHL until it completes the sale of the team to the group of businessmen known as Ice Edge Holdings LLC. But once Bettman convinced the governors at their annual meetings last week that those losses will come out of future NHL revenue and spare them from writing cheques, he kept that plate spinning.

But a couple of dark clouds – the New York Islanders and the Nashville Predators – are moving front and centre.

read on


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

My Team Canada Selections

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

With Olympic Teams starting to be named (and Canada scheduled for December 30th) here are the selections I would make for the Canadian Olympic Team.  This is not a prediction of who will be selected. I know a few of my picks are not likely.  I expect the actual Canadian team to have about 3/4 of these players and to have passed over some of the young players in favor of more experienced but slightly less talented veterans - and likely in hindsight this will result in questionable picks like the 2006 omission of Sidney Crosby.  I expect it does not make a significant difference to the success or failure of the team. 

I think the biggest criticisms of this team will be the lack of a dedicated shutdown forward.  This is something I don’t think is necessary given the talented defensive forwards already selected (many with Selke nominations in their past).  Picking a Patrick Sharp or a Mike Fisher is a mistake given the talent Canada has available.  It results in a better player being omitted and doesn’t add much to shutdown situations that cannot be done with players already being selected.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Team Russia Announced

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from RussiaToday,

Russia’s hockey coach Vyacheslav Bykov has announced his choice for the upcoming Vancouver Olympics, with stars like Aleksandr Ovechkin, Evgeny Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk on the list.


And the Russian Coach says the Russians can beat the Canadians…

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: team+russia

Merry Christmas To All

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Lying in bed very early this morning I hear this rolling thump and then a splat sound coming from outside so I race to the window and what do I see…

A man dressed in red and white down on the ground, grasping his knee, his shoulder looks banged-up and he may have a broken leg too.

I throw on my coat and hurry outside to help the man dressed in red and white.  He pulls me down to him and whispers in my ear…

Sometimes these things happen but I must continue my work or else millions wil be disappointed.  I cannot let people down, I will rebound and with that, he pops-up off the ground and in an instant he is gone.

A half hour later I am still trying to figure out if this was some type of sign to me or was I just dreaming?

Miracles do happen on Christmas and on other days too.

Filed in: KK Website Business, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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