Kukla's Korner

15 Questions For The Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

So now, while hope may spring eternal in 28 markets, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s new/old coach Barry Melrose is already calling for more sweat from his skilled players; and the Pittsburgh Penguins are wondering what the heck is going on with their power play, in the absence of Sergei Gonchar and Marian Hossa.

The lesson: Grim reality can set in awfully fast, even in the early days of October, where 15 burning questions will be asked and answered between now and next June.

1. Will the so-called “new” NHL eventually feature more scoring?

It sure doesn’t look promising. The Lightning, Penguins and Senators collectively boast some of the best pure scoring talent in the league, with a total of seven players capable of finishing in the top 10. For all that, they produced a total of 17 goals — one in overtime — for an average of just more than four a game in last weekend’s openers in Prague and Stockholm.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Dallas Thinks They Are Going To Win It All

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tracey Myers of the Star-Telegram,

Tom Hicks was ready to talk hockey. The Dallas Stars’ owner sat in his downtown Dallas office on Tuesday, excited about the possibilities of the new season.

“In the last month we’ve been hearing from [co-general managers] Les [Jackson] and Brett [Hull], and Brett kind of clearly says the players think they’re going to win it all this year. They have a lot of confidence, and that’s a great starting point. You go back 10 years, I think we had that feeling we were going to win it all that year. We’re not as experienced a team as that one was, so you have a lot of unknowns that creep into it. But we have an opportunity to be special.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Nylander Re-Freshed Heading Into The Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Katie Carrera of the Washington Post,

His shoulder feels strong. His timing is coming back as evidenced by Nylander, 36, finishing as the team’s second leading scorer in the preseason with seven points (two goals, five assists).

“He’s playing a lot younger and a lot more determined” Boudreau said. “At the end of last year when we were playing pretty good, he was almost an afterthought in people’s minds. Not in my mind, but in other people’s minds. . . . He’s out to prove he’s an elite player again.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: michael+nylander

Elias Plans To Be The Go-To-Guy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rick Chere of the Star-Ledger,

“I know what kind of player I am,” Elias said. “I proved it to myself in the second half of (last) season and in the playoffs. I like to be in situations when the game is on the line.

“I like to think I can still be the go-to guy. I believe I have some great years ahead of me.”

Sutter said he senses a difference in Elias.

“I just think it’s different for Patty this year,” the coach explained. “It’s more settling to him. What transpired last year is done and over.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: patrik+elias

Advantage East Coast Teams If NHL Expands To Europe

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province via the National Post,

Teams on the eastern seaboard would clearly have a greater advantage and by the end of a long season their fatigue-level advantage would make players in Vancouver envious.

Given this new landscape, any free agent worth a hoot would turn up his nose at all West Coast locations unless he was significantly overpaid to put his body through the travel mill. The Canucks would be hard pressed to sign Byron Ritchie as a free agent let alone Alexander Ovechkin when he gets free.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Islanders Learning The Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Caldwell of the New York Times,

Most hockey coaches wear a whistle on a lanyard around their necks. Not Scott Gordon, the Islanders’ new coach. His whistle is clasped to his left glove, so Gordon does not have to fumble around for his whistle to stop practice.

And Gordon stops practices often. He usually skates within a few feet of the players whose techniques needs to be corrected, softly but firmly, but he is not above slapping his stick on the ice or hollering at his players from the other end of the rink.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sharks Want The Right Mixture

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Rusanowsky of the Seagate Broadcaster Blog,

“I don’t just want a hockey player, I want an ingredient,” is one of the things that he (Todd McLellan) said on the air. That tells me that he is considering the versatility and the ability of his guys to react to unforseen circumstances. It also says that he is looking for individuals to fill certain roles with the team, which provides a structure within his encouragement of free-wheeling creativity.

Today, he said, “At this point in the season, the words ‘Stanley Cup’ aren’t part of the vocabulary. The process is.” In other words, you have to crawl before you can walk, within the time frame of the regular season, and with the establishment of a foundation, players achieve success.

much more on the Sharks…

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

What To Expect This Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Gulitti and Andrew Gross of the Record,

Here’s what to look for in 2008-09:

Teams on the rise

1. Montreal: The Habs hope to celebrate their 100th season with another trip to the Stanley Cup Finals as newcomers Robert Lang and Alex Tanguay just add to a highly skilled offense led by holdovers Alexei Kovalev and Saku Koivu.

2. Dallas: Superpest Sean Avery takes his act to Big D, where the D still stands for defense despite Sergei Zubov’s injury, thanks to goalie Marty Turco.

3. Chicago: Long a league laughingstock, the Blackhawks have great young talent with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews and top free agents in Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Become One In Blueland

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Atlanta Thrashers,

The Atlanta Thrashers have launched the team’s 2008-09 marketing and advertising campaign, which calls for fans to “Become One in Blueland.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Red Wings Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Ken Holland and Mike Babcock participated in an NHL tele-conference today…

Q.  I was just wondering, could you update us on your roster moves, how you’re getting down to the 23, beyond putting Aaron (Downey) on waivers, please?

KEN HOLLAND: Well, today we assigned Ville Leino to Grand Rapids; we assigned Jonathan Ericsson to Grand Rapids; we assigned Darren Helm to Grand Rapids. We’ve informed Aaron Downey that he’s been put on waivers, and we will readdress his situation tomorrow. And it appears that Jimmy Howard, Darren McCarty and Chris Chelios will all start the year on injured reserve.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ken+holland, mike+babcock

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