Kukla's Korner

Floaters Everywhere

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,

First, a belated goodonya this morning to Pierre McGuire, who called out Scott Gomez for conspicuous failure to back-check. Maybe the problem is that every time the Habs coaches holler “back check!” what Gomez hears is “big cheque!”

Funny, when a Russian plays like Gomez has played this year, or like Shawn Horcoff (think Alexei Yashin or Alex Kovalev) he’s a floater. But when it’s an American (Gomez) or a good Canadian boy (Shawn Horcoff, who made Stu Cowan’s rich underachievers list yesterday) he’s just struggling through a tough season, don’t ya know. But floating is floating, whether you were born in Alaska, Trail or Irkutsk.

There’s a reason guys like Gomez and Vincent Lecavalier don’t score goals anymore: they avoid the heavy traffic where the genuine superstars (Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin) get most of theirs.

continue for more hockey talk…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

What Is Wrong With Boston?

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Last year the Boston Bruins had the best record in the East Conference.  They finished with 116 points, only one point back of first overall San Jose.  This year has not gone as well.  Boston currently has a 23-30 record (with nine regulation tie points).  That places them in 11th place in the East Conference.  They are only two points back from a playoff berth, but they are in the middle of a group of eight teams that are separated by three points and thus have significant competition for that final playoff spot.  Why is this year`s team not doing as well as last year`s did?

To answer that question let`s start by looking at last year`s team.  When we looked at team Corsi Numbers (puck possession numbers) from last year we see the Boston Bruins are near the middle of the pack.  They directed about as many shots at their opponent`s goal as they had directed at their own.  The difference for Boston last year was goaltending.  Tim Thomas won the Vezina Trophy and was by far the best goaltender in the NHL.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“The number 10 is pretty tough to get to, and I told the guys, “You might go your whole career without getting it again, so enjoy it.”

Washington Coach Bruce Boudreau after the Caps tenth consecutive win.  More on the Capitals from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bruce+boudreau

Drop The Shootout

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press,

Both made splendid moves to score on Howard. Crosby went top shelf off his backhand, and Malkin patiently waited for Howard to commit before calmly tucking the puck behind the fallen goalie’s skate.

Pittsburgh got the point, but the NHL is missing the point.

Maybe I’ve simply grown tired of the shoot-out, because it seems to happen so frequently that there’s no longer anything fresh about it. Perhaps the NHL should acknowledge it made a mistake in cheapening the value of victory for the sake of creating easy highlights for “SportsCenter” (That is, on those rare occasions when “SportsCenter” shows hockey highlights).


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

What Would You Call Matt Cooke?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ron Cooke of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

How would you describe Cooke?

I took a shot at it and used the term “agitator” Sunday after the Penguins’ 2-1 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings at Mellon Arena. Cooke smiled politely. But he clearly didn’t like it.

“I’ve always kind of been in that stereotype and I’ve always tried to get out of it,” he said. “An agitator, to me, is someone who gets 10 points a year and does his job. I like to think I contribute more to the team than that. I can get you 30-40 points a year and 10-15 goals.”

You know what? Cooke is absolutely right. Calling him an agitator just won’t do. Forget his 11 goals and 22 points so far this season. The term doesn’t fairly describe his defensive work, especially as a penalty-killer.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: matt+cooke

Avs Fading?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Krieger of the Denver Post,

With the Avs now sitting sixth in the Western Conference, just four points from ninth, it seems a good time to ask a few questions:

1. Do Paul Stastny’s 11 goals and 48 points justify his $6.6 million salary?

Like it or not, Stastny is the Avs’ headliner for now, at least until Matt Duchene, 19, is ready to take the mantle from him. Yet Stastny plays more like a complementary player….

2. Is the all-rookie second line wearing down?

In his two seasons playing for Brampton of the Ontario Hockey League, Duchene’s high for games played was 64. Sunday, he played his 54th of the current NHL season, and the stretch run is just getting started.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink

What’s Delaying The Jokinen Trade?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportsnet,

The Flames and Rangers are working out a deal that would send centre Olli Jokinen and left winger Brandon Prust to New York in exchange for centre Chris Higgins and right-winger Ales Kotalik. Sources told Sportsnet the deal is pending approval from Kotalik who has a limited no-trade clause in his contract.

Kotalik’s limited no-trade clause lists three teams he can not be traded to without his permission and Calgary is one of them.

The deal is not expected to be completed until late Monday morning at the earliest.

added 8:59am, via Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,

One of the Flames players involved said he hadn’t heard anything other than the TSN broadcast.

A team spokesman said he hadn’t heard anything official, either.

Another source suggested it hasn’t officially gone through but could be completed this morning if Sutter didn’t have a change of heart.

added 10:46am, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

It is expected that Olli Jokinen will be in the Calgary Flames’ lineup when they play tonight in Calgary against the Philadelphia Flyers. Brandon Prust may also be in the lineup but it could be Brian McGrattan instead.

In any case, it is clear that the deal that looked on Sunday night as though it was agreed to - Jokinen and Prust to the New York Rangers in exchange for Chris Higgins and Alex Kotalik - is not going to happen over the course of today.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Victory For The Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

Finding a way to unload Jason Blake’s albatross contract probably won’t net Brian Burke the NHL’s executive of the year honours when all is said and done.

Maybe it should.

At first blush, it would have been easier to work out the square root of pi by hand. Or, figure how they get all that caramel inside the Caramilk bar. Or, logically explain how Burke’s Maple Leafs actually lost to Andrew Raycroft on Saturday night.

But peddling the 36-year-old Blake and that inflated deal, one that will pay him $4 million US in each of the next two seasons? Talk about Mission Impossible.

Yet, somehow Brian Burke found a way to do it Sunday.

And after the Maple Leafs general manager had finished the heart transplant of his moribund roster by shipping six players out and bringing four new bodies in, he proclaimed he was not finished.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Kings End Up A 5-0 Road Trip

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

The Kings began this journey with a comeback win against Detroit and ended it with comeback wins at Boston and New Jersey, taking home their first-ever perfect record on a five-game trip and much, much more.

“This game today, I think, was a real good look at the type of team we’re starting to become,” Coach Terry Murray said after Wayne Simmonds and Drew Doughty scored on Martin Brodeur in the last two minutes Sunday to lift the Kings to a 3-2 victory over the stunned Devils and win for the eighth time in nine games.

“A lot of character, big heart, never gave up. It looked at times like it was slipping big-time on us and just to dig in in the third period and find a way to get it done was just tremendous.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Report- Flames/Rangers Trade

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

Sources tell TSN the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames are expected to announce a trade tonight that will send Calgary centre, Olli Jokinen to the Rangers in exchange for Ales Kotalik and either Chris Higgins or rookie defenceman, Matt Gilroy.


added 10:22pm, via Darren Dreger’s Twitter,

Gilroy wont be involved.

added 10:27pm,, TSN has updated the same link as above,

Sources tell TSN the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames are expected to announce a trade tonight that will send Calgary centre Olli Jokinen and forward Brandon Prust to the Rangers in exchange for forwards Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins.

added 11:23pm, Via Darren Dreger’s Twitter,

Trade call is unlikely tonight. Sounds like the Flames are holding this deal up. Working on why.

added 8:10am on 02/01/10, via Elliotte Friedman’s Twitter,

Got a text overnight saying the Flames/Rangers deal had fallen apart. We’ll see if the two teams might try again today.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

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