Kukla's Korner

Tricks Were a Treat in October

Blog: KK Hockey By IwoCPO

Via ESPN,

But there is more to examine than just an increase in the number of hat tricks, a rarity in the days of the neutral-zone trap and the clutch-and-grab NHL, which seem like a distant memory. It's the type of hat tricks that happened in October, and the timing of them, many dramatic, many just outright amazing, that is especially noteworthy.
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The Resurging Islanders

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

How about this as the National Hockey League's biggest early-season surprise story: One month into the season, while nobody was looking, everybody's choice for laughingstock-team-of-the-year, the New York Islanders, quietly became a respectable club. Yes, those are the Islanders, holding down sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings, thanks to a 4-1-1-1 home-stand that ended this week and helped them overcome a disastrous 1-3-1-0 start on the road.
continued...plus injury talk and the reporting of such injuries...

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Red Berenson Gets Deserved Recognition

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John McGourty of NHL.com,

There are so many reasons why Gordon "Red" Berenson is deserving of the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States. He has won a Stanley Cup and a World Championship as a player and two NCAA titles and the NHL's Jack Adams Award as a coach.... "You're a young kid when you get there and many kids are away from home for the first time," said Philadelphia Flyers left wing Mike Knuble, who played with Shields and Ward. "Berenson is a father figure to you and he doesn't baby you at all. He runs the program like an NHL team. He flipped it around from a great school with a so-so hockey program to a great school with a great hockey program....."
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The Cost Of Youth Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Vern faulkner of the Esquimalt News via Goldstream News Gazette,

What was once the Canadian dream for every young boy has been restricted to the rich. That's the view of some in the hockey world, who suggest that if hockey authorities don't make changes quickly, only kids of wealthy families will be able to pursue college or professional hockey.... All those travel costs add up quickly, too. Parents of MML kids have to be rich to play- very rich, given that some estimates for a season's costs peak at $10,000. By comparison, fees for players on Island junior B teams range between $500 and $1,000.
read on

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Lewis Needs Time

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

Since signing on in Boston, Dave Lewis hasn't forgotten everything he's learned in two decades of coaching, It only seems that way. Despite a major injection of character and talent over the summer, Lewis' Bruins are struggling in the early going. Lately, it's like they've taken a page from the Red Sox handbook. It's not just that they lose, it's that they trick the fans into thinking all is well right before they slip spectacularly on the banana peel.
continued...plus the NHL sent out "diving" letters recently...

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Reminding Dave

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Did Nonis forget his predecessor Brian Burke struggled for years to assemble a competitive team under the old system with a payroll one-third what teams like New York or Detroit or Colorado or Philadelphia were spending? Did Nonis forget that it was virtually impossible for any team like the Canucks to develop, and keep, young stars because those aforementioned teams would simply outbid them for their services when they became free agents, or that teams like Vancouver regularly dealt young stars because they couldn't afford to pay them beyond their entry level deals?
much more on the NHL including goaltending issues for the Rangers, Yotes and Flames...

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Facial Safety in the NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

This week's "Free Friday" submission is from KK member Christy. Christy is an avid Wings fan, has her own blog site at Behind the Jersey and is well on her way to journalistic stardom!
On February 24, 2006, a deflected puck hit American Hockey League (AHL) defenseman Jordan Smith in the eye. Surgeons were unable to save the damaged eye, which was cut, ending the defenseman’s promising career and consequently Smith now wears a prosthetic (Higgins). In addition to the eye injury, Smith also suffered multiple orbital bone fractures (Wykes). This career ending injury resulted in the AHL requiring all of its players to wear a partial visor. The National Hockey League (NHL) is now the last of the professional or junior leagues in North American to offer its players a choice in regards to whether or not they wear a partial visor. The only proven way to lower the number of serious eye and facial injuries among NHL players would be through a league-wide mandate requiring players to wear at least partial visors. With the speed and skill of the game improving every season, eye and facial injuries have become bigger problems among NHL players. Over the past six years, marquee players like Steve Yzerman, Mats Sundin, Al MacInnis, and Bryan Berard have all suffered major facial injuries while they were not wearing a visor or mask. These athletes’ injuries consisted of detached retinas, torn corneas, broken orbital bones, and a torn iris, which all can harm the athlete’s vision. The British Journal of Sports Medicine cites a case report by D S Morris reinforcing the dangers of playing hockey without facial protection: “Playing hockey with no protection carries about a seven percent risk of injury to the eye or face every season” (2). Similar results from a Mayo Clinic Study prompted the USA Hockey program to require all of its under 18 players to wear full facial protection and for its players over 18 to wear at least a half shield or visor (Aase).

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Ron Wilson “Live”

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from USA TODAY,

Michael Baker saw something this week that left him "literally speechless." Now, however, he can describe a moment he hopes will have a lasting impact on TV sports. "Our people were just in shock," says Baker, a coordinating producer for NHL games for the Versus channel. "In my 25 years of working in TV, I never thought I'd say my jaw dropped." Here's what happened: An NHL coach — the San Jose Sharks' Ron Wilson — did a live on-air interview in the middle of a game at the Florida Panthers in what Baker presumes was a TV hockey first.
more Watch the Wilson interview...

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Looking At Yawney

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Foltman of the Chicago Tribune,

With a playoff hopes fading rapidly with each loss, and with the return of sniper Martin Havlat still far off, will the Hawks attempt to salvage the season with a change of coaches? That's the question club executives and perhaps the 23 players in the dressing room may be pondering with so much time on their hands. Whether all the Hawks' ills can be blamed on Yawney can be debated and an argument can be made that the front office deserves at least an equal share of the guilt. When things go like they have been going, however, the first head to roll is almost always is the one the whistle is hanging from.
more

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Neil Smith Pays Philly A Visit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Philadelphia Daily News,

Last night, Neil Smith sauntered into the Wachovia Center press box, a recent escapee from the broadcast booth, now employed as a Dallas Stars scout. That's former NHL general manager Neil Smith to you. Formerly of the Rangers, most recently of the Islanders. Looking to get back to what he feels he does best: run a hockey team. "I'm not going to lie," he said. "I'm happy doing this, but when the time is right, I hope someone thinks of me that way."
read on

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