Kukla's Korner

Gm’s Will Be Watching Their Money

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Scotty Bowman, the legendary former coach and now an adviser for the Chicago Blackhawks, believes next year’s NHL salary cap could drop about $2-million, a reasonable prediction given how little box-office revenue is being generated in Phoenix, Tampa and Atlanta. Even the rising Canadian dollar won’t offset those black holes. If that cap forecast is ultimately how it plays out, you’d have to think most general managers will get even more gun shy about adding high-priced help (such as Giguere) unless they’re on expiring contracts. Cheaper options (such as Martin Biron of the Islanders) will become far more attractive.

more hockey talk including some Ilya Kovalchuk talk…

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

Ducks GM Responds To Items

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

General Manager Bob Murray—who succeeded Brian Burke a year ago, during the Samuelis’ exile—quashed speculation about Carlyle.

“There’s going to be a lot of players going through the turnstiles going out the door before coaches go out the door here. And our players better get that through their thick skulls,” Murray said by phone Thursday.

“That stuff about buying into programs and this and that and stuff I’m reading—you know what, why don’t they try playing better first?”

He downplayed remarks by goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere and defenseman Scott Niedermayer in which they hinted at being unhappy.

Niedermayer told the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger that “it’s a possibility” he would be traded to the Devils before the March 3 trade deadline and rejoin his brother, Rob, if the Ducks don’t reverse course. Murray quashed that too. “He’s going to retire a Duck when he chooses to retire,” Murray said.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Early Season MVP

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

In October, I picked Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals as the early season MVP.  He has fallen from the race since suffering a shoulder injury on November 1st.  In the meantime, two candidates have emerged as the MVP leaders.  There is Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, who has 30 points to lead the NHL and top goalie Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, who leads the NHL with a .938 saves percentage and a 1.82 GAA. 

I think the current MVP is Ryan Miller, but it is not by a large margin.  The main difference comes from the relative values of different positions.  A goaltender is the most important player to a team when he plays well.  He is on the ice the entire game and has a better ability to singlehandedly keep a team in the game.  That is not to say that a position player cannot be MVP (in fact the MVP usually is a position player), but in event of a close race between a goalie and a non-goalie, I tend to favor the goalie.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Blues Got What They Deseved

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The Blues scored 2 minutes, 3 seconds into Thursday’s game against Nashville, but coach Andy Murray bluntly said after the game that he knew his club wasn’t headed for a good outcome….

“It’s very disappointing. I’ve got lots of losses as a coach, obviously when you’ve coached as long as I have. That ranks right up there ... because of the way we played.

“We didn’t play hard enough. We had a goaltender (Mason), who played in Nashville ... (and) was doing everything he could to make sure we had a chance to win. Paul Kariya, another former Nashville player, is battling on every puck and is our best forward. We don’t have enough other guys going.

“We’ve got guys trying to stick-handle, we’ve got guys trying to toe-drag guys, instead of putting the puck to the net. We won against Vancouver because we played a basic, direct-line game. Here tonight, we came in thinking that we could play a different kind of game, fancy, cute kind of game against a team that’s just going to grind on you. And if you’re not prepared to battle and play a direct game, those are the things that happen.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink

DiPietro Preparing To Play

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Martin of the NY Post,

With the Islanders in Carolina, preparing to play yet another game without their franchise goalie tonight, Rick DiPietro was working out at Iceworks in Syosset yesterday, still likely at least a month away from his return to an NHL game.

The 28-year-old is acutely aware that he has become known more for his propensity for getting injured than the fact that he’s a former All-Star.

“I have to keep telling myself that I have a lot of years left and not to push too much and put myself in jeopardy,” said DiPietro, who is in the fourth year of his 15-year deal and is still recovering from knee surgery after being limited to five games last season. “The one thing that frustrates me is when people say I can’t stay healthy. It’s not like anyone goes out there and tries to get hurt. It would be one thing—and I would accept the criticism—if I came into camp out of shape, fat and lazy, but I consider myself a pretty hard worker and I come into camp in great shape.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rick+dipietro

How’s Your Uncle Now?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Good morning.  Uncle Mike says the doubters can go ahead and suck it. 

Chris McCosky

“We are now 9-3-3 since coming back from our trip (to Sweden),” coach Mike Babcock said. “We aren’t winning games in the same fashion that we used to, that’s pretty obvious. But we are finding ways to grind games out and that’s what we have to do.”

I guess, and I’m no pharmacist, that what Babcock has the Wings doing now…is winning games in playoff-like fashion.  Is that gonna be ok with you, or do we need to whine now about how Babcock is winning?

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Give Kaberle Some Respect

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

There, among the top 10 point producers in the league, is Kaberle, who, as of yesterday, was tied for 10th with 20 points, best among NHL defencemen.

“It’s cool,” admitted the normally understated Kaberle about seeing his name among the Ovechkins and Thorntons.

“Cool” is a very applicable term when it comes to discussing Kaberle.

On one hand, it describes his demeanour on the ice, always seemingly calm in the heat of battle.

Unfortunately, “cool” also describes the reception he sometimes gets from the demanding members of Leafs Nation.

Maybe it’s because they don’t think he shoots enough. Or is tough enough. Or is good enough in his own end. All legitimate gripes.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tomas+kaberle

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Going back to the turn of the century, no other franchise comes close to matching the Wings’ 82-game consistency, or the frequency with which they followed it up in May and June.

-Jamie Fitzpatrick.  More at Jamie’s Hockey Blog.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jamie+fitzpatrick

Blackhawks Get It

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

The Blackhawks are a Western Conference contender. The Leafs, after a blip of promise last weekend against Carolina and Detroit, descended once more into maddening mediocrity Tuesday in a loss to lowly Minnesota.

Whereas not so long ago Chicago could be mocked as a historic franchise that had lost its way, today it’s the Leafs that can only report excellence in the Forbes standings, not the NHL’s. The Windy City has already been lauded for hosting a superb Winter Classic, while Brian Burke’s promises of doing something similar at BMO Field – no Wrigley, to be sure – ring somewhat hollow.

Nobody would have thought five years ago the Leafs would be sucking the exhaust fumes of the Hawks, but that’s where we are.

One franchise stood still, the other caught the gusts of a new NHL.


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

Wilson Trying To Wake-Up Schenn

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail,

The first thing Ron Wilson wants to do Friday night at the United Center is “pull the plug on the organ,” then get rid of the national anthem singer. Failing that, Wilson would settle for having Luke Schenn plugged in.

Schenn was Wilson’s fair-haired boy last season. That’s not the case any more. In a published report Thursday, the Toronto Maple Leafs head coach was blunt about what awaits Schenn if he doesn’t truck out some truculence.

“Hopefully, it doesn’t come to him sitting out games to get a message across,” Wilson intoned.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: luke+schenn

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