Kukla's Korner

Player Development Takes Time

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

Steve Wozniak of the South Bend Tribune,

Marc-Andre Fleury was supposed to be the savior of Pittsburgh hockey when he was drafted first overall by the Penguins in the 2003 NHL draft. But rather than let the teenager develop further in junior hockey, the Penguins threw him to the wolves in desperation for an immediate winning turnaround. And the wolves, of course, ate him alive, pummeling the overwhelmed rookie and sending the Penguins to another losing season in 2003-04. [...] Pittsburgh realized it had made a mistake in trying to rush perfection, with then-general manager Craig Patrick saying, "We thought it was best for him to go back to his junior club, considering our circumstances, and put him in a situation where he's got a chance to win some championships."
continued on matters of the NCAA and NHL draft

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Keenan Thinking Finland

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

Sources tell TSN a modest groundswell of supporters are trying to encourage Mike Keenan to consider coaching Finland in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Keenan hasn't officially been approached by Finnish Hockey executive Jari Kurri, but he has spoken to Florida Panthers captain Olli Jokinen about the job.
continued

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Implosion By Christmas?

Blog: KK Hockey By IwoCPO

By Bill Houlihan So, I guess if your team is in the midst of a seven-game winning streak, playing the league's most stifling defense and leading their division, strife in the room is sure to follow. No? Yeah, I find it a bit hard to imagine myself. But, hey, that hasn't stopped Andy Strickland (a self-ackowledged "expert on all things Blues") from claiming today that trouble's on the horizon in Hockeytown and it'll arrive by Christmas. Yep. Andy, writing for Dwayne Klessel's Clearing House For Crap, AKA HockeyBuzz, says he has an in, a mole, an insider, feeding him info from deep within Joe Louis Arena. Young Andy says "someone close to the organization" has pulled him aside and said Mike Babcock's days could very well be numbered. Andy says Babcock's being called to Daddy's office weekly to discuss the team with Kenny Holland, that "star players are complaining to management" and, get this, that Nick Lidstrom is leading the revolt. Ohhhhh..now it makes sense. Now that Lidstrom's involved I can see it. Nick Lidstrom, the rebel. Lidstrom, the muck raker. Andy says Lidstrom's instructed his teammates to stay silent during specialty team meetings (those same meetings that could perhaps lead to improving Detroit's 27th ranked power play). This would be the same Nick Lidstrom who played for one Scott Bowman, a true trailblazer in mind-gamesmanship, for seven years. So, the crux of this issue…just weeks after Marty McSorley was blasted in two countries for making similar claims? Who's your source Andy? Give us a hint. Drop a name, title, organizational standing on us. Exec, player, trainer, reporter? Something other than "someone close". I know you don't have to provide it because, frankly, no one ever does over at Dwayne's Brothel of BS. But, Andy? I have a sneaking suspicion who your source is. Let's see…who would have an axe to grind in St. Louis? Who has a well-deserved reputation of seeking out microphones like a Pred fan to a possum filet (just made that up…thanks)? Andy, if your "source" is Manny Legace, you may want to ask him who HIS sources are. I'm not sure his ex-teammates would be real willing to chat with The Mouth, considering one of the last images they have of him was the prone position of martyrdom in an Edmonton crease. See, he kinda left on bad terms. Is there a chance the Wing players don't give Mike Babcock tummy rubs before practice every day? Yep. They may not enjoy playing for him. But, here's the thing Andy. They're playing his style, and they're playing it well, and they're winning. If the Wings were, say, dropping down the tough Central standings like the Blues, there may be some validity to an unnamed source telling you the Wings will "implode by Christmas." But all you've given us today is a standard Dwayne Klessel menu item…unattributed, sourceless, rumor.

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Bertuzzi Feeling Much Better

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Sun-Sentinel did a Q & A with Todd Bertuzzi...

Q: What is your feeling about when you'll return? A: There's no timetable. No one really knows what's going to happen. It's how you heal and how your body heals. It's a nice feeling to feel a lot better. It was bothersome early. It's always a tough decision to have to make, not only personally but also teamwise. I don't like missing games. As you can see, I don't miss many games during the year. (Bertuzzi has played 79 or more games 4 of the past 6 seasons). ... But at the same time we need a 100 percent me and I was only going about 40 percent there.
much more

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What Do You Drink

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the 10 Spot at Sports Illustrated,

According to a recent survey, the avid NHL fan is 413 percent more likely to drink Labatt Blue and 292 percent more likely to drink Molson than the average U.S. sports fan. No wonder the 10 Spot is so popular with Canadiens -- they're all tanked.
My beer of choice still remains Molson XXX.

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Maltby Finds A Home

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

In the fast-paced salary-cap world, hockey teams are changing on the fly, but Kirk Maltby hasn't gone anywhere. It's been close to 11 years since Maltby left the Edmonton Oilers with tears in his eyes, heartbroken that he was being traded to the Detroit Red Wings for the rights to a U.S. college defenceman named Dan McGillis. That was three Stanley Cups and 650 games ago.
continued

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Yeah Baby- Peter Maher Prepares For The Hall

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Calgary Herald via Canada.com,

He may describe himself as "only a messenger,'' but hockey fans in this town know differently. For a quarter-century, he's been the soundtrack of the Calgary Flames, his intimitable "Yeah, baby!'' call as familiar to many Calgarians as the sound of their own voice. Through changing eras, a shifting economical landscape, all the hirings and firings, the one reassuring constant. Listen. After 27 seasons, his voice hasn't lost a trace of its passion or its wonder. For his colleagues, it's been 25 years of fun. Watching him attack (there is no better description) a lobster at dinner on the road, bib tucked underneath his chin, the fallout flying all over the place should be witnessed only after paying a cover charge.
more

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MacTavish Rips Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Sun,

How do you explain zero shots in the first period? How do you explain being outshot 28-3 through the first 33 minutes and 45-16 through three periods of a disgraceful 3-0 loss? "I can't,'' said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, who used up the last of his patience watching the Oilers hang Dwayne Roloson out to dry while giving Detroit's Dominik Hasek most of the night off. "It was an absolutely humiliating experience.'' While the Oilers - after a long hold-up at Montreal customs Tuesday night, didn't arrive in Detroit until 3:30 - MacTavish says it doesn't give them a free pass to mail it in. "You can't continually make excuses for this group the last little while,'' he said. "You have to put a better effort forward than we did in the first period. It is an advantage for Detroit, absolutely. Is it a substantial advantage? Probably. But in no way shape or form does it explain the type of performance we had, virtually from everyone with the exception of our goaltender.''
more

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Malkin Court Hearing Not A Slam Dunk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Fans can now email Bob McKenzie and Darren Drager of TSN. One fan wanted to know about Malkin's court hearing. McKenzie responded...

Dustin, the NHL is reasonably confident it will win its court case on Malkin, but I don't think anyone should think it's going to be a slam dunk.... It's going to be an interesting court case and my instincts tell me the NHL will win, but there's some nagging doubt there on my part that this could still blow up to be an issue
more letters from fans...

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Watching The Devils

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from NorthJersey.com,

Through their first seven home games, the Devils are averaging just 12,277 fans. That's only 64.5 percent of Continental Arena's 19,040 capacity and a drop of 1,392 or 10.2 percent from what they averaged through their first seven home dates last season. Compared to the same point in 2003-04 – the last season before the NHL lockout – attendance is down 2,450 or 16.6 percent. "I'm certainly disappointed in the attendance and quite frankly embarrassed for our players," Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek said. "Last I checked we were in first place."
read on

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