Kukla's Korner

Babcock & Bertuzzi On The Same Page

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

“What we do is we play a structured game so that the skill people can be really skilled. When you’re all over the rink you end up checking one another,” Babcock said. “The way we play is a real simple way, but because everyone knows where to go and what to do you all look better. So, he’s just got to find his little niche in that. He’s playing with real good players, but on this team we don’t need him being cute or making any cute little plays. We need him being big, strong, physical, going to the net and hanging onto the puck. We have Pav and Fil and Z to make all those cute little plays.

“Just by talking to him, he wants to be that (powerful player),” Babcock continued. “Well, if he wants to be that, that’s half the battle for a coach.”

Since Bertuzzi wants to prolong his career beyond just this season, he plans on being the model student all year long.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: todd+bertuzzi

Burke’s Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,

Over the course of the past 10 months, Burke has reconstructed the Leaf front office, keeping some elements that were there when John Ferguson was in charge – chief amateur scout Dave Morrison, assistant GM and Marlies GM Jeff Jackson – and dumping others. Trying to figure out who does what isn’t easy, although Burke is the front man, Nonis the pseudo-GM and Poulin nominally in charge of pro and amateur scouting.

“In a single line? Well, my job is to help make the Toronto Maple Leafs better,” said Poulin, who left a Chicago headhunting firm to join the Leafs. “For the most part, the job is creative. How are we going to get better?”


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

Sharks Need Both Depth & Heart

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle,

The Sharks were exposed last season as a team with insufficient depth and insufficient heart. As much as savaging Marleau, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski might have sustained the angry fan base during the six-game drain-piping by Anaheim, the more profound structural problems had to do with the lack of roster options for head coach Todd McLellan.

Put simply, the second, third and fourth lines and the third defense pairing were persistent non-producers that had to play because the franchise’s minor-league team in Worcester had no storehouse of NHL-ready-to-wear players. Thus, non-producers and injured players played anyway, and as the season progressed, the erosion became a major obstacle to playoff success.

Sure, the underachievements of Nabokov, Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, et al., hurt to the point where you end up with an offseason of doubt, recrimination and blame delegations that only the Warriors could truly appreciate.


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

Ovechkin Chasing Gretzky

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Corey Masisak of the Washington Times,

Wayne Gretzky’s career total of 894 goals is supposed to be unreachable, but if Alex Ovechkin were to duplicate what he has accomplished in his first four seasons three more times, he would begin the first year of his new contract within reach of the Great One’s hallowed achievement.

History says not so fast, but is the Great No. 8 the guy who can defy it?

“I don’t think there is anything out of reach for him,” Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee said. “He’s got everything. He’s got ability, he’s got the drive and he’s got the strength. He’s got all the physical attributes, but he’s got all the intangibles as well.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin

Lang On The Coyotes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic,

With a nasty injury behind him, veteran center Robert Lang is eager join a Coyotes team that he says could be a surprise this season.

“I think people look at this team and say, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s a younger team and last year and this and that,” Lang said, “but I think they have a real solid goalie (Ilya Bryzgalov), and if you look at this team now, they have a few veteran players and the younger guys are a year older, have a year behind them. If we do our job, we could do well.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: robert+lang

Cam Ward Extended

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

At the Capgeek Twitter they announce Cam Ward has signed a 6yr extension.

The Canes will make it official with a 1pm press conference which will be streamed.

Darren Dreger says the cap hit is $6.3M.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cam+ward

Be Quiet Burke

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jason Botchford of The White Towel,

In a new special on Leafs TV called Behind the Draft 2009, Burke is essentially caught rumour mongering. In the documentary-styled, multi-chapter feature, which was filmed at June’s NHL Draft, the general manager, who has described members of the media as “maggots” and “scumbags,” makes an unsubstantiated, admittedly speculative claim, alleging the Canucks made a strong push for Victor Hedman. He is the Swedish defenceman who the Tampa Bay Lightning drafted second overall.

Burke is filmed in June at the beginning of the draft in the Leafs war room where he is seen addressing his scouting staff.  “Vancouver has made a major effort to get the second pick out of Tampa Bay,” says Burke on Part 1 of the series which can be seen on the Leafs’ web site. “We heard they offered, again this is all second hand so we don’t know if it’s true. We heard they offered (Alex) Burrows, (Kevin) Bieksa and their own pick. Those are two pretty good players.”

He’s right. They are two pretty good players whose inclusion in the alleged deal make the rumour sound pretty outlandish.

It’s one thing for Burke to make the comment in his war room. That’s fair game. It’s another entirely to allow it to air.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+burke

Just Get A Deal Done

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Adrian Dater at All Things Avs tries to present the full story between the Directv/Versus dispute.

I don’t know about you, but until a deal gets done, I can’t put any trust in either side.

In case you missed it yesterday, Mike Chen shared his experience with his readers when it came to dealing with Directv over this issue.

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: directv

Chasing The Wings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,

Why I’m right: “We’re pissed off,” one player said when I visited Detroit last week. “I still don’t know how we lost,” added another. The Red Wings are motivated and angry. What sets them apart is their sense of professionalism. It’s all business all the time. The only thing that matters is winning. Some teams say it but don’t mean it. This team means it.

There’s been a lot of focus on the Red Wings losing 80-plus goals off their roster (Hossa, Kopecky, Samuelsson). That’s true. But they still have three of the world’s 10 best players. And there were times last year when they coasted, winning games on pure talent. Not anymore. They will again be one of the NHL’s best defensive teams.

In the words of one player, Mike Babcock is “even more intense.” Didn’t think that was possible. And Ville Leino is going to show why he should have been on this team last year.

Why I’m wrong: The biggest change for the Red Wings is external. For years, the Central Division was a 98-pound weakling with only Nashville providing any real competition. Now it’s arguably the NHL’s toughest (with the Atlantic). The Blackhawks, Blues and Blue Jackets all made the playoffs and the Predators are no pushovers. Suddenly, every divisional game is tough and it makes a difference.

more plus Western Conference predictions…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Survey Says

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via pucksandbooks at On Frozen Blog,

At the Capitals’ media luncheon on Tuesday I was able to survey, in off-the-record fashion, 15 separate media organizations (OFB not included) to determine their respective prognostications for the Caps this season. The results:

• Only two media outlets predicted that the Caps wouldn’t advance out of round 2 of the NHL playoffs

• Eight outlets forecasted the Caps advancing all the way the to Eastern Conference finals

• Fully five outlets predicted that the Caps would reach the Stanley Cup finals

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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