Kukla's Korner

Staal Not Filling His Role

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

One obvious weakness of the Pittsburgh Penguins is that their offence is too dependent upon Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.  No other Pittsburgh player has more than half as many points as either of the Penguins stars.  Those that lead the pack of the rest of the Pittsburgh scorers are Crosby and Malkin linemates.  For the most part, goals are not being scored without Crosby or Malkin involved.

One key player who should be relied upon to provide these goals is Jordan Staal.  Staal is seen as a key member of the Penguins core.  They drafted him second overall in 2006.  He is signed to a contract that will get him $4 million a year for the next four years.  He will be the third highest paid Pittsburgh forward next year (behind Crosby and Malkin) unless there are further big forward contracts this summer.  For Pittsburgh to succeed they would benefit from secondary scoring and a talented third line centreman should be a big part of providing it.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Luck On Wings Side

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun via the National Post,

If the Detroit Red Wings were feeling unlucky to have to open the Stanley Cup final three days after finishing off an opponent in five games . . . well, they should now consider that luck thing a dead issue.

Luck is two Detroit goals that come off the end boards and wind up going into the net off the back of Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s right leg. Luck is a third goal that bounces straight up in the air off the goalie, where defensive centre Jordan Staal loses it in the lights, and leaves seldom-used fourth-liner Justin Abdelkader a free shot into the open net over Fleury.

continued

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

Quick Thoughts After Game 1

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,

• Well, you just knew Wings rookie fourth-line center Justin Abdelkader would be a difference-maker in this game, right? Um, no, I didn’t think so, either. After all, he had just two shifts in the first period. But there was Abdelkader, scoring a monster insurance goal at the 2:26 mark of the third period to give the Wings a 3-1 lead….

• The battle between superstars Henrik Zetterberg and Sidney Crosby is going to be a great one. The two ultra-competitors really dug in during a mid-first-period shift in the Wings’ end. This is an area where last season’s experience should really help No. 87. This go-round, Crosby knows all about Zetterberg’s dogged nature….

• Osgood made a monster glove stop on a clean breakaway chance from Malkin early in the second period. Malkin picked up a loose puck at the far blue line and made a beeline toward Osgood. The Russian sniper looked to pick the top corner with a quick snap….

more

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

Penguins & Red Wings: Game #1 Report Card

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From the Canadian Press via Winnipeg Free Press:

FORWARDS

Penguins, B-minus: The Penguins dynamic duo each had their share of chances, but Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin couldn’t solve Chris Osgood. Even though Malkin picked up an assist on Ruslan Fedotenko’s goal, he was left kicking himself after failing to score on a clear breakaway when the game was tied 1-1. It was just the third time in 18 games this post-season that Crosby was held off the scoresheet.

Red Wings, A-minus: The depth was on display again as the Wings played without injured forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Kris Draper. Johan Franzen scored his team-leading 11th of the playoffs, Justin Abdelkader got the first of his NHL career, Henrik Zetterberg performed well in a matchup with Crosby and Darren Helm was dominant in the faceoff circle

continued…

More thoughts on the game from Reuters, the Associated Press and Canwest News.

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

Former Goalie Hank Bassen Passes Away

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

Henry “Hank” Bassen has apparently died of a heart attack at the age of 76.

No other info available right now (*this news comes from Paul Kukla who is currently at tonight’s game), but Bassen’s career is documented at Hockey DB. And from Wikipedia:

Henry “Hank” Bassen (b. December 6, 1932, Calgary, Alberta) was a back-up goaltender in the National Hockey League for the Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins, and father of Bob Bassen who played in the NHL.

After retiring Bassen managed the junior Calgary Wranglers from 1984–86 and had two sons go on to play professional hockey.

More on Bassen’s career at Legends of Hockey.

Update 10:51pm ET: From NHL.com

Hank Bassen, a former goaltender for both of this year’s Stanley Cup participants, died Friday at age 76. Bassen’s family said he died of a heart attack at his home in Calgary. He was also battling cancer.

Update 11:46pm ET: More from Joe Pelletier at Greatest Hockey Legends.

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: hank+bassen

Press Conference Transcript—Mario Lemieux

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

Q. It seems like you’re enjoying this, having some fun. When you bought the team out of bankruptcy, did you ever imagine it getting to this level consistently?

        MARIO LEMIEUX: Well, I knew it was going to take a few years, certainly, to build a great club in Pittsburgh. We went through a very difficult four or five years, as you well know in Pittsburgh, finishing last or close to last. Getting the draft picks that we needed to rebuild.

        Of course, the lottery didn’t hurt either, getting Sidney in Pittsburgh with Malkin and Fleury and Staal, and the rest of the gang that we have.

        So I knew it was going to take a while to get back on top, but now that we are, I think we’re well positioned for the next few years, at least with the core players that we have signed in the last couple of years.

        Q. What is your relationship like with Sidney and specifically in the playoffs? Do you talk to him? Do you talk hockey? What’s that like? And the second part, when you see what he’s accomplished this spring, does it put you in mind of when you were younger or Jagr was there?

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mario+lemieux

From The Chippewa On Down, The Dynasty Lives On.  It’s A Defending What’s Your’s Live Blog.

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

“From the Chippewa on down…”

That’s Lightfoot.  And he brings us luck.  He’s going nowhere.

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Update From The JLA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Many more Pens fans are at the Joe than last year.

Be prepared for a lot of towel waving.

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

Ready to Go

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Empty Netters is at the arena right now—you can check out his photos here.  He also linked the video below, from CBC’s opening broadcast of the playoffs back in April. 

A great video, and I thought it might be a good kick-off for tonight as well.

Puck drop, 1 hour 35 minutes, and counting…

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL Talk, NHL Playoff Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: stanley+cup+finals

It’s Not Personal, Says Bettman

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Tim Panaccio at CSN Philly.com:

Three separate times, Bettman stressed that his fight with Balsillie, which has been largely painted in Canada as a deeply personal one, wasn’t “personal” at all, but a matter of following league procedures and policy.

“The issue here is league rules and league processes and procedures,” Bettman said “… This is not just an NHL issue. This is not a Canada versus U.S. issue. This is not a Phoenix versus Hamilton issue. And this is certainly not a personal issue. Any notion to the contrary we think is simply off the mark.”

Bettman said he would welcome this issue before his Board of Governors.

“If and when the board is going to consider Mr. Balsillie as an owner, if I am asked an opinion I will express it,” Bettman said. “I’ll express it to the board first, before I express it to the world.  If in the final analysis, the owners conclude that he is somebody they would like to have as a partner, then we will vote him in. If in the final analysis they don’t think he’s suitable to be a partner, for whatever reason, they’ll conclude to keep him out. If their opinion is one they are interested in, I will express it to them when asked.”

read on for more from Gary Bettman’s press conference today, on a variety of topics

Update 6:30 pm ET: Much more from Bettman’s press conference can be read here, from the CP via TSN.

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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