Kukla's Korner

Do You Consider Derek Morris A #2 Dman?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from James Murphy at NESN,

Both Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien have stressed the importance of a quick transition game, mobility and that first defensive pass out of the zone. And with the addition of Morris, Chiarelli believes he has completed his plan of putting together a blue line that excels in those areas. Despite losing some physical presence with the trade of Aaron Ward and departure of Shane Hnidy, Chiarelli thinks Morris can bring the right combination of skill and size and maybe even join captain Zdeno Chara on the club’s top defensive pairing.

“We feel we’ve added a No. 2 defenseman to our mix,” said Chiarelli. “We feel we’ve upgraded. He’s a guy who brings more skill to our lineup. He can retrieve pucks, he can get to pucks and he can compete. I really like the makeup of our defense now.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: derek+morris

On The Farm With Brent Sutter

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

Turning off the gravel range road upon reaching the Sutter family mailbox, the first thing you’re greeted by are a pair of donkeys the kids gave Brent Sutter one Father’s Day.

Winding your way up along a tree-lined driveway he had paved using bonus money from his first year in Chicago, you soon approach impeccably kept garden beds that soften the family homestead he longed to return to each of the last two winters.

After parking amidst the handful of cars driven by wife Connie, daughter Brooke and his two sons, you see a sturdy pickup truck with a suitcase in the passenger seat—a clear indication which vehicle the well-traveled Flames coach uses.

It’s Sunday morning and aside from a gentle breeze ruffling the trees, all is quiet, including a 10-year-old German Shepherd named Dakota, which is sleeping next to a cowboy boot-shaped planter on the farmhouse stoop.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brent+sutter

Ovechkin Will Miss His Russian Friends

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Russia Today,

Washington Capitals superstar Aleksandr Ovechkin says it’s a pity that his partners Sergey Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov quit NHL and returned to Russian hockey.

“My attitude towards their departure is negative. We became great friends – that’s why I was a little upset when they left. But it’s their decision and I won’t judge them,” Aleksandr Ovechkin said to Sportbox.ru.

NHL veterans 39-year-old Sergey Fedorov and 34-year-old Viktor Kozlov will continue their careers in the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League), having signed deals with Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Salavat Yulaev respectively.

However, Aleksandr the Gr8 is not going to follow the example of his elder friends and return to Russia any time soon.

“It’ll happen only in case of an NHL lockout, if there’ll ever be any, of course,” he said.

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

Blue Jackets May Be Done Dealing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,

Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson might be staring down the fairway on the first tee as you read this.

On Thursday, the day after the Blue Jackets re-signed defenseman Marc Methot to a two-year contract, Howson declared the club’s offseason action pretty much finished.

Howson would like to add an offensive defenseman to the mostly stay-at-home blue line, but, like lots of clubs around the league these days, the Blue Jackets are showing restraint….

Despite the obvious connection to coach Ken Hitchcock, the Jackets have not had talks with free-agent defenseman Sergei Zubov.

more on the Blue Jackets…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Where Are The Offer Sheets?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

This summer, not a single offer sheet has been extended. With the salary cap expected to decrease prior to the 2010-11 season, it’s hard to imagine any offer sheets next summer either.

“I don’t know if it’s a thing of the past,’’ said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, who could still see Phil Kessel accept an offer sheet. “But teams are very cautious now because of the uncertain cap situation and the economy. The offer sheet is an inherently inflationary tool. It doesn’t jive right now with the cautious approaches that we’re taking.’’

The very nature of extending an offer sheet to a restricted free agent is for one club to pay a premium and make the resulting salary so steep that the original team can’t afford to match. Two summers ago, when the current financial crisis and corresponding cap crunch had yet to strike, the Ducks determined that a $4.5 million annual salary to Penner (more per year than Dallas captain Brenden Morrow, in comparison), a developing power forward, was too rich for their books. Anaheim let Penner walk, Burke took his shots, and the Ducks claimed first-, second-, and third-round picks from Edmonton in the 2008 draft as compensation.

more plus other NHL notes…

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

What A Hockey Career

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, T

he legendary Scotty Bowman? “He was the captain of the first team I played for,” long-time Penguins official Eddie Johnston was saying the other day in his Upper St. Clair home. “The Montreal Royals of the Quebec Junior League. I was 16 or 17. He terrorized me.”

The great Bobby Orr? “Best man at my wedding and godfather to one of my kids,” Johnston said.

The one and only Mario Lemieux? “He’s been good to me and my family. I’ve been so blessed,” Johnston said, eyes tearing up just a bit.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

That everybody should be so lucky to retire after a career touched by such greatness?

Johnston, 73, gave up his title as senior advisor to Penguins general manager Ray Shero after the team won the Stanley Cup last month.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eddie+johnston

Stop The Madness Edmonton

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Don’t the Oilers get it? Their city is the last place in North America (other than presumably Ottawa and perhaps Atlanta) that Heatley wants to live, and their team is the last one in the NHL (insert a disclaimer or two) for which he wants to play.

Enough already with the bribery and the convincing. The team and the city look more than desperate. They are beginning to appear pathetic with their continued pursuit of the player who for good reason has become hockey’s most disdained individual.

We know. The Oilers have to overpay in order to entice players of Heatley’s on-ice pedigree to come to their city, and that’s the reason why Nik Khabibulin was able to get an over-35 contract worth $15 million over four years on July 1.

Still, after repeated attempts to appeal to Heatley (and his sense of . . . sense of what, exactly, reality?), Kevin Lowe, now the club president, should stop debasing himself; Steve Tambellini, the GM, should count himself better off for the repeated rejections; Pat Quinn and Tom Renney, the coaches, should consider themselves fortunate not to have someone in their locker room who first thing will search for the emergency exit.

more plus additional NHL topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dany+heatley

Jan Hejda’s +/- And Corsi

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Probably the least logical results I have found in this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey surround Jan Hejda of the Columbus Blue Jacket.  Hejda was among the Columbus Blue Jackets leaders in ice time with over 22 minutes played per game.  He is not an offensive star as he contributed only 21 points last season.  Most of his value is defensive. 

If we look at the top 20 adjusted +/- ratings from last season, we find Hejda’s +19.4 is good for sixteenth best in the league.  That is a clear sign that he has been a good player.  However, if we look at the worst 20 adjusted Corsi Numbers from last season, we find Hejda’s -155.8 is nineteenth worst in the league.  That suggests he has been a bad player and clearly contradicts his +/-.  How can that be?

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Spezza Wedding Goes Off Without A Hitch

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Lofaro and Brendan Kennedy of the Ottawa Citizen,

Jennifer Snell pulled up in a vintage 1957 Rolls Royce Saturday at Notre Dame Basilica as her husband-to-be, Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza, and hundreds of guests waited inside.

But when told by the wedding planner that some of the wedding guests were still entering the church, the Rolls driver took Snell for a ride around the block, returning a few minutes later.

Then, Snell was accompanied inside the church by her father, Douglas.

The 45-minute ceremony was closed to the media and public, but many of Spezza’s teammates, including Chris Neil, Chris Phillips, and Anton Volchenkov, were there. Senators owner Eugene Melynk was also on hand, as was hockey legend Bobby Orr, and Catherine Clark…

Missing from the ceremony were teammates Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Fisher and Senators general manager Bryan Murray. And, for the record, Dany Heatley was a no-show.

read on (pics too) & thanks to a KK reader for the pointer…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink

How The Sharks Look If The Season Started Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Pollak of Working the Corners at the Mercury News,

What I do have is a look at the front-office depth chart this month that listed the top four lines and three defense pairings going into training camp. I didn’t see the official board with my own eyes, but here’s how it was relayed to me by someone who has. Let’s just say I threw together my best guess at the right combinations and someone corrected my version.

Again, nothing is carved in granite, but it’s a starting point….

Shelley/Frazer McLaren-Nichol-Staubitz


more on the Sharks…

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

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