Kukla's Korner

Why the Oilers Won

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via TSN,

There were a multitude of reasons for Edmonton's elimination of Detroit from the NHL playoffs, the most obvious being that the Oilers' energy simply wore down the older Red Wings. It helped the Oilers enormously to have a big edge in goaltending in the series. Dwayne Roloson faced 238 shots and stopped 221 for a .929 save percentage, while Detroit's Manny Legace faced 155 and stopped 137 for a .884 percentage.
more

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Deal Gone Bad

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via E.J. Hradek of ESPN (Insider Information),

According to a league source, Detroit GM Ken Holland played a little "deal or no deal" with goalie Manny Legace earlier in the season. Playing the part of host Howie Mandel, Holland offered Legace a new contract worth $2.5 million. Legace, who earned $1.162 million this season, went the "no deal" route. Apparently, he was seeking something in the neighborhood of $4 million. Well, guess what? On Monday night in Edmonton, the big money came off the board.
added 6:32pm, Pretty ironic this story came out today too... from the CP via TSN,
If the first round of the NHL playoffs has shown anything, it's that signing a goalie isn't an exact science. Marty Turco and Evgeni Nabokov got huge contract extensions during the season and their teams didn't get much bang for their buck in the post-season. Turco struggled as Dallas was upset by Colorado. Nabokov lost his starting job before the playoffs even began as San Jose rode Vesa Toskala into the second round.
read on for the goalie situation around the league...

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Split-Screen Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Only Center Ice game today is Carolina/Montreal. The Sabres/Flyers game is on OLN but as of yet not shown on the schedule below. image

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The End Is Here For Yzerman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

In the spring of 2002, Yzerman returned after missing 30 games to injury and led the team with 23 points, second in overall playoff scoring, in spite of a badly damaged knee. Earlier this year, understanding his friend Wayne Gretzky was in an untenable position in selecting the Canadian Olympic team, Yzerman called and told Gretzky he wouldn't be available. At the time, many believed Yzerman would call it quits midseason, sidelined by injuries and seemingly out of place in the new NHL. But he bided his time and returned as the team's most dynamic player down the stretch and indeed in this disappointing first-round series. Even as his body began to break down, Yzerman continued to establish himself as perhaps the most recognizable sports figure in a sports-mad town. GM Ken Holland told ESPN.com earlier this year that in the end Yzerman will rival Gordie Howe as the town's brightest light. And make no mistake, the end is here.
more

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Foppa Can Influence The Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Witnessing many a Colorado/Wings playoff matchup, I have watched Forsberg take over a game and a series. Does he have it in him to do it again? from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,

When the Flyers invested in Forsberg at the start of the regular season, they were banking on getting a big-time player who would deliver when the chips were down. And, so far, Forsberg has done just that. For fans in the East, seeing Forsberg during an entire season has been a revelation. He played his rookie season with the Quebec Nordiques before the franchise moved to Colorado, so many Forsberg moments came through video replays or word of mouth. Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock, who saw plenty of Forsberg up close and personal when he coached the Dallas Stars, chuckles as he fields question after question about Forsberg's immense talents. "Remember, I've seen him for years in Colorado," Hitchcock said. "Having coached against him (in the West), this is the way he plays in the playoffs. It's not surprising."
more

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Report- Ozolinsh Retiring

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I am not sure how to take this, Ozolinsh is retiring from the NHl or the Latvian national team. If I read it correctly, it looks like he is done with hockey. from the Baltic Times,

National Hockey League’s (NHL) veteran and Latvian National Team’s star Sandis Ozolins has decided to retire, Latvian daily newspaper "Diena" reported on May 2. Ozolins has informed the national team's head coach Pyotr Vorobjov about his decision over the telephone. "He told me that he has made a firm decision to end his career," Vorobjov told Diena.

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The Model Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sportsnet,

The Flyers are a typical NHL team, circa 2006, in that they suffer from short-term, if not terminal, streakiness. There was a lot of that going around the league this year, and you can see the results of it in the playoffs - four short series in the opening round - as teams get cold or hot for a few days and whammo; out....or in. The Sabres are the better team and for the sake of the NHL's hopes for a permanent new style of play, it would be better if they won. Plus, nobody needs a winner more than the burghers of Buffalo, whose only real winners - the Bills AFC dynasty of the early '90s - are remembered as "Wide-Right" losers.... But, in the long-run Buffalo is the model (as Edmonton, which is a slight hybrid of the two approaches, is in the west), and it would be some kind of cosmic justice if the Sabres prevailed in this series of contrasting styles.
more

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NHL Stance On Russians

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sportsnet,

So, the Penguins will not be "buying" Evgeny Malkin out of his Russian contract with Magnitogorsk Metallurg. "Neither the League, nor the Cubs, intend to negotiate outside the framework of our usaual Player Transfer Agreement. The Russian team officials are talking to themslves -- not us", Daly concluded.
added 10:49am, from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Malkin expressed a strong desire to play in Pittsburgh in an interview with Russia’s Sport-Express Daily. “I would like to start playing in the NHL. I was planning to play in the NHL last season, but after I talked to my agent and my parents, I decided to stay here one more season,” he said. “Now I believe I can play not just like a regular player, but I can be one of the leaders.”
more

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Buzz Around The Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Hockey News,

Rather than dismissing conspiracy talk by its fans, the league ought to play into it. For instance, when on-ice officials attempt to verify a goal by going upstairs to the video replay crew, dim the lights in the booth so the replay men appear as silhouettes, a la The Banker from Deal or No Deal. Next, they should borrow some of the James Bond Lite background suspense music from 24, and play it while the video crew decides. In other words, have some fun with it.
much more...numerous topics discussed...

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Legace Feels The Heat

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

This story was written before last night's game. After game 6 Manny was quoted as saying, " I feel like going home and hanging myself". from the Windsor Star,

In a town that devours goalies, Manny Legace can sense Detroit Red Wings fans cueing up the theme music from Jaws. The Wings' goaltending position is a lightning rod for criticism because no matter the failures of the players in front of him, and they have been many in this series, the lasting image for many is Legace bathed in the red glow of the goal light. "They're tough on their goalies here," Legace said. "They've chased a few out of town. "It comes with the job here. You can't dwell on it or else you'd go crazy."
continued

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