Kukla's Korner

Thorne Talks NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Online Q & A with Gary Thorne, from USA TODAY,

Ann Arbor, MI: What will happen to the Red Wings next season? Will Yzerman be back? Will GM Ken Holland realize that despite their success in the regular season, this team wasn't built to win in the playoffs? Gary Thorne: I'm not so sure. They have to settle the goaltending matter in a big-time way. If they do that, they are solid and have speed up front and still have a defense that can move the puck. Chelly will still get the job done, but not beyond another year. Stevie Y needs to call it quits, but with the dollars hanging out there, he may come back and that means spot play. It's what happens after next year that will determine the Wings' future. First though, who's in net? McLean, VA: While the NHL is no doubt happy just to have a Stanley Cup finals to broadcast, league and OLN officials can't be too happy about an Edmonton-Carolina matchup. When will the NHL dump the smaller markets? Gary Thorne: No. They can't. The league is a gate driver. So long as the seats are full in whatever city plays, a lot of money is being made. This was a very good year at the gate for the NHL. Put 18,000 in a rink at $200 or more a ticket and then they spend a hundred more on concessions and tees? You do the math. Small markets still equal big bucks.
more

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Interesting Facts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NHL,

-This marks just the second season since NHL clubs exclusively began competing for the Stanley Cup in 1927 that the Stanley Cup Finalists did not meet during the regular season. The abbreviated 1994-95 season, during which the clubs played a 48-game schedule of exclusively intra-conference contests, featured a New Jersey Devils-Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup Final. -Hurricanes RW Mark Recchi is making his first Final appearance in 15 years. In 1991, he captured the Stanley Cup as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Oilers RW Radek Dvorak is making his first Stanley Cup Final appearance in a decade. In his rookie season of 1995-96, Dvorak went to the Final as a member of the Florida Panthers. -Hurricanes D Mike Commodore and LW Cory Stillman are appearing in the Stanley Cup Final for the second consecutive season. They were on opposite sides in 2004, Stillman for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Commodore for the Calgary Flames.
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The Human Side

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Peter Laviolette did a good job of maintaining his carefully sculpted image as a bland, unemotional hockey coach until the last press conference after the last game of the Carolina Hurricanes' playoff series against the Buffalo Sabres. Shortly after the Hurricanes beat the Sabres on Thursday night to advance to the Stanley Cup final against the Edmonton Oilers, Laviolette came to the podium with an unopened bottle of wine. He sat it firmly on the table and said nothing about it at first.
continued

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Testing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,

Fittingly, the physical testing portion of the NHL Draft Combine is located in a basement ballroom of the Park Plaza Hotel. The entire program is a more condensed version than the more famous NFL combine, but according to E.J. Maguire, the Central Scouting Service's chief scout and host for this weeks combine, it provides an ideal measure of a player's physical ability to handle the athletic demands of playing the sport of hockey at an elite level. "We're here to give you the info you want," Maguire told the coaches. "Are we trying to mimic the NFL Combine? No. We're trying to design one to serve our own purposes and we believe this it." And what did the first victims think Friday morning when they finally came face-to-face with the beast from below? Who knows? Few had the lung power to issue even the most generic of judgments.
read on...I wonder if these guys take the Wonderlic Test...

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Hockey Season Extended

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Greensboro News-Record,

In other words, the Hurricanes play excellent hockey. And almost no one outside Raleigh knows or cares. All day long, Hurricanes fans wandered around Raleigh with flags waving from SUVs, almost all contained within the limits of Capital City. Few wandered in from beyond as this is a genuine Raleigh event contained within the psyche of Raleigh sports fans. As of Wednesday night, tickets were still available to what hockey fans considered the biggest sporting event in the history of North Carolina. Tethered to cable television and spread from Canada to Florida, the sport has yet to attract much attention from fans who didn't even know there was a strike that canceled the last season. The nation of Canada will come to a standstill in the coming days and weeks as beloved Edmonton returns to the Stanley Cup finals.
read on...these type of stories would be much more credible if the authors had the correct information, there was no strike last year...

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Refs Announced

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Hockey News,

Mick McGeough got an early 49th birthday present today. The veteran NHL referee learned he is one of four refs selected to work the 2005-06 Stanley Cup final. For McGeough, who turns 49 June 20 and worked his first NHL game Jan. 19, 1989, it is his first trip to the final. He will be joined by Paul Devorski and Brad Watson, both of whom worked Game 7 of the Carolina-Buffalo Eastern Conference final series, as well as Bill McCreary.

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Caps Moving Forward

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tarik El-Bashir of the Wasington Post,

George McPhee meandered his way across the Hershey Bears' locker room shaking hands and offering congratulations as music thumped from the stereo on Tuesday night. The Bears had just clinched a berth in the American Hockey League's Calder Cup finals, and McPhee, the general manager of the Washington Capitals -- Hershey's parent club -- was as joyful as the minor leaguers who whooped and hollered around him. Considering the payroll constraints imposed by Capitals ownership, a strong minor league system could prove to be McPhee's most valuable asset as he attempts to shepherd the Capitals back to respectability. ...Added Green: "Washington is on the right track. It all starts down here, and hopefully, this group can take this experience to Washington. It's been a good run here in Hershey, but nothing has been accomplished yet."
more (reg. req.)...and thanks to a KK reader for the pointer...

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Grandpa Needs A New TV

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Maple Ridge Times,

Gordon Ladd watched nervously, his back arched in his seat, knuckles white with tension, as his grandson's hockey team started the game slowly once again. His grandson Andrew Ladd was playing his ninth Stanley Cup playoff game Tuesday for the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes. After that tense first period, Gordon had to make his own adjustments after the second period, as his TV suddenly turned off during the period. He couldn't get it working again. Gordon, arms resting on his living room chair, threw his hands up in the air in disappointment. "Gosh, I couldn't believe it!" he said afterwards.
more...and I do hope his TV is either fixed or replaced, he has at least four more game to watch...

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OLN Last Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I am getting some search hits today about OLN losing the broadcast signal last night. I did not experience that, watching the HD version on INHD with Comcast in Detroit, there was not any signal loss. Searching the AVS Forum, nothing is mentioned there either. If you had issues with the signal, please comment on what you experienced, your location and what subscriber you were watching.

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Nooooo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I am sure Sabre fans were saying NOOOOO when the puck went over the glass mid-way in the 3rd period. from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

On Thursday night, the Sabres were the victims of a bad rule. In this case, it was the rule against shooting the puck over the glass. Brian Campbell was called on it in the third period, and Rod Brind'Amour scored the eventual game-winner on the resulting power play. There's a big difference between a bad call and a bad rule. Make no mistake, there will be lots of debate about this rule after the season. Many, including Scotty Bowman, have suggested before Ccampbell was caught that the rule was too punitive, and that officials should be able to use some discretion.
read on added 9:07am, from the Buffalo News,
"My favorite new rule in the NHL cost us the frigging game," an emotional Miller said in the RBC Center. "Stupidest thing ever. I don't see how that should ever decide a game. Two guys forechecking a player, he goes to make a quick play in the bad ice in springtime, and it goes out of play. You're telling me that's a rule? They gotta wake up. "I don't understand the whole rule," the goaltender continued. "In the AHL they threw it out after a year because the fans hated it. I don't understand how that makes its way to be a deciding factor in an NHL hockey game."
more

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