Kukla's Korner

The UAE Skates Into Town

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

In a dressing room at the Brampton Centre, members of the United Arab Emirates national hockey team are kneeling on the floor, praying. Their jerseys are laid out beneath them, doubling as prayer rugs. Quietly, the men perform the ritual all Muslims are required to complete five times a day. Afterward, they pick up their jerseys and assemble their equipment, almost all of it ordered over the Internet because it isn't sold back home. These dozen or so men make up possibly the only team of its kind in the Arab world. At home, they are at best the subject of occasional curiosity from their soccer-mad fellow citizens. In Canada, most find it hard to believe a desert country even has a hockey team. But it does, and tonight the members are playing the most exciting game of their lives.

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Pace Yourself

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from th Edmonton Sun,

-With 16 goals in 15 games, Philly's Simon Gagne is on pace to become the first player since Brett Hull in 1992 to score 50 goals in 50 games. In fact, he's flirting with Wayne Gretzky's seemingly untouchable 50 in 37. Gagne is on pace for 50 in 40 right now. -The Ottawa Senators are on pace for 404 goals, which would make them the only team other than the 1985-86 Oilers (426) to reach 400. The Oilers did it five times in the '80s. Calgary got to 397 in 1987-88. -It's not all good. With two wins in their first 16 games, the St. Louis Blues are on pace to challenge Washington's all-time record for fewest wins in a season (eight in 1974-75).

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Hungover Bolts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ledger,

The Lightning headaches can generally be divided into two categories: -Power outage -- Lakeland Electric and its customers can empathize. Even on a team full of proven scorers like Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Vinnie Prospal, Tampa Bay ranked 27th among the 30 teams in the NHL in power-play goals going into last night's game, with a sickly 13.1 percent success rate, just 15 in 17 games. In overall goals, the Bolts are tied for 15th with 50. -Beginning to miss the one big name lost from the title team -- goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, a free agent signed by the Chicago Blackhawks. At first, there seemed realistic hope John Grahame could step in and the Bolts wouldn't miss a beat. As Khabibulin's backup, Grahame's statistics were actually a hair better in 2003-2004.

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NHL Revenue Stabilizing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Buried deep in the Globe and Mail blog of Eric Duhatschek, is this interesting bit...

...last week, The Hockey News did the math for all of us and calculated that the average NHL salary this season would be $1.46-million, down from the $1.83 million average in 2003-04. Considering the players accepted a 24 per cent rollback as part of the new CBA, that figure is just about right. Currently, players are also having 12 per cent of their salaries withheld in escrow payments (because under terms of the CBA, their incomes cannot exceed 54 per cent of the NHL's gross annual revenues), but indications are, the amount held in escrow will decline in the second quarter, because revenues appear to be stabilizing, if not actually growing. Under terms of the escrow provision, the players could get some (or all) of the monies withheld in escrow back, depending on where revenues are at the end of the year. An average NHL salary of $1.46-million would be the lowest since 2000-01, when the average was $1.41-million …

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All STATS

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I am always awaiting the update from the STATS Blog via NHL.com. Today it is all Carolina.

During the Carolina Hurricanes’ current eight-game winning streak, the team has dominated at even strength, and has crushed its opponents in the third period.
more Then we have even more STATS-
The new NHL rules set up to encourage more scoring seem to be working. The goals-per-game average this season is 6.3, a marked rise from the 2003-04 average of 5.1. That 6.3 average is the highest since the NHL mark was 6.3 in 1995-96.
continued

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Players Stock

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

It's a basic mathematical equation. NHL teams that boast the most number of players whose stock is trending up are the ones that will be most successful. Similarly, teams whose players' stock is doing the Enron will invariably be the ones you can locate at the bottom of the NHL standings. As teams race toward the quarter pole of what has already been a turbulent NHL season, we take a look at five players whose stock is on the rise and five whose value has taken a surprising nosedive.

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Breaking Down The Numbers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Earlier today, I made mention of the Forbes article 'The Business Of Hockey'. Kara Yorio of the Sporting News breaks it down for us.

The best-valued player -- by far according to the Forbes "value ratings" -- is Predators defenseman Marek Zidlicky at a $1.14 million salary. Rounding out the top 3 are Colorado defenseman John-Michael Liles ($450,000) and Kings defenseman Nathan Dempsey ($874,000). The worst buys for the buck? Islanders defenseman Janne Niinimaa ($2.432) owns the dubious distinction of No. 1 in this category. His teammate at the blue line Alexei Zhitnik ($3.515 million) is right behind him, followed by Hurricanes defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky ($2.5 million).

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Struggle In St. Louis

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Shawn P. Roarke of Fox Sports,

Things are getting very ugly very quickly in St. Louis. Fifteen games into the season, the Blues have just two wins and are mired in a club-record nine-game losing streak. They have not won since Oct. 19. Not surprisingly, St. Louis has a league-low seven points. The Blues have won just one of eight games in the Central Division and trail division-leading Detroit by a whopping 22 points. The team has been outscored by 24 goals and only Washington (70) and Pittsburgh (72) have allowed more goals than the 69 the Blues have bled already this year.

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NHL Surprises

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

No one really knew what to expect when the new NHL hit the ice just over a month ago, but here are six story lines that have taken me by surprise: 1. The rebirth of Mike Modano 2. The first-place New York Rangers 3. Alexander Ovechkin's dominance 4. The struggles of the money goalies 5. The first-place Carolina Hurricanes 6. Who is Jason Williams?

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Watching Hockey- 101

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Many of us know how to watch a game but this is a nice primer for fans new to the game or a nice refresher for long time fans. The column refers to the college game but could also apply to any form of hockey. from the College Hockey News,

As a former full-time hockey writer and media relations person, I was fortunate to be exposed to some excellent hockey minds over the years. Coaches, players, front office staff and scouts helped me learn how to watch the game as the pros do, and I'd like to pass along some of their tips to help you get more out of your own game-watching experience. Whether you are a novice, intermediate or advanced hockey watcher, hopefully, there's something in here that will further your knowledge and enjoyment of our game.

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