Kukla's Korner

Those ‘Ugly’ Goaltenders

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Highlighting the 'Ugly" from Barry Melrose of ESPN,

Three veteran goalies have gotten off to ugly starts: Nikolai Khabibulin in Chicago, Rick DiPietro with the New York Islanders and Martin Brodeur in New Jersey. They are three of the best goaltenders in the NHL, but I don't think the trio is enjoying the new NHL. All three netminders are under .500, all are over 3.00 in GAA and all are under .900 in save percentage. Compare these three goalies, and money they make, to someone like Labarbera. Look at those numbers.

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Lecavalier Calls Out Officiating

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sportsnet,

Following a 3-2 loss to Montreal last night, Tampa Bay's fourth straight setback, Lightning star Vincent Lecavalier became one of the first among top-line players to criticize NHL officiating. "Question mark is, why is it always even on both sides? That's what I don't understand. It's a lot better than it used to be with hooking and grabbing but there's still too much. They still should call more. A hook is a hook. If a guy puts a stick on a guy's glove or if he grabs a shirt it's a penalty. It should be like that. It's a tough adjustment for everybody, you know, for them too, for referees, it's their first year."

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Over The Boards

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

-The streaking Carolina Hurricanes will be looking to establish a new franchise record for consecutive wins when they visit the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. The Hurricanes have won seven straight games to equal the club record set from March 16-29, 1985, when the franchise was known as the Hartford Whalers. -Sergei Fedorov should be back in the Ducks lineup this weekend after recovering from a groin injury. -Peter Forsberg is on a pace for 151 assists and a +88.

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Kings Invade JLA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via TSN,

The Los Angeles Kings weren't ranked very high by most hockey prognosticators this season, and while it's still early, they are proving their doubters wrong with a 10-5-0 start that has them atop the Pacific Division. "I think most of the pre-season predictions had us certainly as an outsider in the playoffs, anywhere from 11th to the bottom in our conference," said Kings head coach Andy Murray. But Murray is also quick to point out his team has benefited from playing 10 of its first 15 games at home. "Detroit came in here and beat us (5-2 on Oct. 13) and they're at the top of the conference right now," rookie Kings goalie Jason Labarbera said in a phone interview. "It's a big test for us, we want to measure ourselves against the best teams in the conference. To go into Detroit which is a tough place to play, I've never played there yet, so that'll be a good test."

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Mario Praises Ilya

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Mario Lemieux is something of an authority on the subject of goal-scoring, having done it 689 times in the NHL. So when he praises another player for his ability to put the puck in the net, it's worth it to listen. And when he singles out Atlanta left winger Ilya Kovalchuk as perhaps the finest pure goal-scorer in the game, it's an opinion that has to be taken seriously.

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Regehr Plans On Physical Play

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Calgary Sun,

Physical play is supposed to be on the way out in the NHL. Tell that to Robyn Regehr. The rugged Flames defenceman has a theory about how to play with the obstruction clampdown, having now skated in three games since returning from the knee injury that forced him to miss the first month of the season. "I think the best way to play it is as physical as you can and, if you're doing something wrong, the refs will talk to you. From there, you can tone it down if you have to," Regehr said.

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Esche Tuned In

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Courier Post,

When he's not stopping pucks in games and practices, Flyers goaltender Robert Esche is getting his groove in an attempt to become a better netminder. For the past several days Esche and Patricia Knight of Precision Timing of Newtown, Pa., have turned a second-floor room at the SkateZone in Voorhees into an interactive metronome. What's an interactive metronome, you ask? From outside the glass-enclosed room, Esche looks like he's listening to a Kenny Chesney CD as he taps his feet, slaps his hips and does everything but swing an imaginary lasso over his head. He said he is actually listening to a variety of sounds while reacting to specific noises such as cowbells.

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Leafs Building Future Stars

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

What is truly encouraging for the Leaf Nation, meanwhile, is that for the first time in a long, long time the Leafs are very much a part of this transfer of influence to a new generation. Last night, fully one-quarter of the Toronto roster was populated by players 23 years of age or younger, a promising development under the shadows of a new economic system that has robbed the Original Six club of much of its former financial might.

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Rejuvenated Veterans

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Citizen,

The new game, after a year to recuperate, train and prepare, has done wonders for some old legs. Some, like Brett Hull, Scott Stevens and Ron Francis, knew it was time to move on. Other veterans have been born again. 1. Paul Kariya, once the anchor of an Anaheim Mighty Ducks team that reached the Stanley Cup final in 2003, was written off by many when he was injured for much of '03-04 and scored just 36 points for the Colorado Avalanche. 2. Ditto for Kariya's former running mate in Anaheim, Teemu Selanne, who scored 32 points in 78 games for the same Avalanche. Hardly the sort of performance associated with the Finnish Flash of the Winnipeg Jets, a 76-goal scorer in 1992-93. 3. Brendan Shanahan of the Detroit Red Wings hated the style of play so much he formed a committee to help reshape the product. A two-time 50-goal scorer with the St. Louis Blues in the early 1990s, Shanahan muddled through '03-04 with 53 points in 82 games for the Detroit Red Wings.

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Battle For The Calder

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Daily News via the County Times,

The battle for the Calder Trophy, the NHL's top rookie honor, is likely to come down to Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, who was the first overall draft pick during the summer, and Alexander Ovechkin, who was picked first overall by Washington in 2004. By the most accurate method available to determine the status of any person, place, or thing in North American culture, the Penguins' phenom can be declared the winner. Type in Crosby's name on the virtual marketplace's Web site and you get more than 1,000 hits. Ovechkin? Not so great. A paltry 190 items turned up on his search.

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