Kukla's Korner

So Many Sticks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Morning Sentinel,

Sticks continue to change as more technology is introduced. Composite sticks -- made of, among other things, kevlar and graphite -- were introduced in the early 1990s, with composite shafts taking the place of aluminum shafts. Most recently, one-piece composites have been introduced, with an eye toward lighter and more durable sticks. With the improvements in sticks, prices have skyrocketed. While wooden sticks still retail for as little as $19, composite sticks can cost as much as $225. No matter what type of stick a player uses, most of them are pretty particular about the make of the stick, the curve of the blade and how they tape both the blade and the handle. Much like baseball players with their bats and their gloves, many hockey players are obsessive about their sticks.
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The Red Light Is Off

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Villages Daily Sun,

Chuck Sneddon had the power for more than 50 years. With one push of a button, Sneddon could send an already rabid mob into total frenzy. Of all the officials in all of the sports, nobody - but nobody - can light up the world like the man who flips on the red light when the puck finds the net. And nobody - but nobody - turned on the light for the best that have ever been as many times as Sneddon. He red-lighted Maurice Richard. He red-lighted Gordie Howe. He red-lighted Bobby Hull. He red-lighted Bobby Orr. He red-lighted Wayne Gretzky. For more than five decades, he was the man behind the hockey net during games all the way from the peewees to the Stanley Cup.
continued Does this article bring back memories. Chuck was a cult figure for a group of us growing up during the Olympia Days. Before games the Wings announce the off ice officials working the game, we used to give Chuck a standing ovation everytime his name was mentioned.

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Khabibulin Out With Knee Injury

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Chicago Tribune,

Khabibulin had an MRI Saturday, and the Hawks expect him to miss at least four weeks. The team thinks he might have sprained his medial collateral ligament. "It happened early in the game," coach Trent Yawney said. "He played through it, but after [the game] it was pretty sore."
read on

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Trade Sundin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Sun,

As the trade deadline and playoffs steadily approach, the Leafs continue to flail, with different factions each approaching a crossroads. John Ferguson Jr. remains a GM in a precarious position who requires immediate success in order to retain his job. Drastic actions are called for in situations like these. JFJ needs to do the taboo. He must trade Mats Sundin.
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Let The Rumors Begin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon is getting an itchy finger and don't be surprised if he makes a deal involving G Nikolai Khabibulin, who has been a bust in Chicago. There's talk the Hawks are working on a deal to send Khabibulin to the Oilers. Yes, the Oilers have targeted Washington's Olaf Kolzig and Khabibulin hasn't played well, but Khabibulin might be better if he had a decent team in front of him. The fact the Hawks are awful has only made the situation worse for Khabibulin in the Windy City. Naturally, Chicago would have to take G Ty Conklin as part of a package in return, but Edmonton might be a nice fit for Khabibulin to get back on track and the club has the cap room to make the deal happen.
continued...and as usual for a Sunday, many more rumors...

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Decision Time For The NHLPA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Slap Shots has learned that the PA Executive Board — which consists of the 30 player reps plus the current Executive Committee officers — will hold a conference call today chaired by Ted Saskin, in which it will discuss, if not vote on, narrowing the payroll band that would thus reduce the cap beginning next season. Apparently terrified by the prospect of significant escrow losses over the life of the CBA, the PA appears poised to accept the NHL's long-preferred payroll band of $10M as opposed to the $16M set forth in the agreement. This would fix the cap at $5M above the calculated midpoint, not $8M, with the floor similarly established. Which means that if this season's revenues come in at the now projected $2B, next season's cap will be $41.55M rather than $44.55M. Which means that free agents will have dramatically fewer options available to them when they hit the open market...
read on (reg. req.)

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Running The Goalie Must Stop

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

It's a situation the league cannot allow to continue. Goalies are the most important players on any team and often the most highly paid. To allow them to be sitting ducks for minimum-wage plumbers whose primary purpose on the ice is to hurt people, makes no sense whatsoever. But no one wants the return of the video rule which, after an apparent goal had been scored, left fans wondering whether they should cheer or wait for the video replay. Most GMs feel the answer is to be found in allowing the defencemen more leeway in their treatment of encroaching forwards. But that presents problems too. It means that different standards will be applied in different parts of the rink.
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Patrice Bergeron Getting Extra Attention

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Daily News Transcript,

"I don’t know if they can get any higher," says Sullivan of the expectations for Bergeron. "We think so much of him as a player and as a person. It seems like the more challenges we present to him, he just thrives on it. He gets that much better. We use him in all the critical situations, and he embraces the challenge, whether it be defending our net or trying to get a goal late in the game." Bergeron, who won’t even be allowed to legally buy a drink for another six months (he turns 21 on July 24), seems unfazed by the extra attention he’s getting and the increased role he’s playing. "Not really," says Bergeron when asked if he’s putting more pressure on himself now. "All the forwards got to step up and score more. We’ve got to get the results."
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Both Are Impact Players

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Allentown Morning Call,

If the NHL wants to market its new ways, simply put Ovechkin's magnificent goal on a non-stop, 24-hour replay loop and then open the box office. That moment of ad-lib genius is destined to define the Washington wizard's career the same way Michael Jordan's sky walk at the NBA Slam Dunk competition did 20 years ago. The scary thing is, Ovechkin appears to have the skills to author these transcendent plays on any given shift, so you'd better pay attention. Ovechkin has stolen a lot of the thunder away from Sidney Crosby, the 18-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins phenom, who was anointed the league's savior before the first puck was dropped back in October. Sure, he's been goaded into some stupid penalties and needs the added strength that physical maturity will bring, but Crosby has certainly delivered as advertised.
read on

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Lemaire Thinks Team Will Finish Last

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The top four teams in the Northwest are all in the playoff range, and though Minnesota is just nine points back, closing the gap won't be easy. The number of games within the division means that just about any night, one of the teams ahead of the Wild are getting points. "I feel eight (divisional games) is a lot," Lemaire said. "Six would be perfect. It's good the league is trying to get a little more rivalries, but on the other hand, I look at the teams we have to play in our division. Playing these teams for us is tough. We're last in that division and I think we'll finish last."- via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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