Kukla's Korner

Tavares Settling In

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Kreiser of NHL.com,

As his NHL career nears the end of its first month, Tavares gives the appearance of a player who’s enjoying the learning experience that goes along with the introduction to life in the NHL.

“It’s been great. I’ve been learning a lot, experiencing a lot of new things,” he said after the win against the Rangers. “I’m starting to learn the way of life in the NHL and what it takes to be a pro every day. Everyone from the staff and management, the coaching staff, the trainers and my teammates have been great. They’ve helped me out a lot with stuff away from the ice and allowed me to focus on hockey. That’s made it a lot easier. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Especially when you score a goal to help your team beat its biggest rival, right?

“Being in games like this one is what I worked for as a kid,” he said. “To finally be here and be a part of this is special for me, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+tavares

Ducks Searching For Their Identity

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Curtis Zupke of Ducks Blog,

“It’s just a whole attitude change I think we need to have,” defenseman Ryan Whitney said.

“We talked about preparing ourselves better and being ready to play a full 60 minutes, which we might have not even have done once this year. Even in our wins – I think in Boston we had a really bad first period. It’s time to start playing a whole game.”

Carlyle wouldn’t go into details about his talk, but one can surmise that topics included defensive coverage, indecision on the forecheck and inconsistent effort.

The Ducks have allowed 21 goals during their four-game losing streak and again are one of the most penalized teams in the NHL.

All of that points to a team that lacks confidence and might take some time to figure out their game.

“This team has not put itself in a position to create an identity,” Carlyle said.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

New Early Season Top Goalie

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Earlier this season I picked Ilya Bryzgalov of the Phoenix Coyotes as the best goalie in the early season.  Bryzgalov is continuing to play well, although his numbers are regressing a bit from his incredible start.  There is another goalie who is continuing his incredible start further into the season.  Craig Anderson of the Colorado Avalanche has been the top goalie in the season so far.  Anderson is a big reason the Colorado Avalanche are in first place in the NHL.  Anderson sports a .940 saves percentage and a 1.97 GAA.  These are very strong numbers.  These numbers have been posted when Anderson is facing over 35 shots per 60 minutes of play (which is a very high number).

Anderson had posted some good numbers as the Florida Panthers backup goalie (but always in limited starts).  It is on the strength of those numbers that Anderson has been given a chance to start with the Colorado Avalanche.  It is unclear how well he will handle the increased workload and the increased attention scouts give to his game.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Surprising Teams

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

What teams have surprised you early this season?

Below find the standings, listed from 1-30 and let me know your thoughts, both positive and negative.

By far, my biggest surprise teams are the Colorado Avalanche with 22 out of a possible 26 points and the Buffalo Sabres 15 out of 18 points.

Also, the Detroit Red Wings and the Anaheim Ducks have surprised me with their slow starts.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Great Offensive Play Or Bad Defense?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Vicki Hall of Flames Insider,

The one-man show by Wojtek Wolski — skating right in the middle of Nigel Dawes and Daymond Langkow, waltzing unmolested into the slot and firing the puck past Miikka Kiprusoff — could be shown as a “What Not to Do” video in hockey school.

“The third goal we gave up was a terrible goal to give up,” Sutter said. “I mean, everyone is standing around the ice watching someone walk into the slot and shoot the puck.

“It’s not a very good play by anybody who was on the ice.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: wojtek+wolski

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I see the sun every morning in Phoenix, and that’s a nice thing.  You have to remember, I’ve seen Siberia.”

-Phoenix Coyotes Assistant Coach Dave King.  More on King from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch.

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dave+king

A Different Role For Drury

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The personnel is different this year, so is the head coach, and so is the role that Chris Drury has been assigned to fill on a Rangers team that brought an 8-3-1 record into last night’s match against the Islanders at the Coliseum.

For no longer is Drury in a top-six offensive position up front, skating now as he does as the third-line center. No longer is Drury, who scored 55 of his 114 goals on the power play the last four seasons, on that specialty unit.

“The minutes certainly aren’t as sexy as I’ve been accustomed to getting over the years,” Drury, who is averaging just 50 seconds of power-play time per game after getting an average of 3:34 last year and 3:57 his first year on Broadway, told The Post yesterday morning.

“The minutes I’m getting now are on the penalty kill and in more defensive situations, such as the shift after a goal is scored when keeping or changing the momentum is so important. Those are critical portions of the game, so I’m certainly approaching this as if I have an important role to fill for this team.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+drury

Rising Loonie To The Rescue

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,

The call of the soaring loonie could help chart a northward migration path for NHL clubs.

Once an economic albatross blamed in part for the failures of the Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques, the ascending Canadian dollar is suddenly enriching Canadian-based clubs, single-handedly increasing NHL revenues and crafting a new financial argument for more NHL hockey in Canada.

“A host of southern U.S. cities might now be more likely to lose their NHL teams,” said Andrew Zimbalist, an eminent sports economist based in Massachusetts who testified on behalf of Jim Balsillie in his recent failed bid to purchase and move the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton.

“Canada becomes that much more attractive.”

Every three-cent jump in the value of the Canadian dollar triggers a 1 per cent revenue increase for the NHL, say league insiders.


Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Flames Will Need Goals From Jokinen

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Dating back into last season, Jokinen has scored just once in his last 23 regular-season games – not enough for a player that averaged 37 goals in each of his final three years with the Florida Panthers and was acquired by Calgary at last year’s trade deadline to provide goals.

Of course, the difference between Jokinen then and Jokinen now is evident in his shots-on-goal total. In those three years in Florida, Jokinen took 351, 351 and 341 shots respectively. Last year, split between Phoenix and Calgary, his shots plunged by more than 100 (to 236) and this year, it’s even worse. Through 10 games, he had only 17 shots in total, or about what Alex Ovechkin manages every two games.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: olli+jokinen

Do The Stars Still Have The Winning Formula?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,

I was told by several people after last season that the expectation was that Les Jackson would return as GM and the coaching staff would return intact. Hicks felt otherwise. He made a bold move in hiring a new GM and coaching staff at a significant cost to the organization, and it appears he made the move pretty quietly and pretty much on his own.

So when he says he wants to remain the owner of the Stars, I believe him. He likes this team. He wants this team to win, and he believes it can win and make money.

That last part is important, and it should be. Owners can’t be expected to just lose money season after season.

But the reason it should be important to fans is that the formula for making money on a Sunbelt hockey team is to win. There’s really no other way to be profitable. Hicks wrote the book on the strategy in the 1990s, and other teams have tried to copy it. Spend money, win games, get into the playoffs, go a few rounds, and your team will make money.

Now, it will make money as long as the ceiling for payroll doesn’t go too high.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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