Kukla's Korner

Covering The Finnish Players

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,

Leppanen has been based out of Toronto the past two years working for Ilta-Sanomat, a national daily newspaper in Finland, and a weekly sports magazine, Veikkaaja, where his main duties are to keep tabs on his country’s NHL players.

That’s how big the thirst for NHL news is in Finland.

“That’s why they send me over, mainly just to cover the NHL. It’s a very big deal in Finland. Hockey players and Formula-1 drivers are the biggest stars in Finland,” Leppanen said. “Hard-core NHL fans care about everything with the NHL, but a lot of people are interested mainly in Finnish players and how they’re doing, and that’s my main job.”

Leppanen said the big three are Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne, Montreal’s Saku Koivu and Kiprusoff.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Panthers Hoped For More Than One Point

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel,

“It’s better than nothing,” said defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who scored 8:30 into the game to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. “I guess we’ll take anything, but the extra one would have been big.”

Added defenseman Nick Boynton: “It’s a disappointing way to lose, but we got a point. We have nowhere to go but up.”

The Panthers continued their late-season skid, losing for the seventh time in the past nine games. But this loss did move them into a tie with the Montreal Canadiens for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens have a game in hand.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Penguins Still In The Playoff Race

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

The Penguins (86 points), sixth in the conference, are five points ahead of eighth-place Montreal and ninth-place Florida. Montreal has two games in hand on the Penguins; Florida has one. Both get one more crack at the Penguins, too.

If the Penguins merely split their final eight games, they will finish with 94 points. No team since 1999-2000 — the year the NHL began awarding a point for an overtime loss — has needed more than 94 points to earn the final playoff spot in the East.

Since the post-lockout season of 2005-06, the eight-place finisher in the East has finished with 92, 92 and 94 points. If the Penguins finish with 94, the reeling Canadiens would have to earn 14 of a possible 20 points to finish with 95. The Panthers would need 14 of a possible 18.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Alfredsson Leading Senators Charge

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

As the Senators prepare to continue their six-game road trip tomorrow night against the Hurricanes at the RBC Center, Alfredsson has five goals and nine assists points in last nine games and it’s no accident the club has won eight in that stretch.

“For sure, I’ve felt really good lately. As the team goes, so do some individuals go and vice-versa,” Alfredsson said following the club’s 2-1 victory over the Rangers on Sunday. “A lot of players are playing well for us. Perfect example was (Sunday). (Mike) Comrie, third line, and (Ryan) Shannon, second line, scored for us. That’s the difference.”

Coach Cory Clouston said Alfredsson is having fun.

“You’d have to ask him, but I think he’s enjoying coming to the rink and he believes in his team,” said Clouston. “He likes how we’re trying to play the game and I think he believes that’s how you have to play to have success. You combine all that, and in practice he works hard, and you just can’t ask anything more from him….”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: daniel+alfredsson

Can It Get Any Worse?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,

Can we agree the only news your Canadiens are getting these days is linked inexorably with bad news?

I mean, it’s bad enough they’re riding a five-game losing streak and in grave danger of missing the playoffs awaiting Tuesday’s game with the Atlanta Thrashers. Who would have imagined that scenario with only 10 games remaining in their schedule?

It doesn’t get worse than that – until Mondays startling report in La Presse that majority owner George N. Gillett Jr. has retained a number of financial advisors to determine the value of his sports and business holdings, which could be the first step in selling, refinancing or taking on partners in his properties.

The move could not have come at a worse time for this desperately struggling team. It’s nothing less than a dagger in the heart of the organization, the players and their fans.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Oilers Should Stay Away From Hossa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,

The most excellent sources of Journal columnist Dan Barnes have told him the Oilers will make a go at Hossa this July, but we can only hope this effort is met with failure, or that it’s reconsidered. Even if Hossa wants top dollar, and even if did choose to sign in Edmonton, the Oilers would be committing salary cap suicide if they offered him $8 or $9 or $10 million a year.

Last summer, this pursuit of Hossa apparently took the focus off of the signing of Curtis Glencross, who could have been had for tens of thousands more, not hundreds of thousands, and certainly not millions. But Glencross was precisely the kind of small move the Oilers needed to make last summer. It wouldn’t have been a home-run signing, but it would have been a sharp double to right field.

There’s no quick fix in this modern NHL, no way for a bottom team to sign up that star player to a massive deal and challenge for the Cup, because the top player won’t make a salary sacrifice to play on a bottom or mid-level team. He will only do that, maybe, to play on the right Stanley Cup contender.

more

While on the Hossa subject, check out Eric Duhatschek’s story at the Globe and Mail on Marian and his time with Detroit.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marian+hossa

New Selke Trophy Leader

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

From the beginning of the season, I have been picking Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild as the Selke Trophy leader.  In the last little while, his lead has been shrinking.  Koivu continues to play in all the toughest defensive situations for the Wild, but his success in preventing goals is dropping as the Wild struggle to make the playoffs.  When he suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Edmonton it looked like a reasonable time to pick a new leader.

My selection is Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers.  Like Koivu, Richards plays a lot of minutes (Richards is fourth among forwards in ice time per game and Kivu fifth).  Richards is successfully playing against his opponent’s top players and preventing them from scoring.  Despite playing against the toughest quality of opposition of any Flyer player with significant ice time, Richards has a team leading +22 +/- rating.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Leafs Coach On The Ovechkin Celebration

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail (Tuesday edition),

With the high-spirited Ovechkin set to invade the Air Canada Centre tonight, (Ron) Wilson was asked to weigh in on the merriment exhibited by the Capitals forward. Wilson agreed with Cherry that Ovechkin took his celebration too far, but unlike the television commentator, Wilson doesn’t mind lively postgoal festivities.

“I didn’t like what he did in the Tampa game,” Wilson said in reference to Ovechkin’s controversial actions last week. “When it’s orchestrated, I don’t think that is right. Being exuberant and happy when you score or a teammate scores, I think we need more of that.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Standin’ On The Corner At Midnight?  We’ll Still Have About Ten Minutes Left

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

And that’s thanks to you Gary, you little elf. 

Hey.  This comment hit close to home.  I felt like, well, I felt like I could have written it myself.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Ruff With The Tough Answers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bucky Gleason at Sabres Edge,

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was candid today when facing questions about all the criticism he’s been getting and scrutiny he’s been under over the past several weeks. Ruff expected as much and acknowledged that it comes with the territory.

“When you’re not playing well, they’ll point at the coach,” Ruff said. “I think it’s fair. We’ve had some players who haven’t performed to where we want, and that’s my responsibility. I don’t think there’s any ducking that.”

continued and watch the post-practice interview with Ruff below…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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