Kukla's Korner

GDT - Game #80: Red Wings host Predators (7:30)

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Jeff OKWingnut

The Red Wings will face another frantic hockey club tonight when they host the Predators at the JLA.  On March 29, NSH beat DET 4-3, for the third time this season; with the win, NSH took a one-point lead over STL for seventh place in the W.C.  However, since that game, NSH has gone 1-3-0 to drop into ninth place with only two games remaining. NSH are two points behind ANA and STL for one of the final two playoff spots in the W.C.

DET has played inspired hockey in their last two contests, winning both games after having lost three straight. DET are coming into tonights game after a 3-1 win at BUF on Monday. Marian Hossa scored two goals, and reached the 40-goal mark for the third time in his career. Also in the BUF game, Chris Osgood made 32 saves to earn his 389th career victory and tie Dominik Hasek for 10th on the NHL list. Nicklas Lidstrom, scored an empty-netter for his 227th career goal, moving him into a tie with Kevin Hatcher and Steve Duchesne for 12th among NHL defensemen.

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Frozen Four Starts Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Albright of ESPN,

The 2009 Frozen Four finds itself in our nation’s capital this weekend as college hockey’s final weekend plays its last three games at the Verizon Center. And with that, you can add a new venue to the list of ones that have hosted this event.

If you’re keeping score, the Verizon Center will be the 30th different arena that has called college hockey’s final four home. Now the question is whether a new team will be added to the list of national champions.

Of the four teams left standing, only Boston University has previously won a title. If Bemidji State, Miami (OH) or Vermont skates around the ice with the championship plaque Saturday night, it will mark the 18th different school to claim the national title.

Here are five key questions (plus a bonus one) heading into Thursday’s national semifinals (ESPN2HD and ESPN360, 5 and 8:30 p.m. ET).

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, College Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Pick Your First Round Opponent

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Paterson of Straight.com,

For a league that has already hired a commissioner away from the National Basketball Association and placed franchises in cities far better suited for hoops than pucks, it’s time to borrow from basketball yet again. The NBA’s developmental league has come up with a novel twist on the playoffs that would be perfect for the National Hockey League: allowing teams to pick their postseason opponents.

Now, it’s not as radical as it sounds. The top finishers in each conference get to select from the lower-ranking qualifiers in the first round only. In the NHL’s case, let the three division winners in each conference pick from the teams that round out the playoff field.

continued

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

NHL On Solid Ground

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Remember all those dire predictions from the NHL lockout four years ago?

This is the last league that can afford a lengthy work stoppage, doomsayers said.

It will permanently alienate its fan base.

It will never attract new fans.

It will die a wretched death.

Well, lookie here: The NHL’s on fire. Partly by luck, partly by design, the league everyone loves to bash (often with good reason) is producing a consistently entertaining product that is attracting increased numbers of paying customers and television viewers.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

What Can The Lightning Do?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

We’re on the brink of a huge offseason. Co-owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie and, more to the point, first-time general manager Brian Lawton have to clean up this mess, some of which they didn’t make, some of which they did.

You might be wondering if this is the worst it’s ever been on Channelside Drive, you know, what with worst in the league last season, second worst in the league this season. I’m here to tell you it’s been worse.

Then why is there such a funk over there?

This team plays hard most night and it has some very good pieces, like Vinny Lecavalier (for now) and braveheart Marty St. Louis, and Ryan Malone, and super rookie Steven Stamkos, and a seemingly No. 1 goaltender in Mike Smith, and a seemingly good head coach in Rick Tocchet.

But the franchise doesn’t seem any more stable than it did last offseason.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Another Tease

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

Other than a ceremony honoring winger Brad May for playing his 1,000th game, the evening had less electricity than an Amish barn. Toronto fans long ago became accustomed to watching their team lose, so it wasn’t as if the Sabres’ two quick goals in the third period in a 3-1 victory was a jolt to anyone in the Air Canada Centre.

Buffalo won the game and is still alive. That’s all that matters. So why does this feel like another tease?

There was a stronger sense that the Sabres were merely prolonging the agony, that fans would spend today generating whatever optimism they could muster only to have Flyers center Daniel Briere cough up the puck to Chris Drury tonight for the Rangers’ game-winner.

Yeah, I know, don’t go there. But it would be another reminder of how far the NHL’s one-time darlings have fallen in less than two years. May made you remember when the Sabres missed the playoffs with dignity, when they went down swinging. This group reminded you of the Sabres at their worst, underachievers who often looked uninterested in a big game against a 12th-place team.

more

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

Souray Speaks On Edmonton Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal,

“Some guys came in here this year thinking this is an easy game,” said defenceman Sheldon Souray, who shot straighter after practice on Wednesday than he has in the last 10 games.

” ‘The crowd loves me. I got points in junior, I got points in the minors, I got points here last year, I’m going to be great this year.’ Well, any professional will tell you, when people know about you, now there is expectation. Opponents know you and pay attention to you. The organization puts more expectation on you.

“Look, last year was a totally different situation. You hope that some of this experience lends itself to making you better next year.” If the sharpest of those accusations sound like a shot across the bow of the sophomore set, Souray said his focus was not that narrow. Young and old have to take responsibility for this debacle, he stressed, and he made it clear by missing only goalie Dwayne Roloson with the broad brush of blame.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sheldon+souray

No Mistake - Blue Jackets Are In The Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,

Blue Jackets fans, you’ve waited a long, long time for this. You’ve invested lots of time and lots of emotion to get to this point. You’ve thrown lots of pillows at the TV and stalked out of Nationwide Arena lots of times, either because of blowout losses or late-game collapses.

This night was for you. Now eight seasons in the league, the Blue Jackets have earned the right to compete for the NHL’s ultimate trophy. This night was for you, and it was for the biggest fan of them all—the man who plunked down the $80 million check to finance an expansion franchise, late owner John H. McConnell.

more

added 10:11am, from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,

Enjoy the playoffs, Blue Jackets fans. Your team is going to be a pain in the butt for someone.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Calgary’s Salary Cap Management

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

One story that has not been adequately reported is the fact that the Calgary Flames, a team in a tight race for the Northwest Division, has been playing games with less than a full roster.  The problem is that they have so little salary cap room that they have not been able to afford to dress a full lineup.  Three defencemen, Robyn Regehr, Adrian Aucoin and Cory Sarich all suffered injuries, but none are serious enough to go on the long-term disabled list (especially given the fact this would keep them out of the beginning games of the Stanley Cup playoffs).  The Calgary Flames have played their last three games with less than a full roster.  They played last Friday’s game against Minnesota with only 16 skaters (instead of 18) and predictably lost 4-0.  They played Monday and Tuesday’s games, against Los Angeles and Vancouver respectively, with 17 skaters.  Amazingly they defeated Los Angeles 4-1, but lost to Vancouver also by a 4-1 score.

Dustin Boyd currently in the minors for salary cap reasons.  Boyd has been a solid forward for the Flames with 22 points so far this season.  He is somebody who can be sent to the minors without worrying about waivers, so he is their salary cap sacrifice.  He is the final player the Flames would like to have in their line-up to dress a full roster.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Report- Hockey At Fenway

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa of the Boston Herald,

Don’t breathe a word of this. Because nobody’s supposed to know. But the Boston Bruins [team stats]  will host the NHL’s Winter Classic outdoor hockey game against an unnamed opponent Jan. 1 at Fenway Park!

Our spies on Lansdowne Street say the League has given its blessing to a 2010 New Year’s Day game in the Hub of Hockey, choosing Boston over New York and Philadelphia.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winter+classic

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