Kukla's Korner

Boomer Joins Bettman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (April 15, 2010) – Super Bowl quarterback and super hockey fan Boomer Esiason will be today’s guest on NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman on NHL.com and SIRIUS XM Radio at 6 p.m. ET.

Esiason, who played in the National Football League from 1984-97 and who quarterbacked the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1988 Super Bowl, went into broadcasting upon his retirement. Currently a man of many roles, he co-hosts a top-rated New York City morning radio sports talk show, is an NFL color commentator and serves as an analyst with The NFL Today on CBS in the United States.

Also a passionate hockey fan, Esiason owns season tickets to New York Rangers games, plays recreational hockey and has attended many of the NHL’s signature events, including the New Year’s Day Winter Classic games.

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Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: boomer+esiason, gary+bettman

Get The Story Right

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,

We’re only one day into the playoffs and Coach Bruce Boudreau is already riled up after a pair of media reports stirred controversy ahead of tonight’s Game 1.

I’m not sure where this report originated, but several outlets reported Alex Ovechkin took the slap shot that stung goalie Jose Theodore during practice yesterday.

“I don’t have a problem answering any questions,” Boudreau told a couple dozen reporters and cameras, many from Montreal, at KCI this morning. “Just get it right. That’s all I ask ya. Yesterday, it wasn’t Ovechkin who hit Theodore that was publicized everywhere. It was Dave Steckel. So don’t guess and make it sound like our best player is getting it.”

Boudreau wasn’t done, though.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Rick Dudley As Atlanta GM

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Yesterday, the Atlanta Thrashers moved Don Waddell out of the general manager position and into the team presidency and replaced him with Rick Dudley, the team’s assistant GM.  Is that really the big change that the team needs?  Don Waddell is still around and it remains to be seen how involved he is with the team.  There is no new blood in as general manager.  Rick Dudley has been the assistant general manager with the team for the last year.  If he had a brilliant plan that was going to change the team direction, we would already be seeing signs of it on the ice.

Dudley has two previous GM runs in the NHL.  Both were short.  In 1998/1999 he was general manager of the Ottawa Senators.  This was the year that the Sens took a significant leap forward.  They won the Northeast Division for the first time.  Giving Dudley the credit is misplaced.  Their improvement was due to a young core picked up with some early draft picks before Dudley began as general manager.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Tracking Fighting

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Andrew Astleford of ESPN Page 2,

A fist fascination connects some of the NHL’s most passionate fans.

For many years, hockeyfights.com webmaster David Singer was without a statistic that tracked the NHL’s toughest athletes. Without much trouble, he could locate the league’s leading goal scorer, an individual points leader—even the top player in penalty minutes served.

But who delivered the ice’s coldest clock?

What about a fights leader?

“It represents part of the game that generally represents heart and passion,” Singer said.

continued

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

Change Of Culture Underway In LA

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

Dean Lombardi wasn’t exactly warned against becoming Kings general manager four years ago. But he wasn’t encouraged either.

His chief mentor, Flyers executive and Hall of Fame center Bobby Clarke, had the strongest words.

“He told me to be careful because he wasn’t sure whether they’d stick through what had to be done because of their reputation,” Lombardi said, referring to the Kings’ habit of ditching rebuilding plans, reversing course and getting nowhere.

After a long wait, the Kings have found their way back to the playoffs. They are the sixth-seeded team in the tough Western Conference and Thursday night play their first postseason game since 2002, facing the third-seeded Vancouver Canucks.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Jochen Hecht Out After Surgery On Finger

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Mike Harrington of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,

Lindy Ruff just announced that Jochen Hecht had to have another procedure on his finger yesterday and will be out for “weeks, not days.” Looks like he’s out for the entire series, perhaps longer if the Sabres advance.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jochen+hecht

Will Vancouver Bring The Cup Back To Canada?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,

We are a hockey nation. Except in June.

Makes you wonder if Ron Wilson, then coaching the San Jose Sharks, was on to something a few years back when he argued Canadian teams can’t win the Stanley Cup because the pressure, scrutiny and expectations they face at home — not just at the rink, but the grocery store and everywhere else — is lethal.

The Canucks must contend with more than the Kings.

“I can’t wait to see the towels going and the excitement in the building and the buzz in the city,” defenceman Shane O’Brien said. “The first time, it can play into your nerves a little bit.

“I got asked today about my first playoff game. It was my rookie year with Tampa [in 2007]. But I was way more nervous for Game 1 last year against St. Louis because you could feel the electricity, feel the excitement. I think it can affect you.”

But Canuck coach Alain Vigneault believes the idea that it’s harder for Canadian teams to win is nonsense.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Monster Stays In Toronto

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via a Darren Dreger tweet,

Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a two year contract with the Maple Leafs.

added 10:42am, via TSN,

The contract still needs to be signed, but it’s believed to be in the range of $1.3 million to $1.5 million per season.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonas+gustavsson

Ryan Miller Ready For A Playoff Run

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,

It’s in his eyes and attitude, his words and actions. Basically, it’s in everything he does.

Ryan Miller has a desire to be elite, a hunger to be champion.

“This guy, he wants to be the best,” Buffalo Sabres teammate Steve Montador said. “He practices to be the best. He talks about being the best. Not in a cocky “I’m better than anybody,’ with a sense of entitlement, it’s, “I want to be the best. Don’t you want to be the best with me?’

“What he represents is true grit and character of a winner. No matter what, he’s going to give it his all. If it doesn’t attract you, there’s something wrong with you.”

Now is when Miller’s magnetic approach needs to pull his team forward.

continued

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

Washington Capitals On A Mission

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Wise of the Washington Post, .

..on the eve before the NHL’s most potent team began a playoff run that only ends good for them if they raise the Stanley Cup in June, Laich was asked about whether the Capitals were ready to settle unfinished business.

“I guess people can say that, but it feels like a different season,” he said. “As far as unfinished business, yeah, maybe for all of us here last year. But this is bigger than that. It’s about the fact that no Caps team has ever won the Stanley Cup.

“It’s about this team going farther. You want to break records, you want to do things that no team has done before, set individual and team records no one else has set. We’re aiming to be separate from anybody.”

They’re gifted, focused, and for the first time in forever, favored to win it all. Alex Ovechkin and most of the main characters return. But General Manager George McPhee has infused his team with role players who understand that, in the playoffs, it is better to be gritty than pretty.

read on

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

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