Kukla's Korner

Habs trade for a familiar face

Blog: KK Hockey By The Upper Canadien

The Montreal Canadiens have re-acquired Paul Mara from the Anaheim Ducks, bringing back a player who was not re-signed after last season but who did profess his interest in staying in Montreal if possible. In return, Montreal trades a 5th round pick in 2012 to Anaheim.

The 31 year old Mara has 2 points in 33 games this year. Here’s the press release:

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: paul+mara

It’s a big weekend for hockey fans in Canada

Blog: KK Hockey By The Upper Canadien

...and an even bigger one for Habs fans. Here’s a bit from today’s CBC press release on the two Canadiens games upcoming on Hockey Night in Canada:

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cbc, montreal+canadiens

Tim Thomas Feels He Can Be Better

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from James Murphy of ESPN Boston,

“Obviously as a whole our team is struggling and making mistakes we don’t normally make, but I need to be better,” said Thomas, who is now 26-8-6 with a 2.02 GAA and .938 save percentage. “I’m not making the big saves I need to make to help the team win and I need to start doing that again.”

Coach Claude Julien said Wednesday that he will continue to get Tuukka Rask some starts to rest Thomas as the season winds down and the playoffs near.

“We don’t want to get to the point where he’s exhausted,” Julien said of Thomas. “Is he a little tired? I would expect that he is, like a lot of players at this time of the year. February is usually a tough month and you kind of get your second wind in March. But this is something that I think we want to manage as well as we can. I don’t think he’s exhausted. I think he may be a little tired. As I’ve mentioned, it’d be nice to see Tuukka come in and play some solid games for us.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Rookie Gets Hot

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The top goal and point scorer in the month of February so far has been Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders.  The rookie has ten goals and 14 points so far this month.  This has suddenly propelled him into the Calder Trophy race (where I support John Carlson).  Grabner is now the overall rookie goal scoring leader with 25.  His 35 points place him third overall in the rookie scoring race (behind Jeff Skinner and Logan Couture).  Grabner also has a very respectable +11 +/- rating with the New York Islanders.  This leads his team.

Grabner was added to the All Star Game as the lone New York Islander representative.  At that time he wasn’t a serious Calder trophy candidate.  He was seen as a weak Islander representative, as a rookie who was not among the best in the league.  He made a strong showing there by winning the fastest skater competition and hasn’t looked back since.  Grabner is now in the Calder race and if he stays this hot will likely win it.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Conan O’Babcock

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

Instant classic, courtesy of ESPN:

We couldn’t let Wednesday go by without giving a few shout-outs to some infamous hockey hair.

First, we start with a little late-night entertainment. Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock made an “appearance” during a skit on “Conan” last night. The show used an old clip of the coach as part of a “Local News Round-up” skit which ripped local news broadcasts. (Click here to watch the clip; go to “Part II” under the scene selection tab.)

Here’s the clip:

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A slightly dry but superb ‘How stuff’ works article regarding NHL teams’ front offices

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Hockey News’s Tom Thompson (came paddling past) tends to write articles whose prose resembles toast in terms of its dry, unemotional tack, but he posted a superb article outlining exactly how NHL teams build their front offices, from the team’s general manager down to their pro and amateur scouts:

Every NHL club uses different titles to describe the roles of the people in hockey operations. Broadly speaking, the GM will get hockey advice from his scouts and technical advice from assistant GMs or directors of hockey administration.

The scouts are basically divided into two main departments. One is the group that spends the bulk of its time assessing talent in the amateur ranks throughout the hockey world. These people prepare game reports on all of the prospects and compile rating lists in preparation for each entry draft. Most scouts are assigned geographic responsibilities or are assigned particular leagues to watch. Senior members of the amateur scouting departments compare the top prospects in the various leagues and prepare overall lists. At the top of the pyramid is an individual who may be called assistant GM, director of player personnel, or director of scouting. This person makes the recommendations to the GM for each selection during the draft.

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Dreger: stats’ ownership situation may help team retain Brad Richards

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Dallas Stars’ ownership situation is slowly but surely working its way toward a positive result in the sale of a team to an unnamed buyer, and TSN’s Darren Dreger believes that this development may help the Stars and GM Joe Nieuwendyk’s chances of retaining Brad Richards’ services:

Sources say that in the past few weeks, the ownership situation in Dallas has turned for the better - with negotiations with an unnamed group interested in buying the Stars to the point where all parties involved (including the NHL) have an agreement in price.

With seven regulars out of their lineup, including Stars leading scorer Brad Richards, speculation on Richards’ immediate future is growing with each loss.  Dallas has just one win in seven games and has dropped to fifth in the conference, one point back of third-place Phoenix and just three points up on 10th-place Los Angeles.

Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk says his options haven’t changed and he remains optimistic he will be able to re-sign Richards. Nieuwendyk’s chances of doing this will vastly improve with new ownership.

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‘KHL is Best NHL,’ epoisode 2: KHL’s junior league promotes ‘good of the game’

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

The IIHF’s website has become a de-facto promotional arm for the KHL, a European league whose ever-politically-motivated rivalry with the NHL may or may not have caused them to bake their radar guns a bit to ensure that Denis Kulyash broke Zdeno Chara’s fastest shot-ever record at the KHL’s All-Star Game. Today, IIHF.com’s Denis Gibbons allows KHL president and SKA St. Petersburg president Alexander Medvedev to suggest that the KHL’s new junior league, the MHL, isn’t just an attempt to prevent junior-aged players from ever earning the opportunity to play in whatever league they want to by linking their rights to KHL teams until 16-to-21-year-olds turn 28—instead, of course, the MHL is a bastion of sanity which protects young Russian players from the predatory tactics of those evil, exploitative meat grinder that is Major Junior Hockey:

Alexander Medvedev, president of the KHL, said Russian player agents, who are sending young players to North America, are making a big mistake.

“Of the 150 players who left Russia to play junior and in the minor leagues, only five per cent managed to stay in hockey at all,” he said. “Many agents are just hunting for some quick bucks. We should take a lesson from U.S. college hockey, where agent activity is forbidden.”

Sure, because it’s totally not about the KHL’s bottom line…and Sergei Fedorov of all people goes so far as to suggest that the MHL protects players from being “forced” to turn pro early thanks to its up-to-21 age limit. Fedorov in fact suggests that the KHL’s de-facto AHL should expand its age limit:

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Flyers have to play ‘tagging’ with Ville Leino

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

According to the Philadelphia Sports Daily’s Stephen Whyno, the Philadelphia Flyers’ acquisition of Kris Versteeg from Toronto has eliminated the “tagging” space from next year’s salary cap figure which they’d hoped to use to re-sign Ville Leino before the end of the 2010-2011 season (or July 1st), but the Flyers still believe that a deal will get done with a forward who seems equally predisposed to remain with the Flyers and/or test the free agent market:

“With our tagging space, we’ll probably have a little difficulty re-signing him [before the end of the season],” [Flyers GM Paul] Holmgren said on the NHL Live radio program.

The GM went on to say that Leino and his agent, Bill Zito, are both aware of the situation. Holmgren insisted that Leino was still a big part of the Flyers’ future.

“Yeah,” Zito told Philly Sports Daily. “I talked to Homer and it’s all cool.”

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Tapping into Yzermania

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

The Free Press’s Jamie Samuelssen knows how to stir up a ruckus on occasion, and he attempts to whip Red Wings fans into a frenzy ahead of Thursday night’s game against Steve Yzerman’s Tampa Bay Lightning by suggesting that Yzerman was the most popular and most-beloved athlete in Detroit’s sporting history:

Anytime you ask fans who is their favorite athlete, you’re going to get a slew of answers. The football die-hards will lean toward Barry Sanders. The basketball fans will pick Isiah Thomas or Joe Dumars. The baseball fans have Alan Trammell. And some hockey fans will go back to Gordie Howe. There’s no right answer. But just as he rose above all his teammates when he played for the Wings, Yzerman rises above all the rest to make him the most revered athlete in Detroit history. There’s no proof of this. There’s no polling data. There’s no scientific formula. But there are four factors in his favor:

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

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