Kukla's Korner

Does ‘Younger’ Matter When It Comes To The Calder?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

My colleague and good friend Pierre LeBrun and I have often debated last season’s Calder Trophy race, which was won by Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers. I have no problem with Myers’ selection (he won by a veritable landslide, collecting 94 of 133 first-place votes). Myers was terrific as a 19-year-old blueliner.

But where Mr. LeBrun and I often disagree is that part of Myers’ appeal was he was a teenager, compared to Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, who was 25 going on 26 during his rookie season. Howard was second to Myers in voting. I voted for Howard because I believed his performance for the injury-riddled Red Wings (especially in the second half of the season) was exemplary, regardless of whether he was an “old” rookie.

This season, the age issue has again crept into the Calder discussion.

Jeff Skinner, who won’t turn 19 until May, is in a dogfight with San Jose’s Logan Couture. Couture, who turned 22 at the end of March, has done it all for a Sharks team that is likely the second-best team in the NHL behind Vancouver. At the time of this writing, Skinner had opened up a four-point lead on Couture, although Couture was tied with the Isles’ Michael Grabner for the rookie goal-scoring lead (31), two more than Skinner.

continued plus more NHL topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Alfredsson Done for Season but Returning Next Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Bruce Garrioch in the Toronto Sun:

It’s official: Daniel Alfredsson is done for the season.

The Senators captain won’t attempt to come back from a back injury that has kept him out since Feb. 7. Instead, he’ll spend the next month trying to strengthen his back to avoid surgery.

But, despite rumours to the contrary, the 38-year-old Alfredsson does plan to return next season.


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

2011 FA`s: The Year of the Role Player

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Jamie Fitzpatrick at About.com:

But for a list lacking in celebrity status, the 2011 free agent crop includes many intriguing names, many players who would surely flourish if they could find just the right team and just the right situation.

A few examples…

  Philadelphia’s Ville Leino will never win any scoring titles. But he could play on anyone’s 2nd or 3rd line and might evolve into a Selke candidate.
  Maxime Talbot became something of a folk hero with his inspired play during Pittsburgh’s 2009 Stanley Cup run. Will another team overpay for that memory?

more plus links to complete lists of this year`s western and eastern conference free agents and other FA info

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

NHLPA Inks New 5-Year Deal with Reebok

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

TORONTO (April 4, 2011) - The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) today announced new five-year apparel agreements, highlighted by the continuation of its partnership with Reebok, a long-standing NHLPA licensee.  In addition, the NHLPA is expanding its roster of apparel licensees to include Old Time Hockey, Knights Apparel, and Elmau & Associates.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: Hockey Equipment, RBK, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Regier’s Patience Begets Big Results

Blog: The Sabres Observer By @DaveDavisHockey

So I guess this is the part where we in Buffalo don’t even consider giving proper credit to the architect of it all, the man who stocked this team with promising young talent and maturing veterans with one budget-constrained hand tied behind his back.

After embracing the euphoria of last night’s ginormous 2-1 overtime win in Carolina, crossing my mind was the thought of where this Sabres team would be, both in this game and overall in the standings, without the clever maneuvering of mastermind GM Darcy Regier.  It’s funny how his work gets nary a mention in this town when the team is winning.

More than half of the Carolina roster that played in last night’s game, ten players to be exact, were former 1st round draft picks.  That was nearly twice as many as Buffalo, who are challenging to be one of the top six teams in the East while boasting a roster that in 2010-11 has featured a contingent of major contributors (Ryan Miller, Nathan Gerbe, Steve Montador, Chris Butler, Paul Gaustad, Patrick Kaleta, Cody McCormick) who were drafted in the 4th round or later, or in Montador’s case not at all.

Granted, every team has their share of late round hits, but not many clubs have as many of them playing as big a role and contributing to a playoff contending team the way Buffalo does.

And it’s just part of the bigger picture of how the low-key decisions of Regier have resulted in fans of the Sabres, a team left for dead in 12th place and ten points back of 8th on December 31, now staring at the Eastern Conference standings with equal parts joy and disbelief.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Sabres Observer | Permalink

Name The Player That Needs To Win The Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ben Fisher of TSN,

Our question to you is: Of the relative favourites heading into the playoffs this year, who needs to have a strong playoffs and win the Stanley Cup the most? As always, it’s Your Call!

Alex Ovechkin - Washington Capitals

With just 30 goals and 51 assists to date, Ovechkin is having a bit of an off year for his standards. The 25-year-old sniper will finish the year with his lowest totals in goals and points in his six-year career. But at this stage in his career, post-season success is probably more important than regular season success….

Joe Thornton - San Jose Sharks

Thornton is another who some tap as a player who can’t get it done when it matters. In his 13-year career, he’s missed the playoffs just twice and has only advanced past the second round once….


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Don’t Forget The Top Line In Vancouver

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Gordon McIntyre of The White Towel,

The misconception that a fire hydrant could score 30-plus goals playing alongside the Sedins is a myth that continues to be perpetuated around the NHL, despite all the glaring proof against it.

The latest slight to Alex Burrows as some kind of spare tire who isn’t really part of the Sedins line but an interchangeable part has surfaced recently with talk that Anaheim’s top line is far and away the best trio in the NHL.

Other prolific units, such as the Sedins line or Tampa’s top line are considered a super duo with a third player tagging along.

Nothing could be further from the truth in Burrows’ case.


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

Stars Of The Week

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (April 4, 2011)—Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry, Calgary Flames right wing Jarome Iginla and Buffalo Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Apr. 3.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Praise for Red Wings rookie Jakub Kindl and a little Johan Franzen panic-mongering

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

First the good news, then the…weird news….Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl has made leaps and bounds of progress as he’s evolved into a reliable NHL defenseman over the course of his rookie season, and the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff took note of Wings coach Mike Babcock’s comments about a player who could very well fill the sixth defenseman’s spot in the playoffs:

“It’s just his competition level,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said of Kindl’s improvement. “He’s really playing hard, he’s got good size to him. He’s not easy to push off the puck like he once was. He had all the skill set before. You could see it – he could skate, he could move the puck. That wasn’t an issue for him, his competition level was.”

With Jonathan Ericsson and Ruslan Salei both delivering erratic efforts, Kindl’s development could prove essential to a long Detroit playoff run. “The better he gets, the better our team gets,” Babcock said. “You like to have puck movers on the back. He’s pretty error-free with the puck, he makes good decisions and gets it going.”

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The Leafs Gave It A Shot

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of The Spin,

The cavalry never did arrive.

A big part of the reason, of course, is that Buffalo, Carolina and the Rangers never opened the door quite enough to allow the Leafs to receive the help they would have required to get into the 2011 post-season tournament.

The Leafs at least made those teams make their putts. The Rangers, for example, had to go into a tough Philly rink yesterday and extract two points, which they did with a gritty, impressive performance.

Hard to blame the Leafs for that. They’d at least helped sound the the alarm in Ranger headquarters Saturday night with their sixth win in seven games, a 4-2 triumph in Ottawa.


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

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