Kukla's Korner

Avs Playing For Pride

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,

Any way you crunch the numbers, the postseason seems an impossible dream for the Avs, short of anything approaching a 16-0-0 run.

Colorado not only would have to make up considerable ground, it would have to pass at least seven teams in the conference standings, a task rendered even more difficult because of many games remaining between the contenders for the final spots.

Somebody has to win those games, and it’s a safe assumption that some of them will be tied at the end of regulation and end up “three-point” games — two for the winners, one for the losers.

So what can the Avalanche hope to accomplish? That question is posed not as a marketing issue for the Kroenke Sports Enterprises operation, hoping to sell season tickets for next season, but as a hockey-only issue for the 2008-09 Avs themselves.

It comes back to pride, professionalism, at least holding out hope for the equivalent of a meteor strike, and perhaps in some cases saving jobs.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Scott Nichol Expected Back Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Glennon of the Tennessean,

With patience, rest and gradual rehabilitation, Nichol has worked himself back into condition, ridding himself of headaches, dizziness and sensitivities to noise and light along the way.

After a 38-game absence, he’s expected to return to the lineup tonight when the Predators play host to the Washington Capitals.

“We get a guy who’s real committed, helps the penalty kill and is a real battler,’’ Predators Coach Barry Trotz said. “Right now he gives us some depth and we haven’t had a lot of that lately. We’re going to need everyone to ramp it up again and go from there, so it’s huge for us.’‘

more on the Predators…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: scott+nichol

Concern In Calgary

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,

Two straight losses to clubs sitting outside the playoff picture can bring about a reaction from the fans.

The Flames can understand a bit of panic on the snowy and cold streets of Calgary these days.

In the room?

“No, not yet, anyway,” said defenceman Jim Vandermeer after yesterday’s practice in preparation for tonight’s clash with the New Jersey Devils.

“There’s definitely concern, but we still know we’re a good team. These kind of things happen. We lost a couple of guys and have to work some guys in, so I think it’s working out the kinks.

“It’ll take a bit of time, but to make it as short of a time as possible, we all have to bear down.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Brenden Morrow Working Hard To Get Back On The Ice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brenden+morrow

The Oilers Have Problems

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Staples at The Cult of Hockey,

There’s something wrong with this year’s Edmonton Oilers. It’s been wrong from the start of this year. The problem has haunted the squad all season. It hasn’t abated, hasn’t been rectified.

The problem is not the coach. It’s not the general manager. It’s not the lack of one more top scoring forward, or the lack of a third-line center who can take face-offs or of a shut-down defenceman. These are all red herrings.

And the problem is not Dustin Penner, who report has it is going to be benched for the Montreal game. Penner is the biggest, reddest herring of them all.

No, the problem is that this Edmonton Oilers team is neither aggressive nor is it united. Instead, it’s lifeless and divided. It’s not really a team at all, at least if you go by its on-ice performance. It looks, sounds, acts and performs like a group of individuals or, at best, an assemblage of factions.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Caps Need More Hard Work

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,

I started looking for common themes in the losing streak based on my observations, Boudreau’s postgame comments and the score sheets. Here’s what I came up with as I sat (emphasis on “sat”) on Rt. 66 this morning.

I’m talking about secondary scoring. The Caps have scored eight goals in the four losses. For the mathematically challenged, that’s two per game, significantly down from their season average of 3.22….

None of those goals were of the “ugly” or “dirty” or “hard work” variety that all teams need. The Caps have also out-shot their opponent by a combined total of 111-81 in the past three games. Someone needs to crash the net, screen the goalie and bang in a rebound. That needs to be an every-game thing, not a once-in-a-while thing.

While the Caps competed much harder against a Penguins team they despise, that same sense of urgency wasn’t there in the previous three games. The Caps are comfortably in a playoff spot and are one of the most skilled teams in the league. But skill doesn’t equal wins—especially in hockey—if the work ethic is not there.

more

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

Your GM Meeting Coverage

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

George James Malik at his SnapShots Blog at Mlive covers the GM meetings.  Go there for complete coverage.

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

Spezza Caught With Skinny Blade

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

With 2:16 left in the third period, the Leafs coach asked for a measurement on Senators centre Jason Spezza’s stick, questioning the width of the blade.

While Spezza was found guilty of using an illegal stick, the Leafs were unable to score on the ensuing power play and the Senators pulled off their third straight victory with a slim 2-1 decision in front of only 18,898 fans (The last time the Senators didn’t sell out a Toronto game was Dec. 5, 2005, when only 18,860 were on hand).

“The boys did a good job of killing that for me. You don’t want to see them score when you get a penalty for a call like that,” said Spezza, who had an assist on Heatley’s goal. “Nobody here knows the rules. I don’t know what the clarification is. We still never got an answer. (Refereee Dan O’Halloran) just told me it was too skinny. It’s apparently too skinny. Real dangerous, I guess.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jason+spezza

Montreal’s Desperation Move

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

When you fire a coach it is common to see the team improve in the standings.  A new coach changes the system.  Players will have to play well to keep their icetime and their role on the team.  In the short-term it often leads to a boost for the team that fired their coach.  That is what the Montreal Canadiens are looking for from their firing of Guy Carbonneau.

With sixteen games left in the regular season. Montreal has 77 points.  Although that is good for fifth in the East Conference, it is only one point up from the New York Rangers who would miss the playoffs with the current standings.  A short-term run from a coach firing would likely ensure the Habs playoff berth.

The timing of the firing is a little surprising.  Montreal seems to have emerged from their slump.  They have a 5-2 record in their last seven games.  That follows a stretch where they went 3-12.  Perhaps that would have been the more logical time for a firing.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

On-Ice Communication

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from SanJoseSharks.com,

There is a different level of talking depending on who is in net for each contest, but the message is usually the same.

“It depends on who is playing,” said Marc-Edouard Vlasic. “They both (Evgeni Nabokov and Brian Boucher) talk. Both will let you know if you have time. There is more talking if you’re playing five-on-five.”

Without the verbal assistance from Nabokov or Boucher, it can be tough to tell who is charging up ice from the other team.

“If someone is on me, the goalie talking makes my job easier,” said Vlasic.

“If the puck is going around the net, we’re not sure if a guy is coming from the other side,” said Boyle. “He keeps us from getting run over and getting injured.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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