Kukla's Korner

Erik Johnson Returning To Form

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,

Playing before an overflow crowd of more than 1,000 at St. Louis Mills on Wednesday at the team’s pro orientation camp, (Erik) Johnson gave fans a sneak preview of what they can look forward to in 2009-10.

He’s bigger and stronger, having added 10 pounds onto his 6-foot-4 frame. So now he’s back on the ice with rookies, prospects and tryout hopefuls trying to regain the form that made him the first overall pick in the 2006 draft.

“It’s part of my journey I guess, to hopefully becoming an elite NHL player and an elite NHL defenseman,” Johnson said. “I’m having a lot of fun. Not that I can say I expected to be back here, but I feel fortunate to be back here, being a leader and a mentor to some of the younger guys and also getting some quality ice time for myself.”

He also had no negatives to report on his surgically repaired right knee following Wednesday’s practice session.


Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: erik+johnson

Burks Always On

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,

He will hang up the “Gone Fishing” sign and head for a remote part of B.C. next week with some of his hockey pals, but if you know Brian Burke, you can bet he is never completely closed for business.

It’s been an active and productive week for the Maple Leafs general manager and, by anyone’s measure, no team has done more to re-tool its roster.

By virtue of their stoutly bolstered defence, the Leafs are already a markedly different team in both style and substance. Add the acquisition of free-agent goaltender Jonas Gustavsson this week and the Leafs shouldn’t be anywhere near the liability they were in their own end this past season.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+burke

Tavares Now The Islanders Focal Point

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Martin of the NY Post,

John Tavares said all the right things yesterday.

When asked if he could do for the Islanders what Sidney Crosby did for the Penguins, the Islanders’ recent first-overall pick said: “I want to be part of the team. It’s not just about me.”

He’s got a point, but the fact is, the Islanders got more than 10,000 fans to show up at the Nassau Coliseum to watch him get drafted—on TV—and had several hundred more come yesterday to his introductory press conference.

Tavares, who turns 19 in September, will skate for the first time with his new team tomorrow during minicamp and will be the focal point from the first game of the season on.

“We’ve got guys around him who will help him,” general manager Garth Snow said. “Whether it’s on the ice or off the ice.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+tavares

Another Bidder For Phoenix

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Paul Waldie of the Globe and Mail,

The NHL has been approached by another potential bidder for the Phoenix Coyotes who wants to keep the club in Arizona.

The NHL disclosed the new bid in a court filing yesterday but did not provide any details.

“The League has been informed that this bidder will submit an application for transfer of ownership, but does not know whether the prospective purchaser will submit a definitive bid by July 24,” the NHL said in the filing in the Arizona bankruptcy court.


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

Future Hall Of Famer Joe Sakic To Retire

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

I like to write a career perspective when future Hall of Famers retire.  Today Joe Sakic is expected to announce his retirement in a press conference in Denver. This retirement is one that I feel close to because I grew up near Joe Sakic and first met him (though I doubt he would remember) when I was a four or five year old child and Sakic was a slightly older child starring in Burnaby Minor Hockey.

Joe Sakic was born on July 7, 1969 in Burnaby, British Columbia.  He grew up playing in the Burnaby Minor Hockey Program.  He was first noticed by scouts in 1985/86 playing for the Burnaby Selects of the BC Amateur Hockey Association when he scored 156 points in 80 games.  This was good enough to get him a three game tryout with the Lethbridge Broncos of the WHL.  Lethbridge moved to Swift Current the next season and this is where Sakic became a junior star.  In his first full junior season, Sakic scored 133 points in 72 games and was named to the WHL East Second Team All Star, WHL East Rookie of the Year and WHL East Player of the Year.  This was good enough to get him selected by the Quebec Nordiques 15th overall in the 1987 entry draft.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Iginla Talks Flames

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Peter Zuubrier of CalgaryFlames.com,

“It’s very exciting to get Jay (Bouwmeester) to join us… that’s a great defence group that we have, it’s definitely the strength of our club,” said Iginla.

“They’re guys that can play all different ways, move the puck, skate, play defensively, chip in and help out offensively; they’re very well rounded… If you look at our team we have very good defensemen, but they’ll also contribute offensively. You look at some of the top offensive teams in the league and the defence is a big part of it

The bitter taste leftover from the ending of last season seemed to linger briefly for Iginla, who took responsibility as team captain for the coaching turnover.

“It’s always hard as players when there’s a coaching change. We didn’t achieve the results we were hoping for (last season) and the responsibility is definitely on us… We can improve, we need to improve, and we will improve,” said Iginla who is nonetheless anxious to play for his new coaches.

“It’s very exciting. As a player (Brent Sutter) was very successful and coaching at every level he’s been very successful… I’ve talked to Brent and he’s definitely talked about the defensive side of the puck. Starting there and working out… That can be a strength of our team, we want it to be, and we need to get back there, but we also know it can’t end there and we need to do better on both sides.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jarome+iginla

Lightning Sign Kurtis Foster

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Tampa Bay Lightning,

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent defenseman Kurtis Foster today, Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced.

“We are extremely excited about adding Kurtis as we continue to strengthen our blue line,” Lawton said. “He is a big, mobile defenseman that gives us a heavy shot for the power play.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kurtis+foster

Koivu Would Not Have Felt Comfortable In Minnesota

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

“It was an interesting choice,” said Koivu. “We spoke to Minnesota a few times. All the talks went well, but it was more for personal reasons that I didn’t feel comfortable ... I felt that Minnesota was Mikko’s place at this point. I wanted him to have his own privacy in a way, make his own name and his own career. I just felt there were too many risks for us as brothers and as family members to join the same team and compete for the same ice time. I felt we were better off playing somewhere else.”

more from Koivu plus Zubov is up to a new challenge and has talked to 6-7 teams…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: saku+koivu, sergei+zubov

Any Penguins Fans Vacationing In Alberta?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via The Record,

STRATHMORE, Alta. - An autographed limited-edition photo print of NHL star Sidney Crosby was just too difficult to resist for a brazen thief in a small town east of Calgary.

RCMP Sgt. Kevin Reilly says a man in his 20s walked into the Tim Hortons in Strathmore, waited until staff weren’t looking and took off with the picture of the Pittsburgh Penguins captain from the wall.

Reilly says it was obvious that the suspect had planned the heist carefully.

The photo is emblazoned with the Tim Hortons logo, shows Crosby in his Penguins uniform and includes a 1993 Timbits hockey card with Crosby as a youth.

Reilly won’t reveal how much the print is worth except to say it was over $1,000 and was valuable.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sidney+crosby

Fistric Re-Signs With Stars

Blog: Hockey News Wire By Paul

FRISCO, Tex. – Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced today that the club has re-signed defenseman Mark Fistric to a three-year, $3 million contract through the 2011-12 NHL season.

“Mark made some great strides with his game last season, both here in Dallas as well as with the Manitoba Moose,” said Nieuwendyk. “He is a big, physical presence with a great deal of potential, and he’ll be counted upon to solidify our blue line for the next three seasons.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | Hockey News Wire | Permalink

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