Kukla's Korner

Would You Want Keenan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ken Campbell at the Hockey News,

...despite his obvious flaws, Keenan is an outstanding hockey mind and a keen judge of talent who has the cojones to make bold decisions and even bolder moves. His reputation as a GM has been sullied by the fact he has left more messes than a three-year-old with anger management problems, but he nevertheless has made some brilliant moves as both a coach and GM. Check out Joe Thornton’s career trajectory. It’s no coincidence he scored a career-high 37 goals and truly became an offensive force during his one year playing for Mike Keenan with the Boston Bruins. As coach of the Panthers, he got into Olli Jokinen’s face and challenged him to be more than an overweight underachiever. Jokinen responded by leading the Panthers in scoring three straight seasons.
read on

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Clarke Responds

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

"I don't give a (expletive deleted) if nobody likes me, I could care less," Clarke told TSN. "But they shouldn't be getting mad at me, I didn't put the (offer sheet) rule in the collective bargaining agreement. If they're mad, they should call Gary Bettman and complain to him. Get mad at Gary Bettman. He's in charge of the rules, not me. I didn't realize there were some rules we're not allowed to use."
read on added 3:22pm, A KK Forum poll is now up regarding this topic. KK members can vote and respond to this poll.

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Wings Will Try It Again

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Traverse City Record-Eagle,

How would the Wings respond? Would General Manager Ken Holland simply tweak the roster for the 2006-07 season? Or would he overhaul it? "We struggled with that internally for probably four to five to six weeks, leading up to July 1 (start of free agency)," Holland said. "In the end, we felt we had a pretty good team. We had one of the most successful regular seasons in the great history of Red Wings hockey. It's hard to blow that up. So we're bringing most of our team back to try it again."
more

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More Like Us

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Today at my NHL.com blog, I suggest hockey players are more like us than other professional athletes. I also point to a few hockey blogs which I plan to do on a weekly basis.

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Avs Extend Brunette

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that it has signed forward Andrew Brunette to a one-year contract extension good through the 2007-2008 season. “Andrew had a very strong season last year,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President and General Manager Francois Giguere. “He’s been a solid, consistent performer throughout his career and we’re looking for much of the same from him over the next two years. He’s a gifted athlete and a key contributor to our offense.”

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A Look From The Atlantic

Blog: KK Hockey By Patrick Hoffman

By Patrick Hoffman In the first of six installments, I will look at the goaltending in each division of the National Hockey League. Let’s start out in the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference. Will Martin Brodeur be dethroned? Will this finally be the year in which Rick DiPietro provides consistent goaltending out on the Island? Will there be a goaltending controversy down in Philly? Will the Penguins future suddenly become the present? Will Henrik Lundqvist follow up last season’s performance with an even better sophomore season? All this and more in: A Look from the Atlantic. New York Rangers The Rangers were one of the top defensive teams in the NHL, finishing fourth out of 30 teams. Many hockey pundits would say that everything went through “Route 68” but if one was to dig a bit deeper, they would find that the goaltending of Vezina Trophy finalist Lundqvist was the big reasons that the lights were up on Broadway this past season. Lundqvist posted stellar numbers this past season as he won 30 games, posted a miniscule goals against average of 2.24 and had a sparkling .922 save percentage. Ranger fans have not seen this kind of goaltending since Mike Richter reigned the Rangers goal for 13 seasons. Lundqvist struggled down the stretch as he tried to play through a hip injury and that certainly cost the Rangers a victory in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New Jersey Devils. However, look for Lundqvist to come back stronger than ever and look for him to prove that last year was no fluke. Kevin Weekes holds the title of backup goaltender for the Rangers. Weekes had 14 wins while posting a 2.95 goals against average and a .895 save percentage. Weekes struggled at home this season, often drawing the well-known boo birds of Madison Square Garden. However, he stole some games on the road for the team and provided some quality goaltending when Lundqvist needed a rest. For him to succeed this season, he must cut down on the softies he lets up and be a bit more consistent on home ice when he is given the chance to do so. New Jersey Devils After a slow start and some problems adjusting to the new rules, Martin Brodeur went onto win over 40 games (43) once again while posting 2.57 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. He was one of the main reasons that the Devils got so hot towards the end of the season to help them clinch the Atlantic division. Look for him to play between 55-70 games. The backup goaltending duties for the Devils have yet to be established. Last season, that role belonged to Scott Clemensen, as he won three games, had a 3.35 goals against average and posted a .881 save percentage. With Brodeur playing the majority of the games, you would expect his backup to be quite rusty. However, there are rumors floating around that former Devils goaltender Mike Dunham will sign with the club. He would certainly be an upgrade over youngster Clemensen.

Continue Reading »

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It Is Bad For All Of Us

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

If the Canucks want to hold onto Kesler at the end of this season, they must extend him a qualifying offer of $1.9 million. That qualifying offer can be used as a comparable by other Group 2 players who file for salary arbitration. ''So the going rate for a young 10-goal scorer in this league is going to $1.9 million,'' an NHL GM said. ''We're starting a whole new inflation spiral. It's going to cost every team in this league. It's bad for all us. It's really bad business.'' Another GM said he could understand the Flyers' offer sheet tactic if the Canucks were unable to fit Kesler's $1.9 million under the salary cap, but that apparently is not the case. Sources suggest Kesler's figure of $1.9 million will take Vancouver to $43 million for 22 players – that's $1 million under the cap and one player under the 23-man roster limit.
more..on the crazy Tuesday...

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Kozlov Signs With NYI

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the New York Islanders,

The Islanders have signed forward Viktor Kozlov to a one-year contract. Last season with the New Jersey Devils, the 6-5, 230-pound center/right wing had 12 goals and 13 assists in 69 games and was 8 for 12 in the shootout. "Viktor brings a lot to the table," said Islanders general manager Garth Snow. "He can be a center or wing on any of our top three lines and be solid in all zones. This is an excellent addition for our team as we head into training camp."

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Low-Key For Mario

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Mario Lemieux specialized in the spectacular throughout his time in the NHL, but the final act of his playing career will be decidedly low-key. The Penguins, at Lemieux's request, will not stage an extravagant ceremony to re-retire his No. 66 sweater. Instead, the sweater will be returned quietly to its previous place of honor near the Mellon Arena roof shortly before the Penguins' regular-season home opener against Philadelphia Oct. 5. And while there likely will be some sort of acknowledgement -- perhaps a spotlight on the number, accompanied by video highlights of Lemieux -- the night of the Flyers game, there will be a minimum of fuss and fanfare.

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Tkachuk In Shape

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Is Keith Tkachuk in shape? One season removed from a team-imposed suspension, Tkachuk is in tip-top shape, according to his longtime trainer, Nelson Ayotte. Tkachuk is visibly leaner and teammates who have skated with him in the offseason say he looks a step faster on the ice. This is a big season for the Blues forward, who scored 36 points in 41 games last year. He will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
more questions answered about the Blues...

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