Kukla's Korner

Sens Still Have A Chance

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,

If people want to think the Senators' best days are behind them, that's fine with Jason Spezza. The Senators centre rallied to his team's defence yesterday when it was suggested the club's window of opportunity to win a Stanley Cup had closed. "They're not talking about us (as Cup contenders) as much as in the past," Spezza said yesterday. "That doesn't bother us ... we're not listening to the critics who say we're not as good as last year. The chance (to win a Cup in Ottawa) is gone for guys who are off the team like 'Z' (Chara), but we're still here with a good team, we still have a chance."
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Fedorov Wants A Comeback Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Columbus Dispatch,

Blue Jackets center Sergei Fedorov had 16 points in the last 18 games of the 2005-06 season. He took the last shot of the season and scored to beat the Dallas Stars in overtime. Moments later, he sat in his locker stall in Nationwide Arena and said: "I feel they got me here to take a share of the load, play great ‘D’ and help the great players on offense. And to try to show everyone I am as good as I was," Fedorov said. "That’s my challenge, and I’m willing to take it up. All I know is I’m going to do everything I can to come back in the best shape I’ve ever been. ... I’m going to bring my best every game, every night, every practice, and we’ll see if that will help us succeed."
continued

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Sharks Goalie Coach Makes A Comeback

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Inside Bay Area,

There were times over the past three years that Sharks goalie coach Warren Strelow — praised by ESPN the Magazine as the best at what he does — thought his days teaching the fine art of puck-stopping were over. An August 2003 kidney transplant began a downward spiral of problems that read like a medical textbook's worst case scenario — multiple infections; gall bladder surgery during which a laser nicked his liver; lymphedema; a loss of blood pressure; and a fall that broke his leg in three places. "They had me not living through the night three different times," Strelow, 71, said. "It was pretty touch and go." But now Strelow is taking part in his first training camp in four years. And while the intervening time has limited his mobility — Strelow uses a motorized scooter on the ice, for example — it has not damaged what goalie Evgeni Nabokov calls the "gifted eye."
continued

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Ball Hockey Prepared Canuck For The Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Vancouver Province,

NHL players often employ fitness trainers and belong to exclusive clubs to stay far away from prying eyes. Not Alex Burrows. The summer regimen for the Vancouver Canucks left-winger includes playing ball hockey -- which is like being a piece of meat amid a throng of butchers. "There are lots of guys who are just out there to try and act tough in front of their buddies and to say that they fought an NHL player," Burrows recalled Monday. "That's not something I want to get involved in." Even so, Burrows found himself in an awkward position at the nationals. "A guy from Vancouver kind of jumped me a little bit from behind and we had a little scuffle, but nothing big," he said. "I used to get slashed a lot before and this year I decided to take it easy.
read on

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Fleury Shooting For Consistency

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Daily News,

The smile that Marc-Andre Fleury made his trademark with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles is as bright as ever. After several seasons of ups and downs with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the 21-year-old goaltender still flashed the pearly whites yesterday at the team's mini camp at Moncton Coliseum. "It's fun to get back into action," said an upbeat Fleury, who took over the starting job in December last season and started 50 games after Jocelyn Thibault went down with an injury. "I've grown a year older and I'm more experienced. I played a lot last season and that's going to help me this year." He said he's hoping to be more consistent this season, noting that it's "difficult to be perfect every single game." "I think if you want to be a good No. 1 goaltender, that's the most important thing," said Sorel, Que., native. "If you can, every night, give your team a chance to win, it's the best thing you can do."
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“New Jersey” Debut

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

The Sabres, after all, were debuting new uniforms which feature a stylized buffalo and, for the folks consulting programs, numbers on the right chest. This week, an Internet headline labelled the new get-ups "controversial." And they are — as long as you're using "controversial" to mean "yet another abomination to sporting aesthetics." The update is ugly on a lot of levels. The team claims it transports the colour scheme back to the expansion-era roots of blue and gold. But the blue is ultra-navy, bordering on black. And the particular hue of banana — which turns the brush-stroke logo into a Day-Glo eyesore — hasn't been employed so offensively since the man with the yellow hat stole Curious George from the jungle and spun it as a favour to the monkey. Add it up and the combination waddles suspiciously like a Penguin.
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Nashville Has One Goal- The Stanley Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Nashville City Paper,

The disappointments of last season are driving the Nashville Predators in training camp. Members of last year’s team took it hard when they failed to advance past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. “We did a lot of great things last year except the thing that was the most important, and that was to win in the playoffs,” Predators winger Steve Sullivan said. “We are going to be bigger and stronger this season. We have all the ingredients. Now it is a matter of going out and executing.”
continued

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Finger Pointing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

The Vancouver Canucks and Todd Bertuzzi have turned on each other in the civil lawsuit launched by former NHL player Steve Moore.... Each side is pointing the finger at each other for whatever damages may be awarded -- and likely will be awarded -- in the civil action launched by the former Colorado player. The lawsuit -- now three-sided with the Moore family taking on Bertuzzi and the Canucks and the Canucks and Bertuzzi taking on each other -- is apparent in Statements of Defence filed by attorneys representing both the team and Bertuzzi in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice earlier this month.
read on

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More Tests For Colaiacovo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

Injured Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo remains unable to shake concussion-like symptoms that resurfaced Friday during an uptempo training camp skate. Sources tell TSN Colaicovo is still suffering from a "slight" headache and won't be pushed by the team for precautionary measures.
continued

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Waiting For AO

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kara Yorio of the Sporting News,

A couple of weeks ago, I waited for Alex Ovechkin. We were supposed to meet at 7:30 p.m., but a late flight and photo shoot gone long set the meeting back a couple of hours.... Ovechkin arrives at the hotel in a bright pink t-shirt that reads "Love Metal" and jeans with ripped patches. He apologizes for being late, even though it's not his fault, and makes sure his newly acquired, signed Sidney Crosby jersey is taken care of. Then he is ready to go. He is visibly tired, but he sits down and never mentions that he has plans or would like to be somewhere else. But I know better. It's a little past 9:30 p.m. He's a 20-year-old professional athlete in Manhattan. He must know someone in New York City and, even if he doesn't, he has plans. He better. But still, he doesn't rush. He doesn't look at his watch. He works hard to find the right English words to answer the questions. And sometimes, it seems, he works hard to keep from saying too much or something that might be misinterpreted.
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