Kukla's Korner

The Jamaican Ice Hockey Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,

Jamaica is planning its own miracle on ice.

While the island of sun-splashed beaches has as many hockey rinks as it does bobsled runs — exactly none — the goal is for Team Jamaica to compete with the world’s hockey powers at a Winter Games in the next eight to 20 years.

“If we can pull this off, you’re looking at an inspiring story and the idea that anything is accomplishable if you put your mind to it,” says head coach Graeme Townshend, 48, the first Jamaican-born player in the NHL.

“If Jamaica can get a team in the world championships or the Olympics, that’s like a miracle. It’s something that’s so outlandish that I think it actually might work.”

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Jason Spezza With His Thoughts On The Trade Process

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ian Mendes of TSN,

After the Senators missed the playoffs in the 2013-14 season, there were rumblings that Spezza was on the trade market.

General manager Bryan Murray confirmed that Spezza and his agent Rick Curran had requested a trade in May, which created a ton of media interest leading up to the NHL Draft weekend at the end up of June.

Spezza declined an opportunity to head to Nashville in a trade and says he wanted to end up in Dallas. He wishes the entire episode was kept quiet, but he harbors no ill feelings towards Murray or the Senators organization for the fact the trade request became public.

"I think obviously the goal of mine was to kind of get traded without the hoopla around it and all the conversation that went around it. The reality of it is, that was never going to happen," Spezza said. "So I just tried to stay quiet, and I talked to Bryan a few times throughout the process. I have a lot of respect for Bryan, I think he has a lot of respect for me, and unfortunately, things get kind of dragged out through the papers and the media and sometimes things get skewed, but that's the nature of the game and it was my decision to ask him to move me and I had to live with the consequences. But, I'm happy with the end result."

much more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jason+spezza

The ‘Reverse VH’

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

In 2012, Jonathan Quick achieved a career goal. The former UMass Amherst standout went 16-4 in the postseason, including three shutouts, with a 1.41 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage to backstop the Kings to their first of two Stanley Cups in the last three seasons.

In the bigger picture, the Conn Smythe-winning goalie helped to initiate a position-changing movement. The name of one of Quick’s go-to moves is “reverse VH,” also called post lean or shoulder lean. Not many North American goalies used it just three years ago. It’s since become a required technique in a goalie’s toolbox.

Two Cups, a Conn Smythe, and an Olympic starting gig are good benchmarks to affirm puckstopping credentials.

“When I tried to teach this two years ago, guys looked at me like I had three heads,” said Brian Daccord, president and founder of Stop It Goaltending in Woburn. “It was something so out of this world. Now they’re all doing it.”

continued plus more hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Ryan Johansen Needs To Be At Training Camp

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

Johansen’s side argues that he is one of the top dozen centers in the NHL. They claim leverage in the fact that they can solicit an offer sheet from another team.

The Jackets argue that Johansen has had one good season out of three, and the kid still has something to prove on a lot of fronts, including the motivational front. They claim leverage in the fact that Johansen has no arbitration rights. They say they will match an offer sheet if one happens to appear.

Johansen has every right to ask for whatever he can get, but I do not think he has the better argument here. It is true that he is coming off a sterling season (33 goals and 30 assists in 82 games). Yet, it is also true that his three-year totals (47 goals and 49 assists in 189 games) are, in terms of points per game, about the same that Derick Brassard had when his rookie contract expired.

Johansen is asking for Jonathan Toews money, and he has not earned it. Not yet. Can he ask for it? Sure, he can. I hope he squeezes every penny he can out of his next contract. But if this pursuit causes him to miss one day of training camp, then he will be acting selfishly.

We have all heard players say “it’s just business” when it comes to contract negotiations. Business changes, though, when it’s time to go to work.

more

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+johansen

Questions Facing The Boston Bruins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mat Kalman at NHL.com,

Who will replace Jarome Iginla? -- Iginla was the new Nathan Horton. Now the Bruins need a new Iginla to skate with center David Krejci and left wing Milan Lucic. Among the Bruins' returning players, only Loui Eriksson and Smith seem to have the type of offensive skills it takes to play on the first line. Either player will give that line a different dynamic; Krejci is used to being surrounded by skill players with size and brute strength.

Eriksson figures to get the first chance to take that spot, barring a trade.

Can Loui Eriksson rebound? -- Bruins brass has faith the injury-plagued wing, who scored 37 points in 61 games last season and sustained two concussions, wasn't the player they're going to have this season and beyond.

"I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year," coach Claude Julien said. "I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility."

Eriksson had a strong last couple months of last season, especially when Carl Soderberg was switched to center and Chris Kelly moved to left wing. If Eriksson doesn't win the job with Lucic and Krejci, maybe the Swede plays with center Patrice Bergeron and left wing Brad Marchand, or maybe goes back to the bottom six.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Red Wings overnight report: on DeKeyser, forward jobs up for grabs and many other things

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. If you aren't aware of it already, the Joe Kocur Foundation is holding its annual set of charity softball games in Highland, MI today, and tickets are $15 at the door (and worth it). The games start at 11 and will go until late into the evening:

 

 

2. And if you're in the mood to head down to Joe Louis Arena to purchase $9 single-game seats on an in-person basis...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

A charitable press release from the Whalers and a hockey equipment-related release from the Wings

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Plymouth Whalers and Detroit Red Wings posited press releases on Friday afternoon. One is charitably-related and one is not-so-chariably-related, so I'll post the Whalers' presser first:

PLYMOUTH WHALERS, SAGINAW PLAY FOR PCEP ON SEPTEMBER 6

All proceeds of preseason game go to Plymouth-Canton Education Park

PLYMOUTH – Over the years, the Plymouth Whalers have forged a unique partnership with the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park.

The younger Whalers attend high school at the 305 acre campus site in western Wayne County which houses three high schools - Plymouth, Salem and Canton - at the same campus.  Plymouth Whalers Educational Consultant John Seidleman is a retired PCEP professional who has done an outstanding job as a liaison between the Whalers and the PCEP.

In addition, the Whalers joined forces with 88.1FM WSDP The Park (located on the PCEP campus) several seasons ago for live broadcasts of Plymouth games.  The Whalers continue on 88.1FM this year, starting with the broadcast of the team’s Alumni game on Aug. 16.

The synergy between the PCEP and the Whalers reaches to a new level on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 7 pm at Compuware Arena when Plymouth hosts Saginaw.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

"It's never an easy decision, and it's not the only decision, but there was definitely a shake-up needed. Especially after being up 3-0 and then losing four straight to a team that we should have never lost to. You always look to your leaders and we certainly look to all our top players, not just Joe and not just Patrick, but all of our top players as a whole and when you have one goal, two assists and collectively a minus-29 in your final four games, you have to start looking to shake things up a little bit."

-San Jose Sharks associate coach Larry Robinson on removing the 'C' and 'A' from Thornton and Marleau.  Robinson appeared on TSN690 today in Montreal and Fear The Fin has more from Robinson.

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: larry+robinson

The Chicago Blackhawks Have The Best Logo According To The Hockey News

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,

When THN’s seven-person panel sat down to come up with our rankings of the 30 NHL logos, we were basically in full agreement which team would be No. 1.

We didn’t want history to influence our decisions. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens sit outside the top 10 for that reason. Ranking all the Original Six 1-6 is boring, predictable and doesn’t accomplish what we wanted to do here: reward the best logos, not the longest history.

Even still, the Chicago Blackhawks stood up to that measurement. The vibrant color combination and the respectful way it honors a WWI battalion and a Native American chief sets this logo apart from the rest. If we handed out the Three Stars of these logo rankings, the Blackhawks logo would be one, two and three.

continued

Check out the rest of the rankings...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL 15 Voice Work

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Treadway of Sports Illustrated,

For a sports video game to truly thrive, several factors need to come together. Gameplay and graphics tend to take center stage, but a factor that's often overlooked but can seriously enhance or hinder a game's effectiveness is the commentators....

 I spoke with Sean Ramjagsingh, a producer on NHL 15, which will be released on September 9 and boasts "The most realistic broadcast package in a video game to-date."...

And that process has worked well with NHL 15's new commentators, Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk?

Yeah, they just take a second, they pause, they visualize it  and then they rattle off ten different speech samples based off that situation we give them. It gives us Doc and Eddie being Doc and Eddie as opposed to Doc and Eddie reading a script that we wrote for them that might be written in a way that's not their style. We ad lib as much content as we can. We'll have Doc and Eddie together, so they play off each other. That's where you get the true synergy between the two commentators. The one piece that we still need to script a little bit is around the names. So we want sentences or expressions to start with a player's name. We have 5,000 players in our game. We get the names right, make sure we get everybody, make sure we get them with the right intonations. So that's the more scripted part. Everything else we try to leave unscripted as much as possible.

For top players, a guy like Patrick Kane for example, would you have Doc and Eddie specifically say 'Patrick Kane' in a bunch of different ways or even give a specific anecdote about him?

Well for every player we'll have different intonations, different levels -- different commentators sometimes have more levels than others and Doc is fantastic. 

more

Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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