Kukla's Korner

It’s All About Making Kovalchuk Comfortable

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Which is why, in a roundabout way, the key to success in Atlanta may be the Max Factor, or more specifically, the Max Afinogenov Factor.

Think of it this way: Whatever Atlanta may accomplish this year can be quickly unraveled if Ilya Kovalchuk says bye-bye at year’s end. Kovalchuk is one of the NHL’s most dynamic players, a performer almost at Ovechkin’s level in terms of pure, raw scoring ability. But Kovalchuk has been with the Thrashers for eight not-so-great years and is starting to get itchy for success. A potential unrestricted free agent following the season, Kovalchuk is amendable to staying in Atlanta (where he has developed roots and a strong command of the English language), but only if he believes the Thrashers can mimic the Capitals’ success and evolve – sooner rather than later – into Stanley Cup contenders.

Understanding that the future of his team is now, general manager signed both Afinogenov and Nikolai Antropov as unrestricted free agents last summer, in much the same way that the Capitals once brought in Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov to make Ovechkin more comfortable.

more plus numerous NHL topics discussed…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Should Home Fans Boo Phaneuf?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,

Getting into the heads of 20,000 people is impossible.

So is the idea of people actually booing Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf on home ice.

He hears cat calls in opposition rinks, and should expect as much as one of the team’s highest-paid, high-profile and high-energy players.

But to think Flames fans would stoop so low as to target him at the Saddledome borders on ridiculous.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dion+phaneuf

Don’t Cross The Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated took some ‘heat’ from Caps fans last week about a story he wrote on Ovechkin.  He addresses that today and I will leave you with the last part of his column today…

Letting players, even great ones like Ovechkin, cross over to the “reckless” side of the game simply enables the truly hopeless thugs like Carcillo to be even bolder while putting the greats at risk.

Hopefully, Alex Ovechkin, Ted Leonsis, the Capitals organization and their many fans will come to realize that’s a reasonable opinion.


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

Wild GM Thinking Immediate Future

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

...Fletcher has sent a message to players and fans that he embraces the repairman function of his job.

Sure, every GM is trying to draft and plan for future success, but this is the salary cap era and there is no patience for five-year rebuilding plans. And there shouldn’t be, not when two-thirds of NHL teams are spending roughly the same amount of money for their rosters. You have to change up your roster on the fly. The mandate in the salary cap era is to rebuild and repair at the same time.

That’s why I like that Fletcher is showing aggressiveness in Minnesota. He succeeded Doug Risebrough, a true gentleman, highly respected around the league, but conservative in his approach to managing a team.

When Risebrough was in charge, it seemed as if the franchise never was able to escape the expansion team mentality. The Wild always seemed to be looking to be competitive up the road, instead of today.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chuck+fletcher

“I’m A Drug Addict & Alcoholic”- Chris Nilan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette via Faceoff.com,

Once, he was the darling of Canadiens fans because he wore the CH on his heart. Doors in Montreal and elsewhere were open to him. Life was good, but that was then, this is now - and it’s not a pretty picture.

Nilan: addicted to pain-killing drugs.

Nilan: alcoholic.

He is 51, a grandfather, and he remembers the first time he plummeted into the ugly, mind-bending culture of pills and booze. He can recall how in their own clawing, gnawing way they crept into his mind, convincing him they were the only way out of a life of pain. Instead, in the light of day it was a life gone wrong, including a divorce after 25 years of marriage. (Karen and Chris have two daughters - Pauline, 26, Tara, 19, and a son, Christopher, 23.) Where does it start? When? Why? “Probably the first time I saw the pills was after I finished playin’,” Nilan said.

“I was coachin’ the Chesapeake Icebreakers in the East Coast Hockey League. Two years. First year, I got coach of the year. Second year, I’d had surgery in the offseason and I took some Percocet. It’s an opiate. I got addicted to ‘em.

I needed them. If I didn’t have them, I was real sick.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+nilan

Refs Try To Stay On The Same Page

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,

We’ve touched on the importance of communication between referee and player and referee and coach, but perhaps the most important part of the communication game comes between the on-ice officials themselves.

Like the two foes they are out there to moderate, the four officials in a game are their own team. They’ve got each other’s backs, they constantly try to stay on the same page in terms of positioning and interpreting the flow of the game, and part of that is the preparation that comes in the dressing room before the puck drops.

Before each game, the officials have an informal meeting to discuss trends of the two teams, tendencies of some of the players and even their own positioning to make sure all areas of the ice are covered off.


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

No Patience In Philly

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,

Still, there is a history in Philadelphia that seems to exempt players from expectations, (real or imposed,) via media perception and one can’t help but wonder if it doesn’t come from ownership. Principal owner Ed Snider is the only boss anyone in the organization has ever had and he’s not without a passion for his team. He denied having any say in the dismissal of Stevens, but then he denied having a role in the then inexplicable firing of Hitchcock, a panic firing if there ever was one.

What’s undeniable is that a firing in Philadelphia is not uncommon, but almost expected whenever there are high expectations and somewhat lower results.

Odd when you considered this edition of the Flyers team was vastly overrated by media but not necessarily management types.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Cleary Out With Separated Shoulder

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Twitter of Bruce MacLeod,

Dan Cleary has a separated shoulder and will be out four weeks. Ville Leino returns to the Red Wings lineup.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+cleary

CBA Related Snafus

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

According to Murphy’s Law it was bound to happen someday.  The Montreal Canadiens used an ineligible player Tuesday night versus the Ottawa Senators.  Ryan White was in the line-up for the Habs, but they had failed to notify the league by the 5 PM league deadline that White had been recalled from the AHL.  When this was noticed, White was pulled from the game and the Habs completed it one forward short.  This is being treated as a big deal.  Bob McKenzie reports that the Habs could face a fine in the six figure range.  He also says that had it not been noticed that White was ineligible and he was pulled from the game, Montreal may have had to forfeit their 4-1 victory.

Many questions are raised by the incident.  Why was this news story not widely reported until more than 36 hours after the game (Bob McKenzie’s story is dated at almost 10 AM ET the Thursday after the game - and I haven’t seen anything reported earlier)?  Did the NHL attempt to suppress the story?  This is an example of how the CBA has an unwieldy amount of regulation.  What is the harm really?  Montreal called up a player that they have called up before and failed to tell big brother about it.  Why does big brother even care?  Because they keep a complex salary calculation going all season and this kind of minutia is needed to be kept correct to keep the salary calculation correct.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Put An End To The Violence In Our Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Maguire of EMC,

This is an issue which, as a sports fan, has troubled me for a long time. It’s a situation which needs to be addressed and fixed once and for all.

I am talking about violence in hockey and particularly in professional leagues such as the National Hockey League (NHL), the so-called ‘No. 1 hockey league in the world.’

The number of incidents related to fighting and other acts of violent conduct in the sport are repetitive and frankly, disgraceful. It is hard to take the sport seriously, especially when leagues such as the NHL do so little to police such pointless on-ice behaviour by their own athletes.

Like most Canadian kids I played the sport when I was younger and it is hard not to have a soft spot for our winter national sport. It’s a great game. But it could be so much better if the powers-that-be, especially NHL management, would finally do the right thing and end fighting and other violent conduct in the game.


thanks to a KK member for the pointer

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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