Kukla's Korner

Fixing The Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

I regret that I have become so personally entwined with this coach that I’m compelled to stipulate that I am not engaged in a vendetta against him. I have neither written about nor spoken of the breakdown in our relationship and have no interest in doing so.

But I must state that my relentless criticism of Tortorella—whom, by the way, I enthusiastically endorsed for the job a week before he replaced Tom Renney—is the cause of the rift and not its effect.

I do not believe a coach can win in this league by creating an environment of underlying tension, or by constantly screaming at players, or by changing line combinations every five minutes, or by obsessing over players staying out of the penalty box at the expense of protecting teammates, or by trying to win with two forward lines.

It does not, though, on the day after the Rangers’ playoff dream died, appear that either Sather or Tortorella is going anywhere, unless the GM decides on his own to step away from the operation.

So what should the Rangers do, assuming that Sather and Tortorella remain?


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Hockey Hot In Phoenix

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,

Karalee Hoge will leave the playoff beard to the male constituency of Phoenix Coyotes fans.

But the ’Yotes season-ticket holder — and wasn’t that a rare species eight months ago — will join 17,000 plus at Jobing.com Arena and wear white for Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinal on Wednesday and Friday night.

Whether it be for a week or a month, no one can be sure, hockey is hot in the desert.

As the Coyotes get set to face the Detroit Red Wings, fans are being encouraged to grow facial hair and embrace the tradition first established by the forefathers of the franchise, the Winnipeg Jets, and join the “White Out” for the first playoff games here since 2002.

“Hockey is hot here and it’s amazing,” Hoge, a Coyotes diehard, said on Monday. “The arena has been more full each game and the last few have been sellouts, which was unheard of a couple of years ago.

“The whole row next to me was empty most of the season. Now it’s full.”


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

Beating The Odds

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Who in their right minds predicted that any – let alone all – of the Phoenix Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche would qualify for the 2010 NHL playoffs?

Collectively, the aforementioned were supposed to be the Western Conference also-rans, either too young or too bankrupt or just too mediocre to qualify for postseason play.

And yet, here they are, against all odds. As the Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars and other more noteworthy teams book tee times and issue mea culpas for seasons gone sour, the party-crashing newcomers are trying to figure out how to keep it going.

Last year, the Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues were in exactly the same position, qualifying for playoffs unexpectedly. The players said all the right things in the 72 hours between the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason, and then were promptly dispatched in four quick, easy steps.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Forced To Choose A Winner

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

It’s one thing to express dissatisfaction with Washington’s goaltending, or Chicago’s goaltending for that matter, or Nashville’s lack of offensive punch or Colorado’s inexperience or Montreal’s lack of size up front.

And sure, Pittsburgh certainly looked more solid on the back end en route to the NHL championship last year when Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi made like the shutdown pair of the century (it’s only a decade old).

Gary Bettman and Co. wanted regular season parity, and now they’ve got post-season parity to the max.

Nobody looks good enough.

But some team will win — it’s in the rules.

So who’s going to win the Cup?

Here we go, but be advised, this is no prediction. It’s a, well, a guess. Something you can stare at and try to decipher just like those odd, funny looking words they make you type in a square before you order opera tickets on-line.

So the best guess from this guesser’s corner is — ta dum! — the Detroit Red Wings.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Two Proposals To Purchase The Coyotes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Matthew Coller of The Biz of Hockey,

Here’s an outline of the Reinsdorf and Ice Edge proposals…
Terms of the two Coyotes deals

Reinsdorf Group (Glendale Hockey LLC) would:

• Buy the team from the NHL for $65 million, less than half of what the league paid for the Coyotes in bankruptcy court.

• Fund the team’s purchase price and up to $100 million in losses over seven years through a community facility district, which the city would create around the arena within 120 days. The independent taxing district would sell bonds and collect other revenues….

Ice Edge Holdings LLC would:

• Offer the NHL between $140 million and $150 million, the price paid by the league for the team last fall, through bank financing.

• Raise $14.5 million per year from landowner fees, parking fees and ticket surcharges, including non-hockey events, paid through a community facility district, to cover team losses….


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

Senators Plan To Stop Crosby & Malkin

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Yzerman of the CP at the Ottawa Sun,

Facing Crosby, Malkin and Co. will be a trial by fire for much of the Senators’ regular blue-liners after Phillips and Volchenkov.

Twenty-five-year-old Chris Campoli is the most-experienced of the bunch when it comes to the post-season, with five games on his resume. The 35-year-old Sutton has just four career playoff games to his credit and the 29-year-old Carkner has yet to appear in the post-season. Rookie blue-liner Erik Karlsson will also be making his playoff debut.

“It’s always a good challenge, those are really dynamic players,” Sutton said of facing Crosby and Malkin. “The key to defending those guys is a collective team defence, limiting turnovers in the wrong spots, just making them work extra hard in corners and getting hits on them when you can.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Look On The Bright Side

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Proving once again that there is sometimes a major disconnect between public perception and internal evaluation, the Calgary Flames held a press conference Monday to assess what went wrong in an underachieving 2009-10 season, and guess what?

Apparently almost all is well in Calgary’s world. President Ken King noted that 97 per cent of season-ticket holders have put down deposits to renew for next season; that the team turned a profit, even after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2002-03; and that general manager Darryl Sutter’s overall work, notwithstanding this year’s little hiccup, has been exemplary.

King began by stating how “gravely disappointed” he was that the team missed the playoffs, then quickly skipped ahead to all that they’ve accomplished since Sutter joined the organization.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Goals Of The Week

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The top goals from the past week in the NHL.

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Media, NHL Video, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Talking Wings/Coyotes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Jim Gintoniio, beat writer for the Coyotes at the Arizona Republic, held an online chat today…

[Comment From MarkMark: ]
I think the RedWings biggest weakness is going to be goaltending. 0 playoff experience will start to take it’s toll.

Jim Gintonio:
That’s an interesting observation. Jimmy Howard is a rookie but has a 13-0-2 mark in his last 15 games. You’d think, though, that sooner or later, the big run both he and Detroit is one will come to an end.


Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Can The Habs Pull An Upset?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP at TSN,

The Montreal Canadiens are hoping that Columbus forward R.J. Umberger was right when he said the Washington Capitals play the “wrong way” to win in the playoffs, but they’re not counting on it.

The Canadiens will be decided underdogs when they face the top-seeded Capitals in the opening round of their NHL Eastern Conference quarter-final on Thursday night in Washington (TSN, 7 p.m. ET).

The Capitals finished 33 points ahead of the Canadiens in the regular season and scored 101 more goals. The 70 points amassed by Montreal’s top scorer Tomas Plekanec would place him fifth on the Capitals.

But for all their firepower, led by Alex Ovechkin’s 50 goals and 109 points, the Capitals are perceived by some as vulnerable to a playoff upset because of their loose defensive play and lack of a top-notch goaltender.


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

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