Kukla's Korner

Can They Fight More In Those Jerseys

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Cincinnati Enquirer,

According to USA Today, the NHL is launching its biggest uniform makeover in decades. The league soon will unveil sleeker, lighter, more durable hockey uniforms that will enable players to skate faster with greater range of motion, while staying drier and cooler on the ice.
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And unless the uniforms make the players fight more, most of the country doesn’t care.

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Five Changes For A Better NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Mercury News,

The NHL is introducing revamped uniforms at the All-Star Game. Here are changes that would be better than tinkering with sweater design.
4. After a video review, the referee must explain the decision to the crowd just like in the NFL: Simply saying goal or no goal is insufficient and insulting.
5. Every arena must have an HD video screen on the center-ice scoreboard: Immediately, if not sooner.

read on for the other three…

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Blame Snider

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

srom Stephen A. Smith of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

Considering the fact that the Flyers are horrible, the 76ers are embarrassing, and everyone associated with them is not much better, we’ve gone far past the time to call for the proverbial heads of general managers or coaches.
It’s time to address the chairman of this mess, Mr. Ed Snider.
Is Snider even equipped to preside over these franchises any longer? Would it be better if he just walked away? Since Bob Clarke and Larry Brown were allowed back with these teams - after quitting on the chairman - is it fair to question whether Snider already has walked away and just forgotten to tell anybody?

continued

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Crosby- Mature Beyond His Years

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Mature for his age—maybe for someone twice his age—and in his second season in the NHL, Sidney Crosby has every reason to be living in a plush condo, enjoying life on his own.
That’s not how Crosby is built.
The 19-year-old Penguins All-Star center is happily spending another winter living with the family of retired Hall of Fame player and team owner Mario Lemieux.
“I know I heard him talking, something about locking into a long-term contract over at Mario’s,” Penguins winger Colby Armstrong deadpanned last week.

continued

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Ultimate Checkers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News Journal,

John Madden and Jay Pandolfo aren’t All-Stars.
They’re just the guys who drive the All-Stars crazy.
Madden and Pandolfo have been among the NHL’s best defensive forwards for the past seven seasons, a couple of pesky menaces who skate on the same line for the New Jersey Devils and are routinely assigned to shut down the opposition’s top scorers.

continued

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Kopitar For Calder

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the LA Times,

An emotional pregame ceremony looking back on Robitaille’s stellar career was followed by a demonstration of Kopitar’s ample skills.
The Kings were killing a power play. Kopitar was thinking offense. He stripped the puck from the Coyotes’ Travis Roche, then made goaltender Curtis Joseph look foolish. Kopitar showed Joseph the puck, then pulled it back before tucking it into the net for a 2-0 lead.
Just more stock footage for the rookie-of-the-year campaign.
“Kopi has to win the Calder Trophy,” Kings center Craig Conroy said. “We have to get that campaign started. People in the East don’t know what he’s done. We have to make them aware.”

more (reg. req.)

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What To Do With Datsyuk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Detroit Free Press,

The Red Wings have a dilemma: What are they going to do with Pavel Datsyuk? He has put up numbers lately that hint of someone who could be a 100-point seasonal performer, but he hasn’t exactly been Mr. Playoffs.
Datsyuk is 28 years old and eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, one of several prominent Wings in that position. None, though, could affect the team’s future with quite the same impact.
As he has illustrated over the past month, Datsyuk can be the most dynamic, breathtaking player in the NHL. He produced 14 points in five games between Jan. 9-17, and 20 points between Dec. 27-Jan. 17.

continued

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Luc

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the OC Register,

Darkness had just swallowed the insides of Staples Center when a standing-room-only crowd began the bass-voiced chorus of “Luuuuuuuc” for the King who made us all “Lucky.”
Luc Robitaille’s throat shook. His soft hands pulled on the knot of his black suit’s black tie. Nerves struck the legendary left winger who retired from the NHL last spring but will never have the heart to leave the game.
The spotlight waited to bathe Robitaille, as it did the NHL legends standing at center ice, ready to honor him in an hourlong, jersey-retirement ceremony on Saturday night before the Kings played the Phoenix Coyotes.
“The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky, said nobody loved the game more than Robitaille did. Former Kings coach Barry Melrose remembered “the student of the game.” Jari Kurri, Larry Robinson, Marty McSorley, Rogie Vachon were among the Kings alumni and 14 of Robitaille’s former teammates who clapped heartily for the King of the night.

continued

added 9:07am, from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

Robitaille reminded a lot of people about the good things in hockey and sports and human nature. “I can come back here and bring my grandkids one day and see my name at the top of the building in a city the size of L.A.,” he said. “With all the stars in this town and have my name in Staples Center, it wasn’t what I set out to do, but it’s the greatest honor I’ve ever gotten.”

more (reg. req.)

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Does Holmgren Have Power To Make Moves

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Wayne Fish of Philly Burbs,

When Bob Clarke stepped down as GM on Oct. 22, Holmgren was only named an interim. Team chairman Ed Snider began a search for a replacement but after getting turned down by NHL vice president Colin Campbell, Snider announced on Nov. 11 that Holmgren would have the job for the rest of the year.
At the time, Snider said: “Paul has been working very hard and I felt it was important at this time to provide some stability in his position and help him with the tasks at hand.”
But if Holmgren only has security until the summer, does he have the power to make long-term moves?
Holmgren believes he does.

read on

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NHL Falling Off The Radar

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Star-Telegram,

Thriving hockey markets such as Dallas are suddenly finding themselves fighting indifference. And what is happening with the Stars isn’t an anomaly….
For all of the improvements, a league that used to sell itself as one of the “four majors” is in danger of becoming one of the “minors.” No-shows belie the bloated attendance figures. News outlets cover it briefly, if at all. And the network the NHL calls its American flagship isn’t as popular as the Food Channel—and harder to find on the remote.
What is even more ironic is, amid this madness, NHL execs seem content to act as though “If we do not talk about the problems, they cease to exist,” instead of aggressively searching for ways to make fans fall in love with hockey all over again.

read on

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