Kukla's Korner

A Different Goalie

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Chicago Sun-Times,

The Blackhawks are seeing a new Nikolai Khabibulin in goal during their 5-0 start in preseason games. They're also going to see a new backup for him once the regular season begins on Oct. 5 in Nashville. Khabibulin is much better prepared for this season than he was for the last one, which followed the season-long NHL lockout. Khabibulin felt the pressure of signing a four-year, $27 million contract and missed 10 games with a pulled groin and 12 with a sprained knee. ''He looks really good and more poised in the net,'' coach Trent Yawney said. Khabibulin, who helped Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup in 2004, feels like a new man. ''I feel more settled and a little quicker,'' Khabibulin said. ''I had more practice before training camp, and that's helped.''
read on

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Jagr Cleaed For Practice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the AP,

Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr has been cleared to practice for the first time since undergoing surgery on his dislocated left shoulder nearly five months ago. "We got a very good report from the doctor," said smiling New York coach Tom Renney after the Rangers lost 5-2 to the New York Islanders in a pre-season game last night. "He is ready for a full practice and everything that is involved with that." When pressed on whether that included contact drills, Renney repeated that the star forward can participate in all forms of practice. When Jagr might be able to play in a game will be determined by Renney and the rest of the coaching staff. Jagr will need to build up his endurance and practice time before taking the next step.

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Miller Makes The Calls

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the OC Register,

Hockey's Kings have come and gone, gotten traded, started All-Star careers here and skated from this ice into retirement. For more than three decades, Bob Miller has become friends with them all. The club's general managers have gotten hired and fired. So have the coaches. For the past 33 seasons, Miller knew them well, sat in their offices and listened. But the game, at least the one that Hockey Hall of Fame TV announcer Miller has called, hasn't really changed. When summer is over and September is slipping into October, "The Voice of the Kings" feels his thoughts sprint, and his hockey wordbank begs to pour into the headset. "When I'm not excited around this time of year, around August and September," Miller, 68, said, "I will know that it's time to bring the career to a close." On Monday, Miller will receive the 2,319th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
more

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Wacky Names

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

Wacey Rabbit, assigned by the Boston Bruins to their AHL Providence farm club on the weekend, is definitely the moniker MVP. But Maple Leafs'rookie camp player Colton Yellow Horn definitely adds flair to any lineup. The Flyers once had Larry Goodenough; and he was for six seasons from 1974-80. At the naughty end of the spectrum, don't think L.A. Kings draft pick Yutaka Fukufuji doesn't have to be careful when someone asks what his last name is. Radek Bonk, Ron Tugnutt, Cory Pecker (Anaheim, Ottawa) and Robin Big Snake (Detroit, Nashville) sound a little like the credits for a blue movie rather than a hockey roster and Miroslav Satan must have had a devil of a time growing up until he found his imaginary friend: The letter "H."
In the KK Forums, there has been an ongoing discussion on this exact topic...

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Canes Not A Foreign Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News & Observer,

One striking feature of the defending champions is the lack of European influence on their roster. The Canes had only five European players in camp, and one of them was hurt (Kaberle) and another left in the first wave of cuts (Czech defenseman Jakub Vojta, an unsigned 2005 draft pick). That leaves only Oleg Tverdovsky (Russia), Niclas Wallin (Sweden) and Anton Babchuk (Ukraine). "It's not like 15 years ago," Tverdovsky said. "It was a big thing having Europeans on the team. Now, hockey is pretty much catching up to NHL standards everywhere. Other countries are improving and North American hockey as well, taking some things from European hockey. Before, it was two styles: North American style and European style. Now, it's just one thing. If you're a good player, it doesn't matter where you're from."
read on

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Weight Returns

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Belleville News-Democrat,

Veteran St. Louis Blues center Doug Weight will make his first preseason appearance Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. "I've been feeling good," said Weight, who gradually has increased his contact levels during practice. "No one around here's been trying to hit me either, so I've got to get in there and play." "He wants to get his timing down and things like that, which will be exciting for us," Blues coach Mike Kitchen said. "We'll watch his ice time of course early, let him get a feel for the game. But I think he has to get out there and get confidence, too, take a check and that kind of thing."
more

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Rubber Counting

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

VCOE is holding a contest with a Vancouver twist-

To kick start this site into gear again (the vacation screwed me up, I think) I have an easy contest for you: I want your bets on how many shots Roberto Luongo faces in October, his first real month as a Vancouver Canuck. Since the Legend of Luongo is built on how much rubber he faced in Florida (366 shots in October last season; an average of over 33 shots a game) I think it’s worth wondering if things will improve for him up here. And if so, how much? The prize is a $50 Gift Certificate to shop on NHL.com.
Since the Canucks play the Wings opening night, let me think, 65 shots the first game..... Now if every KK reader went there and submitted their prediction, we could keep Alanah very busy for a long time!

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Capitals Offer Exclusive Stream

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Washington Capitals exhibition game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. will be broadcast live on WashingtonCaps.com through the use of B2 Networks. This will mark the first time in NHL history that a game can be viewed exclusively via broadband. The game can be seen free of charge on the Capitals’ website, WashingtonCaps.com. Fans will need a high-speed internet connection and Windows Media Player 9 or higher. Capitals’ radio network play-by-play announcer Steve Kolbe will call the game with Mike Vogel, senior writer from WashingtonCaps.com, providing analysis. Due to NHL broadcast restrictions, the game can only be viewed by fans living within the Capitals broadcast area. update 6:15pm, As noted by a KK reader in the comments, the Flyers are doing the same thing for their game tomorrow. update 6:39pm, George, one of the KK writers, points out in the comments the Islanders/Rangers game will be streamed tonight. Now all of this streaming has got me thinking, I am sure the Wings will be doing the same thing..., yea right!

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The Devils Dilemma

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie at TSN,

...What isn't specified in this clause of the CBA, though, is what happens when an over-35 player on a multi-year contract suffers a Long Term Injury. The fact that there isn't precise wording on this would appear to leave it open to some kind of interpretation on the part of the league. That, in the case of Mogilny, there may be a chance the Devils could get some cap relief as long as Mogilny has a legitimate long-term injury. Mogilny has apparently been examined by Devil doctors and the report is that his chronic hip condition will prevent him from being able to play. Conceivably, that would make Mogilny more of a Long Term Injured player than a retired one. And that could be the Devils' way of not having Mogilny's $3.5 million salary count against the cap this season. It's too early to say for sure how this will play out, but based on the wording of the CBA (on both Long Term Injury status and Over-35 Players), it would appear Lamoriello has a fighting chance to get a break on Mogilny.
read on

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Kep An Eye On The Habs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated

, There may be a lot of ifs surrounding Carbonneau's Canadiens, but without them they'd be a sure thing, not a surprise-team candidate. But as last season's Sabres and Hurricanes proved, unexpected excellence has a certain look to it. These Canadiens have a lot of those same traits.
more

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