Kukla's Korner

Do You Believe In Huet?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Kiley at ChicagoNow,

The Blackhawks, even as they emerge as paper tigers among the NHL elite, will nonetheless be on trial next weekend at their fan convention.

As promising as their future appears for 2009-10, especially with the addition of high-scoring forward Marian Hossa, they will be asked to present indisputable evidence that shows Cristobal Huet is their No. 1 goaltender beyond a reasonable doubt.

Can that case be proven in a weekend of salesmanship? Was Huet worth 4 years at $5.625 million when the Hawks signed him as a free agent in July, 2008? Will you go home from the festivities next Sunday convinced that the net is in the hands of a master goaltender or a never-will-be?


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cristobal+huet

An Early Look At The East

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei at ESPN,

As with the West last week, this look at the events in the East is listed in a highly conditional predicted finish in the conference next season, albeit with the slotting of the defending division champions in the top three spots.

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

The only significant loss was Rob Scuderi, who signed with the Kings. Otherwise, with the young core (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury) locked up for years to come, the only way they can slide is if it becomes clear that the Penguins are just too top-heavy in the cap age….

2. Washington Capitals

The somewhat under-the-radar and late signing of Brendan Morrison adds a steady and calming veteran voice up front, not to mention a reliable two-way center. The league would greatly benefit if it gets another Alex Ovechkin versus Malkin/Crosby matchup in the conference finals, and if this rivalry stays heated in the regular season….

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

McGrattan On The Road Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,

In a summer when more than 150 free agents went on the auction block on July 1, Brian McGrattan may have been one of the least likely players to find another NHL home.

Quietly, and away from the spotlight with the equally troubled Phoenix Coyotes, the 27-year-old enforcer struggled last season in more ways than one, failing at first to dress for games and then, according to members of the team’s staff, missing practice. In December, McGrattan voluntarily entered the league’s substance abuse and behavioural health (SABH) program, spending three months in a rehab facility before returning to the ice in mid-March.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+mcgrattan

Bettman In High Tax Bracket

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via The Detroit News,

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was paid $7.1 million in salary and benefits for the 2007-08 season, according to league tax filings and reported by Sports Business Journal.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, Bettman earned $4,197,694 from the NHL and $2,911,550 from NHL Enterprises, the league’s business arm, according to the report. The total package represents a 27-percent raise over the previous season and the highest level of compensation Bettman has received in 16 years as commissioner.

added 11:53am, The Sporting News has posted the full article from Tripp Mickle of SBJ.

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

Chicago Signs Mark Cullen

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Chicago Blackhawks have signed center Mark Cullen to a one-year contact.

Cullen, 30, registered National Hockey League career highs in games played (29), goals (7), assists (9) and points (16) in 29 games with the Blackhawks in 2005-06. Last season, the Virginia, Minnesota, native ranked fifth on the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose with 25 assists and sixth with 39 points in 56 regular-season contests. He helped Manitoba reach the Calder Cup Finals, notching nine assists and 13 points in 20 postseason tilts.

A seven year pro, Cullen also appeared in three games with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2006-07, his last NHL action.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mark+cullen

Capitals Name Mark French Head Coach Of Hershey

Blog: Hockey News Wire By Paul

ARLINGTON, Va. – Mark French, the Hershey Bears’ assistant coach the past two seasons, has been promoted to head coach of the Washington Capitals’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, Capitals vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. Troy Mann has been named the Bears’ new assistant coach and will join French behind the bench as Hershey defends its Calder Cup championship in 2009-10.

French replaces Bob Woods, who was promoted to assistant coach in Washington after leading the Bears to the AHL title. He joined the Hershey staff on Jan. 2, 2008, after Woods had been promoted to head coach.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | Hockey News Wire | Permalink

Devils Will Have A Coach Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,

The Devils have scheduled a 1:30 p.m. conference all today to make “a major announcement.”

It is expected that they name a head coach at that time.

All signs point to Jacques Lemaire

added 1:34pm,

The Devils have filled their head coaching vacancy by naming Jacques Lemaire as their new bench boss. Lemaire, who guided the club to its first Stanley Cup title in 1995, returns for his second stint with New Jersey.

John MacLean named head coach in Lowell too.

added 1:38pm, Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice has all the details…

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jacques+lemaire

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I’m just trying to get healthy now.  It’s been a tough two or three years, with injuries and two hip surgeries. But I’m focused that I’ll be back sooner or later.

“I truly believe I can still play hockey somewhere, whether it’s in North America or maybe in Europe.”

-Goaltender Dan Cloutier.  More on Dan about his Soo Greyhound days from Ben Leeson of the Sault Star.

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+cloutier

Wings Hands Are Tied

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Malik of SnapShots at Mlive,

Take away the name and the number, and the Red Wings have an asset, worth 25 goals and about 55 points. They learned that they would not be able to employ that asset last week, and thus needed to immediately go about finding a way to replace those 25 goals and 55 points by signing either one or two players.

The NHL chose to make an issue of the asset’s availability, and as such, the NHL has tied Detroit’s hands regarding whether it can spend its money retaining the asset or replacing the asset, either via free agent replacements or trading said asset. The sooner that this issue can reach a conclusion, regardless of its result/resolution, the better for the Red Wings. That’s the bottom line.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jiri+hudler

Phoenix In The Spotlight Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,

Judge Redfield T. Baum has his work cut out for him today as the proposed sale of the Phoenix Coyotes has proven to be anything but straightforward.

When the Phoenix bankruptcy court judge convenes a hearing today, he’ll have waded through dozens of legal arguments in hundreds of pages of documents filled with accusations and counter-accusations.

With the future of hockey in Phoenix and Hamilton hanging in the balance, the pride of billionaires on the line and a chance for the public to get a behind-the-scenes look at NHL financing and Wayne Gretzky’s tax record, to say various factions agree on very little would be understatement.

But like they say, you can’t tell the players without a program.

Here’s a look at who wants what from whom today:


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

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