Kukla's Korner

The NHL & The Recession

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,

The NHL will likely find itself on financial thin ice if the recession deepens, according to many leading economists and financiers in the sports community.

With no substantial American television contract, teams in questionable, non-traditional markets and a falling Canadian dollar, the National Hockey League will suffer more than North America’s other major sports leagues in a prolonged economic downturn, according to those experts.

The upside for Canadian fans is that those economic woes could mean another team north of the border as owners look to the game’s hotbeds as an economic salve.

“Hockey is the most vulnerable and that’s primarily because of the lack of a TV contract in the United States,” said Richard Powers, associate dean of Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto. “I really do think we’re going to see some contraction and/or relocation. And it’s very likely we’re going to see another franchise in Canada.


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Change In The Sharks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

In an interview, (Doug) Wilson listed three primary factors for the Sharks’ strong play — tactical changes by the coaching staff, the overall personnel upgrades and the growth or improvement of his team’s holdover players, many of whom had discouragingly average performances last season.

From the first day of training camp, McLellan stressed a more aggressive fore-check and less play on the perimeter. He especially wanted to see more shots directed toward the net. Last year, Detroit led the league by a wide margin in terms of overall shots on goal. That was a philosophy McLellan imported to his new gig.

It helps that Blake and Boyle both demonstrate strong offensive sensibilities from their defensive positions. Last year, the Sharks received only 113 scoring points all season from their top six defencemen (Craig Rivet, Christian Ehrhoff, Sandis Ozolinsh, Matt Carle, Marc-Eduard Vlasic and Kyle McLaren).

This season, the top six point-getters (Boyle, Blake, Ehrhoff, Vlasic, Lukowich and Alexei Semenov) already have 76 scoring points, with 41/2 months to go in the season.


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Bryzgalov Trying To Get His Game Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Gintonio of Ice Chips at the Arizona Republic,

Ilya Bryzgalov says he is frustrated because he has been letting down his teammates.

  The Coyotes goaltender, who helped inspire a playoff bid a season ago, has lost his last six starts, and Saturday night allowed two goals on the first two shots he faced. He was pulled from the game by coach Wayne Gretzky about five minutes into the contest against the San Jose Sharks and replaced by Mikael Tellqvist.

  “You just work harder, and it’s gonna get better,” Bryzgalov said. “’I’m not mad, but I’m frustrated because I was brutal. I was terrible, and I have to pick up my game, and I’ve got to be better for the guys because they deserve much better goaltending from me than I did in the last game … Two shots, two goals is just horrific.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+bryzgalov

Kings Players Get Some ‘Face-Time’ In Canada

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

For the Eastern Canadian players on the Kings, tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Staples Center offers a rare chance to show off for friends and relatives. And they were eagerly looking forward to it.

“All my buddies and family and friends will be watching back home, so I know they’re pretty excited,” said rookie defenseman Drew Doughty, who’s from London, about a 120-mile drive from Toronto.

“It’s awesome. It’s always been a dream, in a way, growing up and watching the Leafs play. And so it’s going to be fun.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

A look at Brian Burke’s probable moves before the trade deadline

Blog: KK Members Blog By Slasher98

During Saturday’s press conference to the Toronto media, Brian Burke all but confirmed that the Leafs are officially out of the Sundin sweepstakes. “I don’t think we fit his profile as a team,” said Burke. He referred to the 2-year $20 million offer from the Vancouver Canucks, putting the emphasis on the fact that Sundin’s comeback is not about money, but about playing for a contender.

Therefore, if Burke is not looking to add Sundin to his team, this means he will likely try to unload some veterans.

Look for Burke to start moving players in January as he will study his team in the next few weeks to see which players fit his style of players: physical, gritty, tough, hardworker, reliable defensively, etc.

Goaltenders: Curtis Joseph is having a tough season, posting a 3.95 GAA and a woeful .861 save percentage. He hasn’t won any game yet for the Leafs. The veteran goaltender might be asked to hang his skates to give some seasoning to Justin Pogge, the Leafs’ goaltender of the future.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: antropov, burke, kaberle, maple+leafs, ponikarovsky, toronto

Here’s How You Give Thanks…

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

...you put the Duck’s head on a block of wood.  Hold it down and flick the beak for a few minutes, just to torture it.  Do Ducks even have beaks?  Is that how “beak” is spelled?

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Report- Oilers Ready To Make A Significant Move

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Marty York at Metro News (Tuesday story),

NHL sources told Metro yesterday the Oilers are poised to complete a significant trade and/or fire coach Craig MacTavish, likely this week.

“They (the Oilers) have come nowhere close to what they expected to be this season and (club chief) Kevin Lowe is extremely annoyed,” an NHL source said. “Kevin’s just about ready to pull the trigger.”

The Oilers were supposed to be a contender this season. Oddsmakers reckoned they’d likely qualify for the playoffs. Yet they’ve turned out to be inconsistent, at best, and are below .500.

read on and if I recall previous stories from Mr. York, not many have come true.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Alexei Kovalev on his early season slump…

I’m not worried about it.  I’m glad it happens early in the season because I know I’m going to recover, and once they start going in, they’ll go in in bunches.

“So you keep working on it. It’s happened in the past and it isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.”

more from Bill Beacon of the CP via Yahoo…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexei+kovalev

Who You Blaming?  Put The Pipe Down.

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

First, this simple sentence rendered me fetal this afternoon.

But the Sharks, Habs, Ducks, Bruins, Pens…all of the teams we would consider to be competitive…we haven’t won a SINGLE GAME against what I would consider to be a top tier team.  That’s more than a hangover.  That suggests a failure at the front office.


Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

The Important Piece Of The Minnesota Wild

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding,

Don’t view any investment as a safe investment. Don’t draw an inside straight. Don’t argue politics with someone who didn’t want change. And don’t ever, ever discount the Minnesota Wild’s chances of making the playoffs as long as Jacques Lemaire is coach.

I’m not even waiting for New Year’s Day to make my resolution. That’s now my philosophy after watching November unfold.

In October, my prediction was that the Minnesota Wild wouldn’t make the playoffs. Today, they have the third-best winning percentage in the Western Conference and they are leading the NHL in goals-against average.

Looking at Minnesota’s roster and reviewing how the Wild have performed this season, my conclusion is that as respected as Lemaire is around the NHL, we might still be underestimating his importance.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jacques+lemaire

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