Kukla's Korner

Tight Playoff Races Are Here To Stay

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,

Back to this year’s Western Conference race for a moment. After last night’s late games, 12 points separated fourth-place Vancouver and 12th-place St. Louis. But maybe more to the point, there were only six points separating the sixth-place Blue Jackets and the Blues. Four teams that are currently out of the eight playoff spots are two wins from being in.

Hitchcock said basically said this tight playoff race may be pretty much the status quo from now on.

“This is the wave of the future,” he said. “This is it. When you look at the young teams, the young teams are going to be better next year and they’re right in the race now. So how many of those teams are going to be in the dog pile? I foresee a situation where you could have 15 teams going for eight spots and getting it down to seven or eight games, and all 15 teams are still in the mix. I see a day that’s gonna come.”

more from Hitchcock…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

GDT - Game #72: Red Wings at Thrashers (7:30)

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Jeff OKWingnut

The Red Wings begin their last multi-game road trip of this season tonight in Atlanta, followed by a back-to-back Monday at Calgary and Tuesday at Edmonton.  DET has started Osgood the past three games against playoff contenders, and won by a combined score of 12-4 (i.e. GA/A = 1.33).  Osgood will start again tonight.  Since the Wings five game losing streak in January, DET has posted a 16-4-2 record.  DET leads the League in road points at 47, with a record of 21-10-5.

ATL have virtually no chance of making the playoffs, they are 13th in the Eastern Conference, 17 points behind eighth-place Carolina.  That is not to say ATL have not been playing good hockey.  ATL had won a franchise-record six straight before losing 6-2 at Pittsburgh on Tuesday.  ATL recorded two shutouts and outscored opponents 22-9 during their run, and played the last two games without Ilya Kovalchuk.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Panthers Playoff Promise

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

Driving to the glitzy BankAtlantic Center here on the fringe of the Everglades, Peter DeBoer’s mug can be seen plastered on various billboards along the way.

The billboards are part of an ad campaign promoting the “Panthers Promise,” an innovative plan in which fans purchasing the four-game ticket pack will get priority purchasing rights for the post-season.

Of course, there is no guarantee that the Panthers will make the playoffs. If they, in fact, do not, fans who have invested in the Panthers Promise Plan will get free tickets to four games in 2009-10.

Asked if seeing himself on all these larger-than-life signs makes him the so-called “face” of the franchise, DeBoer chuckled.

“For (the fans’ sake), I hope not,” he laughed.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Boston Struggles Continue

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

The loss underscored some ugly truths about the Bruins. They’re playing scared. They’re downright polite when they take leads. They think twice about turning in 60-minute efforts. And they’re not committed to being as hungry and desperate as their opponents.

“A couple things have to happen,” said coach Claude Julien, deep into his checklist of items in an attempt to revive his club. “Basically, all I have to say is that we’re going to have to start outworking other teams from start to finish like we were earlier in the season. And your best players have to find their games and give it the best they can for us to get out of it.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Ovechkin’s 50th Goal Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tarik El-Bashi of Capitals Insider,

Here’s what Alex Ovechkin had to say about his goal celebration tonight: “Me, Jose Theodore, [Nicklas] Backstrom and [Mike Green] said if I score goal, Jose tell me just put the stick on the ice and try act like it’s so hot. Backie stopped and Greenie stopped, so I have to do it myself.”

When I asked him if he expected to be ripped by Don Cherry, he shot back with a big smile: “Oh yeah, he’s going to be [ticked] off for sure. I love it. I can’t wait ‘til he says something about me. Old coaches, old system, you know?”

more inlcuding reaction from Boudreau and Tocchet.

If you missed the goal and celebration, watch it here.

added 8:55am, Damian Critodero of the St. Petersburg Times has more from the Tampa side…

added 10:57am, Locker room video added below…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin

Staubitz Hammers Tootoo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Pollak of Working the Corners,

The fight began with Staubitz pursuing the Predator (Tootoo) pest across the ice. When they finally went at it, you could almost feel the punches up in the rafters as Staubitz connected with punch after punch, forearm after forearm. Tootoo got an excused absence from the penalty box as he headed to the dressing room for stitches and who knows what other treatments. He didn’t return until the third period, and even then saw limited action.

So was it triggered by anything specific?

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brad+staubitz, jordin+tootoo

One Bad Loss

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

...I remember the 7-0 loss to Detroit in Game 7 of the 2002 Western finals. I remember a loss in Tampa one night in which the Avs held about a 40 minute team meeting, and I pretty much missed my deadline and the whole thing was a mess for a while with the whole club.

But, honestly folks, I don’t think I ever saw an Avalanche team that showed so little competitive spirit as Colorado’s effort tonight against Edmonton. I tried hard to think about anything that came close, and I don’t think I can. It was the first time I’ve ever watched the Avalanche in which, not only all three parts of their game were utterly incompetent, but in such a way that truly nobody seemed to even care about it.

I won’t mention any names, but I saw a couple of Avs players after this one standing in the halls, laughing and telling jokes with friends. Meanwhile, I saw Ben Guite still sitting in his uniform well after the game, staring off into the room.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Update

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Live Blogs are nifty, but seeing the same one up there for a few days probably makes you kinda sad.  I’m on the road for the next few days.  Will be back on tonite to get the LB started and to throw a wrench into the works…study up on “Airplane.”

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

A Good Trade Deadline Pickup

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

It is a little over two weeks past the trade deadline.  It is possible to get some early opinions on the deals that occurred on deadline day.  One trade that looks like a big victory is the Calgary Flames pickup of Olli Jokinen from the Phoenix Coyotes.  Calgary acquired Jokinen and a 2009 third round draft pick in exchange for Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust and a first round pick in either 2009 or 2010. 

Jokinen has been a great pickup.  He has been one of the best players in the NHL since the deal.  In fact, his eight goals since deadline day is a league leading figure in that period.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Ovechkin With 50!

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Alexander Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season midway in the first period against the Lightning.

AO followed the goal with a celebration with his hands wiggling over his stick which he had placed on the ice.

added 8:36pm, via Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,

After ripping a shot past Mike McKenna, Ovechkin dropped his stick then bent over it and attempted to pick it up. But each time he reached down he pretended that the stick was too hot to touch.

The Lightning fans didn’t appreciate the gesture and booed Ovechkin. Can’t wait to see what Don Cherry will have to say about it on Coach’s Corner on Saturday night.

video added 10:25pm...

added 10:47pm, Extended version of the video added below which was provided by On Frozen Blog....

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin

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