Kukla's Korner

Avs Getting Healthy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Rocky Mountain News,

Defenseman John-Michael Liles, who has missed the past 11 games, and forward Brad May, who was injured during the preseason, could return to the lineup as soon as tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers at the Pepsi Center….
Quenneville believes the players’ return might have a positive impact on their teammates.
“May hasn’t played all year, so it will certainly be exciting for him and our team to see him back playing,” Quenneville said. “Johnny is an important part of our team, and he really helps our power play and our offense. So his return will certainly spark our team, too.”

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SC Finalists On The Bubble

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Journal,

What are the odds that the two teams who grind it out all the way to the Stanley Cup final one spring are both reduced to watching the playoffs in some sports bar the next spring?...
We bring this to your attention because the reigning Carolina Hurricanes are now looking in the rear-view mirror, clinging to the last playoff spot in the East, just one point ahead of the hard-charging Toronto Maple Leafs, while the Edmonton Oilers sit ninth in the West, six points out of the playoff picture.

read on

added 6:51am, from the News & Observer,

“We need points as bad as anyone in this league, and it’s only going to get tougher,” Carolina wing Erik Cole said Monday. “We’ve said, ‘This is our playoffs. The playoffs start now for us.’
“We didn’t have hardships like this last year, so we need to have that mentality every night, that we need to play desperate.”

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Wings Talk Trade Deadline

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Detroit Free Press,

“It is going to be interesting, just because of how early the trade deadline is and how many teams think they have a chance to get into the playoffs,” Kirk Maltby said. “I think it’s not going to be like that last-day thing where you see a hundred trades all at once. I think the last week—week-and-a-half, whatever—is going to be done within that time frame.”
Chris Chelios pointed out that among the names being mentioned are St. Louis’ Bill Guerin and Keith Tkachuk and Philadelphia’s Peter Forsberg. The Wings are interested in Forsberg, and the fact that he used to play for Colorado hardly matters. “I would take him in a heartbeat,” Chelios said.

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Messier Always Wanted To Direct

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Edmonton Sun:

Messier told Sun Media yesterday that he wants to take over from his old coach and GM when Glen Sather retires from the job in New York. Messier led the team to a first Stanley Cup since 1940 back in 1994.
Furthermore, Messier says he has decided to get proactive about it.

“I’m going to have discussions with Glen. I don’t know how long Glen is going to keep doing it. Maybe he’ll continue for another five or 10 years.

continued

 

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Obstruction Creeping Back In?

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Trenton Times:

The crackdown on obstruction fouls was started so superstars could showcase their skills. And for one season, it obviously worked. The number of power plays per game was up, scoring skyrocketed and the league hailed the coming of a new day, when superstars could be superstars and muckers and grinders would go the way of the mask-less goalie.
But in Season 2, some players see the bad old days coming back. Knuble said it’s not as bad the pre- lockout days—when playing in Boston, [Mike] Knuble watched linemate Joe Thornton often skate to the net with opponents hooked on like ice-skating leeches—but he has seen Forsberg’s frustration first hand.
“It’s got to be frustrating for guys at times,” Knuble said. “I’m sure players that have reputations, like Jagr and Peter, guys who carry the puck, grind it out in the corners and the way the new rules are, you can’t take the puck away from them a lot of times. You have to bend the rules. And they are letting them bend them a little bit.”

continued

 

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The Power Of Intimidation

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from Chris Foster of the LA Times:

The acquisition of winger George Parros by Ducks General Manager Brian Burke in November didn’t appear to rank high on the list of significant hockey transactions. After all, Parros, then of the Colorado Avalanche, had only five points in 74 NHL games.
Indeed, Burke’s trading of former first-round pick Stanislav Chistov appeared to make the most noise of the three he made that day.
The deal for Parros, however, raised some eyebrows around the league because the Ducks’ executive gave the Avalanche a second-round pick — something that has become valued currency in a new salary-cap landscape.
The message was clear: Fighting still matters.

continued (reg. req.)

 

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Pohl & Legace Have Faced Adversity

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail (Tuesday edition),

Toronto Maple Leafs rookie John Pohl has never faced St. Louis Blues goaltender Manny Legace in a National Hockey League game, but the two underdogs should feel a kinship when they share the ice tonight….
Pohl and Legace, who turned 34 on Sunday, have turned in tales of perseverance in their careers. Legace starred for Canada at the 1993 world junior championship, and Pohl was Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey in 1998 and an All-American at the University of Minnesota in 2002, but they had difficulty breaking into the NHL.

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What’s Up With Leetch

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the New York Times,

“It’s been great,” Leetch said in a recent telephone interview from his home in Boston. “I used to always be thinking about the game. It’s a big weight off my shoulders. I get to enjoy being a dad.”
This is semi-retirement for Leetch, a defenseman who spent the first 16-plus seasons of his career with the Rangers. He has decided not to play this season, so far, although at 38 he has not yet called it a career. He and his wife, Mary Beth, have stayed in Boston, where Leetch played last season.
He said he still received calls from teams with offers to play, but none had felt quite right, including a possible return to the Rangers.

continued

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Caps Talking Contract With Zednik

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Washington Post,

The Washington Capitals have approached Richard Zednik’s agent about extending the right wing’s contract. Although the sides are not close to reaching a deal, according to David Schatia of Octagon Athlete Representation, the move does provide insight into the club’s plans for the veteran as the Feb. 27 trade deadline approaches….
“They are interested,” Schatia said by telephone from Montreal. “We’ve had several discussions, exchanged ideas, figures and concepts, but nothing has been resolved. I would like to think the [negotiations] are positive.”

read on (reg. req.)

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Team USA- A Group Effort

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from ESPN,

Following the disappointing finish of the men’s U.S. Olympic hockey team in Torino a year ago, USA Hockey has assembled an all-star lineup of NHL general managers to make sure the program gets its best players on the ice at future international competitions.
ESPN.com has learned Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell, the GM of that ill-fated Torino squad, will be joined by Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke, Nashville Predators GM David Poile and Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero on the management advisory board.
USA Hockey is expected to make an announcement Tuesday.

continued

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