Kukla's Korner

Boring

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Vancouver Province,

Yes, the Canucks should celebrate their status as the most boring team in the NHL because, Lord knows, the national pundits couldn't get this wrong. So for the next game, all fans should wear grey flannel suits and go nuts when the Canucks ice the puck. Or cheer like madmen every time they retreat into the neutral zone. Maybe the old Canucks were more entertaining to watch, but this team opens up all kinds of new and exciting opportunities under Alain Vigneault. "People who are saying that don't have any idea of what the trap is or how the game is played," said Canucks GM Dave Nonis. "Not being able to put the puck in the net is a lot different from trapping."
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That Hurts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via the Montreal Gazette,

A diehard Montreal Canadiens fan has had some of his possessions seized and sold at auction to pay civil damages resulting from a fight 21 years ago with a Quebec Nordiques supporter. A court ordered the seizure of Edgar Grenier's assets after he had paid only $3,000 of the $33,200 in civil damages he was ordered to pay the victim in 1993. Grenier, who received no criminal penalty, ended up owing Alain Jacques $92,500 because of interest.
continued

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NHL’s CBA Murky About “Dangerous” Pursuits

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Globe and Mail:

Bill Daly, deputy commissioner of the National Hockey League, said hockey's standard contract prohibits players "from engaging in other dangerous sports," but piloting can be negotiated individually. The Montreal Canadiens' Alexei Kovalev, for instance, is a licensed flyer, and the Habs do not stand in his way. "The way it works is you're responsible for everything you do in your life," Kovalev told the Associated Press. He goes to a safety school every year and constantly upgrades his ratings. The Vancouver Canucks have an "extraordinary danger" provision in their player contracts. Skydiving, mountain climbing and other rugged outdoor pursuits are covered, but not specifically piloting a plane, general manager Dave Nonis indicated. "It's open for interpretation," Nonis said. "I've never heard of issues over piloting."

Continue Reading »

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Increasing Revenues In PA’s “Interest”

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

from the Globe and Mail:

Everyone in the hockey world, the media included, seems to get itself all worked up over the word escrow. The sooner we all learn to accept it as a part of the new-world NHL, the better. That’s the message the NHL Players’ Association has for its constituents. After dealing with a frenzy of player speculation and paranoia concerning escrow last year, the PA is basically telling players to relax and deal with it. After all, it’s nearly impossible to predict where revenues are going to be in any given year, so the PA is telling players that each year either the players will be giving money back to the NHL or the NHL will be giving money back to them.
The NHLPA has a very vested interest in making sure the NHL "gives money back" to them each year:
Another misconception about the CBA is that the players receive 54 per cent of revenues. But that’s only if revenues fall under $2.2 billion. Should the league be wildly successful and make more than that this season, the players would get 55 per cent of revenues from $2.2 billion to $2.4 billion. That goes to 56 per cent for revenues from $2.4 billion to $2.78 billion and 57 per cent for anything exceeding $2.78 billion.
continued

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There Is Only One “Little Ball Of Hate”

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I am listening to the JT the Brick radio show tonight and JT was talking about a Ft. Worth sports reporter who had the guts to question Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells today. She is now being referred to as the "Little Ball of Hate". I called in, off the air, and stated there is only one person who deserves that name- Pat Verbeek. The person who answered the phone asked me, "Is he some sort of hockey player?". I stated he is a retired NHL player with over 500 goals and went on to explain how he earned his nickname. The call screener wasn't impressed and said thanks for the call...click! added 11:36pm, Found the fake, "Little Ball of Hate"! image image

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Waiting For Offensive Explosion

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

"As far as we're going to win, it's not a big deal," Kovalchuk said. "I don't think we'll start losing, but it's my job to score goals. I should keep working. I have my chance every night. For some reason, it didn't go in. It's OK, it's only four games. ... Last year, I didn't play the first three and I didn't score the first two. It's the same picture. But this year I'm plus-3 now. I'm playing much better defensively." Because of Kovalchuk's defense – yes, defense, formerly an oxymoron when the word was placed next to his name — coach Bob Hartley is saying that Kovalchuk is playing his best hockey since Hartley's arrival in January 2003. "He's working, he's hitting, he's back-checking," Hartley said. "He's getting chances, they're just not going in. He plays the way we need him to play. It's just a matter of time."
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The Fading Veterans

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

I had a theory about how older players might fare in the "new" National Hockey League this season that doesn't look as if it's going to pass muster, based on the early going.... For most of the season, the NHL played a go-go style and anyone who couldn't keep up, either found himself on the bench or in the penalty box. The net result: Lots of legitimate, bona-fide former stars looked like shadows of their former selves, just barely hanging on as Generation Next came fast and hard and supplanted them in many a line-up. That was then. With a year under their belts and a chance to learn from what went wrong the year before, it seemed probable that some of these veterans would enjoy a renaissance in the second year of the revamped league.
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Beginning To Blossom

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

Selected second in the 2002 Entry Draft, Lehtonen has been described for years as Blueland's goalie of the future. Based on his play to this point -- and yes, the date on the calendar is duly noted -- it's almost safe to say the future is now. Four starts. Two shutouts. A .071 goals-against average. A .971 save percentage. Three wins. It's easy to get caught up in numbers, especially when they paint such a pretty picture. But proof of the steps that Lehtonen is taking toward his potential as the game's next elite goalie can't be divined from the stats page. You only can find it by watching him work his magic.
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All Tucker

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Amber of ESPN,

What he lacks in size, Darcy Tucker makes up for in moxie. In this edition of Facing Off, the Maple Leafs forward tells David Amber why he'll drop the gloves with anyone, how he and Michael Peca have buried the hatchet and why he would love to go one-on-one with President Bush. Amber: I've read your father was a real disciplinarian. Describe that infamous story when, at age 10, you faked an injury on the ice, and the long ride home afterward. Tucker: He wasn't happy. He told me he never wanted to me to do that again on the ice. I figured because I scored a few goals in that game, I was pretty good, so I brushed him off. He didn't appreciate that too much, so he told me to get out of the car and walk home in the middle of winter in icy cold Alberta. (laughs)
read on

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Ray Scapinello Gets Noticed

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

image Respect... Hockey Hall of Famer Clark Gilles was yapping about a penalty that was just called on him. The ref told him, "If you don't think it was a penalty, don't go into the box." Gilles went to the box. The ref at the time was Ray Scapinello, the retired NHL linseman, who actually wore the red armband for parts of six games in his distinguished NHL career. Like he was on the ice, not often noticed but always there, Ray was more than happy to speak with me recently to discuss his new book, Between the Lines (affiliate link). Ray told me he didn't even realize he wrote a book until he read it, but now whenever he visits a book store and sees "Between the Lines", he casually grabs a few copies and tosses them on "Oprah's Choice" table! I had a few questions for "Scampy" from a fans prospective. I wanted to know who he considered the most hard-nosed player. Ray was quick to point out Darren McCarty, saying Mac always gave an honest effort and although not the most talented player, he brought it every game and played hard every shift. I asked Ray if he ever heard the fans yelling at the refs and linsemen during the game and Ray said not really. He was always focused on the game but did hear a constant buzz from the fans, but individual voices never stood out. One subject that often made me wonder was if the on-ice officials tried to avoid any interaction with players during the season. Ray mentioned on occasion, paths would cross, especially in restaurants. One time he was having dinner in Colorado and saw a few players including Ray Bourque. The great defenseman came over and they exchanged a bit of conversation and when it was time to pay the bill, the waitress informed him Bourque had picked up the check and the gratuity too. Ray pointed out the NHL players are the best of the bunch, they know the refs and linseman have a difficult job, and both sides have a mutual respect for each other. I was surprised when Ray informed me he only spent 40 games in the minors before moving up to the NHL for 33 years (and never missed a game). Some of his counterparts spent 4-6 years in the minors before making the NHL which tells me the head of officials at that time had an excellent eye for talent. Some players can say they have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals four or five times- quite and accomplishment in our eyes. But Ray Scapinello officiated in 20 of those finals, a number that will be hard to match in any team sport. In closing, Ray asked me where I was from. When I mentioned Detroit and he found out I attended many a game at the old Olympia, well, let's say we exchanged some old memories of the "Red Barn". By the way, if someone from the Wings organization is reading this, Mr. Scapinello is still waiting for a brick from the "Barn"!

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